The Shure SM57 dynamic mic, with a frequency response tailored for clean, bright instrument and vocal reproduction, is the industry’s undisputed workhorse for recording and live sound reinforcement
The Shure SM57 dynamic instrument mic is the world’s most recorded microphone, most notably used on snare and electric guitar cabinets. Similar in design to the SM58, the SM57 has frequency response that’s tailored for instrument recording and sound reinforcement, thanks to a midrange presence bump, low-frequency roll-off, and tight cardioid pickup pattern that isolates the sound source while rejecting background noise. The industry standard for miking guitar cabinets and drums, snare in particular, the SM57 is on the must-have list for every engineer, producer, and live sound mixer, from amateur to top professional.
Shure SM57 Instrument Microphone in one take:
- Contoured frequency response for clean, instrumental reproduction and rich vocal pickup
- Professional-quality reproduction for drum, percussion, and instrument amplifier miking
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source while reducing background noise
- Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise
- Extremely durable under the heaviest use
- Frequency response: 40Hz to 1.5kHz
- Replacement cartridge: R57
Where haven’t you heard sound of the SM57?
According to A-list studio guitarist Tim Pierce whose credits range from Christina Aguilera to Rob Zombie with everyone in between, including Michael Jackson, an SM57 on a guitar cabinet is all you need—and best of all, it’s as easy to afford. In fact, multi-platinum producer, Michael Wagener, who’s known for heavy guitar recording (Alice Cooper, Ozzy, King’s X, Metallica) has said that two SM57s and an SM58 are all he needs to make a record. Other aficionados of guitar recording, including Ross Hogarth (Mötley Crüe, Black Crowes), Rick Beato (Shinedown, Trey Anastasio), and Ken Caillat (Fleetwood Mac) also used it for guide vocals. Speaking of vocals, Anthony Kiedis used the SM57 for vocal tracking on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication album.
And on drums, if you saw the late and legendary Jeff Porcaro’s video explanation of the beat he used for Toto’s hit, Roseanna, along with what looks like four vintage AKG C12s on the toms (at $10k – $15k each, the only mic on the snare is . . . you guessed it, a Shure SM57. Perhaps our (Westlake Pro’s) favorite story about drum tracking with SM57s came from Barry Rudolph, whose usual preference is the aforementioned AGK C12 on overheads. When tracking Hall & Oates’ classic hit, “Sara Smile,” the entire drum kit was miked with nothing but SM57s; snare, kick, toms, overheads, and all. Rudolph referred to it as “the $300 drum sound,” which is what that many SM57s cost at the time (They’re not much more now.) After the song hit the top of the charts, the album’s producer received letters from engineers and producers around the world asking how he got that drum sound, and what combination of mics he used.
Nearly every rock and pop record recording in the last 50 years has an SM57 on it somewhere. If you don’t have one, order yours now (we recommend you keep at least three on hand at all times).
Shure SM57 specifications:
- Type: Dynamic
- Frequency response: 40Hz to 1.5kHz
- Polar pattern: Cardioid
- Sensitivity: Open Circuit Voltage @ 1kHz: -56.0 dBV/Pa (1.6 mV)
- (1 Pa = 94 dB SPL)
- Impedance: Rated,150 ohm (310 ohm actual)
- Polarity: Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3
- Case: Dark gray, enamel-painted, die-cast steel with a polycarbonate grille and a stainless steel screen
- Connector: Three-pin professional audio connector (male XLR type)
- Net Weight: 10 oz. (284 grams)
- Dimensions (L x W at widest point): 6-3/16″ x 1-1/4″ (157 mm x 32 mm
Includes SM57, microphone clip, storage bag, and user guide