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SM57 ...overrated?
Old 12th August 2022
  #181
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
So... let's see...

If you think the 57 is the end-all mic, you're 100% overrating.
If you think it's total $#!t, you're 100% underrating.
Everything in-between is a pro-rating percentage of the above.

There, that puts a cap on it!

I'd actually love to hear a bunch of recordings done with only 57's. Maybe I'll do something and post it to get the ball rolling.
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #182
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andychamp's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
(...)I'd actually love to hear a bunch of recordings done with only 57's. Maybe I'll do something and post it to get the ball rolling.
According to internet lore (what else?): „Nebraska“ and „Blood Sugar Sex Magic“ for starters.
Although, in my own experience, when listening to a record‘s sound, I often tend to get distracted by the music.
I actually find this to be a good thing.
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #183
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp ➡️
According to internet lore (what else?): „Nebraska“ and „Blood Sugar Sex Magic“ for starters.
Although, in my own experience, when listening to a record‘s sound, I often tend to get distracted by the music.
I actually find this to be a good thing.
Shhhhh! Dude! This is gearspace!
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #184
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
So... let's see...

If you think the 57 is the end-all mic, you're 100% overrating.
If you think it's total $#!t, you're 100% underrating.
Everything in-between is a pro-rating percentage of the above.

There, that puts a cap on it!

I'd actually love to hear a bunch of recordings done with only 57's. Maybe I'll do something and post it to get the ball rolling.
I always thought the Modest Mouse record with Float On sounded like they only used 57s.
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #185
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound ➡️
I always thought the Modest Mouse record with Float On sounded like they only used 57s.
Well that's one excuse I suppose. Though I am a fan of the 57 so maybe not...
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #186
Gear Guru
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
I'd actually love to hear a bunch of recordings done with only 57's. Maybe I'll do something and post it to get the ball rolling.
I invited a drummer I knew to come into my audio class. He got a free session and we got a test subject. For some reason that I cannot remember, we recorded the entire drumset with only SM57s. Kick, snare, toms, overhead. The only model of mic used was the SM57. He not only was OK with it, he said at the end it was the "best recording I ever got".

Hopefully since that time he has had even better ones, but I remember being pleasantly surprised myself. It would have been interesting to try the same experiment with 8 or so of a different mic. IOW, how much of what we liked was having 8 SM57s , and how much of what we liked was having having 8 of "the same" mic?
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #187
Lives for gear
 
TapedCrusader's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The only other mike I am aware of around the price of an SM57 (or 58, 565, 545, etc) that you could basically just use on everything and it would sound fine is an EV 635a IMO.

No an SM57 is not a great mike for everything. It has a sort of “spongy” sound and hypes certain frequencies … however this gives it a sheen that sort of makes everything sound acceptable IMO.

So IMO if you are not able to make a decent sounding record with only 57s, then you are probably not able to make a decent sounding record. That said, there is probably a better mike than a 57 for pretty much any application.

This IMO is why they are the “standard”. Personally, I never liked them on amps or percussion (the 635a is way better). But I never found a better mike for 12-string acoustic than an old 545. Instant Mamas & Papas sound. But I strongly dislike condensers on acoustic guitars, so I might be in the minority here.

My only mike currently is an EV RE15. I think this combines the best elements of a 635a and a 57, and does it better than either overall. But this (or the current RE16) is at a higher price point. I think the 57 is more “flattering” in its hyping of the upper mids, and it’s proximity effect … which combined with its low price, is why it gained its established place as a standard vs the more flat (and objectively superior) RE15.
Old 12th August 2022 | Show parent
  #188
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➡️
(...) and how much of what we liked was having having 8 of "the same" mic?
I think that is a big factor in many „classic“ recordings (that, the recording desk, medium, or the space). This unifying effect of an underlying - often subliminal - sonic constant.
I find that nowadays, this is often overlooked, with priority instead being given to making every single overdub a perfect, pristine recording in its own bubble.
Sonic identity, in whatever form, used to be an automatic byproduct of the way things were done. Now it takes a conscious effort to create it.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #189
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Imo , is that people will be recognizing when they on stage. They use the same mic so it’s sounds the same. Inverse some people are get famous with one hit live. Think of U2 , and they would be recognizing with the sound they get famous with. So do use that. It’s cheap dump it . Get a new and fixed. Easy.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #190
Quote:
Originally Posted by TapedCrusader ➡️
The only other mike I am aware of around the price of an SM57 (or 58, 565, 545, etc) that you could basically just use on everything and it would sound fine is an EV 635a IMO.

No an SM57 is not a great mike for everything. It has a sort of “spongy” sound and hypes certain frequencies … however this gives it a sheen that sort of makes everything sound acceptable IMO.

So IMO if you are not able to make a decent sounding record with only 57s, then you are probably not able to make a decent sounding record. That said, there is probably a better mike than a 57 for pretty much any application.

This IMO is why they are the “standard”. Personally, I never liked them on amps or percussion (the 635a is way better). But I never found a better mike for 12-string acoustic than an old 545. Instant Mamas & Papas sound. But I strongly dislike condensers on acoustic guitars, so I might be in the minority here.

My only mike currently is an EV RE15. I think this combines the best elements of a 635a and a 57, and does it better than either overall. But this (or the current RE16) is at a higher price point. I think the 57 is more “flattering” in its hyping of the upper mids, and it’s proximity effect … which combined with its low price, is why it gained its established place as a standard vs the more flat (and objectively superior) RE15.
The last year or so I have been using a 545s as a mono OH. I love the sound. I think Hal Blaine’s kit had that mix on some dates. I think remember seeing a pic of that. Very focused and very natural.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #191
Lives for gear
 
TapedCrusader's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie Mumbles ➡️
The last year or so I have been using a 545s as a mono OH. I love the sound. I think Hal Blaine’s kit had that mix on some dates. I think remember seeing a pic of that. Very focused and very natural.
Oddly I never liked it on drums LOL. I'm sure someone may have used a 545 on overhead/snare on some sessions w/ Hal Blaine, but I'm not aware of that. I do know it was used on the kick and guitars however (Bones Howe told me this himself). He used the Sennheiser 405 on the overheads, at least for the Mamas & Papas records (I think others too).
Old 1 week ago
  #192
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andychamp's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I kinda miss using 57s on toms.
They used to be my go-to fo years, then I went down that find-the-perfect-tom-mic rabbit hole.
I think I‘ll give them another spin on my next rock production.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #193
Gear Guru
 
chessparov2.0's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound ➡️
I always thought the Modest Mouse record with Float On sounded like they only used 57s.
I was stoked I finally figured out... How to get a pretty consistent/good sounding vocal capture.
Out of my main "travel mic", a 58.
But...

Then I'd try my EV635a & 767a/AKG D790.
And they'd all sound somewhat better.
(Except on an occasional "Bluesy" vocal)

Chris
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TapedCrusader ➡️
Oddly I never liked it on drums LOL. I'm sure someone may have used a 545 on overhead/snare on some sessions w/ Hal Blaine, but I'm not aware of that. I do know it was used on the kick and guitars however (Bones Howe told me this himself). He used the Sennheiser 405 on the overheads, at least for the Mamas & Papas records (I think others too).
Thanks for the info. I find them to do well with guitars as well. With OH I try to get it as low as I can, maybe out in front of the forehead. On my productions (my music) I don’t use a snare mic, so this OH is working lol. (I usually play with a mallet in my left hand (power stick right hand), so I have weird thing going on, and I am not a drummer lol)
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #195
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I used a 57, and I have a couple of them. I have never liked them on snare drum at all, even though “everyone” uses them for that or at least used to. I think the main reason they were/are used a lot is because they have good off axis rejection, and no one cries if a drummer accidentally whacks one.

They are certainly consistent, built like tanks, and cheap. You know what you’re getting… sort of. As most people know, the console or preamp you use makes a whole lot of difference to how it sounds, which renders the “consistent” argument a bit moot unless you’re looking for consistency with the same pres.

Anyhow, I don’t think there’s a single application where I don’t prefer some other mic, as I learned over the years. Maybe a mic that costs a bit more than a 57, but still. As a “workhorse” go-to mic that is bulletproof and will work on anything, I much prefer the Beyer M88, for instance.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #196
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound ➡️
I always thought the Modest Mouse record with Float On sounded like they only used 57s.
Crazy! I just saw this post.
So, one of my multitrack classes at Purdue a few years back, I had duos of students try to recreate hit songs as one of the exercises. One duo did Float On, and I suggested that they use a bunch of dynamic mics, not specifically 57's, but I thought that it sounded like dynamics overall on the original recording. They did use 57's because I had a handful of them in the mic closet. I thought the guys did a respectable job of it, and the dynamics brought some vibe.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #197
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lflier ➡️
Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I used a 57, and I have a couple of them. I have never liked them on snare drum at all, even though “everyone” uses them for that or at least used to. I think the main reason they were/are used a lot is because they have good off axis rejection, and no one cries if a drummer accidentally whacks one.

They are certainly consistent, built like tanks, and cheap. You know what you’re getting… sort of. As most people know, the console or preamp you use makes a whole lot of difference to how it sounds, which renders the “consistent” argument a bit moot unless you’re looking for consistency with the same pres.

Anyhow, I don’t think there’s a single application where I don’t prefer some other mic, as I learned over the years. Maybe a mic that costs a bit more than a 57, but still. As a “workhorse” go-to mic that is bulletproof and will work on anything, I much prefer the Beyer M88, for instance.
I want to make a record using only M88s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
Crazy! I just saw this post.
So, one of my multitrack classes at Purdue a few years back, I had duos of students try to recreate hit songs as one of the exercises. One duo did Float On, and I suggested that they use a bunch of dynamic mics, not specifically 57's, but I thought that it sounded like dynamics overall on the original recording. They did use 57's because I had a handful of them in the mic closet. I thought the guys did a respectable job of it, and the dynamics brought some vibe.
Great minds, or ears.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #198
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lflier ➡️
I have never liked them on snare drum at all, even though “everyone” uses them for that or at least used to.
It's funny, I am the same, and I love the 57 generally. I have just never got it to work on the snare.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #199
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by G650 ➡️
(...) I have just never got it to work on the snare.
Kinda same here.
The only instances I found it useable on snare, it needed help from a bottom snare mic and/or wide open overheads.
But on its own, it usually just gives me a nondescript, bland „plopp“.
I need a snare mic to give me a more complete image.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #200
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp ➡️
Kinda same here.
The only instances I found it useable on snare, it needed help from a bottom snare mic and/or wide open overheads.
But on its own, it usually just gives me a nondescript, bland „plopp“.
I need a snare mic to give me a more complete image.
Yeah this is my experience. I have to really lean into the overhead for it to work.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #201
Quote:
Originally Posted by G650 ➡️
Yeah this is my experience. I have to really lean into the overhead for it to work.
Mine as well. About 20 years ago I was sitting in on a mix with one of my mentors, I had been standing on my own feet by then, and his snare sounded great in the mix, so I asked him what comp he used to track it with (as I learned my my tracking from him) and he said he skipped the comp on the snare on this recording, and I really loved how skipping the comp kept much more of the dynamic range in the snare. So I have kind of skipped the compressor too on snare largely since then, tho these days I don’t even use a snare mic because it just doesn’t sound nature to me (unless I am being paid to track for someone)
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #202
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp ➡️
But on its own (the 57), it usually just gives me a nondescript, bland „plopp“.
I need a snare mic to give me a more complete image.
I don't think any mic close up on a top head of snare drum captures a "complete image" of the drum.

This is why people use overhead, bottom snare, and room mics.


Side mic'ing the shell of a snare one can get a pretty complete image of the instument with just the one mic, even a 57.

I've done this a bunch for live sound and while it works really well sonically it can be a real hassle as I've had drummers question me concerned I was putting the mic in the wrong place and that it wouldn't work.


Top mic'ing (over the rim and close) is generally about getting that fullness or meat of the stick hitting the head, on it's own it's generally not a nice sound. Backing off even a bit can get a little closer to the sound you get side mic'ing and sounds better in solo.

Mics with more top end like a condenser will get more of the spill from the snares below and sound better in solo than a 57 or other dynamic mic but the overheads or even a bottom snare are still usually necessary to get a complete sound of the instrument.

Getting your sound first from the overheads and using the close snare mic to add what is missing I think is a more satisfying route than the opposite of trying to get a "complete" sound out of a close top snare mic and then adding overheads.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #203
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
I don't think any mic close up on a top head of snare drum captures a "complete image" of the drum.

This is why people use overhead, bottom snare, and room mics.


Side mic'ing the shell of a snare one can get a pretty complete image of the instument with just the one mic, even a 57.

I've done this a bunch for live sound and while it works really well sonically it can be a real hassle as I've had drummers question me concerned I was putting the mic in the wrong place and that it wouldn't work.


Top mic'ing (over the rim and close) is generally about getting that fullness or meat of the stick hitting the head, on it's own it's generally not a nice sound. Backing off even a bit can get a little closer to the sound you get side mic'ing and sounds better in solo.

Mics with more top end like a condenser will get more of the spill from the snares below and sound better in solo than a 57 or other dynamic mic but the overheads or even a bottom snare are still usually necessary to get a complete sound of the instrument.

Getting your sound first from the overheads and using the close snare mic to add what is missing I think is a more satisfying route than the opposite of trying to get a "complete" sound out of a close top snare mic and then adding overheads.
I’ve heard it said that you can get up to 70-80% of the kit with proper OH mics and placement (and treatment to them). I know this is true in my case. Always has been. I got a studio gig once that lasted for years when a new producer I had just met came into the control room while I was dialing in the drums. He loved the sound. I played it up. Then I asked him if he wants to hear the full kit. He was shocked. Asked what he was hearing. I said just the OHs. He said put the kick and snare in. I obliged. He said you can be my engineer anytime. We
Made many records together for years after that.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #204
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
I don't think any mic close up on a top head of snare drum captures a "complete image" of the drum.(...).
I don‘t place snare mics like that.
Even with my usual (close-ish) placement, I have mics that give me the desired complete picture without the need for bottom or overhead mic(s).
But the 57 still isn‘t among them.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #205
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
I don't think any mic close up on a top head of snare drum captures a "complete image" of the drum.

This is why people use overhead, bottom snare, and room mics.


Side mic'ing the shell of a snare one can get a pretty complete image of the instument with just the one mic, even a 57.
I agree about side mic. That's generally what I do - not top or bottom.

I like a 414 on snare, maybe 10 or 12 inches off the side of the shell. Captures a lot more of what the snare actually sounds like, and you don't get bass proximity effect like you would from a closer cardioid mic, and that tends to make the snare track sound like a wet fart.

A 57 can be okay with that placement but still doesn't capture the whole frequency range and ambient detail of the snare like a condenser does. Yeah, most people rely on the overheads for that, but I still think the side mic adds a lot. Plus the hats sound better even if the drummer is whaling on them (a common reason people use a top mic with a tight pattern and good off axis rejection).
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