Who's using a 57 to mic their acoustic mandolin?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by natejens, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    SO I am finally upgrading from the crappy MXL whatever instrument mic to a Shure SM 57. Just wondering how other mando players are using this. Mainly the direction (Upper f hole or lower), distance from the instrument, and what sort of equing. Thanks for the info.
     
  2. Suro_Atiros

    Suro_Atiros Member

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    I'd advise against it unless you're using a very good preamp. SM57s have notoriously high requirements for preamp quality. You are better off with even a simple AKG Perception large diaphragm condenser if you're using a poor quality preamp. You'll get much better sound.

    If you are absolutely set on an SM57, then at the very least you should get an FMR RNP preamp. They are the best low budget pre's you can buy. They cost $250 per channel. You can get a very nice sound out of an SM57 that way.
     
  3. Luke V

    Luke V Supporting Member

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    For recording I've had great results with a LDC, a SDC would probably work fine too. I would not use a 57 for recording a mandolin unless it was the only mic available.
     
  4. thisHEREgiraffe

    thisHEREgiraffe Member

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    The mando player I play with likes to use a C1000 on his - sounds pretty good to me.
     
  5. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    Alright trying to get some more input on this matter. I really want to get a Sm 57 as a multi use mic. Planning on mic'ing my cab with it at sometime and would like to try the mando. It sounds like it won't be easy. I have a cheaper pre amp available and I can also run it through a 31 band eq as well. Would it work with both of these?
     
  6. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    if you can't make a mando sound good with a 57, you are doing something wrong. i'd suggest a 57 over any of the cheap condensers listed above.
     
  7. himilcyclr

    himilcyclr Member

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    SM57 is a great utility mic. Is there better, yes. Is it a bad mic, no. I have seen a lot of 57's on a mando. rokpunk is correct in his statement about making it sound good. Besides the fact it can be used pretty much everywhere with good success.
     
  8. Suro_Atiros

    Suro_Atiros Member

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    the SM57 is a fantastic mic. I use it on tons of recordings. If you have amazing pre's, you can use SM57s to record everything on an album (even overheads!) and it will sound good.

    But honestly, if you're going to use budget preamps, the recording will sound like dog poo. SM57s just don't sound good with poor pre's. It absolutely requires a good pre to use, unlike most condenser mics.

    You will find SM57s in every pro studio in the world. They have their place, they have their uses. I'm pretty sure that Foo Fighters have recorded entire albums with SM57s before, but don't quote me on that. However, they would have been using a high end console, such as a Neve. Those pre's will make an SM57 sound like angels are singing.

    But on a budget pre? It will sound like a car driving over those angels. If you're lucky, you'll hear their death gasp to boot.
     
  9. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    there was a bon iver record made with a single sm57 and an old silvertone guitar.
     
  10. TravisE

    TravisE Supporting Member

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    I completely agree. Live, recording, etc. SM57s can be great on most any instrument. For recording, I agree that a good pre will help but that could be said for most/any mic. Plus, a cheap condenser will almost always have some nasty mid frequency to EQ out. I'd MUCH rather use an SM57 than a cheap condenser. At least I know what to expect. Live, a 57 can be a great sound for acoustic instruments. Just ask Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Gil even mics her clog dancing with a 57. ;)
     
  11. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    Well down the road I will be getting a nicer pre amp but for now I guess I'll just have to deal with "death angels" according to Suro. So I am new to this as well, so can someone give me a bit of insight. So I am running the 57 directly into the pre the through the eq and then into the mixer (insert???). Our mixer is powered so I dont want to run it just into one of the main xlr channels since the preamp is powering it correct??? Sorry for the newby questions, gotta start somewhere. Thanks for the input I'll be getting the 57 next week and a better pre on down the line.
     
  12. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    Any more help on hooking my mic up to a pre amp and eq? Please... I think I have a good idea but still kind of new to all of this recording equiptment. Thanks.
     
  13. Fran Guidry

    Fran Guidry Member

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    Phantom power won't bother the SM57. Just go straight into your XLR input. If you want to be extra careful, turn off the phantom then turn it on after you've plugged in the mic.

    My advice - when someone tells you a specific mic has a problem with a preamp, ask for a sample demonstrating the problem. I've heard the widely repeated statement that SM57s are sensitive to preamp characteristics, but I'm waiting for the example.

    Here's a demonstration of an SM58 with the pop ball removed, capturing an acoustic guitar: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/audio/20110902/SM58.wav
    compared to a Shure KSM141 on the same source: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/audio/20110902/KSM141.wav The preamp was the stock input on an Echo Audiofire interface.

    Fran
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  14. speakerjones

    speakerjones Supporting Member

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    If you're asking for advice on how to hook it up, it would be helpful to know the signal chain. I wouldn't have an EQ in line. I think I understand that you have an outboard ore that you're running into another mixer. You'd want to run it into the line input on a channel. No phantom power is involved with dynamic mics. Hope this helps.
     
  15. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    So basically I am planning on running the 57 > tube preamp >eq> effects unit> mixer.
    My thoughts were that I could use the eq to well eq out any distortion.
    My main questions are
    -Chain order, specifically where the pre amp should go
    -What channel I should hook into the mixer, since the tube pre amp is powering then do I need the preamps from my mixer in which case should I just plug into an "insert" (unpowered channel)
    -I understand this mic does not need phantom power and that it won't affect it
    Thanks
     
  16. Suro_Atiros

    Suro_Atiros Member

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    I think your chain is too messy. Microphones aren't like guitars, they don't take well with 20 things behind them. the signal chain should go:

    MIC -> PRE -> MIXER (line in!)

    Be sure you're connecting your preamp with a TRS cable into the LINE IN jack of the mixer!! Never stack preamps. If you use an XLR cable from the preamp to the XLR jack of the mixer, you're using two preamps (the pre on the mixer is in the XLR jack circuit). Turning the pre-amp down on a mixer doesn't kill the preamp itself. It's buffered and will sound nasty.

    Regarding your EQ, don't you have EQ post production? Most audio sequencers (cubase, sonar, ableton) come with OEM EQ tweakers.

    In recording, it's best to capture THE REAL sound, in all its glory. then, once it's captured, go ahead and tweak it... because that's un-doable. But if you EQ it as it comes in, you can't un-do that.

    Same goes with the effects unit. But honestly, there is a way to use your effects unit with your mixer in post production. Ever heard of an "insert" jack? Insert jacks require a full-TRS cable (just one!) that is connected to a TRS-capable INPUT jack of your effects unit, into the INSERT jack of the mixer.

    Then, you can route the sound of the mixer back and forth through that one cable.

    If all this seems sort of fuzzy, perhaps you should check out the manual of your mixer. It probably has a lot of features on it that you never knew existed, things that can make your job as an engineer easier, rather than harder.
     
  17. natejens

    natejens Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info. Very helpful. I should have mentioned that this is for live application right now hence why I was some more detailed eq'ing abilities. I'm familiar with insert and such (stacking pres...). The main thing I was trying to get info on was the signal chain and you explained that quite well. I'll pick up the manual to our mixer at the next rehersal and do some homework. Thanks again.
     

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