Join 30,000 Audio Issues Subscribers and Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet That Make Your Mixes Sound Awesome Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Plug-ins You Already Have

No Good Engineer Uses a SM57 or SM Anything Anymore


They say you shouldn’t believe everything you hear on the internet.

Well, in this case it’s exactly true.

I got a comment on Google+ the other day from a guy that swore by this statement. I had to laugh at how utterly and completely wrong this guy was.

No good engineer uses a SM57 anymore?

Give me a break. They’re like the scotch tape of our business. You can throw anything at it.

And I took particular pleasure from the fact that he put any “SM” mic into the same group. Nobody uses an “SM anything anymore.”

Oh really? I asked around in my “Music & Audio Professionals” forum on LinkedIn to see what the professionals had to say about it.

Here are some of their replies:

“Clearly someone who hasn’t a clue!”

“SM57 is a contender for the Desert Island Mic. ”

“I started my little project studio 15 years ago with a 57 and an AKG C3000B and you know what? They are still my ‘go to’ mics when I want it straight and simple.”

“SM57 is a wildcard, fits all. Cheap, endurable, good sound. SM58 still remains one of the best vocal mics. Cheap, endurable, wonderful.”

The comments go on and on, and rightfully so because you can use a Shure mic on anything.

  • Need a good live vocal
  • Need a snare drum mic? Sm57
  • Need a good studio vocal mic? Sm7B
  • Need a good mic for [Insert amplified instrument here] Try the Sm57

I’m not saying you should go out and exclusively use Shure microphones, but they wouldn’t be one of the largest microphone companies in the world unless their products worked.

I personally prefer the Audix i5 over the Sm57, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use the Sm57 in a heartbeat if I needed to. In fact, I give you a pretty diverse list of equipment in Recording Strategies(www.recordingstrategies.com), and I try to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck so you can make the best sounding records with the least amount of money.

The Sm57 fits that description perfectly and I bet it’s gonna stay the standard for any “good engineer” for a good while longer.

Image by: Rusty Sheriff


Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet and Make Your Home Studio Mixes Sound Great Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Gear You Already Have

*Spam sucks and I will not share your email with anyone.

About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

Read more

LEAVE A COMMENT

  • Wow, really? SM57’s on the President of the United States podium for decades, SM and Beta 58’s on McCartney, Elton John, Tom Petty. Roger Daltrey made a career out of singing into one and using it as a yo-yo. I think Steven Tyler of Aerosmith uses one on his vocal sessions as his go to mic.

    People say the craziest things…

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Haha, yep! I thought about mentioning the President thing actually, glad you did!

  • Wow, really? SM57’s on the President of the United States podium for decades, SM and Beta 58’s on McCartney, Elton John, Tom Petty. Roger Daltrey made a career out of singing into one and using it as a yo-yo. I think Steven Tyler of Aerosmith uses one on his vocal sessions as his go to mic.

    People say the craziest things…

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Haha, yep! I thought about mentioning the President thing actually, glad you did!

  • Simon Harmony Perry

    For performance you can’t fault them : My corded SM58 is 30 years old, gigged, dropped, launched, battered and bruised, but still perfectly functional, as is my nearly 20 year old SM58 radio mic….. SURE-ly that can’t be bad… going to use mine for my upcoming recordings.

  • Simon Harmony Perry

    For performance you can’t fault them : My corded SM58 is 30 years old, gigged, dropped, launched, battered and bruised, but still perfectly functional, as is my nearly 20 year old SM58 radio mic….. SURE-ly that can’t be bad… going to use mine for my upcoming recordings.

  • Bruno Hack

    think i’ll record an album using only this 2 mics, no condenser at all, just to show how it can sound really good an sometimes even better than expensive ribbon/condeser mics (depending of the kind of music you’re mixing, of corse).

    • Doc Evil

      Many records were recorded at Sun Studios using just a few dynamic microphones. Some of them were hits, too!

      • Bruno Hack

        Yeah, that’s the point! If the music is good it doesn’t matter low and hi ends… tubes or transistors… tape reel or digital interfaces… a hit is a hit!

  • Bruno Hack

    think i’ll record an album using only this 2 mics, no condenser at all, just to show how it can sound really good an sometimes even better than expensive ribbon/condeser mics (depending of the kind of music you’re mixing, of corse).

    • Doc Evil

      Many records were recorded at Sun Studios using just a few dynamic microphones. Some of them were hits, too!

      • Bruno Hack

        Yeah, that’s the point! If the music is good it doesn’t matter low and hi ends… tubes or transistors… tape reel or digital interfaces… a hit is a hit!

  • Norm Yamada

    IN a pinch you could mike a whole show with 57’s……….

    • Doc Evil

      I’ve actually done that before. No pinching, just what they had.

  • Norm Yamada

    IN a pinch you could mike a whole show with 57’s……….

    • Doc Evil

      I’ve actually done that before. No pinching, just what they had.

  • Pete Lord Rufus Gibbs

    The SMs are still the industry standard and you know what to expect however there are many more choices theses days I have several Samson Q7 and Q8 mics and to my ears are virtually indistinguishable from the Shure and a third of the cost. Perfectly adequate for most live events I also have Sennheiser which I think suit female vocals better than the Shure.

  • Pete Lord Rufus Gibbs

    The SMs are still the industry standard and you know what to expect however there are many more choices theses days I have several Samson Q7 and Q8 mics and to my ears are virtually indistinguishable from the Shure and a third of the cost. Perfectly adequate for most live events I also have Sennheiser which I think suit female vocals better than the Shure.

  • Shannon Hultz

    I only own (4) shure mics at this point, not because they are not good. 2 of them are 57’s and 2 are Beta91a’s. My reason is because I get a killer deal on Audix. I have no problem using them when I guest mix.

  • Shannon Hultz

    I only own (4) shure mics at this point, not because they are not good. 2 of them are 57’s and 2 are Beta91a’s. My reason is because I get a killer deal on Audix. I have no problem using them when I guest mix.

  • panzrwagn

    SM58 because more vocalists know how to work one than anything else. I was just watching Linda Ronstadt 1980 live concert. Her mic? SM57. And it sounded great. No windscreen. No pops, no blown sibilants. Just pure talent.

  • panzrwagn

    SM58 because more vocalists know how to work one than anything else. I was just watching Linda Ronstadt 1980 live concert. Her mic? SM57. And it sounded great. No windscreen. No pops, no blown sibilants. Just pure talent.

  • Angel

    The SM58 is a poor microphone and a live standard for its little feedback. It can not be compared to an Audix or Telefunken m80.

    • MichaelFreeland

      Thats just not true. I use a Telefunken everyday and it sounds good, but not night and day above an SM-58. I had a dozen OM-7’s in my festival rig and liked them for most things, but put 8 SM-58’s back in the rig. Hell Audix hired me to mix a concert at a NAMM show for them. Their all just tools in my tool box….

  • Angel

    The SM58 is a poor microphone and a live standard for its little feedback. It can not be compared to an Audix or Telefunken m80.

    • MichaelFreeland

      Thats just not true. I use a Telefunken everyday and it sounds good, but not night and day above an SM-58. I had a dozen OM-7’s in my festival rig and liked them for most things, but put 8 SM-58’s back in the rig. Hell Audix hired me to mix a concert at a NAMM show for them. Their all just tools in my tool box….

  • Paul the Greater

    The SM57 has a place on damn near every instrument on a stage, and it’ll retrieve all the relevant details of a performance. True, it’s not going to get the MOST detail, but who the hell cares? Within the context of a mix, the finer nuances of high and low aren’t going to come through as clearly anyway, so what’s the damn point? It’s a great utility mic. I’d wager I could use nothing but 57’s on a stage and come away with something imminently listenable.

    In fact, hell with it. I intend to do just that. Maybe I’ll record the result and share it. C’mon, weekend, let’s get this challenge underway.

  • Paul the Greater

    The SM57 has a place on damn near every instrument on a stage, and it’ll retrieve all the relevant details of a performance. True, it’s not going to get the MOST detail, but who the hell cares? Within the context of a mix, the finer nuances of high and low aren’t going to come through as clearly anyway, so what’s the damn point? It’s a great utility mic. I’d wager I could use nothing but 57’s on a stage and come away with something imminently listenable.

    In fact, hell with it. I intend to do just that. Maybe I’ll record the result and share it. C’mon, weekend, let’s get this challenge underway.