Home Microphone Comparisons Shure SM7 vs. SM7B vs. SM58 vs. SM57

Shure SM7 vs. SM7B vs. SM58 vs. SM57

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
Shure SM57 Review

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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

This article will cover the Shure SM7B vs. SM58, but we’ll also throw in a couple of other mics like the SM57 and original SM7.

By the end of this article, you should have a clear idea of which is best suited for your needs.

With that, let’s dive in!


All of these mics have a long history.

The SM58 came out in 1966, just a year after the SM57.

The original SM7 came out in 1976, and was perhaps most famously used by Michael Jackson on his best-selling album “Thriller.”

Aside from that, both are rather similar microphones.

SM7 vs. SM7B

Both need around 60dB of clean gain (I’ve seen 54dB for the SM58 around the internet), and fortunately for us, a Fethead or Cloudlifter in conjunction with an Audio Interface like my Universal Audio Volt 2 will do the trick.

Both are excellent as voice-over mics and have a very forgiving proximity field.

Basically, this means that you don’t have to be in one specific spot to speak into the mic and achieve great results.

It’s really versatile as far as where your mouth is, what angle you’re at, etc.

Think of the space as a basketball size rather than a golf ball size.


There are only a few marked differences between the Shure SM7 & SM7B.

I will also include the SM7A for clarity’s sake. 🙂

  1. SM7 – Introduced in 1973 or 1976 (some discrepancy), with a U.S. retail price of $256.80. Used by Michael Jackson on his hit album “Thriller.”
  2. SM7A – Humbucking coil improved; the design of the mic mounting yoke also improved. Introduced in 1999.
  3. SM7B – Larger foam windscreen added. Introduced in 2001.

From Shure’s website:

“The mic element is based on the Unidyne III design and has not changed.”

SM57 vs. SM7B

Shure SM57

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! 

In The Box

Shure SM57-LC Dynamic Instrument Microphone

Shure A25DM Mic Stand Adapter

Padded Bag


Shure SM57 ReviewSpecifications

  • Type: Dynamic.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-15kHz.
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms.
  • Color: Black.
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 0.63 lbs.
  • Accessories: Carry Case, Mic Clip.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SM57-LC.

Shure SM7B

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

In The Box

Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone

Swivel (Yoke Mount) Stand Adapter

Shure A7WS Broadcast-Style Windscreen for SM7, SM7A, and SM7B

Shure RPM602 Switch Cover Plate for SM7A and SM7B Microphones


  • Type: Dynamic.
  • Frequency Response: 50 to 20,000 Hz.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Impedance: 150 Ohms.
  • Output level: 59 dB.
  • Switches: Bass roll-off and mid-range emphasis. Slotted response selector switches.
  • Cartridge Shock Mount: Internal air-suspension shock and vibration isolator.
  • Microphone Connector: XLR. The difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone.
  • Swivel Assembly: Integrated, captive nut for ease of attachment to stand, fits 5/8 in. -27 thread.
  • Polarity: Positive pressure on the diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3.
  • Case: Dark gray enamel aluminum and steel case with a dark gray foam windscreen.
  • Net Weight: 765.4 grams (1 lb, 11 oz).

Both the SM7B and SM57 are dynamic mics, and very versatile, but the SM57 is more suited towards cabs and snare drums.

The first thing that jumped out at me when I unboxed the SM57 is just how heavy it feels.

You kind of understand why it’s been around for so long when holding it in your hand.

In other words,

I can honestly say it’s one of the most rugged and durable pieces of equipment I’ve ever used.

Put another way, if your mom needs a dumbbell for home workouts, this thing will most certainly do the trick.

In addition to that, the sound is remarkable.

In fact, it’s even used in most presidential speeches and addresses!

That’s right, the president of the United States of America relies on the SM57. Pretty amazing.

What’s more, it’s extremely versatile as well, but primarily functions as a phenomenal instrument and guitar amp cabinet mic.

Shure SM57 Review

I’ve seen it endorsed for nearly everything though (more on that in a bit), and it’s most notably famous for recording the snare drum.

As for its type, it’s a dynamic mic, and works well in the studio and live on stage.

Because it has a high SPL (sound pressure level), you’re able to scream into it with no problem.

Unfortunately, one of its shortcomings (IF you don’t have a Fethead or Cloudlifter) is that you will need to turn up the input gain on your device quite a bit to get the best results.

A Fethead delivers up to 27dB of clean gain which is needed for standard audio interfaces like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo/2i2 as well as my Universal Audio Volt 2.

A Cloudlifter provides around 25dB.

Keep in mind you can still use the SM57 without it, but in terms of gain on my interface, I have it turned up to around 11.

Haha just kidding, it’s at about 85-90%.

At this level, you may start to hear some noise/artifacts depending on the environment you’re recording in.

This is why I will most certainly be investing in a Fethead to mitigate that issue.

The good news is that because it’s dynamic, the noise issue isn’t nearly as bad as it would be if you jacked the gain up on a condenser.

This is because condensers typically pick up a lot more ambient sounds, fans, traffic, dogs, your neighbor’s explosive diarrhea, etc.

A dynamic like the SM57 is very good at rejecting outside noise even with the gain turned up considerably.


the SM57 is perfect for the beginner to the advanced, and records clean as a whistle.

The highs are particularly noteworthy here and come through with startling clarity.


Shure SM57 Review


You may want to go with an SM57 if you’re just starting out because it’s a workhorse for all applications at only around $100 vs. roughly $400 for the SM7B.


The SM7B contains an internal, built-in shock mount that reduces vibrations.

The SM57’s shock mount reduces noise in handheld instances.


The SM57 does better with the upper mid-range and has a smoother, less gritty sound.

While the SM7B has a more prominent, extended, and better low-end response, the SM57 is crunchier.

It does well with crunchy guitars and snares, as mentioned above.

The SM7B is a lot better for vocals, specifically loud voices, soft voices, screamo, male rock, sibilant female vocals, and spoken word.

The SM57 is most famous for being a guitar cab and snare drum mic, while the SM7B’s wider frequency response makes it a phenomenal solution for a plethora of different applications.

The filters only enhance its flexibility.

The SM57 is better for snares, while the SM7B excels more with toms.

That said, the SM57 is great for vocals as well, but it’s primarily an instrument/snare mic.

Shure SM57 Review

Proximity effect

There’s a clear variation in tone based on how far the 57 is away from its source.

It does well with stuff that remains at a fixed distance. The SM7B by contrast has a more flexible proximity effect.

You can move around more and still get a consistent volume and tone. It’s a lot like the RE20 in this regard.

I’ve read people saying that speaking into the SM57 at a 45-degree angle can work, but I personally found it to sound best straight-on.

That said, you should most certainly invest in an A2WS or A81WS Windscreen due to the pops and plosives.

They’re a lot worse than I was expecting.


The SM7 will handle a louder SPL.


The SM7B requires more gain to run efficiently, but in all honesty, both need it.

I can theoretically record out of my Volt 2 and SM57 without a Fethead or Cloudlifter, but I’m jacking the gain up to near-uncomfortable levels.

This is why I’m investing in a Fethead. 

As far as interfaces go, most entry-level ones don’t supply enough.

For instance, the Scarlett 2i2 that I owned in the past only provides around 48-50 dB, while my Volt 2 has around 55.

For clarification,

the SM7B requires around 60dB, and the SM57 is roughly 50.

As you can see, I’m technically able to record with the SM57, but I’d much rather you err on the side of caution by getting a Fethead.

Here are some Sound Demos without a Fethead/Cloudlifter. Do keep in mind you will have to turn the volume up quite a bit.

Also, note the windscreen I’m using is one not specifically made for this mic. That said, I wanted to test it out and plan to update this article when I get an A81WS.

Demo #1 – Speaking at 45-degree angle, windscreen used, gain around 85-90%

Demo #2 – Speaking at 45-degree angle, no windscreen, gain around 85-90%

Demo #3 – Speaking at 45-degree angle, windscreen used, gain around 85-90%

Demo #4 – Speaking at 45-degree angle, windscreen used, gain at around 75%

For these last 3, I was speaking into the front of the mic with windscreen and gain back to around 85-90%.

A bit closer to the mic

A bit farther away from the mic

Very close to the mic

So as you can probably tell, it sounds fuller when you’re speaking straight on, but the absence of a Fethead is problematic.

This is because when you turn up the volume to hear, there’s some obvious noise, artifacts, and slight distortion present due to how high the gain has to be.

There’s also this metallic “tinny” character that I can’t quite reconcile. It could be my specific voice, but I think the tone is slightly off and this is most certainly due to the gain being basically maxed out.

That said, the general sound of the SM57 is excellent.

Shure SM57 Review


Debatable, but the 7B picks up more detail than the 57. The 57 sounds tighter and brighter overall.


The SM7B has a flatter frequency response than the SM57.


The SM7B has a bass roll-off (low cut) and mid-range emphasis, as well as slotted response selector switches.

This just basically means that the SM7B has been crafted to achieve a similar result to that of a bare-bones SM57.

Before we get into the SM58, check out some of these funny quotes about the SM7B from Gearslutz.com:

“You know that voice in your head that tells you right from wrong? Well, it was recorded with an SM7B.”

“My SM7B automatically doubled and then quadrupled my vocal takes, translating them into Spanish and Mandarin versions, enabling me to deliver international releases.”

“They say with careful positioning, you can use an SM7B to record the future.”

SM7B vs. SM58

Shure SM58

Images coming soon!

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

In The Box

Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Zippered Pouch

Microphone Clip


  • Type: Dynamic.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-15kHz.
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms.
  • Color: Black.
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs.
  • Accessories: Carry Case, Mic Clip.
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SM58-LC.


To start off, there are 4 different versions of the 58, but they come with subtle differences.

  1. SM58-CN (Cable included).
  2. SM58-LC (Cable not included).
  3. SM58S (On/Off Switch included).
  4. SM58-X2U (XLR to USB signal adapter, same as with Sm57).

The SM58 is the best on-stage vocal mic you can buy. It’s the other industry standard for live sound.

Like the SM57, it’s about as durable as it gets. Need a hammer for your next DIY project?

Use the SM58. Lol.

Frustrated with your drummer? Throw the SM58 at him.

Need a tool for self-defense after live gigs in back alleys?

Get an SM58. It won’t fail! Just know that its primary use will be with vocals, backing vocals, etc.

Same important note as with the SM57: Beware of counterfeits. Use extreme caution when buying, and only buy from reputable, authorized amazon sellers!


  • Both are dynamic microphones. Condenser Mic vs. Dynamic Mic.
  • Some people say that the SM58 and SM7B share the same capsule, or at the very least sound so similar that it’s a wash. What is a cardioid capsule?  Also, check out this thread on Gearslutz for a discussion on the subject.
  • Both need around 60dB of clean gain.
  • Both mics are based on the Unidyne III cartridge.


  • The SM58 is more suited for live vocals, while the SM7B does better in the studio. Home Studio Corner did a great article comparing the two in-studio.
  • The SM7B has a mid boost and a low-cut filter, while the SM58 has no onboard features.
  • The SM7B has a cleaner low end, with less rumble. It also has a smoother top end.
  • The SM7B is harder to store because it’s so large. It’s the type of mic that you will want to put somewhere and leave it. The SM58 is a lot more portable.
  • Overall the SM7B sounds a lot clearer than the SM58, with a smoother low end. There’s simply more clarity with it. The SM58 by contrast is a little boomier in the low end.
  • Frequency response. The SM58’s is 50Hz – 15,000 kHz, while the SM7B’s is 50Hz – 20,000 kHz.
  • The SM58 is renowned for its on-stage prowess, specifically for vocals while the SM7B is a dynamic mic more suited for in-studio as a vocal and broadcasting microphone primarily.

Shure SM57 vs. SM58

Shure SM57 Review

Both of these mics are incredibly durable and do well with miking guitar cabinets.

Apparently, both also have the same capsule but don’t quote me on that.

If you have any definitive insight into this, let me know down below!


  • The polar pattern on the SM57 is uni-directional in contrast to the omnidirectional pattern on the SM58.
  • The SM57 is said to be more versatile than the 58. The SM58 is mostly for singing/vocals, while the SM57 has been endorsed for nearly everything.
  • The SM57 has crisper vocals on the highs and is fuller on the low end. It’s more natural on vocals and never muddy or muffled.
  • The SM57 is more open on the top end.
  • The look of each is vastly different, from the grille, shape, color, etc.
  • The SM57 sounds best a few inches away from your mouth, while the 58 can be shoved in your mouth and sound fine.
  • The SM57 does better with deep voices than the Sm58. The 57 has a better low-frequency response.
  • In general, the SM58 is more suited for live vocal performances while the SM57 is best with instruments, amp cabinets, and in-studio vocals.

Video Comparison

Credit to GLB Productions!

Shure SM58:

Sounds good with the ball and standard windscreen, though a bit boomy. The clarity isn’t quite there. Here’s a video showing the difference.

SM7B vs. SM58 Sound Test

Credit to Podcastage for the video!

Final Word

I will try and make this as simple as possible because I hate being confused myself!

Shure SM58:

Sounds a lot better without the ball (unscrewed), with a windscreen or pop-filter.

Definitely holds its own to the SM7B in this case, but still not quite the same. 


Sounds remarkably similar to the SM7B with the A81WS windscreen.

It’s pretty scary actually, and one of the main reasons I have an SM57 now. 

Check it out! Note: the reviewer in the video is using an Apogee Duet preamp. Preamp vs. Interface.

Video Comparison

Credit to Matt!

So in a nutshell what do I recommend?

I’m going to have to say between the SM58 and SM7B, I would still go with the SM7B.

It’s one of the most used and recommended microphones in existence and has plenty of glowing reviews to boot.

Learn More:


Between the SM57 and SM7B? Wow, that’s tough, but if you’re on a budget, how could you go wrong with the SM57 + A81WS (windscreen)?

You can’t.

I’ll be the first to tell you that purchasing an SM57 and having some money leftover for rent is always a plus.

So the combination of A81WS + Fethead + SM57 will run you less than $200, while the SM7B, as Matt mentioned in the video above, is way less forgiving if your preamp.

So to get a similar sound, you may have to shell out extra. That said, you may not. Others have had success with the 7B/Cloudlifter route, but it’s still going to run you more.

In any event, I still like the SM57 route for those newer to recording and looking to get their feet wet.

Act Now:


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Shure SM7 vs. SM7B vs. SM58 vs. SM57 Shootout.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which of these are you more likely to go with? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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David Keller April 4, 2017 - 3:56 pm

You need to re-read the history a bit more closely because the Sm58 and Sm7b do not share the same capsule.

The Sm58 and Sm57 do share the same capsule and are identical (including wiring) except for their windscreen. The Sm7 (all versions) share elements of the unidyne III but IS very different than the 57 and 58. Being “based on” the same capsule is very different from being the same. Read the article again.

Stu April 5, 2017 - 2:01 am

Thank you for your thoughts. I linked the forum thread that I had read regarding the capsules of the SM58 and SM7/SM7B. I also re-worded the sentence in question. I don’t think there is a definitive answer, unless you have a source that you can provide. Again, I appreciate your bringing the matter to my attention, and for stopping by.


John April 29, 2021 - 4:06 pm

For the money, which would you go for: 4x SM58s or 1x SM7B?

Stuart Charles Black May 3, 2021 - 5:12 pm

Hey man probably the Sm58s for value. What kind of work are you doing though?


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