Sennheiser MD421 vs. Shure SM57...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by tradarama, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. tradarama

    tradarama Silver Supporting Member

    May 12, 2002
    What are your thoughts guys? For guitar cab mic....distortion/higher gain. Thanks! Jim
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator ^/|\^ Co-Founder of TGP Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I have used 57's since I started playing out and recording.

    I have used 421's in the studio when the engineer wanted to.

    The 421 has more bass and less of a mid-hump; but it has a very definate mid-hump.

    The 57 sounds grainy and small sometimes when you solo it out; but in 99.98% of the tracks I do it always fits *very* well. Better in context than alone for sure.

    IMHO, I have three 57's that I own and use; they work well enough that I have never considered buying a 421.

    Just my opinion.
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    State of Denial
    If you want your guitar tracks to sound like what everybody else expects your guitar tracks to sound like, use an SM57 ... like everybody else.

    Me, I don't like 'em. Personal thing, I guess, with my weird ears. I don't think I've used a 421 on anything but drums in my limited recording experience. They're really good for toms!

    This is certainly no slag on anybody that uses 57s. For instance, I've got Scott's last album and the guitar tones on it are great! Probably every hit song we've heard on the radio or MTV for the last 20 years has guitars tracked with a 57. I'm just saying I choose not to use them if at all possible.

    (Sorry if I sound CYA...I'm still in recovery from the BaM atmosphere.)

  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    They're both great, it depends how you want to shape the sound of your tracks on any given day.

    Another really good choice is the new Audix I-5.
  5. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

    Jan 19, 2002
    Lanchester Durham England
    I find the whole Senny 421 thing SO funny, it was designed to be an in-vision news reporters mic way back in the 70's or 60's.

    Someone uses it as a tom tom mic coz if the drummer hits it it wont break and suddenly they are the best sounding drum mic around.

    Its a funny old world!
  6. Unburst

    Unburst Member

    Jan 19, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Well people like what they know I guess, 421 on toms, '57 on guitars etc.

    I used to hate '57 until I really learnt how to position one, the positioning is crucial.

    I'd use a '57 over a 421 for guitat but you should check out the Sennheisser e609 too.
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Fort Mudge
    Having A/B'd them both I've found that I prefer the 57. I also like the Royer 121 a lot but I don't own one. My birthday is coming up, in case anyone is feeling extraordinarily generous.
  8. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    western ma
    When a better guitar mic than a 57 comes around (that doesn't cost as much as a Royer) truly comes around, i'm all over it.

    421? Okay for toms, bass cab. Not my go-to for either.
  9. jemaholic

    jemaholic Guest

    I use multiple mics and blend them in the mix.

    57 / RE20

    58 / AKG 414

    Senni 421 / 57 (in back)

    There are NO rules.:dude
  10. pete kanaras

    pete kanaras Member

    Mar 24, 2004
    baltimore, md
    myself i don't like a 421 all that much for electric guitar, but i do quite like it for e-bass in front of a B-15 and pulled out about 6-8 inches. oh yeah.

    you simply can't go wrong with a 57 for e-guit

    the lesser known shure sm7 is very fine as well, and sounds good on almost anything. e-bass, kick, toms, saxes, percussion, vocals. really good e-guit mic.

    the audix d-3 i like a lot on e-guit; i used one live (still do) for many years. and foh guys liked the d3 a lot too; they consistently said said they used much less board eq than with other mics and that it fit nicely into the mix right outa the gate. it's a flat response transformerless dynamic, low profile. about $120

    but for me the royer 121 ribbon is IT. i've used one on about a dozen sessions so far. it simply sounds more like my guitar and amp than any other mic i've ever tried. you can jam it right up on a wide open amp and you won't blow out the ribbon. you can use the back side of the ribbon which is a bit darker sounding for some apps. and it excels in an ambient environment (tile bathroom, wood paneled room, etc). next session i'm gonna do 121 front-close mic'ed, 57 rear mic'ed-out of phase then combine 'em at the board to one channel. biiig. as far as i'm concerned the journey for e-guit mic'ing is over for me with the royer. i will save up and get my own.
  11. Orren

    Orren Member

    May 17, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    I do have a Royer R-121, and I agree, it's spectacular. I love it for mic'ing guitars.

  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Fort Mudge
    Now that's interesting...
  13. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2004
    Hotels everywhere
    Scott, just wondering if you always use the same 57 when you record, I also have 3 57's and they all sound different.. I used to think all 57's were exatly the same but for some reason all 3 sound different, I set them up on a stand adapter that never moves at exatly the same speaker and distant.
  14. OneMileWish

    OneMileWish Guest

    I really enjoy a 57/421 mix when recording clean electric guitars, but generally only use a 57 when recording distorted electric guitar. Those aren't the ONLY mics I use, but the ones I use most often.

    Recently I've been doing some pre-production and ended up using some cheap 184 knockoff about 4 feet away from my cab on a fairly heavily distorted track and it sounded awesome. You never know what you'll get until you try it!

  15. midnight1959LP

    midnight1959LP Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Sterling, VA
    I've had decent luck using a older 421 and an RE20.
    I once A-B'd the 421 with a 57 and liked the 57 better.
  16. Greggy

    Greggy Member

    May 8, 2002
    The Antipodes To All That is Sacred and Pure
    I have had no luck using a 421 on distorted guitar. I do like it on clean to mild overdrive, though.
  17. alschnier

    alschnier Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    New Hartford, NY 13413
    I was actually struggling w. my guitar the last few gigs. I normally use a 409 (on stage) & have for years (low profile, decent sound, etc.). the last 4 shows we played, I was using a 57 since we didn't have any 409s avail. I kept messing w. my tone, as it was driving me nuts (it should be noted I used IEMs, so I'm listening to the mic'd amp moreso than what's projecting immediately on stage). on a whim, I switched to a 421, since it was the most desirable thing we had ( & a great mic imho - just not my 1st or 2nd choice perhaps). the long winded point is - I loved it.

    my tone went from that narrower mid spectrum that 57s do, to something a little wider. I don't really have that much low end in my sound, but the mids & highs I like just don't work that well w. that mic - BUT... it may for you.
  18. isfahani

    isfahani Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Don't apologise, I wish more people would have this attitude. Hey, the 57s work, but at the same time, there's like 20 gazillion other mics that might too.
  19. fuzzyguitars

    fuzzyguitars Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    apple valley, california
    you can click in my signature link for some really rough clips comparing the sm57 and md 421
  20. powermatt99

    powermatt99 Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    When I mix FOH, I like using 57s. I know exactly what I am going to get every time. When I play, I like my Heil PR30 for my set up. No fizz, no "presence boost," no distortion from high SPLs. If I were recording, I'd add a ribbon mic to it and get to tracking.

    I've also used a Beta57 but I found it to be boomy the last time i used it. Maybe poor positioning on the slightly oversized Lonestar Special Combo.

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