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Overview

Industry standard, studio legend, mic for the masses. The Shure SM57 is responsible for a staggering percentage of the recorded sounds you've probably heard. It is the Swiss Army Knife of mics - infinitely capable, but not highly specialized. And for less than $100, we're OK with that.

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Product Specs

Brand
Model
  • SM57
Finish
  • Black
Year
  • 2010s
Categories
Transducer Type
  • Dynamic

From the Price Guide

More Information

Let's make this easy. If you're not an audiophile or studio owner willing to spend countless hours finding the right $1000+ microphone, then you're probably like the rest of us: players looking to make a studio quality recording with their own rig without breaking the bank. But what mics to use? The Shure SM57 makes that decision easy, since it is affordable, durable and good enough for any application. Not convinced? Just ask the legions of studio owners who have drawers full of them.

Nuts And Bolts

Like its brother, the SM58, the SM57 is cardioid (unidirectional) dynamic microphone with a uniform cardioid pattern that allows it to reduce background noise and focus on the sound it's pointed at. Its pneumatically mounted, to reduce handling noise. Unlike the SM58, which has a mesh bulb, the flat-topped SM57 can be placed closer to amp cabs, causing a low-end boost. The grill on the SM57 causes a boost either way over 5 kHz, something you don't get with the SM58. Since its debut in 1965, the design of the SM57 has changed little, though production moved from the US to Mexico in 1985.

Studio Quality At Home

While the SM57 may not be the absolute best mic for any application, it clears a bar that makes it a good, even great, mic for any application. So good, in fact, that studio lore has it that the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded their 1991 LP Blood Sugar Sex Magik entirely with Shure SM57s. It is a mic that anyone can use successfully, with little worry of destroying the mic. The capsule of this mic, shared with the SM58, is known for being durable enough to survive extreme temperature, moisture and severe trauma. Like being run over by a car. Dropping it accidentally from your hand down to your hardwood living room floor is not going to hurt it.

The Brothers Cardioid

There are several Shure mics that are very similar to the SM57, so let's break it down. We've already mentioned the the SM58 uses the same exact capsule, with just a different mesh grill on top that makes it more suited to vocals and less suited to amp cabinets. The 545SD is nearly identical to the SM57, both using a capsule based on the Unidyne III capsule and featuring a similar frequency response. The 545SD has a more uniform cardioid pattern, allowing it to better avoid feedback in PA set ups. Finally, the Beta 57A is a closely related mic that ups the ante in several areas. With a wider usable frequency range and a 4 dB increase, the Beta 57A is a supercardioid mic that aims to improve on the original SM57 design. It also has a hardened grill and different mounting to further reduce handling noise.