Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: Powering the SM57 microphone (PC)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Question Powering the SM57 microphone (PC)

    Sign in to disable this ad
    Hello fellas! I'm a bit of an audio newbie, hopefully this knowledgeable community can help me out.

    I'm going to use an SM57 for PC voice recording, so I'll need a device that accepts an XLR connection and is able to plug into the computer (AI, Mixer?). There will be some, but not all too much distance between me and the mic, so I'm looking to maintain good volume even when I'm not right up against the mic. If my research is correct, it seems like the SM57 would need +60 Gain from an Audio Interface (or preamp?), but most that I've found are around +50.

    Looking to spend $100 with some flexibility. Note: not interested in a Condenser microphone.

    Recommendations/advice is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by TCee; 02-27-2019 at 14:34.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    ArizonaMaybe
    Age
    69
    Posts
    9,517
    Thanks
    207
    Thanked 164 Times in 152 Posts
    Rep Power
    9581210
    I'd offer, start from the other end of things. Good tone balance is what usually drives the choice of what mic distance. With mics like these that's to be had at around 2 to 4 inches.
    If you are in a very well treated (damped/dead) room, that can be expanded a little, but the tone will also start to thin out. 'Closer keeps it dry' focused and fuller.
    So as long as you are speaking/singing with a decent amount of strength.. gains won't need to be maxed out either.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to mixsit For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    northampton uk home of Dr Who and Blackstar Amps!
    Posts
    9,742
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 648 Times in 612 Posts
    Rep Power
    9256934
    Quote Originally Posted by TCee View Post
    Hello fellas! I'm a bit of an audio newbie, hopefully this knowledgeable community can help me out.

    I'm going to use an SM57 for PC voice recording, so I'll need a device that accepts an XLR connection and is able to plug into the computer (AI, Mixer?). There will be some, but not all too much distance between me and the mic, so I'm looking to maintain good volume even when I'm not right up against the mic. If my research is correct, it seems like the SM57 would need +60 Gain from an Audio Interface (or preamp?), but most that I've found are around +50.

    Looking to spend $100 with some flexibility. Note: not interested in a Condenser microphone.

    Recommendations/advice is greatly appreciated!
    You are fighting two "laws" at the same time here! First is one of physics, back off a microphone DESIGNED for close work and you will lose a lot of signal. Secondly, economics, if you want 60dB of low noise gain you have to pay for it. You MIGHT find an AI for $100 with that specification but I doubt it. I have discovered the Steinberg UR22 mkll is said to have 60dB in an SoS review but I can't find that figure in the handbook.

    But if you are recording the mic, i.e. not live podding, the gain does not matter very much. You can record 24bits at a low level, -25dBfs say, then boost that digitally afterwards. The only noise that will come up is that of the inherent pre amp noise plus the "room" and I would bet the latter would be dominant.

    What have you got against capacitor microphones?

    Dave.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ecc83 For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Texas USA
    Posts
    1,960
    Thanks
    155
    Thanked 366 Times in 333 Posts
    Rep Power
    2178943
    Everything @ecc83 said.

    Don't get hung up on specs because you can make gain boosts in the mixing/post stage that should fix things, unless you're whispering, perhaps, and then you should either reconsider your mic choice or budget for an extra preamp. (I'm not sure there is a standard for gain spec, i.e., one that considers the output level, distortion, noise, et al, that makes anything you read actually comparable, anyway, if they even post one.)

    Here's a slightly related video using a Focusrite 2i2 (50dB gain spec) with 3 mics. The SM57 falls in the middle of their sensitivity ratings, and all sound Ok after the gain is boosted (amount shown in the video).



    Note that the SM58 has a slightly higher sensitivity than the 57, and for voice, I'd probably choose it, if you haven't already bought something.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Thanks for the valuable input guys! It seems the mic distance may not be too far off from what it is designed to be, so in that sense I should be fine. I suppose it should work just fine with an AI such as the previously mentioned Focusrite or Steinberg, I'll do some more research first of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    What have you got against capacitor microphones?
    There's a lot of sound going on both inside and outside of my house, such mics would likely pick it up much easier as my room isn't soundproof or "foamed up".

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Texas USA
    Posts
    1,960
    Thanks
    155
    Thanked 366 Times in 333 Posts
    Rep Power
    2178943
    Quote Originally Posted by TCee View Post
    Thanks for the valuable input guys! It seems the mic distance may not be too far off from what it is designed to be, so in that sense I should be fine. I suppose it should work just fine with an AI such as the previously mentioned Focusrite or Steinberg, I'll do some more research first of course.

    There's a lot of sound going on both inside and outside of my house, such mics would likely pick it up much easier as my room isn't soundproof or "foamed up".
    Well, external noises don't go away or become quieter when you choose a different mic, i.e., if the microphone is picking up the sound of your voice at -15dBFS, and there's an external noise that measures -30dBFS at the same place your mouth is with a condenser mic, what makes you think it would be or less noticeable with a dynamic mic?

    Or, put maybe another way, the sound energy from any source that reaches a point in a room doesn't change because of what's located at that point. Put a sound level meter where the mic will be and measure the ambient/external noise level. Do you think the meter is going to measure something different if you put an SM57 next to it, vs. an Audio-Technica 2020? (I'm simplifying, because if the noise is below a certain level, it won't move that dynamic mic diaphragm, but it's going to have to be a big difference to not show up when boosted.)

    You will really need to tackle the external noises. Not with foam, but with stuff that minimizes the entry of sounds into the space - door and window seals or heavy covering, placing the mic so its polar pattern is facing away from [unwanted] sound sources, and finally, some "real" treatment for the room - even some moving pads strategically placed would be better than foam (IMO).

    P.S. You could get a large or small condenser with a -10/-20dB pad switch and have the same effect, and more versatility. Maybe something like this:
    AKG P120 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone | Sweetwater
    AKG P170 Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone | Sweetwater
    (And get a pop filter for whatever mic you use.)
    Last edited by keith.rogers; 02-27-2019 at 07:12.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    northampton uk home of Dr Who and Blackstar Amps!
    Posts
    9,742
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 648 Times in 612 Posts
    Rep Power
    9256934
    Quote Originally Posted by TCee View Post
    Thanks for the valuable input guys! It seems the mic distance may not be too far off from what it is designed to be, so in that sense I should be fine. I suppose it should work just fine with an AI such as the previously mentioned Focusrite or Steinberg, I'll do some more research first of course.


    There's a lot of sound going on both inside and outside of my house, such mics would likely pick it up much easier as my room isn't soundproof or "foamed up".
    The reason dynamics such as the 57/58s give a measure of noise and room rejection is down to the much lower sensitivity and the fact that they are designed to be worked very close to the mouth, an inch, two at the most. Keith has given you one way to look at the situation but just think of the numbers?

    Take a dynamic with a sensitivity of 2mV/Pa (a hot one!) you wanted 60dB of gain ok? Now replace that with a capacitor mic of 20mV/Pa, that will produce the same modulation level in the DAW for just 40dB of gain. The advantage of most cap' mics is that you get the higher sensitivity with lower overall noise than most AIs can manage at high gain. The disadvantage is that most such mics are not suited to very close working but, with a good pop screen they can be. Capacitors also give you a wider response, the classic "20 to 20, giving a "crisper" sound. That is not a criticism of dynamics. Their sound is familiar and therefore liked.

    You will find on this audio game that "fair" results can be obtained from quite basic kit of modest cost..SO LONG as you don't have problems. A noisy place is a problem and often needs a bit more cash to be spent to get good results.

    Dave.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Well, external noises don't go away or become quieter when you choose a different mic, i.e., if the microphone is picking up the sound of your voice at -15dBFS, and there's an external noise that measures -30dBFS at the same place your mouth is with a condenser mic, what makes you think it would be or less noticeable with a dynamic mic?
    It does make sense that with the same pattern they would yield the same results if at the same sensitivity, I hadn't thought of it that way. I wasn't sure if there could be anything else which may separate the two types of microphones either.

    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    The reason dynamics such as the 57/58s give a measure of noise and room rejection is down to the much lower sensitivity and the fact that they are designed to be worked very close to the mouth, an inch, two at the most. Keith has given you one way to look at the situation but just think of the numbers?

    Take a dynamic with a sensitivity of 2mV/Pa (a hot one!) you wanted 60dB of gain ok? Now replace that with a capacitor mic of 20mV/Pa, that will produce the same modulation level in the DAW for just 40dB of gain. The advantage of most cap' mics is that you get the higher sensitivity with lower overall noise than most AIs can manage at high gain. The disadvantage is that most such mics are not suited to very close working but, with a good pop screen they can be. Capacitors also give you a wider response, the classic "20 to 20, giving a "crisper" sound. That is not a criticism of dynamics. Their sound is familiar and therefore liked.

    You will find on this audio game that "fair" results can be obtained from quite basic kit of modest cost..SO LONG as you don't have problems. A noisy place is a problem and often needs a bit more cash to be spent to get good results.

    Dave.
    I was worried about noise with the SM57 hooked into an AI actually, considering I may have to crank the gain up a bunch. Grabbing a condenser mic definitely seems like a smart idea, my view have shifted rapidly.

    If I were to get a condenser mic, I assume any AI or Mixer around the $100 mark would be rather reasonable? 48V Phantom Power, anything else to keep in mind?
    Thanks a ton for the insight about condensers.

    Edit: What makes a "good" pop filter?

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    northampton uk home of Dr Who and Blackstar Amps!
    Posts
    9,742
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 648 Times in 612 Posts
    Rep Power
    9256934
    Now, TCee, I had assumed (and I think others did?) that you already HAD the SM57 and were looking for a suitable means to record with it? If you presently have nothing and are starting from scratch it might be best to back up a bit and tell us your exact reasons and proposed working mode for these recordings?
    Questions arise such as..

    Quality: Do you want a finished product to a good "professional" standard in terms of noise levels, equip,emt and surroundings or is this just for "fun" and you can live with a bit of hiss and "noises off"?

    Type of vocal work: Speech of a straight "reading instructions" style or a bit more "thespian" with sections of low levels?

    Now, a good capacitor mic and a modest AI will give you a very low noise floor but you will find it impossible to keep noises out and IF you want a "pro" result you will need to spend a LONG time editing and re doing phrases.

    What other kit do you have or expect to have? Monitor speakers, headphones?

    If you want an off the wall reccy? Rode LDC and a Focusrite 2i4. Sennheiser or AKG headphones.

    Pop shields? Most mics come with something or you can make one.

    Dave.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    essex
    Posts
    2,538
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 344 Times in 313 Posts
    Rep Power
    3901875
    If you buy a Shure Sm7 - then they're quiet mics. 57s and 58s are to all intents and purposes - normal dynamics. Forget the numbers - they'll work. For years the President of the USA used 57s from the podium - not remotely lips on the grill and they all sounded fine. Modern preamps have better performance now than ones they used back in the 70s. Personally, I like 57s. If they pop with your voice, pop on a bit of foam. You can buy cheap decent condensers if you buy a preamp/interface with 48V phantom power. Plenty of decent packages out there to get you going. I'd stop worrying about the numbers as others have said.

    All the mics have their own 'tone character but the usual problems are the room - so many youtube videos have nice mics in the wrong place or in dreadful square rooms and boy, can you hear it! Plenty of things you can do - once you know your new gear.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. SM57 style microphone shootout
    By lukmen in forum Microphones
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-24-2017, 07:29
  2. Shure SM57 Microphone....PLEASE HELP!!!!
    By danbs10 in forum Newbies
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-08-2011, 22:40
  3. SM57 Microphone Sounding Muffled
    By silasglines in forum Microphones
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-16-2011, 09:25
  4. First Microphone: SM57 or SM58?
    By HomeRec in forum Microphones
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 10-15-2001, 09:52

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •