SM57 question

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by fajy6, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. fajy6

    fajy6 Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I recently bought an SM57 and it sounds like crap, I think it might need a pre amp or something, i tried phantom power but it doesn't work, but phantom power is for condensor mics right? someone let me know what the hell I am doing....so lost.
     
  2. guitarhurricane

    guitarhurricane Member

    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Location:
    Campbellsville, KY
    What are you using it for exactly? How does it sound like crap?
    Give us some more info.
     
  3. fajy6

    fajy6 Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I'm using it for vocals, and it is more thin and trebally sounding than any mic i've ever used and the signal is very low, i have the trim on my recorder almost maxed out. It sounds distorted as well.
     
  4. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    You gotta give more details than that.

    What kind of recorder exactly? Are you using a microphone preamp somewhere in the chain, perhaps in the recorder itself?

    A 57 will always be thin in comparison to many mics, but it doesn't sound like "crap" exactly

    Phantom power is completely unnecessary for a 57.
     
  5. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    what is your signal chain?
    in other words,
    what are you plugging the mic into?
    what are you using for a mic amp?
    what soundcard and software or tape machine are you using?

    you don't want to use phantom power withsm57.

     
  6. fajy6

    fajy6 Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I'm using a microphone, into a korg MkII D1600, straight, nothing in between. I think i may need a pre amp somewhere in there, which is the real question that I'm asking? And what is an affordable preamp that will get the job done?
     
  7. stekks

    stekks Member

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Something could be wrong with you mic (or cable/connectors)? Maybe you can go to a store and A/B your mic with another SM57?
     
  8. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,785
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Location:
    In a white room
    Yup, you definitely need a pre-amp. The trim knobs on the Korg D1600 are useless on their own for amplifying a mic. (Trust me - I've got a D1600 and it's a well-known complaint.)

    You run the SM57 into the pre-amp, then run that signal into the D1600, and control the input with the trim knob. Easy. It'll sound great.

    Several options for the home recordist. You can get a single-channel ART pre-amp for well under $100 and it'll be fine. I'd suggest a two-channel pre-amp for not much more money, and you can add a second mic. ART is a good value, and so is Behringer.

    Even better: SM57-->pre-amp --> compressor --> D1600. The onboard compressors are not very good and are very hard to get at. Use an external compressor. Again, they're not expensive, $100-150 for a two-channel starter model.

    The D1600 is otherwise an excellent unit, and you can do a hell of a lot with it. (Don't overlook the mastering effects programs, once you've recorded and mixed your songs. The "ReMasterLA" program is just magic.)

    But the lack of gain in the mic inputs is a long-standing complaint. You gotta go get at least one pre-amp, might as well get two.

    Also, go to this site and bookmark it. You will return to it again and again for answers to every question you'll ever have about the D1600.

    http://www.korgstudios.com/forum/default.asp is the main Korg users site and ...

    http://www.korgstudios.com/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=7 is devoted to the D1600. The FAQs in particular is fantastic - print it out and keep it.

    Kiwi
     
  9. mischultz

    mischultz Member

    Messages:
    1,047
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Marietta, Georgia
    Okay, now we're getting somewhere. A couple of things to try here as we work through the chain. First and foremost, a 57 is going to exhibit the classic Shure upper mid stank because that's exactly what it's intended to do. And that's not a bad thing at all. But you do need to stay right up on it in order to take advantage of what's called proximity effect. It's perhaps explained a little better in reverse: lower frequencies dissipate energy and directionality with distance more quickly than do higher frequencies. Conversely, maintaining a close proximity will ensure that you minimize that loss, and I've found that I really like the aforementioned Shure thing if you can fill out the bottom.

    You'll want some manner of windscreen or pop filter to minimize the spikes caused by plosives, which are likely the source for your overloads and distortion in the track. You will have to run the gain fairly high since the 57 is designed to handle the SPL output of a snare or guitar cab; your voice is simply isn't going to move that diaphragm in the same way, and you'll need a little help to get an appropriate level.

    Once you've done the above, a few smaller details may help get you closer as well. A short, high-quality XLR cable will retain more content in the high and low frequencies than will a lower-quality, longer cable. Tone suck and roll-off are present here as well as with your guitar rig.

    You can try holding/taping a pencil or butter knife (narrow orientation, of course) in front of the microphone. This does an amazing job of interrupting problematic airflow without compromising the sound itself.

    Finally, run some gentle compression in the Korg after the fact - maybe 2:1 or 2.5:1 - to massage some of the quieter passages up. You're not looking for squash, but for a little presence lift.

    The 57's not necessarily a first choice for vocals, but it can work - and work quite well - with a little help. Keep working at it...

    Best,

    Michael
     
  10. fajy6

    fajy6 Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks guys for the help. I have a much better understanding of what I need to do right now. No. 1 on my X-mas shopping list for today....buy myself a preamp!

    And Kiwi, thanks for the specific help with D1600, and you're right, its an excellent piece of equipment. I've managed to get some great recordings out of it using cheapo dynamic mics, so I figured gotta go for an upgrade and get a good mic, thats where the 57 came in. Thanks again for the help.

    P.S. ReMasterLA everytime...haha
     
  11. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,785
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Location:
    In a white room
    One simple tip: record the same instrument with an SM57 plus an inexpensive large-diaphragm condenser mic (they are available now for $100 or so) and pan the two tracks apart. It'll sound open, huge, and realistic. So simple, so effective. That's why you buy a two-channel pre-amp. (The LD Condenser will need phantom power, by the way.)

    Add reverb on one or both tracks (the D1600s have good reverb effects). For lead guitar (esp hi-gain) don't miss the L-C-R Delay effect.

    The Korg D1600 User Forums is a really good reason to buy the unit in the first place. It's a very big pool of users and has some really helpful experts over there.

    Kiwi
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,448
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Don't get yourself started, it's a black hole for money.

    Sell all your stuff as soon as possible before you get hooked, and back away as fast as you can. ;)
     
  13. fajy6

    fajy6 Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Alright, i've got some good news and bad news...I picked up a preamp for $50, an ART MP which is good because i needed a direct box as well and I hear this works for it....now the bad news, while the pre amp did boost the signal on my sm57 by plenty, it really doesn't sound that good at all, its still very thin and trebally with no bass whatsoever. Maybe i just have a defective mic...does anyone know where I could get a clip of vocals done with a 57? I want to compare how it sounds.
     
  14. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    You almost certainly have a defective mic. It shouldn't sound at all the way you are describing it.

    To hear how a 57 sounds for vocals, simply go out find a club where there is a live band; almost certainly the vocalist will be using an sm58 which is virtually the same mic.
     
  15. d7music

    d7music Member

    Messages:
    113
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    I believe the 57 will give you that thin, treblely sound after you drop it a few times! :jo
     
  16. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,010
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    NoVA
    57's are trashy sounding mics to begin with. They're the sound of rock and roll, and that aint pretty :)

    Could be that you have a bad one, but I wouldn't panic just yet. try moving the mic around on your source. 57's are rude mics.
     
  17. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    A 57 should not sound thin and trebly. It should have a lot of midrange.
     

Share This Page