SM57 versus SM58: What's the difference?

Delmont

Member
I know that 58s are usually used for vocals and 57s are usually used for instruments.

I also know that they're similar and both can be used for both.

So tell me: What's the difference?

Thanks!

Del
( •)—:::
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
The difference is in the grill used, although with the same cartridge. That changes how they pick up sound. That means they will have different frequency responses and differences in things like proximity effect.

You might want to read this... direct from Shure SM57 vs SM58
 

TAE

All you have is now
The aforementioned Shure explanation would lend one to think they should not use a 57 for vocals...yet 1000's of vocals on professional recordings of both live and studio recordings are done with a 57...just saying...I've used a 57 for 40+ years while some of my band mates prefer the 58...My current bandleader is insisting I pick up a 58 because when he plugs me in he has to give me more gain to get a similar volume from the other mics used of which several are 58's Mine's an old 57 so maybe that's it...anyways they're both great sturdy long performing mics
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Because the 57 doesn’t have the basket, loudest volume is normally a bit more than the 58. I have a 74-76 sm57 working alongside new ones. Never had to change the gain on a 57 to 58 swap. However. 57s blast and pop on quieter singing, and while on a festival stage, with mega volume and a screaming singer it works, I’d use the 58 he offers. It will make you sound better.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I read several years ago that the cartridges are not exactly the same any longer in the 57 and 58, but have no idea if that was factual.
 

PorterhouseMusic

Active member
I have no idea if this is true.... but for live/stage vocals I have always (for roughly 30 years) perceived the 57 as sounding crisper and therefore..... uh... slightly better to my ears than the 58. I have no idea if that perception is legit.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Stick a foam windshield on a 57 and it sounds like a 58, however a 58 cannot get as close to a source, like a guitar speaker, or snare drum head as a 57, so sounds less ‘good’. If you can only afford one mic, a 57 and a windshield wins.
 

RFR

Well-known member
When I’d run out of 57s in a recording situation, I’d just take 58s and take off the grill. I couldn’t tell any significant difference from the 57s.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
I read several years ago that the cartridges are not exactly the same any longer in the 57 and 58, but have no idea if that was factual.
I'd also read that somewhere, and someone linked a Shure site blurb about the difference here or in another forum.

They are each designed to be a bit more suited to specific use cases, so if you have someone that puts their lips right on the grill or are shoving the grill against the amp they'll have some difference, but to my ear, as suggested by other posts, it's not that significant once you account for the difference in distance between the source and amount of foam in front of the actual diaphragm
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
You know, I went through a bunch of mics rabbit hole etc....and the thing called "EQ" is going to make miniscule differences obsolete.
I currently have a rack channel strip and the EQ can make any mic sound so so different, huge differences which I assume is basically what a lot '
of the simulation-softwares are doing too in offering one mic with a bunch of plugins to be something else. Not knocking it at all. Its versatile.

58.59.57.7A.7B,7C, ...set the EQ and comps, chop off the rumble HPF, it will help adapt to the source and engineers mind.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
the thing called "EQ" is going to make miniscule differences obsolete.
I currently have a rack channel strip and the EQ can make any mic sound so so different
This is the page I'm on. Just about every recording or mixing video I watch says don't use EQ. I use it if I want to and sometimes, I actively want to make the source sound different from what it was when recorded.
Unless it is used in an extreme way, who is going to know or care ?
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
No Eq? as in shelfing?
I don't know. Whatever the kind of EQ knobs are there, I use them. I like watching videos but I rarely take notice of them. I'm on my own curve. A kind of triangular curve !
You use a LPF HPF set right?
I don't know. I suppose I must, sometimes. Something either sounds right or it doesn't. If, in conjunction a source doesn't sound right to me, I do what I think I need to, to make things fit. But most of the time they do fit, with or without EQ.
 
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