Shure microphones have been a staple in the music industry for decades, and the SM58 and SM57 are two of the company’s most popular models. While they may look similar, they each have unique features that set them apart.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between the SM58 and SM57 to help you decide which microphone best fits your needs.
If you’re a lead vocalist, the SM58 is your wingman. Its built-in pop filter helps reduce those pesky plosives and sibilants, resulting in a smooth and professional sound.
Meanwhile, if you’re a shredder or a drummer, the SM57 has your back. It can handle high sound pressure levels, while the cardioid polar pattern isolates the signal for a crystal-clear sound.
Let’s get technical. The SM58 and SM57 are both dynamic microphones, which means they use a coil of wire and a magnet to create an electrical signal. The SM58 has a frequency response range of 50 Hz to 15 kHz, while the SM57 has a range of 40 Hz to 15 kHz.
The SM58 and SM57 both have a cardioid polar pattern, which means they primarily pick up sound from the front of the microphone and reject sound from the sides and rear. The SM57 has a tighter polar pattern as you move closer to the mic, which means it only picks up sound from the front – ideal when mic-ing up instruments in a studio or live setting.
The SM58 is specifically designed to capture the full range of the human voice, with a presence peak in the 2k – 8kHz range to increase clarity. Meanwhile, the SM57 has a flatter frequency response, creating a more neutral sound, ideal for capturing the raw energy of a guitar amp or snare drum and guitars.
Check out the differences in technical specifications using the table below:
|Frequency Range||50 Hz – 15 kHz||40 Hz – 15 kHz|
|Sensitivity||-54.5 dBV/Pa||-56 dBV/Pa|
|Impedance||150 Ohms||150 Ohms|
|Max SPL||149 dB||149 dB|
|Built-in Pop Filter||Yes||No|
|Best For||Live Vocals||Guitar Amps, Drums|
|Recommended Use||Singers, MCs, Spoken Word, Podcasting||Electric Guitar Amps, Drums, Brass, Woodwinds|
Note: Max SPL is the maximum sound pressure level the microphone can handle without distortion. The sensitivity measures how efficiently a microphone converts sound pressure into an electrical signal. Impedance is the electrical resistance of the microphone, which affects the way it interacts with other audio equipment.
Build Quality and Durability
Both microphones are built to last, with sturdy metal construction and internal shock mounts to reduce handling noise. However, the SM58 has a built-in spherical wind and pop filter, which provides additional protection for the capsule. The SM57 has a smaller grille, which does make it more susceptible to damage from accidental bumps or drops.
Price and Value
When it comes to price, the SM58 and SM57 are neck and neck. The SM58 may cost slightly more due to its additional features, but the value of each mic depends on your intended use.
User Reviews and Opinions
We analysed over one hundred online reviews for both the Shure SM57 and SM58 and here’s some of the feedback for both mics:
- The SM58 is praised for its durability, with many users reporting that it can withstand heavy use and accidental drops without damage.
- In certain live settings, the SM58 may be prone to feedback, but experienced users recommend using a soundcheck to adjust EQ and gain settings.
- While the SM58 is effective at reducing plosives with its built-in pop filter, some users recommend using an external pop filter in a studio environment for added protection.
- Due to its slightly heavy weight, some users report experiencing fatigue during extended performances.
- The SM57’s versatility is highly regarded by many users, with its ability to capture the sound of various instruments ranging from guitar amps to live drums.
- Users have reported that the SM57 can be sensitive to handling noise, making it important to use a shock mount or a stable mic stand.
- The SM57 has a bright and sometimes harsh sound that can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the desired sound.
- With its compact size, the SM57 is ideal for tight spaces such as on a snare drum or guitar amp grille.
Which Should I buy, the Shure SM57 or SM58?
So there you have it – the SM58 and SM57 are both top-notch microphones, but they each have their own personality. Whether you’re a singer, a guitarist, a drummer, or all of the above, one of these mics will be your perfect match. Shure has been holding it down for decades, and with the SM58 and SM57, they show no signs of slowing down.