So in my research, I kept reading about how much better the i5 is than the SM57 for nearly everything. Of course there were a few people who stuck by the 57 (It is still a great mic), but I was a bit skeptical myself. After all, the57 has been around since about 1965.
I eventually read about a guy who went into Guitar Center to pick up an SM57. The salesman ended up telling him to go with the i5, going as far as to actually buy it back from the guy if he didn’t like it better than the Sm57. 3 years later and he’s still using the i5, preferring it over the 57.
The mic for guitar amps and snare drums. To put it bluntly, nearly everything I’ve read says go for the i5 over the 57.
Good bass response on amps.
Crispness and clarity. Picks up all the subtle details.
Could be better than the SM57 on guitar cabinets and bass.
Captures the Marshall DSL40C amp with ease, and especially good with the low mids and detailed highs. Does this all without sounding harsh or boomy.
The i5 has a higher dB output with a slight boost at 150Hz. It may pick up more overtones and need more compression.
It’s a good compliment to the SM57 when miking an amp especially.
The mic must be directly in front of your mouth for best sound.
One said it was actually not as good as an Sm57 for recording guitar cabinets.
Mogami cables are recommended with the i5.
Don’t put the mic too close to your amp, or you won’t get the right sound and it will become too punchy.
An extremely versatile mic with a phenomenal crispness and clarity. At it’s best with snares and guitar cabinets.
Similarities & Differences
Both are dynamic microphones that excel in many of the same situations – especially for guitar cabinets and snare drums.
The SM57 may be better for clean and sparkly Fender sounds, while the i5 excels in Marshall style distorted sounds.
The i5 is said to be richer and fuller in the mid-range than the SM57.
The tone with snare is more mid-range heavy and dense than the Sm57. Overall people are saying it does perform better for snares as well as guitar amps and cabinets.
The i5 has a more forgiving proximity effect than the SM57. One of the complaints with the 57 is of mic placement; it has to be near perfect, with a lot of experimentation. The i5 has a larger target area, and thus is easier to get a good take quickly.
The head of the i5 is not quite as delicate as the 57. It’s not as likely to crack with the hit of an accidental flailing drumstick (not the chicken kind). 😛 So yeah it’s said to be even more durable than the SM57.
The frequency response of the i5 provides more clarity than the 57. The treble is also said to be crispier and smoother, while the SM57’s treble may be too much as far as sibilance. What does Sibilant mean?
The SM57 sounds slightly muddier and boxier than the i5.
The i5 is more natural sounding and less compressed than the SM57.
The low end of the i5 is punchier than the 57.
Size & Shape. Both of these mics are slightly different. Because the i5 is smaller, it’s easier to fit into tight spaces that may be otherwise cumbersome for the SM57.
Yeah I would go with the Audix i5. The video really sold me and exposed the SM57 a little bit, especially that whole boxiness factor which you can really get a sense of. The 57 is still a great mic no doubt, but the i5 outshines it just a bit. It’s got more presence, better clarity, a better low end, and just an all around sizzle that’s hard to beat.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.