Shure SM57 Live Dynamic Microphone Review

Product Name:Shure SM 57 Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Product Dimensions:6.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight:1.3 pounds
Frequency Response:40 Hz to 15,000 Hz
Polar Pattern:Unidirectional Cardioid
Microphone Type:Dynamic
Learn More About the Shure SM57

Shure SM57 ReviewThe mic in question is the Shure SM57. I write about this condenser microphone from my own personal experience with it as it has been the principle mic in my home studio for seven years and I’ve used it to record a variety of sources during that time.

First let me describe what a condenser microphone is. It’s a type of mic that is generally used for recording sources such as vocals and acoustic guitars (these are the two sources I most frequently record with the SM57) and which requires a preamp in order to work. Almost all audio interfaces come with a preamp so you’re probably already set in that regard, although you will get a better sound by using an external preamp such as the Art MPA Gold.

There are actually two different categories of condenser mics, one is a large diaphragm and the other is a small diaphragm. Large diaphragm condenser mics have less noise and capture lower frequencies better. They also tend to be more expensive. They are usually used on vocals while the small diaphragm mics are often used on instruments with a lot of high frequencies (such as a violin.)

The Shure SM57 is a large diaphragm mic and it’s also a “multipattern” mic. What’s multipattern mean? There are three different patterns that mics can record in (and the SM57 can be switched between all three.) Those patterns are cardioid, figure-8, and omnidirectional.

shure-sm-57 A cardioid pattern means that it only picks up the sound coming from front of the mic while rejecting sound coming from the back and most of the sound coming from the sides. A figure-8 pattern picks up sound from both the front and the back while rejecting the sound from the sides.

An omnidirectional pattern picks up sound from all around. Each of these patterns can be useful in different recording situations which is why it’s so cool that this particular microphone can be switched between each of the possible patterns.

Many mics boost certain frequencies in order to “color” the recording in some way. While this can be quite nice in certain circumstances, having a mic that has a more neutral (or “flat”) response can give you a lot more versatility. The Shure SM57 condenser mic is known for it’s neutral response and this is one of the big reasons why it’s such a versatile mic. It can be used to record just about any sound source effectively.

Here’s a quick rundown of the technical specs:

  • Unidirectional (cardioid) dynamic microphone
  • Frequency Response – 40 hz to 15,000 hz
  • Extremely durable under the heaviest use
  • Pneumatic shock-mount system
  • Uniform cardioid pickup pattern

Like all other condensers, this mic requires a mic preamp. The preamp can greatly effect the quality of the your sound and investing in a good quality preamp should probably be your next move after getting a good microphone. Like I mentioned above, most audio interfaces do have built in mic preamps but you’ll get better results from an external preamp.

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