SM57 vs SM58...which one is better overall?

DGTCrazy

Mod Squad
Staff member
Messages
16,020
58 is the Standard for Vocals. The 57 is the Standard for Cabs & Snare Drums.

It's comparing Apples to Oranges however. If you're considering buying just one new, it may be better to look in the Emporium or your local Craigslist, because you can find either used for around $60 +/-.

Then....change out the the 58's Grille Cover (about $5...)so you have a fresh grille to sing into.

So, for about $125 (or less), you can have both great mic's that will last darn near forever..for just a little more than the cost of a new one.
 

n8dogstrum6

Member
Messages
213
Thanks defcrew and DGTCrazy! Out of the two, which one should I use for recording. FYI, I've been scavenging my local craigslist for these two mics since yesterday...I'm really hoping I can find both at a reasonably lowered-used price now. Haha
 

grateful.ed

Member
Messages
2,183
My understanding is they are basically the same mic, the 58 picks up some stage sound from the sides and the 57 doesn't.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,236
Bono's vocals on the Joshua Tree was recorded w/a 58beta, but traditionally, there aren't many recording applications for a 58. electric guitar, snare drum, and some acoustic instruments - sometimes even acoustic guitar - are often recorded with a 57.

they are the same mics, but the 58 is omni-directional and the 57 is mono -- mono is generally more useful in recording.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,236
a 57 is a difficult mic to use for live vocals, because its very mono-directional, so if you're plannign on using it for a vocal mic, you should get a 58

but you should get both - they're great to have on hand and are cheap
 

bobcunningham

Member
Messages
1,070
58 for vocals 57 for instruments. if you try using the 57 for vocals you will always end up with a boxy, lo-fi sound.
 

2Slick4U

Senior Member
Messages
103
For some reason, the 57's frequency response suits my voice, makes it actually listenable. But you have to get right on it. A former band member compared it to fellatio but in cruder terms.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
The 57 is a legitimate studio mic for guitar cabs or snares.

The SM58 is mostly a live vocal mike.

Studio vocals are generally better with a condenser.
 

Leonardo

Member
Messages
947
They're essentially the same mic, the 58 has a windscreen while the 57 doesn't. Shure sells a windscreen accessory that pops in and out for the 57. Both are unidirectional (cardioid pattern), with nearly identical frequency response.
Go to Shure.com, you can listen to both.

Here's a direct quote from Shure:
The SM58 and SM57 do use the same cartridge. The grill, though, does effect the frequency response to some extent. At a distance, the difference is probably not noticeable. But at extremely close distances, the difference is noticeable. Due to the grill, a person's mouth can get closer to the diaphragm of an SM57, thus causing more proximity effect and increased bass when compared to the SM58.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,610
I wouldn't say they're apples and oranges....more like oranges and slightly different oranges...essentially like Leonardo said, the only real difference is the grille...if you're talking live vocal, you're better off with a 58 mainly because of the built in pop filter. Otherwise a 57 will probably be more useful because the shape is easier to place. You can also get closer to the element on a 57, so more proximity.

And no offence weshunter...but mono and omnidirectional? First of all, all mic's are mono unless specifically stated otherwise (i.e. an x/y condenser, or a blumlein ribbon), secondly both these mic's are cardioid, the same element used for both, in order to be omnidirectional, it would need a dual capsule in most situations, and i can guarantee it doesn't have that. The main difference is that you can get closer to a 57 because there's no pop filter in the way, as a result you can get isolate the source more, but this attribute should never be confused with polar patterns...
 

n8dogstrum6

Member
Messages
213
Wow thanks for all the replies guys. I really appreciate it and I'm learning alot. My buddy who records my enlisted in the army and I just bought a Mac, so I'm gonna take the burden of recording and so far I feel overwhelmed cause I don't have the experience or gear. This helps :).
 

Marrrty

Member
Messages
507
58 is the Standard for Vocals. The 57 is the Standard for Cabs & Snare Drums.

It's comparing Apples to Oranges however. If you're considering buying just one new, it may be better to look in the Emporium or your local Craigslist, because you can find either used for around $60 +/-.

Then....change out the the 58's Grille Cover (about $5...)so you have a fresh grille to sing into.

So, for about $125 (or less), you can have both great mic's that will last darn near forever..for just a little more than the cost of a new one.
Ive always found it a safer bet to buy 57's new from an authorised dealer. there are a lot of fakes out there
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,610
Ive always found it a safer bet to buy 57's new from an authorised dealer. there are a lot of fakes out there
Yep....they're cheap enough new...too risky 2nd hand, i would at least see them in person first if you were buying 2nd hand, since they're both the most counterfeited microphone in the world...
 

TimmyP

Member
Messages
2,485
Gimme a D4 or a 906 over either one. Or an E835 or 767a or OM3. Never been a fan of the usually encountered Shures.
 




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