SM57 versus SM58

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

I also know that both get used for both.

So tell me: What's the difference?

Thanks!
 

GAD

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Every mic is good if you like the sound it produces.
 

Boneman

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I don’t know the exact differences, but my audio engineer buddy recommended the SM57 for my instruments and the SM58 for vocals, and I like the way the SM57 records. I’ve recorded both acoustic guitar and electric with it, both came out well. Per his suggestions, I pointed the mic at the 15th fret of my acoustic, and for electric I put it no more than 1/4” from the face of the center of my amp. I would think it would record and reproduce your mandolin no problem.
 

Nuuska

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Main difference is the windscreen. As for getting a good mic for mando - I'm not thrilled of neither of these Shure mics - they have very spikey top end - as they honestly show in their spec sheet. Some mic w flat high end would yield more pleasing top end on any acoustic instrument. And if it happens to be one wo built-in windscreen - there are plenty of foam screens available, if you play outdoors.

Anyway - I agree w GAD - if you like the result vs price - then you have a winner.
 

Longnose Gar

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This is an answer in search of a problem: My Sweetwater rep turned me on to the sE Electronics v7 mic. Same price as the SM57/58. I'd been using an SM57 to mic my Fender amps and it produced a hum when placed near the amp face. The v7 doesn't hum with those amps and has a slightly "mellower" sound which I prefer.
 
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A small diaphragm condenser mic would be ideal for live mandolin given the instrument's range.

Edit: and just to add....I'd consider condensers in general, technically the most ideal, yet often the most overlooked acoustic instrument mic out there. Largely based on folks simply using what they've seen others use in the past. But...in the past, many folks avoided condensers unless absolutely neccesary (like for drum overheads) simply because of the added headaches and issues that used to come up with needing batteries, or an inline phantom power supply (per mic!!). Club owners and small/med sized PA companies simply resorted to the next best thing that didn't require added power, and typically had a mic case full of 57's and 58's. Today, every little $100 6-ch mixer has built in phantom power. It's no longer an issue, and in my honest opinion, condensers should probably be used in all acoustic stringed instrument applications. They definitely add that bit of sparkle, shimmer, and detail that a full range cardioid tends to flatten out. Plus they do a better job of picking up the instrument without getting in the way as they have a longer range field. A 57 needs to be right up on the instrument to hear it's full potential.
 
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Nuuska

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I've been using condecer mics for PA for few decades - Used to have a pair of Neumann KM86 as overhead and KM84 for snare - many dummers were horrified : "What if I hit it?" - "Then you pay for it!" - later AKG 451 modular mics etc - nowadays I've been finnish rep for german company MBHO - and while not trying to convince anybody. that they are superior to any other high quality mics - I see it is completely natural, that I use them for my PA-gigs - I still have some fine Sennheiser-Beyer-Shure etc individuals in stock . . .

After all this - there is a word of caution - just because a microphone is condencer mic does not automatically make it better than a dynamic mic. There are many things to concider - the curves: not only how it picks up sound from front - but also the polar pattern as function of different frequencies - dynamic mic has zilch noise floor - condencers have amps w definitive noice floor - even if it is small. . . .

etc
 
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I've been using condecer mics for PA for few decades - Used to have a pair of Neumann KM86 as overhead and KM84 for snare - many dummers were horrified : "What if I hit it?" - "Then you pay for it!" - later AKG 451 modular mics etc - nowadays I've been finnish rep for german company MBHO - and while not trying to convince anybody. that they are superior to any other high quality mics - I see it is completely natural, that I use them for my PA-gigs - I still have some fine Sennheiser-Beyer-Shure etc individuals in stock . . .

After all this - there is a word of caution - just because a microphone is condencer mic does not automatically make it better than a dynamic mic. There are many things to concider - the curves: not only how it picks up sound from front - but also the polar pattern as function of different frequencies - dynamic mic has zilch noise floor - condencers have amps w definitive noice floor - even if it is small. . . .

etc
👍 I wish I could afford some of the better German mics. Would love to chat mics sometime in the future though. I'm fascinated by the story of all those Berlin mic companies. A lot of people don't even know that some of the greatest advancements in microphone technology were the direct result of the Berlin "spy games" of the late 40's to the mid 60's (of which my father played a part in) Many of today's world's renown mic brands set up shop on the same street right behind the Reichstagsgebäude, w/ West German companies on one side of the street, and East German on the other w/ the wall running right between them. I've always thought a book about it would be fascinating. especially citing many of today's mic types and their espionage origins.:cool:
 
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