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Author Topic: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g  (Read 3594 times)

Ramage Productions

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YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« on: November 23, 2004, 02:00:54 pm »



I am doing an investigation into the SM57 as part of my final thesis fro my final year and university and need your urgent help!!!!!!!

My investigation will be looking into the Shure SM57 and why it has become such a widely used microphone in the music industry in nearly every aspect of recording and performance, whether in the studio or in live sound. And why it has achieved an almost ‘iconic’ status amongst engineers, producers and musicians in the recording industry and has become an essential part of every engineer’s kit. The fundamental question to be explored is how and why it achieved this reputation in the recording industry.

If you can please answer as many of the following questions:


How why do you use the SM57 and how important popular would you consider the SM57 to be in your field of work?

Do you think its popularity ever diminished, if so why?

Would you consider the SM57 has achieved an ‘Iconic’ status within the music industry? Why?

Why do you think it has become such an essential part of standard mic PA/studio setup?

Have you ever known of someone using the SM57 as a handheld mic whether in studio or live?

Do you think the SM57 and the beta version are similar, if so in what ways?

Do you think that there are any cheaper but better microphones that do or don’t live up the performance as the SM57?


All views and comments much appreciated, and any questions you think that need adding, please add.

Thanks
Tom Easton
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Level

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2004, 02:27:58 pm »

One word should suffice. "Timex"
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lucey

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SM57
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2004, 02:35:22 pm »

Hopefully some of the over 50 crowd will step up...

The 57 has a mid forward curve that lends itself to many applications.  Not the most detailed by modern standards, but inexpensive and effective.  It was around when there were few options and it was one of the most versatile dynamics, built well, good for the studio or live.

Personally I seldom use them in the studio, except on certain guitar cabs or vocals in rare cases.  IMO it sounds best with mic pres that match it on some level, ones from the past in many cases.  If I had to give it up, I could.

Is it iconic?  It's likely the most well known dynamic.  Bono and Lanois still use them in the studio.  Others have tired of them.  Some people despise them.

The new ones are made in Mexico last I checked, and do not sound as good as the Unidyne III and earlier versions.  Beta 57 version has more output and does sound different.

all the best .. might want to use the spell checker before turning in that Thesis Wink
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RMoore

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2004, 03:44:49 pm »

<How and why do you use the SM57 and how important would you consider the SM57 to be in your field of work?>

Mildly important .
Could probably do without
I use on guitar amps from time to time.
And snare a lot too - I forgot that

< Do you think its popularity ever diminished, if so why?>

Hey hey my my SM57 will never die!

<Would you consider the SM57 has achieved an ?Iconic? status within the music industry? Why?>

Yes - Because its cheap, very durable and it works.
Great deal for the $.
The 'standard' for micing amps of guitar.
Thus the most widely used mikrophone

<Why do you think it has become such an essential part of standard mic PA/studio setup?>

See above

<Have you ever known of someone using the SM57 as a handheld mic whether in studio or live?>

Supposedly Boner from U2 has used the SM57 to record vocal tracks for smash hit albums that defined the voice of a generation

<Do you think the SM57 and the beta version are similar, if so in what ways? >

Not qualified to answer

< Do you think that there are any cheaper but better microphones that do or don?t live up the performance as the SM57?>

I am lacking sufficient data.
Maybe some el cheapo Chinese LDC mics are better on vocals than a 57.
But then every PA company & studio on Earth can't be wrong

SM57 = Its satisfying!

Can anyone envisage a PA company on this Earth with no SM57's?
Its hard for me to imagine

The desert island mic?
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Vertigo

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2004, 04:41:27 pm »

I use a 57 or two with most every project. I'm a big fan of a 57 on the snare and it's also great for certain guitar tones. And on the project I'm working on now it's doing one hell of a job as a vocal mic - an area which all my other mic's failed (on this particular singer anyway).

The 57 gives a fairly accurate representation of the source with slightly forward mids. The 57 does impart a hint of "raunchy" characteristic to the sound, especially with guitar cabinets. Sometimes it's a complimentary raunch, sometimes it's not. It all depends on the source.

The one thing I hear most about the 57 is that it may not always give you the best sound, but the sound you get out of it never "sucks". And that's pretty much the bottom line of the 57 - it's durable, cheap, and it gets the job done without sucking. It also has its own unique tonal characteristics which are very useful on the right source.

-Lance
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wireline

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2004, 05:07:20 pm »

57s are the audio equivalent to WWII US Army jeeps...do almost everything, results ranging from good to great.

Not glamourous, not hi tech, not high end, just effecient, reliable, and economical.

They can be used effectively on everything from micing drums and guitar amps to correcting the attitudes of some drummers and guitarists.
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PookyNMR

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2004, 06:34:45 pm »

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00


How why do you use the SM57 and how important popular would you consider the SM57 to be in your field of work?




I use it all the time for both FOH and studio gigs.  I use it mostly on guitars cabinets and snare drums.  I'll also use it on some percussion instruments when other mics aren't doing it for me.

I consider it very popular in my work.  I've never worked on a FOH rig that didn't have at least a pair of them and every studio that I've been in (including the one I work at) has one too.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Do you think its popularity ever diminished, if so why?




Nope.  We're so familiar with its sound that it's almost like it's become part of the instruments.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Would you consider the SM57 has achieved an ?Iconic? status within the music industry? Why?




Yes.  While it may not be the best on most things, rarely does it totally suck.  It's highly useful, but mostly for instruments like electric guitars and snare / percussion where the frequency response of the mic compliments the instrument.

Also, I think that, as I stated above, we are so used to the sounds of guitars and drums through the mic that our ears almost expect to hear it.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Why do you think it has become such an essential part of standard mic PA/studio setup?




Well aside from the above answer, they are built solid like tanks.  You can drop them, run over them with the truck, kick them, puke on them, etc, and they still work.  Lot's of other mics aren't built as tough.  

Another reason is that they are cheap.  So should they fall on to a concrete floor and actually break, no big deal.  Where as if a Royer R-122 were to fall from the guitar mic stand, someone would be losing their job that day.

For live sound, they are very useful.  If nothing else is quite working, the 57 will get the job done.  Or if your mic cabinet has all the specialized mics used up already, there's always a spare 57 and it will get the job done.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Have you ever known of someone using the SM57 as a handheld mic whether in studio or live?




No.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Do you think the SM57 and the beta version are similar, if so in what ways?




The beta has a different pickup pattern and frequency response.  Check out the documentation that is available form Shure.

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 12:00



Do you think that there are any cheaper but better microphones that do or don?t live up the performance as the SM57?




Cheaper and better?  Nope.  Plus remember a lot of it has to do with that 'sound' that everyone is looking for.

Nathan
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Johnny B

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2004, 07:04:02 pm »

Entire albums have been done with just this mic...that's saying a lot.

Everyone should have many SM57's...and 58's too.

Get lots of mics, cheap ones, mid-range, and expensive ones...the more mics you have ...the better...lots of different brands too

Get ribbons, get condensers, get tube, FET, dynamic...all polar patterns,,,get some of every type and model...

Mortgage your future and buy a sample from every one ever made...only then will you be happy.
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Markus Fischer

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2004, 08:16:47 pm »

Ramage Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 20:00


Have you ever known of someone using the SM57 as a handheld mic whether in studio or live?


Phil Collins(Genesis)?
I heard that somewhere.

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orbb

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2004, 10:48:52 pm »

They work the same both before and after they have had beer sloshed on them.

Repeatedly

Name one other product in American culture that does the same.

And "The Replacements" is not a valid answer.  

Bo Sweeney
Huntington, "147 miles from Martha Stewart", West Virginia
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Johnny B

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2004, 03:31:08 am »

Actually, you should contact the people at Shure and ask then for the specs and history of their mics.

And there are some good books and resources out there that show how mics work, the theory of operation of the different kinds and so on....Some companies even publish little booklets and give them to dealers to sell or give away.  

For example, I got an old one here that's hand-stamped from some fly-by-night outfit called Gotham Audio and is about some German mic company that no one has ever heard of...And get this, these guys were so dumb they used letters and numbers for the names of the products...Imagine that!...They have these dumb names for mics that start with things like a "U" this and a "U" that...no "U2 Pal"...though...that'd be a good name, aye?

But the booklet is cool and has all sorts of detailed specs, graphs, and charts...even schematics...Why they even show details on the parts and stuff...Imagine that?....Maybe that was some of that German efficiency I've read so much about...Now, there is something strange about the company...see, I heard they don't say their name the same way it's spelled...I guess I can overlook that...cuz the booklet is really cool and detailed...maybe more companies should try and model this company and do what they do...

Nah, that'd never happen I doubt if anyone would ever try to copy these guys, they'd have to put out booklets and specs and stuff.

But I'll bet if you contact Shure, they should be able to answer a lot of those SM57 mic questions.

Ah, man...they did it too...letter and numbers...letters and numbers..if you're like me, you have a hard time remembering all those letters and numbers...I have a hard enough time trying to remember what day it is...I wish they could find a way to make it easier on a guy like me...they should have called it the "Shure Super Mic"...or something like that...I mean they have the "Green Bullet," right?  I know, I've already been told...GM says I'll never win that one...but real names would be good.

Seriously, contacting Shure might be a good idea and good luck with your school project.  
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judah

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2004, 08:02:38 am »

[quote title=Ryan Moore wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 21:44]

Quote:


..........snip.........
Can anyone envisage a PA company on this Earth with no SM57's?
Its hard for me to imagine

The desert island mic?


I worked for a PA business for about 2 years. We had more than 20 SM57. Used for everything. Our boss and FOH engineer used them for absolutely everything. It was crazy to see a drum set miked with SM57 on snare, toms, HH, overheads.... everything apart the kick. We were doin' alot of funky stuff with full trmbone, trumpet and other winds instruments. Lots of 57 there too. I clearlt remember one night in a summer gig. The band was drums, bass, two guitars, 4 winds, hammond, 4 vocals. All 57 except the kick drum (D112), bass (DI) and 1 vocal (SM58). All the other instruments hammond including were 57. Crazy. I quit short after that summer.

Cheers.

R.
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Ramage Productions

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2004, 11:10:23 am »

Johnny B wrote on Wed, 24 November 2004 08:31

Actually, you should contact the people at Shure and ask then for the specs and history of their mics.

But I'll bet if you contact Shure, they should be able to answer a lot of those SM57 mic questions.

Seriously, contacting Shure might be a good idea and good luck with your school project.  




THANKS ALREADY DONE THAT, SPKE TO SOME GOOD PEOPLE AND GOT SOME GOOD INFO, BUT THEY WERNT V HELPFUL WITH RELEASING SOME OF THE CONFIDENTIAL DOCS I NEEDED, LIKE TESTS DONE ETC...

the thesis is about the use of the SM57 and its iconic status, not really about how the mic works...
thanks tho

keep em comin ppl, just what i need.
Tom.

Hopefully Mr Massenburg will see this post,

cmon i know ur out there........
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ted nightshade

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enough with the shouting, already! =)
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2004, 12:27:59 pm »

Why is it that everyone who posts a topic here looking for material for a school assignment seems so impatient and superficial?

Seems, I say. Note that.

I'm guessing it's the very nature of school assignments- bone up for basically a BS quickie job assuming an authorative air. Then, no reason to remember anything but the distinguished academic tone after the assignment is handed in.

Now a thesis is a bit bigger deal, but same story really, by and large.

If you approach this genuinely trying to understand this indeed remarkable phenomenon, (good call on a topic!), you will be asking more insightful questions, being more patient, understanding that most of those here are in this for life. If you hope for the kind of thoughtful incisive answer that some here can give, including gm, you might want to try to ask worthy questions.

So, I will  ignore the specific questions for now (I mean, duh, who hasn't seen somebody hold an SM57 and sing into it?), and hope that behind the rush-rush tone, the ill-considered, leading questions (pump pump iconic pump pump?) and all the SHOUTING in capitals, there is a thoughtful mind and an earnest curiousity, that wants to contemplate independently from the desire to present some finished thing in teacher-pleasing form.

Here it is:

Rock and roll took over the world, and the SM57 is uniquely suited to rock & roll. It understands rock & roll- it IS rock and roll. It is the means to rock & roll, the promise that anybody can get ahold of and *be* the real thing, just like the guy on the TV and the cover of Rolling Stone, now, just like the teenage girl there. A stratocaster with a whammy bar, [what, no footnote?], an SM57.

How is it the perfect tool for rock&roll? Let me count the ways. Better yet, let you.

Can you tell me, what is an icon? A stratocaster has some of that, but it seems more so in the hands of a Hendrix, and thus when hewlett packard runs an add with that icon, they use a picture of Hendrix holding the strat. Hendrix is an icon- but the strat?

You will see little desktop computer images of old RCA mics, those announcer mics who in their day were the icon for live radio. That really is an icon I think, still without defining icon... I don't see the SM57 playing any such role.

What you are looking at is sociology and rock&roll- not a new study, there are numerous works available, many surprisingly scholarly, many misleading and missing crucial points, too many written by editors from, again, Rolling Stone. There are coffeetable books that try to make it seem, through juxtaposition, that eminem and system of a down are the spiritual heirs of Wilson Pickett and Buddy Holly. Of Muddy Waters. Use the sword of bodhi to slice asunder these illusions, and lay bare the real pattern of this singular phenomenon- the work of a lifetime, but a stoned epiphany might get you through, it's worked for me before- since then I've kicked the school habit, but maintained the voracious appetite for knowledge that led me astray in the library every time-


Personally, I never use the SM57 if I can help it, but my take on rock & roll goes clear back to the days of bull fiddles and ribbons and beyond- it might be more accurate to say "rock" for the overblown starstruck extravaganza that the SM57 fits like a key to a lock.

To my mind, it represents the ENTIRE problem! Ah, the lethal legacy of that innocent tool...
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2004, 03:13:06 pm »

The Shure 545/546 was one of the most used mikes at United Western Recorders in Hollywood during the 1950s. We used them a lot at Motown too. BOTH places had U-47s, U-67s, RCAs and numerous other mikes available yet the cheap Shures were frequently the mike of choice.

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2004, 04:38:13 pm »

Ramage Productions wrote on Wed, 24 November 2004 17:10

the thesis is about the use of the SM57 and its iconic status, not really about how the mic works...
thanks tho

keep em comin ppl, just what i need.
Tom.


This link might be of interest:
Fletcher talks about the SM57 and his recording philosophy
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Fig

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Re: enough with the shouting, already! =)
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2004, 04:44:57 pm »

ted nightshade wrote on Wed, 24 November 2004 11:27

Can you tell me, what is an icon? A stratocaster has some of that, but it seems more so in the hands of a Hendrix, and thus when hewlett packard runs an add with that icon, they use a picture of Hendrix holding the strat. Hendrix is an icon- but the strat?


I'd agree Ted,

If there was/is a Shure mic that is iconic it is the 55 (or Elvis mic as it is called).  JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., President Truman.  Perhaps the most recognizable mic image equal maybe to the RCA that is so popular (is that a 44 or a 77?  I can't keep 'em straight.)  I DO know that the 55 has been on at least two postage stamps.

I find it interesting that in the dictionary I have here at my desk, the line drawing next to the word "microphone" is an SM58.

Anyway, I wanted to mention, that after the 55, the microphone used by the US president, chosen by the White House Communications office is indeed the SM57 (two actually).

Why?

It works whether you are in the rainforest or the desert.

When the president speaks (whether you like what he is saying or not), he MUST be heard.

Iconic?  Maybe not.

Thom "Fig" Fiegle
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Loco

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2004, 07:57:55 pm »

Ramage Thesis Productions wrote on Tue, 23 November 2004 14:00

How why do you use the SM57 and how important popular would you consider the SM57 to be in your field of work?


The only thing I use it for is snare drum, Guitar cabs, and bongoes. I used to give it a broader line of work, but now I've switched to large-diaphragm mics (U47FET, TLM103, BLUE Dragonfly and Mouse) for most of the other percussion work.

Quote:

Do you think its popularity ever diminished, if so why?


Enter the more robust new ribbon mics and the cheap chinese large-diaphragm mics to the scene...

Quote:

Would you consider the SM57 has achieved an ?Iconic? status within the music industry? Why?


Easy to use, cheap, reliable... that's enough to make it popular. More than an icon, it's popular.

Quote:

Why do you think it has become such an essential part of standard mic PA/studio setup?


Read above.

Quote:

Have you ever known of someone using the SM57 as a handheld mic whether in studio or live?


Unlike some people say, Bono uses the SM58. That's his request. Phil collins does (did?) use it. Madonna recorded several hits of her early- 90's hits with it.

Quote:

Do you think the SM57 and the beta version are similar, if so in what ways?


They have the same number.

Quote:

Do you think that there are any cheaper but better microphones that do or don?t live up the performance as the SM57?


Different beasts. However, the Audix line holds up very well against the SM57.
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Ramage Productions

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2004, 05:27:04 am »

cheers pppl

there is a reason as to why i may seem impatient

i have a month left to hand the thesis in, and im jus tryin to gather as much info and opinions as poss
makes for good material.
so thanks and keep em comin.

Tom.
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RMoore

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2004, 07:05:12 am »

<The Shure 545/546 was one of the most used mikes at United Western Recorders in Hollywood during the 1950s. We used them a lot at Motown too>


Wow- interesting!

Bob - your anecdotes about the days of yesteryear are always such a mind-blow..


Check out this article on 5th dimension 'Dawning of Aquarius' :

 http://mixonline.com/recording/interviews/audio_th_dimension s_aquariuslet/

Supposedly they used Shure 546's on kick and bass amp among other things.

Hard to imagine anyone doing that on a recording in this day and age..
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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&a
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2004, 09:01:19 am »

Ryan Moore wrote on Thu, 25 November 2004 06:05

 
Hard to imagine anyone doing that on a recording in this day and age..

Not really for those of us who've had enough experience to know you can't believe everything you read in Mix!

One of my favorite stories is the time I put down using a 545 to a musician in high school only to find myself miking him with one ten years later after he had become a major rock star. He thankfully didn't remember me!

Johnny B

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Re: YOUR URGENT HELP NEEDED WITH THE SM57 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>&g
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2004, 12:35:33 am »

I think some great points have been made here.

The SM57 has some qualities that make it a very good little mic.

1, It's accessible, within the reach of nearly everyone..ie cheap
2. It's well-built, and like the man said above..."It takes a beating and keeps on ticking"  
3. The product is uniform, in that, one 57 sounds pretty much the same as the next one
4. The results are predictable to those who work with them on a regular basis
5. They can be field replaced in just about any city or country...ie If one breaks, you can buy a relacement anywhere
6, On some singers, they sound better than mics costing $10K
7. And they'vbe been a fairly standard choice to mic guitar cabs for many years
8. They can also be used on many kinds of instruments with pretty good results.
9. In a pinch, you can record everything with a 57, entire albums have been done with just a 57.

(Note: some people are such good artists and engineers that can take a complete piece of shit and make it sound wonderful, many people are not so blessed with these innate talents and cannot expect to achieve these great results)

The 57 may very well be the best mic in the world for the money, but that is not the same thing as saying it's THE best mic in the world. If one were to try to define THE best mic in the world, there would be all sorts of controversy and independen t judgement calls involving subjective taste and the important consideration of the engineer's ART.

Someone said the 57 is the sound of rock and roll, and that's probably true to a large degree..but it ain't true in ALL degrees. There are other mics that are important, many may be far more important than the 57.  I dunno.

Here's what I do know, all Pros should have a good selection of mics, cheap ones, mid range, and expensive ones. 57's and 58's should be in that tool kit, but so should many other mics. And the final decision on which mic to use is where the element of art and experience come in. And they are blended with a everlasting willingness to experiment. Don't forget, the only way science gets anywhere is by constant experimentation, and here, with audio, you have the ultimate meeting of science and art.

Last point, a paper on mics without some discussion of the scientific aspects and some sort of camparative analysis of different mics would seem to me to be inherently flawed..Completely ignoring the science from the discussion could result in a paper that is nothing more than "magazine-review-speak"...something that makes no lasting contribution to anyone's knowledge.

I would hope that you set higher goals for yourself and write a paper that is far more than fluff, I would hope you could write a paper that even the members of the Audio Engineering Society community would want to publish.

If you set your mind to it, you can do something that will be worthwhile.

I hope you do a "Great Paper," and get an A+. Good luck with this.
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"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality,
they are not certain; as far as they are certain,
they do not refer to reality."
---Albert Einstein---

I'm also uncertain about everything.
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