If you’re looking to invest in a quality microphone for your recording studio or live performances, you’ve probably come across two popular options: the Shure SM57 and the Shure SM58. While these microphones share many similarities, there are some key differences that make them better suited for different applications. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the SM57 vs SM58 debate and help you decide which microphone is right for you.

Both the SM57 and SM58 are dynamic microphones that use the same cartridge design, known as the Unidyne III. However, the main difference between the two microphones is in their grille design. The SM58 features a ball grille that acts as an effective pop filter, making it the ideal choice for vocal applications. On the other hand, the SM57 has a smaller grille size that makes it better suited for instrument recording, where a closer mic position is preferred.

While the SM57 and SM58 share many similarities, there are some notable differences in their sound characteristics. For example, the SM57’s smaller grille size allows for a more pronounced proximity effect through closer mic positioning, which can result in a warmer and more intimate sound. Meanwhile, the SM58’s ball grille design helps to reduce popping sounds and sibilance, making it a great choice for live vocal performances.

Overview of SM57 and SM58

If you’re in the market for a dynamic microphone, chances are you’ve come across Shure’s SM57 and SM58 models. Both are widely used and highly regarded in the music industry, but what sets them apart from each other?

Firstly, it’s important to note that both microphones are dynamic, meaning they use a moving coil to convert sound waves into electrical signals. This makes them ideal for live performances and recording situations where loud sound sources need to be captured accurately.

The SM57 is often used for recording instruments such as drums, guitar amps, and brass instruments. It has a frequency response range of 40Hz to 15kHz, making it well-suited for capturing mid-range frequencies. It also has a cardioid polar pattern, which means it picks up sound from the front of the microphone and rejects sound from the sides and rear. This makes it ideal for isolating sound sources and reducing unwanted noise.

On the other hand, the SM58 is primarily used for vocals. It has a similar frequency response range to the SM57, but with a slight boost in the mid-range frequencies that helps to accentuate the human voice. It also has a cardioid polar pattern, which helps to reduce feedback in live performance situations.

Another difference between the two microphones is their physical design. The SM57 has a shorter grille, which allows for a more pronounced proximity effect when the microphone is held close to a sound source. The SM58, on the other hand, has a longer grille that helps to protect the microphone from moisture and other environmental factors.

In summary, both the SM57 and SM58 are excellent dynamic microphones that are widely used in the music industry. The SM57 is ideal for recording instruments, while the SM58 is best suited for vocals. Understanding the differences between the two can help you choose the right microphone for your specific needs.

For more detailed information on each microphone, read my full reviews:


Shure SM57

Shure SM57

USES: Singing, instrument capture
CONNECTION: XLR
MAX SPL: 149 db
WEIGHT: 0.625 lbs
DIMENSIONS: 6.19 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches

Shure SM58

Shure SM58

USES: Singing (primarily)
CONNECTION: XLR
MAX SPL: 149 db
WEIGHT: 1.1 lbs
DIMENSIONS: 10.31 x 4.92 x 3.31 inches

We’re reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Design and Build Quality

When it comes to the design and build quality of the Shure SM57 and SM58, both microphones share a similar look and feel. They have a similar shape, rugged construction, and come in a durable metal casing. The SM58, however, is slightly heavier than the SM57 at 298 grams compared to the SM57’s 284 grams.

One of the main differences between the two microphones is the grille. The SM58 uses a ball grille with a built-in pop filter designed for vocal applications, while the SM57 uses a smaller grille designed for instrument miking. The grille on the SM58 is slightly larger than the SM57’s grille, which makes it more effective at reducing plosives.

Both microphones are built to last and are known for their durability. They are designed to withstand the rigors of touring and live performances and are built to last for years. The SM57 and SM58 also come with a storage case, which helps protect them during transportation.

In terms of accessories, both microphones come with a microphone clip to attach to a stand. However, the SM58 also comes with a zippered pouch for storage and a break-resistant stand adapter, which makes it easier to attach the microphone to a stand.

Overall, the design and build quality of the Shure SM57 and SM58 are top-notch. They are rugged, durable, and built to last. Whether you’re using them for live performances or in the studio, you can be confident that they will deliver reliable performance for years to come.

Technical Specifications

When comparing the Shure SM57 vs SM58, it’s important to understand their technical specifications. Both microphones are cardioid dynamic microphones with a unidirectional polar pattern. This means they pick up sound primarily from the front and reject sound from the sides and rear, making them ideal for live performances and recording situations where background noise needs to be minimized.

The frequency response of the SM57 and SM58 is similar, with both microphones having a range of 50Hz to 15kHz. However, the SM58 has a slightly more pronounced midrange, which makes it better suited for vocals. The SM57 has a flatter response, making it more versatile for recording instruments.

Both microphones have a dynamic diaphragm, which means they do not require external power and can handle high sound pressure levels. They also use an XLR connector and have an impedance of 150 ohms.

In terms of sensitivity, the SM58 has a slightly higher output than the SM57, with a sensitivity of -54.5 dBV/Pa compared to the SM57’s -56 dBV/Pa. This means that the SM58 requires less gain to achieve the same level of volume as the SM57.

The SM58 and SM57 have a maximum SPL of 149 dB and 149 dB, respectively. This makes them suitable for recording loud instruments like drums and electric guitars.

Overall, the Shure SM57 vs SM58 technical specifications are very similar, with the main difference being the SM58’s more pronounced midrange and higher sensitivity. Both microphones are rugged, reliable, and widely used in live performances and recording studios around the world.

Performance and Application

When it comes to performance and application, both the SM57 and SM58 microphones are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of settings.

For vocals, the SM58 is the go-to choice for live performances due to its ball grille design that acts as an effective pop filter, reducing unwanted background noise. It also has a cardioid polar pattern that helps to isolate the vocals and reduce feedback. The SM57, on the other hand, is more commonly used for recording instruments due to its smaller grille size, which allows for closer mic placement and a more pronounced proximity effect.

In terms of live performance, both microphones are highly durable and can withstand high sound pressure levels, making them ideal for use on stage. The SM58 is particularly well-suited for live vocals, while the SM57 can be used to mic up a guitar amp or piano.

For podcasters and vocal performers, the SM58 is a popular choice due to its excellent sound quality and ability to reduce background noise. Its cardioid polar pattern ensures that your voice is captured clearly and evenly, while the ball grille design helps to reduce plosives and other unwanted sounds.

When it comes to recording instruments, the SM57 is a favorite among musicians and producers. Its cardioid polar pattern helps to isolate the instrument being recorded, while the smaller grille size allows for closer mic placement and a more pronounced proximity effect. It is commonly used to record acoustic guitar, drums, and other instruments.

Overall, both the SM57 and SM58 are highly versatile microphones that can be used in a variety of settings. Whether you’re recording vocals in the studio or performing live on stage, these microphones are sure to deliver excellent sound quality and performance.

Comparison and Contrast

When it comes to dynamic microphones, the Shure SM57 and SM58 are two of the most popular choices for recording and live performances. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between them.

Design and Construction

The SM57 and SM58 have similar capsule designs, but the grille is where they differ. The SM58 has a ball grille that acts as an effective pop filter, making it ideal for vocal applications. On the other hand, the SM57 has a smaller grille size, making it more practical for instrument miking.

Both microphones have a cardioid polar pattern, which means they pick up sound from the front and reject sound from the rear. This makes them great for live performances where you want to isolate the sound source and reduce feedback.

Frequency Response and Sensitivity

The SM57 and SM58 have a frequency range of 40Hz – 15kHz, which is suitable for most applications. The SM58 has a slightly more pronounced mid-range, which makes it ideal for vocals. The SM57, on the other hand, has a flatter frequency response, making it better for recording instruments.

In terms of sensitivity, the SM58 has a slightly higher output than the SM57. This means it requires less gain from your preamp or mixer to achieve a good signal level.

Application

The SM58 is primarily designed for vocals, while the SM57 is better suited for instrument miking. The SM58 is commonly used for live performances, while the SM57 is often used in recording studios to mic guitar cabinets, snare drums, and other instruments.

Connector and Compatibility

Both microphones use an XLR connector, which is standard in the audio industry. This makes them compatible with most audio interfaces, mixers, and preamps. However, it’s important to note that they are dynamic microphones, so they require a preamp with plenty of gain to achieve a good signal level.

Other Options

While the SM57 and SM58 are both great microphones, there are other options available depending on your needs. The Shure SM7B, for example, is a popular choice for broadcasting and podcasting. It has a smoother, more refined sound than the SM58 and is better suited for spoken word applications.

If you’re on a budget, there are also condenser microphones available that offer a more detailed and sensitive sound. However, they require phantom power and are more sensitive to handling noise.

Overall, the SM57 and SM58 are both excellent microphones that have stood the test of time. When choosing between them, consider your specific needs and application to determine which one is right for you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the Shure SM57 and SM58 are excellent microphones that have been widely used in the music industry for decades. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences that set them apart.

The SM57 is a dynamic microphone that is designed for use with instruments. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from the front and rejects sound from the sides and rear. The SM57 has a frequency response range of 40 Hz to 15 kHz and an impedance of 150 ohms. It is also very durable and can withstand rough handling and extreme temperatures.

On the other hand, the SM58 is also a dynamic microphone, but it is primarily designed for use with vocals. It has a similar cardioid polar pattern and frequency response range as the SM57, but it also has a built-in pop filter that helps to reduce plosives and other unwanted sounds. The SM58 has a slightly higher output level than the SM57 and is also more sensitive to sound.

When it comes to choosing between the two microphones, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and intended use. If you are primarily recording instruments, the SM57 may be the better choice, while if you are recording vocals, the SM58 may be more suitable. However, both microphones are versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications.

Overall, whether you choose the SM57 or SM58, you can be confident that you are getting a high-quality microphone that will deliver excellent sound quality and last for many years to come.