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The Holy Grail Of Microphones

Now when I say “Holy Grail”, I mean the best mic that you could do the most with. I’m sure there is some super-awesome expensive microphone that can do these things that the SM57 can do… but why buy that when the SM57 is one of the most popular and versatile microphones ever created?

Here are the specifications from Shure’s website:

Type Dynamic
Frequency Response 40 to 15,000 Hz
Polar Pattern Unidirectional (cardioid), rotationally symmetrical about microphone axis, uniform with frequency.

A lot. The Shure SM57 can do a lot. One of the great things about it is that when using the SM57, you can feel really safe knowing that the noise behind the microphone isn’t going to picked up, unless for some reason it’s making its way into the front of this unidirectional mic. Another is its frequency response, making it useful in situations like recording/micing a trumpet or a saxophone, a guitar or bass amp, vocals, and many other common instruments that we use in todays music.

Let’s face it though, for specific uses, there are better mics that the SM57. But can any of them do many things equally well? It’s like the bard of the D&D group. The jack-of-all-trades. Everyone likes him. Guitar amps, vocalist, bassists, drums and more like him, “The two microphones I use most for recording electric guitars are the Shure SM57 and the Sennheiser MD421” says Joe Barresi in this interview on recording Queens Of The Stone Age. (He also says he uses it on vox, bass, and more).

Being a great vocal alternative to other popular microphones like the Shure SM58 or Rode NT1A, the SM57 is used by many artists from Bon Iver to John Lennon. In fact, Bon Iver recorded an entire album, “For Emma, Forever Ago” using only an SM57. Most people tend to need to play with all of their toys and instruments when recording, so this could be a reminder to keep it simple stupid… and utilize the hell out of the affordable and versatile Shure SM57.

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