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Old 05-16-2007, 09:20 AM
kak1154 kak1154 is offline
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Default Record acoustic with a SM58 or SM57?

Ok, so I'm doing a little bedroom recording with my acoustic guitars. I'm currently using an SM58 (vocal mic), but I was thinking about picking up an SM57 (instrument mic) if it will sound better. Plus, it's probably just a good idea to own one. Which one do you guys like better for recording acoustic guitar? How about micing an amp? (I think I know the answer to the second one.) How would you describe the difference between the two?

I'm open to other suggestions, but I don't want to go out and buy a Neumann. In fact, I don't even think I can get any condenser, because I am plugging straight into my laptop's mic input (no phantom power). There's no cheap way to get phantom power, is there?

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Old 05-16-2007, 09:31 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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Going from the 58 to the 57 will probably sound "warmer", you may prefer it you may not. 57's can mike high volumes, guitar amps and drums, so they are less sensitive than 58's. A good Shure that does both fairly well is the Beta 58, I've used them for years for both vocals and miking acoustics.

Condensors are the next step up, I just got a Beta 87A primarily as a vocal mike but it surprised me how well it miked my D-18GE.

With microphones it does hold true the more you spend the better they are, up to multithousand tube setups. If you can overcome the phantom power issue the Beta 87A really does sound better than the 58's. Good Luck.
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:50 AM
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I use two condensor mics, a Sterling ST-31 and a cheaper MXL 990 (I think - its the thin one).
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:06 AM
mattinbeloit mattinbeloit is offline
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A 57 is probably going to be better for an acoustic then the 58. Also, if you are planning on micing amps you deffinantly want to go with the sm57 since it has been used the world over on guitar amps, kind of a staple to use a 57 on amps and snare drums. So ya, go pick one up, used if you can find one. The great thing about the sm57 is that they are rugged and last a life time, you could litterally hammer nails with it or throw it in a pitcher of beer and it would still work fine.
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:15 AM
valleyguy valleyguy is offline
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There are some people that say if you unscrew the top off a 58 to remove the windscreen you have a 57. Try it, see if you hear a difference. The 58 is a very versatile mic, good with vocals and guitar.

I don't believe getting a 57 is going to give you a very big difference in sound. I started with a 58 and later bought the MXL 990/991 combo, which was pretty cheap, $100 including an Audio Buddy preamp. You'd be astounded at the improvement in sound clarity with a condensor mic, even cheapie ones like my MXLs.

Given your signal chain, I'd suggest you get something to avoid using your mic-in on your laptop, say a USB preamp. You'll notice an improvement in sound over the typically crappy soundcards in laptops. then the next step would be a condensor mic. Typically the thin pencil condensors (small diameter condensor, SD, like the MXL991) are best for acoustic guitar, though many prefer the larger condensor mic (my MXL990), which is also better for vocals.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:51 AM
kak1154 kak1154 is offline
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Thanks for the advice, all. I think I'll get the SM57 now, because I'll need to record a bunch of electric stuff, too. In the future, I'll probably get a cheap mic preamp and a semi-budget condenser, but we'll save those recommendations for that time.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:55 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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If you are miking electric amps too you have made the right decision, SM57's are indestructable and perfect for your needs.
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:44 PM
valleyguy valleyguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kak1154 View Post
Thanks for the advice, all. I think I'll get the SM57 now, because I'll need to record a bunch of electric stuff, too. In the future, I'll probably get a cheap mic preamp and a semi-budget condenser, but we'll save those recommendations for that time.
Before you do that, I'd try the 58 on an amp and see how that works for you. I've heard people claim they're the same mic. Your signal chain needs a better preamp. You'll be amazed how much better you mics will sound with it.
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:14 AM
dreamwarrior dreamwarrior is offline
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I have a 57 and a 58, and imo they are not the same mic at all. The 57 has a flatter frequency response, where as the the 58 has a small peak somewhere around 4K if I'm not mistaken. The 58 is taylored more toward vocals.


Now that I have a good mic pre (UA Solo 610), I love the 57 on my Taylor acoustics. Before that I prefered an AKG C1000 or Shure SM94, but the UA pre makes every mic somewhat equal but different.

A good mic pre is much more important than an expensive mic, imo.
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:50 AM
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There are better mics for recording acoustic guitar, but you can't miss having a 57 around. A great versatile mic found in recording studios everywhere.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:07 AM
markm2553 markm2553 is offline
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You can save a few bucks by going with the PG rather than the SM. We have both and the only difference I can tell is the $$$.
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:23 PM
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Hi kaketc...
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned these, but Naiant mics are handbuilt, very inexpensive and excellent for a multitude of purposes, including recording guitars.

You could own a matched set of them for around $50, and they come in at least 4 flavors.

I own a bunch of SM-57s and SM-58s, and Behringer XM8500s (all similar yet unique-all dynamic), and I own an array of Peluso CEMC6, AKG 414, Shure KSM44, Rode NT-3s and a pair of the Naiant MSH-1. The dynamic mics are not that good for recording compared to the others. They are really PA mics not studio mics (I know they are sometimes used in studios - I also own one of those).

The Naiant are tiny and warm sounding, and can take the high sound pressure levels of amps, and produce wonderful acoustic recordings. The power up on half phantom which makes them a great match for units like the Zoom H4 recorder.

They have a tiny bit of self-noise which is easily masked, and it is certainly no more self-noise than an SM-57 would exhibit when cranked to the levels it would need to be preamped to in order to record.

If quality recording is what your question is about, give them a look. I don't have any investment in the Naiant company. Just want to see you get some good mics that will do a great job.

http://www.naiant.com/studiostore.html

Here are two no-effects tests done with a pair of the MSH-1 (6mm diaphragm) mics in a Jecklin array. Amazing quality in my mind for a matched pair of mics that cost me $55.

If you buy them, be sure to order the package with the mic clips. The mics are tiny and don't fit conventional mic clips. They are actually assembled in an XLR Neutrix connector.

Lion Sleeps test - click

Yesterday test - click

Oh yeah...cheap phantom power supplies...
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...wer?sku=180621

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ply?sku=336830

Tons of them for $19-39 and if you want you could buy a cheap mixer with dual XLR and pan controls that has phantom power for around $50 and it would serve as mixer, preamp, phantom power supply etc. all in one package.

Hope this helps

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Last edited by ljguitar; 05-17-2007 at 04:31 PM. Reason: more info pertaining to the original thought of the thread...
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