shure sm57 need phantom power

Does Shure SM57 Need Phantom Power? Get All Answers!

  • October 10, 2023
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Several types of microphones are used globally by musicians and content creators to produce high-quality sound for various purposes. Dynamic microphone Shure SM57 is one of the most popular mics highly known for its unique features.

However, some think this microphone requires external power to work efficiently, while others think the opposite. So, to clear up this debate, we have discussed in detail what the phantom power is and if it damages or enhances the operability of the SM57 mic.

sm57 and phantom power

Table of Contents

How do phantom power and the shure sm57 relate.

Phantom Power and Shure SM57 are two different things but are somehow related to each other. Being a part of the recording gear makes them part of the same ecosystem. Below, we have mentioned both in detail to help you understand their differences.

Shure SM57 

Shure SM57 is one of the renowned dynamic microphones used for versatile applications such as live performances and studio recordings. It has a durable design with exceptional sound quality and provides an amazing user experience in multiple scenarios and events. Besides this, it also reduces the background noise to enhance the original sound from the source. 

Musicians and producers worldwide are using this microphone for recording sound in high quality to produce professional audio tracks as per the requirement. In addition, the working mechanism of this microphone is unique because it generates electrical signals and is compatible with a wide range of audio equipment. 

shure sm57 microphone

Phantom Power

Phantom power represents a 48-volt electrical boost sent through cables to some microphones to make them work better. Normally, phantom power is discovered in condenser microphones, which enhances the overall features. The process of delivering direct current for driving active circuitry explains its directional mechanism.

However, the Shure SM57 is different because it’s a dynamic microphone. These types of microphones don’t need an external power source because they power themselves and create great sound without any help from outside.

phantom power source

Will Phantom Power Damage My SM57 Mic?

SM57 is one of those microphones that does not require an external power source to work efficiently. Being a dynamic microphone, they can convert the sound waves into electrical signals with the help of electromagnetic induction generated by the microphone. This indication explains that the SM57 is its power source, giving a robust transient response in all conditions.

Due to this, the need to use an external source gets zero, meaning there is no need for phantom power. As a result, we can say that phantom power will not damage the SM57 microphone. This indicates that connecting your SM57 to an audio interface that provides phantom power is safe and secure because the mic will disregard phantom power and continue to operate without any issues.

need of phantom power in sm57

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Shure SM57

A lot of dynamic microphones without phantom power have multiple benefits, making them very popular among live performers and musicians. Before using this particular gear for your recording or performance, you should know some important pros along with the cons:


  • Durability: Shure SM57 is specially designed to last long with its robust and rugged design. That is why selecting this microphone is one of the best options if you perform live or do some recordings in the studio environment. 
  • Frequency Response: This microphone offers 15kHz to 40Hz frequency response to give the user an upper hand for recording instrumental sounds. Also, it ensures that detailed sound is recorded properly to get the desired results.   
  • Versatility: The SM57 dynamic microphone supports a wide range of different applications, including brass instruments, vocals, and snare drums. With this, the sound quality this mic provides also becomes very smooth. 
  • Cardioid Pattern: Reducing background noise for recording the main sound source efficiently is now easier with SM57 due to its cardioid pickup pattern. This way, live sound is reinforced properly for better audio.


  • High-Frequency Deficiency: Condenser mics usually have higher frequency levels than dynamic microphones, which are more suitable in certain situations. That is why, in some cases, SM57 might not be the best choice for recording audio. 
  • Close Mic Placement: While using this microphone, users are required to place this mic accurately to the desired sound so that it can work properly. However, doing this limits the usability in multiple situations where a distant voice must be captured. 
  • Vocal Styles Limitation: SM57 is not suitable for such vocal styles that require capturing a wide range of sounds. Therefore, many people prefer to use condenser microphones for various applications.  
  • Compatibility Issue: Dynamic microphones are versatile, but for certain instrumental applications, they might not be a good fit. Moreover, the size and shape of SM57 are also unsuitable for microphone placement in unconventional spaces.

Build Quality of the Shure SM57

Those with in-depth information regarding microphones know well that the Shure SM57 dynamic mic is not only appreciated for its sound quality. It is also well known for its exceptionally robust build design that provides a smooth grip to its users even without phantom power. With this, it has the following components that define its reliable design: 

  • Steel Mesh Grille: The grille of this mic is crafted with hardened steel mash, which serves a dual purpose, including the microphone’s diaphragm shielding from damage. 
  • Shock Mounting: For protecting the microphone from sudden shocks, the mounting system is integrated into the Shure SM57 microphone. 
  • Metal Alloy Body: SM57’s longevity is ensured by its metal alloy body that protects the capsule, circuits, and other sensitive internal parts from sudden shocks. 
  • Resilience: The frequent handling, transportation, and physical stress-enduring capability of Shure SM57 is very strong. Due to this, it becomes suitable for multiple on-stage performances. 

Seven Reasons to Use the Shure SM57 Microphone Without Phantom Power

Using Shure SM57 for different events can be a good choice for several reasons. Below, we have mentioned some of these reasons in detail to help you understand why many people prefer to use SM57 microphones for musical events. 

Tailored Frequency Response

SM57 mics have a 40Hz to 15kHz frequency response rate, due to which they are one of the best mics for enhancing the drums, guitars, and vocal sounds. With the proximity effect provided by this mic, you can cause bass or “boom” to be pronounced close to the mic. This means that to create deeper tonality, you just need to get closer to this mic, and the bass will be increased.

sm57 microphone frequency response

The signature design of SM57 ensures that you can experiment with bass and proximity effectively when using the mic closely. Besides this, this design also provides a higher output above 5kHz, making your guitar, brass, and snare sound of high registers.

sm57 microphone design


Every instrument has an exceptionally high price, irrespective of its features in the music world. In contrast, Shure SM57 is one of the dynamic mics that has a very affordable price with its unique features. If you are a beginner or a music enthusiast who wants to experience amazing sound quality at different events, this mic is recommended due to its low cost and reliability. 

sm57 and affordability


SM57 is used for transient response with high SPL for guitar cabs and snares. However, it is a versatile microphone that is good for vocals in live performances. This mic is also capable enough to handle loud sound sources, including trumpet, drum, or screaming vocals from acoustic singers of multiple vocal styles. 

versatility of sm57 mics

Cardioid Polar Pattern 

Users are able to control and focus on sound coming from the microphone efficiently with the help of SM57 due to its cardioid polar pattern. This pattern isolates the sound source and minimizes the background noise, which provides good-quality sound. With this feature, using it for studio applications is one of the best options to generate specific results. 

sm57 microphone cardioid polar pattern

Wide Acceptance and Ease of Use

Sound professionals recognize SM57 as a standard mic in the industry due to its compatibility with various audio tools. With this, it also simplifies your setup and reduces compatibility concerns, which helps you a lot in multiple cases. They are easy to use because of their user-friendly design and compatibility. Therefore, users are not required to have technical knowledge about the mic before using it for content creation. 

acceptance of sm57

FAQs About SM57

Q1. Are there any Benefits of using Phantom Power with SM57?

No, there are no such benefits of using phantom power with SM57 because it does not require an external power source. This Dynamic microphone generates its electrical signals, due to which phantom power is of no use for it.  

Q2. What happens if you put phantom power on SM57?

If you try to put phantom power through SM57, there will be no effect on it. This is because it is a dynamic microphone that does not need any external source to convert sound waves into electrical signals to produce quality sound. 

Q3. Can I use SM57 for vocals?

Yes, you can use SM57 for vocals because this dynamic microphone is specially designed for live performances and studio recording. Its durable design and background noise-removing capability are a good fit for singers. 

Q4. Is SM57 dynamic mic noisy?  

If you are having some noise issues in SM57, check if your mic’s cables are properly set. This is because SM57 reduces the background noise and enhances the voice quality. So, if there is noise in the mic, it would be due to some technical issue.


Ultimately, we can conclude that SM57 microphones are useful in different scenarios depending on their features and compatibility. Besides this, we hope this article has provided you with complete guidance on whether that SM57 mic uses phantom power. In addition, with the different benefits and cons of this microphone, it would be easier for you to choose the right mic as per your requirements.

  • Answers , Phantom Power , Shure

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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shure sm57 need phantom power

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  • Sound Advice

Q. Are SM57s and SM58s sensitive to phantom power?

  • Microphones / Miking

On some smaller mixers, such as Mackie’s 802-VLZ3, phantom power is switchable only globally or in banks. Thankfully, moving-coil dynamics and even most ribbon mics won’t even ‘realise’ phantom power is present!

I have a question about Shure SM57 and SM58 mics and phantom power. My Mackie 802‑VLZ3 mixer’s phantom switch enables phantom power for mic inputs 1‑3 — it can’t be switched individually for each input. If I used my Rode NT1 [a capacitor microphone that requires phantom power to operate] on channel 1 and, say, an SM57 [a moving‑coil dynamic mic that doesn’t require phantom power] on channel 2, would the SM57 be affected by the phantom power it would have available to it? I have read the manual, and apparently a ribbon mic would be upset!

SOS Forum Post

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies : It’s not an issue. The two ends of the moving‑coil element in the SM57/58 are wired to XLR pins 2 and 3, and the body is wired to pin 1 (screen). Phantom power puts 48V on both pins 2 and 3, returning to pin 1. So as far as the moving‑coil mic is concerned, it’s got no voltage difference across the coil (because there’s 48V at both ends) and as there’s no connection between the coil and pin 1, no phantom current can flow. Essentially, the SM57/58 has no idea phantom is present at all.

...the tie‑lines between studio floor and control rooms at the old BBC Television Centre had 48V permanently enabled...

It would be a pretty poor ribbon mic if it were so easily ‘upset’ but there are some (mostly very ancient) ribbons that genuinely don’t like phantom power. It’s not something I’ve ever worried about, though, and I happily use Coles and AEA ribbons with phantom on the lines. In fact, the tie‑lines between studio floor and control rooms at the old BBC Television Centre had 48V permanently enabled on the floor boxes, to allow mic patching on a standard (PO316 B‑gauge) patchbay without having phantom across the patchbay’s sockets. It also meant that all mic plugging/unplugging on the studio floor was ‘hot plugging’ with phantom permanently on the lines.

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Church Sound Tips

How to use a Shure SM57 Mic – setup for vocals, drums, amps

Frank Edwards

About the author

frank edwards

Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.

Throughout the music world, if we speak about both audio engineers and musicians, it is well known that Shure SM57 is an essential piece of equipment. It is a much-loved piece of gear among professionals because of its sound quality, durability, and versatility, but also for amateurs due to its incredibly affordable price.

Shure SM57 is a dynamic mic with unidirectional (cardioid) polar pattern.

It captures only the sound source which is aimed direct while rejecting other sounds and noises from the side and behind it. This ability makes it an incredibly good choice for live performance, especially for micing drums. Many drummers use SM57 because it can handle very loud sound pressure level (150 SPL) and capture and produce sound without distorting. I found that the official Shure answer to the question “What is the max sound pressure level this mike can take before distortion?” was “Over 180 dB SPL – like the sound of the Space Shuttle launch at a close distance.” Pretty incredible, right? That means if you can scream into your SM57, it will handle it like a boss.

That’s the good points, however, this model does have one flaw. As I said earlier, it doesn’t require phantom power, but it requires a lot of gain from your preamp when you are recording lower sounds, which can increase unwanted noise. To avoid this, feel free to bring your Shure SM57 as close to the sound source as possible.

Microphone Placement

Microphone placement might be one of the most important things while recording any kind of sound. Look at it this way; your microphone is your ear; where you want to stand to hear the best of the sound source? It’s a matter of your personal taste… There are no written rules where to exactly place the microphone while recording, but there are some suggestions which can be useful for you to know.

Like any other microphone, SM57 can give countless different results depending on where it is placed. Because of the proximity effect, even the best mic in the world will sound fat, boomy, bassy (name it however you want) if the sound source is too close. Also, if you are recording too far away from sound source or off-axis (angled different way from the sound source) sound may be miserable. In this case proximity effect with SM57 could be your best friend. Since it boosts 6 to 10 dB at 100hz, when the sound source is less than 6 mm (1/4 in.), it will significantly provide you with warmer and richer bass.

Every regular mic, placed optimally for a recording, can capture pretty good and satisfying sound. After recording, that track, if treated properly with EQ, compressor, and other desired plugins, you can produce outstanding results. Even the best and most expensive microphone can give disastrous results just if not placed properly. Getting the best result with microphone placement takes a bit of time to experiment and practice. While it’s true that the chance of getting the best recording is greater with a high-quality microphone, it is good to know that sometimes quality and price don’t always correlate.

Guitar amps

A dynamic mic such as SM57 is mostly used for live sound because of its ability to reject noise and the way it is made. It can handle heavy usage, and a really high SPL (sound pressure level) than the other, non-dynamic mics. There are some good methods for mic positioning with which you can make a great recording such as:

From The Front

Placing the microphone closer to the center of the speaker should give a brighter and cleaner sound while moving it further away or angling it toward the speaker will make your amp sound warmer. Start with your mic aimed at the center of your cabinet moved an inch back from the speaker cone.

Moving the mic even closer to the grill will increase the level of low frequencies and will reduce the cabinet’s influence to the overall sound. To get more of the room tone and the cabinet’s influence of the sound, try to move back your microphone a few inches more from the speaker. This position will probably provide you with the highest frequencies.

If you decide to record with less high frequencies and more warmth, move your SM57 sideways. And keep in mind you move in just one-inch increments because even a small increment can make a big difference in sound.

Front And Back

If you have an open-backed amp, one mic on the front and another mic from the back side of the cabinet will produce a very interesting tone. Be aware that phase may occur with this way of recording once when you mix these two tracks. To avoid phase in your mix for this particular situation, after recording, you should process one of the mics (I suggest a rear one) through a short delay (it should be less than 3 milliseconds).

At An Angle

Try to put your mic at an angle from top to center of your speaker or from the mic on the floor pointed at the center. The floor will produce more vibrations and because of that you will achieve more bass frequencies and specific tone depending on your floor material (wood, carpet…) Of course, you can do the same but from any side, left or right. Well really from anywhere if it will capture a sound that you like.

Lean The Amp

If you think that previous techniques eats your sound, for example, floor makes too many vibrations and therefore bass frequencies are increased, we suggest you to try leaning the amp back and aim your mic at the center of the speaker (as usual). Some amplifiers have “legs” for leaning or come with special stands for that purpose which completely isolates the amp from the floor. If your amp doesn’t have that ability, you should figure it out yourself how to do it. For example, you could lean it back on the chair. Just make sure that back side of your amp, especially if open-backed, isn’t directly behind the wall because it will abnormally affect bass response.

shure sm 57

Every drummer, no matter how experienced, as well as the recording engineer will admit that this part can be very complicated. Before recording, or live performance, you need to know what kind of sound you want from your drums. Keep in mind that you should have one microphone for each component; it is not mandatory but is desirable. You wouldn’t believe in how many famous songs the drums were recorded with just a few microphones. Either way, with a higher number of microphones, your ability to further process each component increases, which means – better sound.

First of all, you need microphones which, above all, can handle a high SPL (sound pressure level) which makes the SM57 perfect choice for drums. The loud drum hits could cause distortion on other mics with lower SPL. So the high SPL, great rear rejection of noise and mid focused tone make the SM57 an amazing microphone for snare drums especially. You might also be interested in my other post about the sound level of drums .

The snare is usually miked four inches away from the edge of the snare drum and aiming at the center. The four inches rule can help keep the mic away from undesired harmonics from the hoop, the edge of the head, while making the SM57 safe and secure from stick hitting. Keeping a distance of your mic from the drum, will help avoid damaging it. Placing your mic further away from this position will import more ambiance into the sound and moving it closer will add low frequencies as a consequence of the proximity effect. This can be useful to a point, but on the other hand, if you get your mic too close, the sound will be unnatural. If the drummer is playing a cross-stick part, aiming the mic at the spot where the stick hits the rim can help achieve a stronger sound. Also, miking the bottom of the snare could be usable because it can work well when mixed in with the top snare microphone. It assists to catch some of the snare wires sizzle. Note that with this technique, a phase in your mix may also appear.

Believe it or not, it is possible and can be done. And why would it not be possible? Shure SM57 is as good as any other microphone and not only can this work, but it can also provide excellent results if the kick channel is EQ-ed properly. On the other hand, there are tons of different approaches and microphone placements which will deliver you completely different sounds of your kick drum. When u place your mic inside your kick drum, aim it at center close to the beating head, you will achieve that “dot” sound of your bass drum. If your mic is placed outside of your kick drum you will achieve the very low end of it, but this is possible only if you have a hole in the outer head which diameter is at least 6 inches. Yes, it is true that it matters if the hole is in the center or near the edge of the drum head, but that is completely different science. First of all, that is the matter of drummers taste and the sound he likes.

When micing the toms, the SM57 as a dynamic, unidirectional microphone is an excellent choice. Same as for snare drum, the rule of 4 inches would be a perfect placement and will provide you with the best sound of your toms. With outstanding noise rejection of SM57, you don’t need to worry about capturing many other sounds of your drums such as kick, another tom, snare or cymbals. Again, same as for snare, you can use another mic and place it below the tom to get the true warmness of the resonant head. With this Shure model, you can be sure that you will catch every frequency of your toms and that it will provide you signal without any distortion.

Hi-Hat is usually recorded with a small condenser mic, but SM57 can handle this job really well. You should mic the hi-hat from above, around 3 inches away from it and if there is a chance to point it away from the kit that would be perfect. You should take the proximity effect into consideration when recording cymbals. If you place your mic too close to the hi-hat it will sound dull. Even this can be EQ-ed, but I suggest you try to avoid it. Another mic placement to avoid is where the hi-hat is compiled. Air pressure when hi-hat is open/close can introduce some amount of noise and it can sound really strange.


Percussion instruments like congas, bongos, tabla, can be miked same as any other drum. That means from above with a single mic placed between the drums to capture the sound of the both, or one mic for each drum. Unlike the bongos, tabla doesn’t have an open hole at the bottom and it is relatively quiet so you will need to get the mic in a bit closer. Using a mic with a tight cardioid pickup pattern for percussions on stage, such as Shure SM57 is a great option. If there is a chance for miking both the big and the small percussion individually, this would be perfect, because then you can better express its tonal qualities with separate EQ-ing. Place the mics between 2 and 4 inches from each head, angled slightly away from each other to get the better and defined tone. You might want to read my post on how to mic a cajon .

Check out my post on 101 Ideas for Church Sound Systems

sm57 frequency chart

Acoustic Instruments

This Shure worldwide favorite microphone is primarily made for helping audio engineers achieve great sound from acoustic instruments. Due to its marvelous characteristics, frequency response and high SPL, this lovely microphone is great for micing any acoustic instrument, such as acoustic guitar, trumpet, saxophone and the brass section in general.

Acoustic Guitar

Those without much experience of recording acoustic guitar, will say that you should place the mic in front of its sound hole. That makes sense because it is where the sound comes from, right? If you place your mic there, the only thing you can expect is a boomy sound fomr your guitar which will be difficult to process. On the other hand, placing the microphone as close to the guitar as possible can lead to different kind of results, for example, too much fret noise. A good place to mic your guitar is from around 5 inches away from it. Placing the mic 5 to10 inches away from the spot where fretboard and body meet each other usually captures the most natural sound.

Woodwinds & Brass

Sometimes, when placing the mic, a half an inch of distance in or out, or a couple degrees of angle change of the mic placement will significantly affect the captured sound. Close miking expands the sounds of valves, bows, hammers which are pretty unwanted in your recording. Also, harmonic content, mechanical noises, and sound pressure level change and rise considerably. There is a complete science about miking each wind instrument and the simplest explanation would be 10 inches from the sound source. Start with that and experiment. Find your own sound.

Do not be surprised  that the SM57 does not have to be strictly an instrumental microphone, by which it is best known. You should know that famous among singers SM58 has the same capsule as SM57. The main reason why you should own and use an SM57 is to have an additional spare vocal mic which can handle really loud singers. Some singers have such a powerful voice which can easily overwhelm your condenser mic, although they are often used as vocal microphones for choirs. The SM57 for vocals with no exception can be the best choice for rock, rap vocals and for voice actors also. You may lose some of the clarity of a condenser, but you can have a solid natural recording which will be without distortion.

General Rules:

  • Place the microphone to the desired sound source as close as possible.
  • Aim the microphone at the desired sound source and away from unwanted sources.
  • Place the microphone really close to the sound source for an extra bass response.
  • Try to use only one mic per sound source.
  • Keep mic away from sound reflecting surfaces.
  • Add a windscreen when using outdoors or for closeup speech
  • Avoid extreme handling to decrease mechanical noise
  • Use with a pop filter to avoid problems with sibilance etc
  • Give attention ot mic and singer placement

Does the Shure SM57 need phantom power?

Dynamic microphones sound a bit different than any other condenser mics and it do not require phantom power . So no, the SM57  doesn’t need phantom power supplied for it to work.

Will phantom power damage SM57?

Dynamic mics such as the SM57, which have a balanced output cannot be damaged by phantom power as the voice coil or ribbon is not connected to the mic ground. Mics with a balanced output could however be damaged by 48v phantom power.

frank edwards


The Definitive Shure SM57 Review

Possibly the most versatile mic in the world with an astonishing price tag.

Reviewed by: Paul Narang Review date: November 2023 Price: Around $100

Shure SM57 Review

The Shure SM57 is a legendary dynamic microphone, a staple of studios and live shows around the globe.  It’s known for a combination of smooth, reliable sound and near-indestructible build quality. A super versatile mic, the SM57 performs well on drums, guitars, guitar amps, spoken-word and more.  It’s also great value, retailing for less than $120.

What is it?

The Shure SM57 is one of the most widely used microphones in the world. It’s a dynamic mic, with a cardioid polar pattern. The SM in the name stands for ‘Studio Microphone’, but its also a favourite amongst live performers thanks to its durability and superior noise rejection.

Shure, a company with its long history of producing classic microphones, have been pioneering directional dynamic mics as far back as the 1930s.  They introduced the SM57 in 1965, which quickly became a go-to for sound engineers and musicians alike. It’s been used on the podium at the White House since it was released, which is a testament to both its reliability and sound quality.

The SM57 was one of the first mics I bought, and it’s been in regular use in the studio and on stage for many years. I find it great for miking up acoustic guitars, guitar amps, and a whole range of other instruments. Whilst it’s not my first choice for recording lead vocals, it works very well on spoken word.

You’ll also see the Shure SM57 at most live gigs, noticeably on drums, horns and guitar cabs.

Inside the box you’ll find:

  • 3/8″ Thread Adapter

Dynamic vs condenser microphone

The Shure SM57 is a ‘dynamic’ mic, making it particularly suitable for live use. Dynamic microphones differ to condenser mics in the following ways:

  • They’re less sensitive (suitable for loud sounds)
  • They’re less prone to feedback on stage
  • They’re more rugged and durable for live use
  • They’re cheaper
  • There’s no need for batteries or phantom power

More about the different types of microphones here

Dynamic mics in the home recording studio

Although dynamic mics are regularly used in live performance, they also have a unique place in the studio. The lack of sensitivity might sound like a drawback, but it can also work to your advantage.

A dynamic microphone, particularly one with a cardioid polar pattern, will pick up less of a poor sounding room, street sounds, or distant traffic rumble. It’s also the ideal choice for loud instruments such as drums and brass.

They also have their own tone, and can be used to tame shrill sounding instruments, or to add darkness and grit to overly bright vocals.

SM57 Polar pattern

Like many dynamic microphones the Shure SM57 uses a cardioid pickup pattern, which is a heart shape. It picks up sound from the front, but rejects sound from the back and sides. This makes it ideal for use on stage, where you can isolate the vocals from other noisy instruments.

The Shure SM57 vs SM57-LC vs SM57-LCE

The Shure SM57 and the SM57-LC are the same model. LC used to stand for ‘less cable’, as there were two versions available to buy – one with an one without an included cable. There’s just the option without a cable now, which to confuse matters further, is also known as the Shure SM57 LCE.

Is there an on/off switch on the Shure M57?

There’s no on/off switch on the SM57 – this adds to the robust simplicity of the microphone, leaving less to go wrong while you’re live on stage. It’s common for pro-level microphones designed for the stage to lack an on/off switch, as the sound tends to be controlled by the audio engineer. And they want to make sure the vocalist doesn’t accidentally switch the mic off.

If you really need an on/off switch, you could buy the similar SM58S (rather than the Shure SM58LC). Another alternative with a would be the 545SD-LC, which shares the same Unidyne III element as the SM57 and includes a switch.

Phantom power for the Shure SM57?

The Shure M57 is a dynamic mic, which means it doesn’t require any form of external power. There’s no need for batteries, or ‘phantom power’ from the audio interface or mixer. This does make the signal a little lower than a condenser mic, which is powered to increase the volume.

Connecting the Shure SM57

The SM57 uses an XLR cable to connect directly to an audio interface or mixer. XLR are the standard connectors on all professional studio equipment. They’re ‘balanced’, which means the cables are shielded from interference and carry a higher signal than unbalanced cables.

If your audio interface or mixer has 1/4″ jack inputs, you’ll need a cable with an XLR connector on one end, and a 1/4″ jack on the other, like this . Keeping cable lengths to a minimum is good practice to maintain the best signal.

More about cables here

The Shure SM57 design and build

The design of the Shure SM57 is simple and durable, with no unnecessary bells and whistles. The integrated pneumatic shock mount reduces bumps and stand noise for live use.

The SM57 is an end-address mic, with a smooth cylindrical metal body. The internal cartridge and the grille are connected as part of an integral resonator/grille assembly.

Inside it uses the same dynamic capsule as the SM58. But in place of the SM58’s bulb-shaped grille and built-in pop filter, is a shorter flatter grille. The reduced size makes it easier to get the SM57 closer to instruments, reducing feedback on stage, and adding to the proximity effect. 

Shure have a long history of making mics that cope well with the rough and tumble of touring, and the SM57 is no exception – it’s known for being close to indestructible. A quick youtube search will bring up many videos of people doing their best to destroy it – smashing it with a hammer, dunking it in water, or even running it over with a car.

Shure SM57 Dimensions and Weight

The Shure SM57 is small, portable, and has a nicely balanced weight to it. 


  • 157mm (1 1/4 inch) length
  • 32mm (6 3/16 inch) head width
  • 23mm (29/32 inch) end width

0.284 kg (0.625 lbs)

Shure SM57 Frequency range

The Shure SM57 has a frequency response of 40 Hz to 15 kHz. There’s a slight peak in the bass around 200 Hz – handy for recording guitar cabinets, toms or spoken word.  Below 40 Hz the frequency continues to drop away, keeping your recording free of low frequnecy rumble.

There’s a small dip between around 300 to 600Hz which helps reduce muddiness in the low mids.  Above this the response remains fairly flat, until a presence boost from around 3kHz up to 6kHz.  This is what makes the SM57 great for capturing the ‘snap’ of a snare, or the ‘twang’ of a guitar.  From around 9kHz upwards the response slowly falls away, with very little sensitivity above 15kHz.

Inevitably, the top-end of the SM57 isn’t as bright as many studio condenser mics. By comparison, the Rode NT1-A extends all the way up to 20kHz.  But the reduced top-end does have its advantages – you’ll pick up less room ambience and subdue the shrill highs of a harsh instrument.

SM57 Sensitivity and Impedance

The SM57 has a cardioid polar pattern, which is great at rejecting noise from the front and sides.  I tested the pickup pattern on my voice by slowly rotating the microphone as I spoke. I found that as soon as I was side on, at 90° to the mic, the sensitivity dropped dramatically.  This stayed consistent around the rear of the microphone, as well as on the other side.

The SM57 has a low sensitivity rating of -56 dBV, which is useful for a number of reasons. Low sensitivity mics are generally much better at rejecting room noise. With the SM57, I found that as I moved more than about 2ft away from the mic it picked up far less of my voice.  This is a godsend for anyone recording in noisy, or untreated rooms. Also great for avoiding bleed if you’re miking up a few different instruments.

The Shure SM57 can also cope with really loud sounds. Depending on the frequency, the max SPL ranges from 150db to 190db, all of which is way louder than even the loudest guitar amp.  In most settings, nothing is too loud for this mic.

One potential downside of this lower sensitivity, is that you need quite a lot of gain to get it up to line level.  The SM57 requires 56db of gain, but this should be achievable on most mixing desks or audio interfaces. If you need more gain, you can always use a preamp like a Cloudlifter or Fethead.

The mic has a low impedance of 310 Ohms, which helps carry the signal from mic to amp with minimal distortion.

SM57 Sound quality

There’s a good reason why the Shure SM57 is one of the most popular microphones in the world. As well as durable build quality and great noise rejection, its a great mic for consistent audio quality on stage and in the recording studio.

It’s never going to be as sparkly and bright as a studio condenser mic, but the SM57 does have a consistent, warm tone. There’s plenty of body, and just enough top-end to be useful in a wide range of situations.  Personally, I wouldn’t use this for lead vocals in the studio, unless I needed more proximity effect, which the shorter grille enables.

I do routinely reach for the SM57 for recording drums, guitars, and brass instruments.  I find the presence boost particularly flattering on snares and electric guitars, as it doesn’t add too much brightness. It’s also lovely on spoken word. With a pop shield and the right mic position, you can easily get a remarkably warm and even sound.

Shure SM57 for recording vocals

Although the SM57 wasn’t designed as a vocal mic, it has the same cartridge as the SM58. The two mics are nearly identical, but the lack of a pop filter means it’s quite sensitive to plosives. Shure do make their own foam windshields if you need one, which are compatible with the SM57 (the A2WS and A81WS). 

You can also use an external pop shield if you have one lying around which should work just as well. The SM57 is quite sensitive to the proximity effect, but I find using a pop shield keeps me a good distance from the mic when recording.

It isn’t normally my first choice for lead vocals, but I’ve used it for multitracking backing vocals which works well. With a windscreen it has a similar warm tone to the more expensive Shure SM7B, which is often used on podcasts and radio.  If the SM7B is out of your price range, then this could be the next best thing for spoken word.

Shure SM57 for recording guitar

The SM57 is great on acoustic guitar. I’ve used it with success on my smaller than average acoustic guitar which lacks the bass of bigger models and sounds quite bright. It’s a good fit, with the SM57 adding a subtle bass boost, and the rolling off the top end, for a nice get a nice warm tone.

If I’m working on an arrangement with multi-tracked guitars, I’ll often just use a single mic, as several mono tracks are easy to mix. But when I’m recording a featured guitar track, I’ll use two mics for a fuller stereo effect. 

I think the Rode NT1-A makes a good partner to the Shure SM57. The NT1-A is a large diaphragm condenser mic which compliments the darker tones of the SM57 with its brightness and clarity.

Try placing the Rode near the bridge, with the 57 roughly level with the 12th fret, pointing towards the sound-hole. The NT1-A provides the detail and sparkle, whilst the SM57 adds the warmth, depth and body. 

Shure SM57 in the studio

If you have an SM57 in the studio, I’m sure you’ll fend plenty of uses. It’s a mic you can put on most sound sources, especially when you only need a mono recording for multi-tracking. 

It sounds amazing when recording electric guitar cabinets – the high SPL of the 57 means you can crank the cab to eleven without ever worrying about overloading the mic.  And the flat grille means you can place this dynamic microphone up close for a beefy tone. The smooth high frequency roll-off of means it won’t sound too harsh on the distorted guitar.

I’ve also used the SM57 to record an upright piano, pairing it with a condenser mic as I do for acoustic guitar. The combination of complimenting tones produces a rich, detailed piano sound with a wide stereo image. If you’re looking for a more rocky sound, a single SM57 might be all you need.

The SM57 is also a popular choice for miking up drums, which need to be able to handle loud sound sources. The warmth and snap is perfect for snare drum, toms, and even the kick drum.

The Shure SM57 in live use

It’s not often I go to a live gig without seeing at least one SM57 onstage. It’s one of those rare mics equally lauded for studio and live applications. 

The reason the SM57 is so popular at live gigs live gigs is the excellent noise rejection, which is so important for minimising stage bleed and feedback.  There’s also the high SPL, making it difficult to overload, and of course the tank-like build quality and ruggedness.

Just as in the studio, you’ll see SM57s on guitar amps and guitar cabs and miking up snares and toms on stage. Many live sound engineers have several SM57’s ready to go, just to make sure they can cover all eventualities.

The intriguing background of the Shure SM57

The SM57 (1965) and SM58 (1966) were based on Shure’s popular ‘Unidyne III 545’ of 1959. This was a mic developed by Ernie Seeler for PA systems, and it already incorporated a pneumatic shock mount. Reliability and strength were important to Ernie, and Shure report that he tested the mic by “dropping, cooking, freezing, and submerging it”.

For the SM series, Shure decided to loose the on/off switch, retain its durability, and promote it for broadcast use. SM originally stood for ‘studio microphone’

But the company found the broadcast market a difficult nut to crack, due to stiff competition by established companies, such as RCA, EV and AKG. Sales were slow, and Shure began having discussions about discontinuing both the SM57 and SM58. It wasn’t until they began pitching the SM series to live sound engineers, that the mics found their natural market.

Shure sm57 vs shure sm58.

The SM58, one of the most widely used microphones of all time, has been an industry standard for live vocals for years.  Both of these similar mics were developed by Shure in the mid 60s. 

They share the same mic capsule design and internal circuitry, and have a similar frequency range, with the SM58 starting just slightly higher at 50Hz, compared to the SM57’s 40Hz.

The difference is in the grille. The SM58 has a round bulb-shaped grille with a built-in pop filter, whereas the SM57 has a shorter, flatter grille with no pop filter. The short grille of the SM57 means you can get it closer to an instrument, and increase the proximity effect, for more bass.

The two microphones have similar frequency responses, but there are some small differences. The SM57 is capable of capturing bass down to 40 kHz, compared to the SM58, which starts around 50 kHz. It has a gentle bass roll off, arriving at a smooth plateaux at 1200 kHz. In contrast, the SM58 has a steeper bass roll off, starting at 50Hz and quickly arriving at a flat section at 100 Hz.

The main other difference is in the higher frequencies. The SM57 has an increased boost in the high frequencies at around 6 kHz. It’s a slightly brighter mic than the SM58, and although the SM58 is the go to mic for vocals, the SM57 might occasionally be more suitable for vocals that would benefit from that high frequency boost.

I do sometimes struggle to tell the difference between the two mics, but I’d generally reach for the SM57 over the SM58 when I’m trying to capture more bass, or I need to enhance the higher frequencies. It’s always good to try the different mics out – looking at frequency charts is just a theoretical guide. But actually listening carefully to the sound being recorded, and using your own discernment is what really produces useful results.

For most people, choosing between the Sm57 vs SM58 will depend on what the mic will primarily be used for.  For live vocals, the SM58 is the obvious choice, but for an all-round studio mic, the SM57 makes more sense. If you do ever need to use it on vocals, just pair it with a windscreen and you’ll get very similar results to the SM58.

Read the full SM58 review here

Shure SM57 vs Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is famous for capturing Michael Jackson’s vocals on the Thriller album.  But its also very popular for podcasts and live streams. The SM7B was designed as a vocal mic, normally placed on a stand, but sometimes handheld. It’s bigger and much weightier than the SM57, so holding the mic doesn’t have the same feel or look as a slimmer vocal mic like the SM57.

The Shure SM7B also offers low-cut and presence boost switches for refining your sound at source. There’s also more top-end than the SM57, extending upwards to 20kHz, and it has a flatter response through the high-mids.

The SM7B is a very competent mic, with a well deserved reputation for recording spoken word. But it’s much more expensive than the SM57. In a side to side comparison between the SM57 and the SM7B, I was surprised at just how many sonic traits they had in common.

The SM7B sounds a little flatter and has a richer low-end than the SM57, but the differences between the two mics are subtle.  With good mic placement, a windshield and some EQ, I think you can get similar results on speech.

Consider also that the SM7B is nowhere near as useful as an instrument microphone. So depending on your needs, you might be better off saving some money and opting for the SM57.

Read the full Shure SM7B review here

Shure SM57 vs Audix i5

The Audix i5 is an intriguing alternative to the Shure SM57.  It’s not as well known, but it has earned a solid reputation as an affordable and trustworthy instrument mic.  Audix are relative newcomers to the microphone world. The US company was established in 1984, and offer a range of stylish, durable microphones for live and studio use.  

The Audix i5 sits in the same niche as the SM5  – a multipurpose dynamic mic that can handle the volume of drums and guitar cabs.  Just like the Shure, it has a sleek metal body and a flat-headed grille. However, it’s slightly shorter and lighter than the SM57, and at the time of writing is around the same price.

The i5 and the SM57 have quite a similar sound with just subtle differences in the frequency response.  I haven’t had the chance to compare the two mics directly, but some people find the i5 a little brighter or more scooped. This could be due to the small peak at 2.5kHz, and more of a dip in the low mids. 

What else do you need?

With any dynamic microphone, you’ll need:

  • Microphone stand

Mic stands reduce any handling noise in the studio. Try a good quality boom stand, with a tripod base like the K&M 210/2

If you want the best quality XLR cables, try these . Go for the shorter lengths where possible.

If you want to use your SM57 as a vocal mic, simply pair it with a pop shield, for that SM58 sound. A pop shield stops little bursts of air causing bassy pops on your studio recordings. You can easily make one out of stockings, or buy one here .

The Shure SM57 has really earned its stripes as one of the most popular and widely used microphones in the world.  It’s extremely durable, great at noise rejection, and able to handle even the loudest sounds. 

It’s also incredibly versatile – it’s rich and warm tone adapts well to a huge variety of different instruments in and out of the studio.  Despite all of this, it’s unexpectedly affordable. making it a great starter mic for beginners, and an essential tool for the pros.

Shure SM57 Frequently Asked Questions

How do i know if my sm57 is counterfeit.

The weight of a counterfeit SM57 is likely to be lower than the 284g of a genuine one. Check the space where both sections of the SM57 screw together – on a real SM57 each section is rounded, leaving a little gap. Also look out for poor print quality on the microphone, box and documents with a fake SM57.

Why is the Shure SM57 so popular?

The popularity of the SM57 is due to low feedback and great side rejection on stage, solid build quality, and versatility in the studio and for live use. It also has a smooth warm sound, can handle high sound pressure levels, and is very competitively priced.

Is the Shure SM57 mono or stereo?

The SM57 is a mono microphone. You can use two of them to create the left and right of a stereo signal.

Can the Shure SM57 be used as a vocal mic?

The Shure SM57 can certainly be used as a vocal mic. Although it’s most well known as a mic for recording instruments, adding a pop shield to the SM57 makes it nearly identical in sound to the legendary SM58 vocal mic.

Read the guide – best live vocal mics

  • March 19, 2021

Shure SM57 Review: The Workhorse of Pro Audio

shure sm57 need phantom power

Walk into any professional recording studio and you’ll probably see a Shure SM57.

In fact, I can almost guarantee the studio owns at least one SM57.

But why? What makes this microphone commonplace in the recording world?

Let’s look at its quality, how to use it, how to modify it (optional), and if it’s even worth buying at all…

But if you want to learn about the Shure SM57 specifically, keep reading.

Shure SM57 Overview

Let’s first look at the sound quality, cost, and specifications of the SM57.

On the reputable audio engineer forum Gearslutz , it has an overall rating of 4.15 stars out of 5, with 48 reviews (as of this writing).

So, clearly, it’s a very good mic.

Sound Quality

home recording studio

Shure made the SM57 so it was versatile and able to handle most sound sources.

Engineers in online forums use this well-known phrase to describe it. Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Some mics are good for only a specific instrument. The SM57 does well on most of them.

It can handle loud sound sources because it’s a dynamic mic. Yet it can still pick up the nuances of quieter instruments with the proper mic placement.

On some instruments, like acoustic guitar, it can sound warm. On others, like hi-hats, you’ll get more top end.

Granted, it’s not immune to the proximity effect . Which is when the audio quality is diminished if a low note of a sound source is too close.

But as long as you keep it 6–12 inches away (depending on the sound source), you can capture high-quality sounds.

Plus, this mic is super durable, just likes its sibling the SM58. The SM57 can take a beating and still sound just as good as it did out of the box.

money earned from music streaming

The SM57 is just under $100. And that’s a great deal for the quality, versatility, and reliability you get with this mic.

That price point fits the budget of most home producers. And the quality matches what you’d hear in a pro-level studio.


Here are the SM57 specs you’ll need to know:

  • Microphone type: dynamic
  • Polar pickup pattern: cardioid (captures audio from the front)
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz to 15 kHz
  • Connector: XLR

The Best Way to Use the Shure SM57

What is Shure SM57 used for?

You can use it on a lot of things. But here are the instruments it sounds best on and the mic placement for each.

Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitarist

Using an SM57, or any dynamic mic, on an acoustic guitar will give you a warm sound.

You will have to place it closer to the guitar than you would a condenser microphone because it’s not as sensitive. Try pointing it at the twelfth fret about eight inches away and adjust from there.

If you want a warmer, bassier sound, point it halfway between the bridge and butt of the guitar.

Because it’s a dynamic mic, this may lead to a sound that’s too muddy. So keep an ear out for that.

drum kit

Many engineers opt to use a small condenser mic on hi-hats, but the SM57 does just fine too. As a dynamic mic, it can handle the loud, harsh sounds of hi-hats.

Place the mic about three inches above the hi-hats. Feel free to move it further away if you’re running into the proximity effect.

If the hi-hats sound dull, the mic is too close.

Also, don’t place the mic where the hi-hats come together. Air pressure from the closing of the hats can hit the mic capsule and cause a strange sound.

sticks set on a snare drum

Sound On Sound contributor Mike Senior says the SM57 is a good option for snares.

“An SM57 close mic is often recommended—and with good reason; it’s easily the most commonly used snare mic professionally.”

When miking a snare with an SM57, place it four inches away from the edge of the drum and aim it at the center of the head.

This will give you the best sound and also avoids the drummer accidentally hitting the mic. However, even if that does happen, the SM57 is super durable and probably won’t get damaged.

This obviously isn’t exact math. It can change depending on your snare drum, the room you’re in, and the sound you want for the song.

If you want more ambiance and room sound, move the mic further away from the snare. For more low end, move it closer.

Senior also said that, if possible, it’s better to use a mic underneath the snare as well. This will give the drum a fuller sound.

kick drum

You can mic your kick drum in many different ways, but there are two options that can work well with an SM57.

First, you can point the mic directly at the audience side of the drumhead about 2–3 inches away.

This will give you a nice boomy sound. And if it’s picking up too much low end, you can move it a couple of inches away.

The second option is to use a boom mic stand. Put the mic inside the drumhead cutout on the audience side of the skin.

Move it toward the drummer side of the skin until it’s not quite halfway inside the drum. This will give you more of a clicking sound.

And if you need more top end, point it more towards the beater. For more mid-range frequencies, point it away from the beater.

fender guitar amp

You can mic a guitar amp many ways, but we’ll just look at miking it from the front.

From the front, you can point the mic toward the center of the amp about an inch or so away. This will capture a bright and clear sound.

If you angle the mic away from the center, you’ll end up with a warmer sound.

And as with any other instrument, the closer the mic is, the more low end you’ll get. And the further away you move it, the more room sound comes into play.

vocalist on stage holding a microphone

Condenser mics are typically better for vocals. But the SM57 can capture them well too.

I should mention, the SM57 and SM58 have the exact same capsule. But the SM58 has a metal grill, while the SM57 does not. This metal grill serves as a pop filter, so some people prefer it for vocals.

However, the SM57 is great for loud singers. So if you’re recording loud rock or rap, it can be just the thing you need.

Is the Shure SM57 Worth Buying?

money for studio monitors pouring out of a jar

If you’ll be miking one of the instruments we covered above, then yes, the SM57 is worth the $100.

The bang-for-your-buck factor is so good, it’s impossible to ignore. Plus, it won’t pick up much background noise, which is common in home studios.

Basically, you can get a pro-quality mic for a very reasonable price.

It’s not the first mic choice for these instruments. It can still be a solid supplemental mic to have on hand if you want options.

What About Shure SM57 Modifications?

A modification means you do minor surgery on a piece of equipment to change the sound.

This can be a fun experiment if you have the budget for a new SM57, in case the modification goes south.

There’s a modification you can do to a Shure SM57 that will bring out more low end. This is according to highly respected producer and engineer Terry Manning .

He said performing this modification will cause the mic to lose about 10 dB. But he said if you use the Rode D-PowerPlug with the XLR connector, you’ll get back 10–15 dB.

If you’re more of a visual learner, this video clearly shows you how to perform this modification:

You can also replace the transformer of the SM57. Or just remove it altogether, as audio engineer Randy Coppinger did.

This will also result in a loss of dB but can then handle much louder sound sources.

WARNING: if you try to modify your SM57, understand it could ruin your mic if you do it wrong. This is for experimental purposes only.

Shure SM57 FAQs

shure sm57

Just to make sure you don’t leave this post with any questions, here are the most common ones people ask.

Does the Shure SM57 need phantom power?

No. Because it’s a dynamic mic, it does not require phantom power.

Technically, you can leave phantom power active while using an SM57. However, it’s not necessary, and just to be safe, it’s best to turn off phantom power beforehand.

Which is better: Shure SM57 or SM58?

The SM57 and SM58 are essentially the same microphones, as they have the exact same capsule. The difference is that the SM58 has a metal grill while the SM57 does not.

Is the Shure SM57 good for vocals?

Yes. As covered above, it can work very well on loud singers. But if you’re looking for a vocal mic, you may want to look at a condenser microphone first.

Now, if you already own an SM57, you can get a good vocal sound with it.

Why is my SM57 so quiet?

The SM57 is a dynamic microphone, which means it’s not as sensitive as a condenser microphone. This is good news if you’re recording louder sound sources.

But you may notice you’ll have to turn up the gain on your interface more than you’re used to in order to get a loud enough recording.

Overall, the SM57 is a solid choice if you need a dynamic mic for your home studio.

It’s affordable, versatile, durable, and (most importantly) it captures high-quality audio.

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Acoustic Guitar

Everything You Need to Know About Microphone Phantom Power

Doug Young

  • March 27, 2017

I f you’ve used microphones for live performances or in the studio, you’ve almost certainly encountered phantom power—that slightly mysterious-sounding button found on many mixers and preamps. Phantom power provides a source of electricity to some microphones. Most of the time, the phantom-power feature just does its job silently, but a bit of knowledge can help when things go wrong or when choosing the gear with which you work. As a guitarist, you may also encounter some less common scenarios related to phantom power.

These pointers will help demystify phantom power.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Phantom power is a way to provide power to microphones that require electricity to operate, typically condensers. On the other hand, dynamic mics—the ubiquitous Shure SM57 and SM58 , for example—do not require power. Phantom power involves a clever scheme that leverages the multiple wires in a typical balanced-XLR cable to provide voltage to mics that need it without affecting those that do not, in most cases. You can usually plug either type of mic into a mixer that provides phantom power, and the condenser mic will detect and use the power, while most dynamic mic will ignore it. This trick is why the scheme is referred to as phantom —it’s there for mics that need it, but generally invisible to others!


One complication with phantom power is that there are multiple standards for voltage levels. Most modern mixers provide 48 volts, which has become so common that many people assume that phantom power automatically means 48 volts. However, the ANSI standard (IEC 61938) that covers such things allows for 12, 24, and 48 volts. As a result, you may encounter gear that supports any of these voltages. Several popular acoustic guitar amps provide 24 volts. One popular acoustic preamp even provides just 15 volts.

In most cases, these different levels should not cause concern. Most mics work fine over the voltage range of 12-48 volts, although many mic manufacturers specify 48 volts for best performance, and some mics may be more problematic than others when encountering lower levels of phantom power—you may notice some loss of output or sensitivity with lower voltages. In any case, a lower voltage won’t damage the mic, so you can always see for yourself if a lower voltage will work.

Phantom power is a complex subject, but for most of us, it’s a matter of matching the requirements of our mics—or other gear—with the features of the mixer.

Some DIs or preamps can be powered by phantom power (the popular L.R. Baggs ParaDI , for example), and these may not work with lower voltages. The amount of current provided by the phantom power source is another factor. Most mics require only a few milliamps of current, which any modern mixer should easily support, but some mics—as well as phantom powered preamps—may have higher current demands. Some studio microphones, most notably tube mics, require so much power that they use their own dedicated power supply instead of relying on phantom power.

Although it is usually safe to plug a dynamic mic into an input that provides phantom power, there are exceptions. Some ribbon mics (usually used only in studios) can be damaged by phantom power if a cable or the mic is mis-wired. It’s a good idea to be wary of any vintage microphone or one that has been modified in any nonstandard way. It’s also best to plug microphones in before turning on phantom power. At the very least, doing so while phantom power is active can cause a loud, audible pop from the speakers if the volume is up. In addition, plugging in other electronic devices—a keyboard or an effects pedal that has an XLR out, for example—is less certain. Check your instruction manual to be sure that the device is safe for phantom power, and assume that it is not safe if the manual is silent about the issue. For multiple reasons, it’s a good practice to use a DI between such devices and a mixer, including isolating them from phantom power.

Other Powering Schemes

A frequent source of confusion for guitarists is that some microphones use different powering schemes. One such approach is known as bias power—also called plug-in-power. Bias power is frequently required by internal guitar mics, as well as mics used with some portable recorders, wireless systems, and more. Bias power uses a two-wire system, unlike the XLR 3-wire system supported by most mixers. A voltage, usually around 5-9 volts, is applied directly to the mic’s “hot” wire. This voltage is not “phantom,” and you cannot use bias-powered mics directly with a phantom power supply, or vice versa.

Acoustic guitarists often encounter bias-powered mics as part of dual-source pickup systems. In commercial dual-source systems with onboard electronics, such as the L.R. Baggs Anthem or DTar Multi-Source , the mic is powered by the onboard electronics and battery, so you don’t even have to be aware of it. But many guitarists like to build their own systems by adding a mic, such as K&K Sound’s Silver Bullet mic, to an existing pickup. In these cases, the mic can be powered by wiring it to the ring terminal of a stereo jack in the guitar, and then using a stereo guitar cable to plug into an acoustic guitar preamp that provides the bias power on the ring of the cable. The Grace Felix and Headway EDB-2 preamps are examples of guitar preamps that support this feature. Rolling your own dual source pickup system can be daunting, and requires planning out your entire system. A good guitar tech can clear up any confusion and help you set up such a system correctly.

Unfortunately, many preamp and guitar-amp manufacturers incorrectly label bias power as “phantom” power—they are not the same thing! However, the difference is usually obvious from the connectors: If you have an amp or preamp that provides power for a mic, an XLR-mic connector almost certainly indicates real phantom power. A system that provides power through a stereo ¼-inch guitar jack generally indicates bias power. The mics are similar—a mic with an XLR connector expects phantom power, a mic with two wires, or a simple non-XLR connector, probably expects bias power.

Phantom power is a complex subject, but for most of us, it’s a matter of matching the requirements of our mics—or other gear—with the features of the mixer. When in doubt, consult your instruction manual or get in touch with the manufacturer.

Doug Young

Doug Young is a fingerstyle instrumental guitarist, writer, and recording engineer. He is the author of Acoustic Guitar Amplification Essentials .

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Shure SM57 Dynamic Microphone Review

Last Updated: July 16, 2020 By Sean

We review the legendary SM57 dynamic microphone by Shure

Shure microphones are the real deal, having said by many to completely dominate the microphone market, particularly dynamic mics most often used for live performances. We’ve seen these SM models of microphones used in a very wide range of music, such as recording or performing multiple instruments. The SM57 is one of their best dynamic microphones as backed up by numerous years of use by ourselves and others around the net. There’s a reason you see those 4 or 5 star review all over music websites, including ours. This one made it’s ranks into our best microphone for performing live . Let’s take a look at the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone in detail.

This thing is legendary . I’ve heard of musicians owning up to 2-3 of these at a time. It’s basically like the hammer of a tool shed — almost everyone’s got one due to it’s practicality, cheap cost and overall power. It’s build and stability work like a tank and it’s at around $100 retail. You can’t really go wrong with adding this thing to your arsenal, regardless of what you perform with or record in the studio.

The SM57 is a dynamic microphone , meaning they’re extremely versatile, great for rejecting outside noise and focusing on what’s in front of it, handling high sound pressure levels, and great for grabbing both high and low frequencies. They have a high gain before feedback functionality which makes them great for stage use, giving you a very high volume without hearing that pesky screeching noise. A lot of people use these for vocals, but if we had to name a microphone to be awarded the best “do it all”, this would be it.

The cardioid pick up pattern is also exceptional, which is especially designed to focus on the main source of sound while simultaneously decreasing background noise for some great isolation. This is why some drummers have 3-4 of these at a time — although relatively near each other, they can capture each piece of their kit to give them all separate sound sources.

Another aspect to think about is the fact that this mic doesn’t necessarily need phantom power, which can be very beneficial if your recorders/mixers/ audio interfaces  that don’t have this feature. However, if you want to get the full power out of it, we do recommend hooking it up to something that can help you increase it’s gain.

Main features and specs of the Shure SM57

A powerful, legendary microphone

  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Frequency response: 40 to 15,000 Hz
  • Dimensions: 57mm x 32mm (L x W)
  • Built-in pneumatic shock-mount system
  • Pickup pattern: Uniform cardioid
  • Output impedance: 150 ohms
  • Connector: XLR

Build and stability of the microphone

The SM57 is made of very nice material, especially at it’s cost. We’ve seen a lot of microphones half the price and even equivalent in terms of price tag made extremely cheaply, so you’re not buying a plastic mic from your local electronics store here. It is rugged and will last you quite some time if you take proper care of it.

In terms of dropping the mic on stage after you perform like a battle rapper, we wouldn’t recommend it. However, if you were to accidentally drop it on a hard surface (like I have, quite a few times), you most likely will not break it. It is extremely durable, and what makes it even better in terms of an investment is that a lot of the parts are replaceable: the screen and grille as well as the cartridge.

Common applications of the SM57

This is most ideal used for vocals on stage, but another extremely common usage is acoustic guitars. I’ve also heard numerous drummers express their love for the SM57, sometimes even setting up one of the mics for each different piece of their kit (I’ve heard some use up to 8 mics for on-stage performances). Setting one up for the kick and one for the snare is a common occurrence, being that the dynamic mic type allows it to rarely distort and take the powerful punch without the use of a pad (it can handle a very high sound pressure level). These are also considered the industry standard for guitar cabinets.

Aside from those, here are the official applications of the SM57 listed by Shure themselves: acoustic guitar, bass amp, brass/saxophone, congas, guitar amp,harmonicas, kick and snare drums, percussion, and rack/floor toms. But don’t let that steer you away from using it for anything else you seem feasible that can fall within the frequency range we provide below.

The frequency chart and cardioid pattern of the mic

The verdict on the Shure SM57

This is one of the best microphones, period.

For one, the SM57 has been compared to nearly a hundred other microphones, especially it’s sister, the SM58 dynamic microphone — so what’s the difference between the two? The most noticable differnce between the two is the grille – the SM57 allows you get closer to the microphone as opposed to the SM58. The SM58 is better at dampening the higher frequencies since you can stand further away from it. The SM57 is less prone to wind noise. The ultimate verdict is it really depends — they’re both very versatile and can work for a large number of applications. Check out our Shure SM58 microphone review for further information.

As far as recording goes, we’ve heard of the SM57 be used pretty frequently. If you’re looking to find a mic that you’re going to be predominantly recording vocals with, we recommend looking at a condenser microphone (they’re a bit more expensive, but a better investment). Check out our  best recording microphone  article for more options in terms of condenser mics.

However, for other instruments, it’s great for recording capabilities. If you’re looking for somewhere in the middle of using a microphone for both recording as well as playing with live occasionally, the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone is your best bet, especially if you’re on a budget.

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The Seasoned Podcaster

Best Preamps for the Shure SM57 – Our Roundup

Although intended as an instrument mic, Shure’s SM57 makes for an excellent low cost dynamic podcasting microphone. In some circles, it’s even regarded as a viable Shure SM7B alternative.

Dynamic microphones such as this though do require more gain than a typical condenser mic but with gain can come noise and with noise comes more clean-up work in post, so it’s important to select a good preamp with a decent amount of clean gain.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best preamps for the Shure SM57. As well as the more popular models, we’ll also reveal some lesser known alternatives so stick around if you like looking beyond the obvious…

The best preamps for the Shure SM57 include the Cloudlifter CL-1, the Triton Audio Fethead and the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII Microphone Preamp . Older broadcast quality outboard preamps such as the Alice Mic-Pak also work great with the SM57.

Each one has a different application so it’s important to understand which would be the best fit for your particular needs. By the end of this article you’ll have a good idea about which direction you need to take.

Let’s look first though at what a preamp is and how they work.

Table of Contents

What Does a Mic Preamp Do?

Whether you’re projecting sound through a speaker or into a recording device, you need a signal which is strong enough to output at the correct level. Many audio devices such as mixing consoles, amps and recorders operate at line level. Professional line level (the one you’ll generally find with professional audio equipment) is the highest level of signal and is rated at about +4dBu.

Mic level on the other hand is generally a much weaker signal and as most microphones output at mic level, amplification is required. As mentioned earlier, dynamic microphones like the Shure SM57 tend to require more of a boost than condenser mics. This is because the diaphragm of a dynamic mic needs more sound volume to move and because it’s that movement which produces the electrical signal, the small amount of movement that you get with a dynamic mic means that a weaker signal is generated.

A preamp is what provides amplification. Mic preamps can come in different forms though and it’s worth covering those first as each one has it’s pros and cons.

shure sm57 need phantom power

Types of Microphone Preamps

You could be forgiven for thinking that a preamp is a preamp and as long as it gives you the required gain boost, any will do the job. However, different types of preamps exist so there’s more to consider. If you want to get the best sound from your SM57, it’s worth learning about each one and choosing the right type for what you’ll use it for.

What is a mic activator?

Mic activators have become really popular in recent years because of their convenience and relatively low cost (in comparison to outboard mic preamps which we’ll cover next).

Activators are essentially small inline preamps which takes the 48v phantom power from an audio interface (as dynamic mics don’t need phantom power) and uses it to produce a gain boost for those dynamic mics which need it.

It’s worth noting here that the 48v phantom power will come from an existing preamp. This can be confusing – if you already have a preamp which is able to provide the phantom power for an activator to work, why would you need an activator in the first place. Keep reading, all will be revealed!

What is an outboard microphone preamp?

As previously stated, mic activators have become popular in recent years but before they hit the scene, outboard mic preamps were widely used.

Outboard preamps are simply standalone preamps. Unlike a mic activator, they’re not inline and don’t make use of phantom power from an existing preamp.

Some may say that an outboard mic preamp is a bit overkill for a typical podcasting application but some of these older broadcast quality preamps provide a lovely sound and can be picked up at a reasonable cost. I personally have a British built Alice Mic-Pak (shown above) which provides a LOT of low noise gain. I bought it from eBay for a price I was very happy with.

Very high quality outboard preamps can cost thousands of dollars so for the average podcaster, models at this price range don’t make too much sense unless money is no object.

My audio interface or mixer has a preamp built-in, why do I need another one?

Good question! If you’re using an interface which is fairly standard in podcasting circles, a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for example, it has preamps for each of the mic inputs built-in. These will be fine for a condenser mic which outputs a hot signal but to get to the level you need when using a dynamic mic, you’ll need to crank up the gain.

With an inteface like the 2i2, you may need to almost max it out. When you do this, you risk introducing noise. Some preamps are noisier than other so it’s up to you what’s acceptable with your particular setup.

When you add a mic activator or outboard preamp into the mix though, you can get a lot more clean gain meaning that the preamp on your interface can be turned down to a really low level, getting rid of a lot of the noise as a result.

shure sm57 need phantom power

Do you Need a Preamp for the Shure SM57?

As we’ve already covered, all microphones need a amplification from a preamp to bring them up to the correct level. We’ve also established that some mics output a stronger signal and that dynamic mics generally need more amplification than condenser mics.

The SM57 is one of those dynamic mics that needs a good amount of amplification so an external inline or outboard preamp is recommended, especially if the preamps in your audio interface, mixer or field recorder aren’t the strongest.

Best Inline Preamps for the Shure SM57

When it comes to inline mic activator type preamps, in my opinion there are two standout models.

Cloudlifter CL-1

The Cloudlifter has a solid fan base and has become one of the go-to gain boosting devices for pairing with a low sensitivity dynamic mic.

Offering +25db of clean gain, the Cloudlifter is not only portable but ruggedly built to cope with the demands of regular use in the studio or on location.

The Cloudlifter comes with a lifetime warranty, see more info and check the latest price on Amazon here .

shure sm57 need phantom power

Triton Audio Fethead

Offering even more gain than the CL-1 (+27db), the Fethead is another great option.

The Fethead’s appearance is different to the CL-1 in that it’s very streamlined and not much thicker than an XLR connector. You also plug the Fethead directly into your mic whereas the CL-1 requires a cable in and a cable out.

The Fethead tends to retail at a lower price than the Cloudlifter too so definitely worth a look. Both are great options for use with the SM57.

Check the price on Amazon here.

shure sm57 need phantom power

For a more in-depth look at both the Cloudlifter and FetHead, see our article on Cloudlifter alternatives .

Best Outboard Preamps for the SM57

For a low cost option, it’s probably no surprise that I’d recommend trying to find a used Alice Mic-Pak. It will provide even more gain than an inline version and is likely to cost you less. You lose the portability and convenience but do end up with a piece of equipment which was once widely used in the professional broadcasting industry.

If you wanted to spend a bit more and get something new, I’d recommend the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII Microphone Preamp . With +80db of gain, it’s enough to power even the least sensitive of microphones and the warm sound it produces will give you great sounding audio.

If you want your Shure SM57 to perform to the best of its ability, you need to give it some gain. For most, an inline preamp like the Cloudlifter or Fethead will be a great choice – they’re portable, convenient and low cost.

Those who enjoy the equipment side of podcasting though may be more drawn to the GAP Pre-73 Mkiii for the lovely warm sound it produces. Whichever you choose, all of these options will do a great job of giving your SM57 the additional is gain it requires.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a shure sm57 need phantom power.

Being a dynamic mic, the SM57 does not need phantom power. Although it shouldn’t damage it, it’s advisable to have phantom power switched off when using this mic.

What’s the Difference Between a Shure SM57 and an SM58?

Very little actually! They both share the same cartridge design and therefore sound very similar. The mics do look a little different though and that’s because as mentioned at the start of this article, the SM57 was originally designed as an instrument mic whereas the SM58 was designed as a vocal mic so features a ball grille with a built-in pop filter.

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Why Is The Shure SM57 So Popular? 7 Reasons You Need It

Shure SM57

Posted on: 19 Jul 2022 by Lee Glynn

We answer the questions: why is the Shure SM57 so popular, why is the SM57 so good for guitar cabs - and is it OK for vocals?

We’re continuing our holy trinity of industry-standard Shure mics with our next article on the Shure SM57 , where we aim to answer the question: “Why is the Shure SM57 so popular?”. We’ve covered the Shure SM7B and the Shure SM58 - recommended reading for those interested in choosing the right Shure microphone. If you’ve ever heard a guitar, snare, or brass instrument on a recording, you’ve likely heard the Shure SM57. Since it was created in 1965, this has become the absolute industry standard microphone for recording guitar cabinets, snare drums and louder sound sources such as brass instruments. In fact, it’s been the go-to mic for every US president’s speech since 1965 – which is kind of a big deal. This unassuming, slightly weird-looking microphone may not look particularly impressive, but it’s responsible for some of the most famous guitar and vocal recordings in musical history and is widely considered the best dynamic microphone ever created for both the stage and studio. A bold statement, for sure. Justified? You bet. Used by the likes of John Lennon, the historic Elton John Dodgers Stadium LA 1975 performance, The Killers on ‘Hot Fuss’, and Nirvana’s nevermind for vocals and guitar. It’s the go-to mic for powerful sounds.

Elton John using a Shure SM57

But why? In this article, we’ll highlight 7 key features and benefits of the Shure SM57, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions - including why it’s good for vocals, and why the SM57 is good for guitar cabs. We’ll show you examples of why the Shure SM57 is so popular, and why this relatively “cheap” microphone is the absolute GOAT for guitar and snare sounds.

Why is the Shure SM57 so Popular?

In short, the Shure SM57 is so popular due to its robust transient response, high SPL, lack of distortion at high volumes, the tight cardioid polar pattern for superior off-axis rejection and absolute indestructible design. It just won’t die no matter how loud you play or how much you (ab)use it. Short answer: just buy it. If you record anything at all, you’ll need it. There are plenty of articles out there explaining the history of the Shure SM57 – but we’re all about the benefits and key reasons why it’s so popular. Let’s dig in.

7 Reasons You Need the Shure SM57 Microphone and Major Benefits

Here are 7 reasons why you need the Shure SM57 in your studio and in your home recording or live set-up. In this list we’ll look at the following features and benefits of the SM57:

  • High SPL & robust transient response
  • Tailored frequency
  • Off-axis rejection / polar pattern
  • Flexibility
  • Construction
  • Versatility

A well-used SM57

1. High SPL and Robust Transient Response

The Shure SM57 is renowned for its extremely high SPL and robust transient response. In a nutshell, the Shure SM57 won’t distort when you’re recording at high volumes. Where other microphones may distort at high volumes - especially if it’s a sound with a short, sharp burst, like a drum snare, for example - the Shure SM57 can handle it. Why is this important? When you’re recording or mic’ing up a live band, you want the subtle nuances of your playing to be heard as well as the hard-hitting emotion. You want dynamics to be felt. The Shure SM57 responds beautifully to hard-hitting snare drums just as much as it does to soft sound sources.

Where some microphones may distort if you “dig in” and play louder on a guitar riff or hit harder on a snare drum, the Shure SM57 shrugs it off without distorting.

Some microphones can withstand loud sound sources over an extended period of time with a little mixing, they can’t necessarily handle the short sharp bursts. The SM57 can. This is especially important for preserving dynamics in a performance. No matter how hard you hit, play or sing, it won’t distort. The high SPL or Sound Pressure Level is equally as important. The Shure SM57 has an SPL of 190 – which is louder than a space shuttle taking off (measured at 180db at 10 metres). This means your microphone can theoretically record the sound of a NASA space shuttle taking off without distorting. Recording your cranked Marshall cab is going to be fine. The average guitar cabinet cranked up to full volume can reach around 115dB at 1 metre. The fact that the Shure SM57 can handle this high sound pressure level at close range is one of the main reasons it's the industry standard guitar amplifier microphone. You can crank your tube amp as loud as you want to get that sweet saturation and capture every single nuance of your playing at high volume without the microphone ever distorting. You can record full brass bands, a thrash metal snare drum and anything you want to throw at it and the mic will capture everything in detail. This empowers producers and live engineers as they can have guitar amps as loud as they want and record in crystal clear detail.

2. Tailored Frequency Response

A major benefit of the Shure SM57 is its tailored frequency response of 40 Hz - 15 kHz. This tailored response has been specifically designed to bring out the best possible sound for drums, guitars, and vocals. Due to the fact the SM57 is a dynamic microphone with a contoured frequency response, it’s not as sensitive as a condenser, but this is a good thing as you can actually use the microphone to manipulate and use the proximity effect to your liking. The proximity effect causes the bass or “boom” to become pronounced the closer the mic is positioned to the sound source. So, if you want to record vocals with the Shure SM57 and you prefer a deeper tonality, just get closer to it and the bass will increase. If you have a deeper voice, sit back a little and bring out the higher frequencies and increased presence. If you’re a guitarist, you’ll love the fact that the SM57 brings out the mid-frequencies with the added presence boost. This ensures you get a clean sound that is not muddied by the bass of your amp or too high and “sparkly” it’s a controlled, powerful sound. This is one of the reasons the likes of Butch Vig loved using it on the guitars for ‘Nevermind’ – it brought out the raw power without too much bass or high-end treble. Live engineers prefer this stye of frequency response too as it helps them create a cleaner sound in a live mix – their not wrestling with unwanted high or low frequencies, ensuring your amp or snare just sounds great! The Shure SM57 can also enhance and bring out the detail in bass amps as the tailored frequency response reduces the lower frequencies, ensuring your bass sounds powerful and punchy.

Shure SM57 Frequency Response

3. Cardioid Polar Pattern – Excellent Off-Axis Rejection

The Shure SM57 has a very tight cardioid polar pattern, which when placed up close could almost be mistaken for a supercardioid polar pattern. This means that you get a highly controlled and focused sound coming through the microphone. Producers can pick up the sound of the amp and singers will enjoy using them as the directional nature of the mic means you won’t get feedback from foldback speakers – probably one of the reasons Elton John loved using the Shure SM57 so much! You’ll see from the image below (look at the solid line) just how little the microphone will pick up around it. If you place the mic further back (left image) the mic will pick up a more roomy sound, but still provide a controlled representation of your sound source. Place it closer (right image) and the microphone will reject almost everything around it. This cardioid polar pattern is one of the key benefits of the Shure SM57 and a main reason engineers and recording artists love it. No matter what’s going on around you, the mic won’t pick it up. This means you won’t get ant split from cymbals or other drums or hear any other musicians playing when recording in a live scenario. The live sound engineer loves it too because they don’t have to wrestle with other sounds on stage – it’s just your amp, vocals or snare that they’re picking up and mixing. Live, in the studio or recording at home – you only record what the mic is pointing at which is why it’s ideal for a manner of different applications.

Shure SM57 Polar Pattern

4. Flexibility/Versatility

The Shure SM57 is predominantly used for guitar cabs and snares, owing to the transient response and high SPL which we’ve discussed. However, it’s an extremely versatile microphone that lends itself particularly well to vocals, both live and in the studio. Kurt Cobain recorded his vocals with the Shure SM57 for ‘Nevermind’, Brandon Flowers used the SM57 to record his vocals for ‘Hot Fuss’ - both pretty great endorsements. In the studio and live scenario, the mic perfectly rejects off-axis sound so you can use it anywhere, but the way you place it allows you to create a myriad of different sonic signatures. Just take a look at the recommended placements for mic’ing and recording a full band featuring the Shure SM57 and get some tips to improve your sound. Whether you’re recording loud sound sources like a trumpet, drum or screaming vocal or softer sounds from an acoustic singer-songwriter – the Shure SM57 can handle it – just bring the microphone closer or move it slightly back depending on the sound you want.

The signature design and look of the Shure SM57 has a functional purpose. The Shure SM57 capsule is closer to the top of the grille. This ensures you can experiment with the bass and proximity effect when close mic’ing. The Shure SM57’s design also provides a higher output above 5 kHz which means the higher registers of your snare, guitar or brass sound will cut through the mix. The Shure SM57 is perfect for vocals of course, but the smaller mesh grille will only provide so much protection from plosives at close range. If you do want to record vocals with it, we suggest the SM57 windshield !

6. Durability

The Shure SM57’s unique construction and indestructible design harks back to when Shure was a contractor for the United States Military in WWII. They produced a range of military-grade items for the US Army and continued with this construction process and quality control with their microphones. A quick Google will throw up hundreds of videos shooting, burying and throwing the SM57 only for it to keep recording and working. This means it can handle the most demanding touring schedules, survive the odd pint of beer (or worse) being thrown on-stage, a drop or a knock - and keep providing high-quality sound for decades. The integrated pneumatic shock mount counters vibration-induced movement which means the capsule is going to be fine even if you drop it. And you will.

The Shure SM57 is very much affordable, which is surprising when you think about how influential it’s been in the world of music. This low cost is a key reason the Shure SM57 is so popular as everyone can afford it. Whether you’re a beginner home studio enthusiast looking for a new mic to take your sound to pro-level quality or an experienced audio engineer in need of something that will last a lifetime of pub bands and rock n’ roll stages, you’ll appreciate and benefit from the Shure SM57’s reliability. The Shure SM57 is THE industry-standard guitar cabinet microphone, and just like the SM58 or SM7B a must-have microphone for musicians and audio engineers that will outlive you and won’t break the bank.

Is the Shure SM57 Worth It?

Yes. The Shure SM57 is absolutely worth it if you want a microphone that provides professional-level sound in the studio and on-stage on a budget. This is a must-have microphone for any musician or sound engineer that you won’t ever regret buying. It’s indestructible, allows for high SPL level recording, maintains the quality of your instrument and can be used to record a full range of instruments and sound sources. When you buy this, you begin your journey into world-class sound recording. You’ll be glad you did.

Shure SM57 FAQs

Is the Shure SM57 good for bass amps? Yes. The key reason the Shure SM57 is good for bass amps is down to its frequency response. The contoured frequency reduces the amount of low-end the further you move the mic away. This means you can place the mic up close to your bass amp and enjoy a punchy, detailed sound without the proximity effect or “boominess” becoming overbearing. This is ideal for retaining the detail and power in your bass sound in hollow venues. Move the mic back slightly and you can clean up the sound of your bass and reduce the low-end – ideal for venues where the floor is solid. Why is the SM57 so good for guitar? The Shure SM57 is great for guitar thanks to the frequency response which brings out the detail of your sound and the ability to capture high SPL levels without distorting. Your guitar amp can be cranked loud and the SM57 will still record all the detail and subtle nuances of your playing. It’s actually the industry standard guitar cabinet microphone used by Butch Vig, Steve Albini and many more producers.

It’s also great on acoustic guitars too. What is the Shure SM57 best for? The Shure Sm57’s ability to capture a high SPL of 190dB means it’s best for loud sound sources like a guitar cab, brass instrument or drum kit. The SM57 is the industry standard snare mic as it can withstand high transient noises (short sharp bursts of noise) from a snare without distorting. Is the Shure SM57 OK for vocals? Yes. The SM57 is also perfect for vocals if you want a transparent yet detailed sound with added presence. We recommend a windshield though due to the smaller pop filter. I s the Shure SM57 a good mic? Yes. The Shure SM57 is an industry-standard microphone that will propel your sound recordings into the pro-level realm. It’s beginner-friendly, and everyone from first-time audio engineers to world-class producers have one in their arsenal. How long does an SM57 last? How durable is the SM57? The Shure SM57 has been built to last a lifetime. The case is made with enamel-coated metal, a polycarbonate grille with stainless steel screen and a pneumatic shock mount system to keep the capsule safe from knocks and bumps. Breaking this is almost impossible unless you throw it into mount doom. Is Shure SM57 good for recording? Yes. The Shure SM57 is an industry-standard recording microphone that responds extremely well to different placements. Why is the Shure SM57 good for snare? The combination of high SPL capability and transient response means the Shure Sm57 can handle any size of snare or volume. The contoured frequency response reduces the unwanted high and low frequencies leaving the detail and power of the snare intact This microphone preserves the sound of your snare, whether it’s wood, brass or steel. Does the Shure SM57 need phantom power? No. the Shure SM57 does not need phantom power as it is a dynamic mic. Phantom power will not damage the Shure SM57, so don’t worry if you forget to turn it off. Is a Shure SM57 good for live performance? Absolutely. The incredible off-axis rejection means it won’t pick up anything else around the mic. The contoured 40 Hz - 15 kHz frequency response makes it easier for sound engineers to mix and control the sound thanks to the lack of low and high-end frequency peaks.

Final Thoughts On The SM57

The Shure SM57 has been relied upon to capture world-class sound for decades. From studio engineers to US presidents, vocalists to guitarists – there’s nothing it can’t do. We can guarantee you have an album with an SM57 on as it has earned a ubiquitous presence in the music industry thanks to its low price, perfect sound quality and hard-wearing construction. Your sound will thank you for buying one.

Need help picking out a new microphone ? Check out our range of new studio equipment here or call us on 0151 448 2089 and check out your local store to speak to one of our Experts about your needs.

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Shure SM57 & phantom power

  • Thread starter hemmick reef
  • Start date Mar 17, 2006

hemmick reef

  • Mar 17, 2006

Can anyone explain what phantom power does exactly, and does the SM57 need it or will it cause damage to the mic? Thanks  

Condesnser microphones require power to operate. They could possibly be powered by batteries (unreliable) or external power supplies (bulky and inconvenient). Phantom power was designed as a convenient and universal way for the mic preamp to provide power down the mic cable to condenser mics. Dynamic microphones do not require phantom power and in general, applying phantom to a dynamic will not harm it, unless that dynamic is a ribbon microphone. Ribbons don't like phantom and could be damaged by phantom. Your sm57 is a dynamic, but not a ribbon. Therefore, sending phantom to your sm57 will not harm it.  


Raw-Tracks said: Dynamic microphones do not require phantom power and in general, applying phantom to a dynamic will not harm it Click to expand...



Uses paramedic eq.

D112, no problem. There are only a few mics you should worry about, all ribbons. If you had a ribbon, you would probably know it.  

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The Shure SM57 XLR microphone in full view, profile image.

Shure SM57 review

October 2, 2001

157 x 32 mm

Shure often sets the industry standard when it comes to professional recording equipment. From the famed Elvis mic to the beloved SE215 in-ear monitors, the company understands that audio quality and durability are top priorities. The Shure SM57 is no different. This tapered capsular microphone is favored by musicians of all genres for capturing instruments both on stage and in the studio. It’s not a question of “if you should get the SM57,” but rather a question of “when.” We spent a couple of weeks testing out the Shure SM57 and can tell you everything you need to know about it.

Editor’s note: This review of the Shure SM57 was updated on August 17, 2022, to update formatting, discuss the results of the microphone poll, add a buy widget, and address FAQs.

Musicians should get the Shure SM57, whether they are planning to use it to record instruments or amplify live instruments. If you’re just starting out in the music world and don’t know what to get, this is a great introductory option. It’s dynamic and doesn’t require external power to operate. It can handle extreme sound pressure levels, which means distortion should rarely be an issue. The cardioid polar pattern minimizes background noise recording and relays just the intended sounds.

The microphone is meant to record instruments, but works just fine with vocals. However, if you’re looking specifically for a vocal mic, the Shure SM58 is very similar to the SM57, but is meant for the voice.

What’s it like to use the Shure SM57?

Straight on shot of the Shure SM57 XLR microphone.

The shape of the Shure SM57 allows it to be handheld as a vocal mic in a pinch, but Shure provides a swivel stand adapter, which can be angled to your liking. That way, the mic capsule is always directly receiving sound waves from the intended source. Shure also provides a zippered carrying pouch. It’s fine, but unnecessary, seeing how the SM57 is lauded for its toughness.

And, boy, is this microphone tough. The die-cast steel looks and feels great. I’m not concerned about tossing it together with other recording equipment. It’s also built to handle loud sounds without issue: it’s a dynamic microphone that has a sensitivity of 1 . 6 mV per Pascal ( 94dB SPL). On the bottom of the microphone, you’ll see an XLR output . This mic is as no-frills as it gets and does its job exceptionally well.

What kind of polar pattern does the Shure SM57 have?

An example of a polar chart detailing the pickup pattern of a cardioid microphone

There are a few microphone types , the most popular being dynamic and condenser variants. Unlike condenser mics, the Shure SM57 doesn’t require external power, and it can be subjected to high sound pressure levels without introducing distortion. By nature of a cardioid polar pattern , the mic registers sound directly in front of it with some off-axis pickup. The biggest perk of this is that imprecise placement is okay and won’t ruin your recording.

  • Whether you’re recording in a studio or amplifying instruments on stage, you’ll need a mic stand .
  • An XLR cable is also required. Alternatively, the SM57 can be used with an XLR cable that terminates in either a balanced or unbalanced 1/4 inch jack plug .
  • While it’s great you don’t have to worry about a dedicated pre-amp , you still need something to receive the signal. Depending on your needs, a mixer, amplifier, or USB interface is a must.

How does the Shure SM57 sound?

A picture of woman playing guitar and recording it with the Shure SM57 XLR mic.

The Shure SM57 is deliberately tuned to keep vocals and instruments clear and present. Sub-bass frequencies are attenuated. This is good for live music as you don’t want a kick drum or the fundamental note of a bass guitar to overpower mid-range sounds. After all, those sounds are just as important as the initial oomph . It also means you may not need to apply a high-pass filter during post-production . The upper midrange and treble frequency emphasis ensures the clear transmission of important details, which applies particularly to string instruments and vocals.

Instruments sound fantastic with the Shure SM57. I played around on an acoustic guitar for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed the raw recording. I did, however, notice that the microphone does exhibit noticeable proximity effect : when close miking means low notes are amplified too much, it affects the accuracy of a recording. This could pose an issue particularly for mobile performers. Be sure to keep a good six inches between your instrument and the microphone.

Shure SM57 microphone demo:

How does the microphone sound to you.

As of August 17, 2022, 53% of voters selected that the Shure SM57 sounds “Good” and 23% voted that it sounds “Perfect.” For a studio microphone, these are results we expect.

Should you buy the Shure SM57?

Yes, you should buy the Shure SM57. This mic excels at being a durable mic that records clear audio. Its compact size lets you travel unencumbered, while its die-cast exterior proves drop-resistant. This microphone is a great entry-level option for recording instruments and should be seriously considered by amateurs and professionals alike.

Shure SM57

Frequently asked questions about the Shure SM57

The Shure SM58 is the vocal mic version of the Shure SM57. Both are dynamic microphones with a similar build and shape. The SM58 also has a built-in spherical pop filter to help reduce plosives (harsh ‘ p ‘ sounds) and fricatives (harsh ‘ f ‘ sounds). If you want to record both vocals and instruments but can only afford to buy one mic right now, it’s best that you opt for the Shure SM58.

Whether you should be using a condenser or dynamic mic really depends on the type of instrument you are recording. In general, recording acoustic instruments like guitar is best done with a condenser mic because its high sensitivity means it will pick up even the slightest of sounds, such as your fingers pressing on the strings. This level of detail can add richness to a recording. If you’re recording an electric guitar through an amp, though, you’ll generally want a dynamic mic like the Shure SM57 because a condenser mic might distort the sound due to how loud it can get.

Audio Technica AT2020 vs. Shure SM57: Clash Of The Titans

Shure SM57 Review

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

In the world of audio recording and sound engineering, the choice of microphone can be a pivotal decision, greatly influencing the quality and character of the recorded sound.

Two microphones that often find themselves in the spotlight for various recording applications are the Audio Technica AT2020 and the Shure SM57.

These microphones have earned their reputation as versatile and reliable tools in the arsenal of musicians, producers, podcasters, and sound engineers alike.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at both, exploring their individual characteristics, strengths, and best-use scenarios.

While both microphones are celebrated for their exceptional performance, they cater to different aspects of audio capture, making them suitable for a wide range of applications – some different, some the same.

By delving into the unique features and capabilities of each microphone, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how these two popular choices stack up against each other, ultimately helping you make an informed decision when it comes to your specific recording needs.

So, whether you’re a musician searching for the perfect vocal microphone or a sound engineer seeking the ideal instrument mic, read on to discover the distinct qualities that set the Audio Technica AT2020 and Shure SM57 apart in the world of professional audio recording.

Shure SM57 Review

To begin, both the SM57 and AT2020 are incredibly durable mics, but I’ll have to give the nod to the former as being one of the most indestructible pieces of equipment I’ve ever used.

Aside from the fact that it’s pretty well-known how rock solid it is, it’s fallen over countless times on my desk without so much as a single scratch.

This is simply remarkable.

Those reading this may or may not be familiar with HIFIMAN products, but it’s a good example to use.

If you so much as fart in the wrong direction, you can expect the paint to chip on a HIFIMAN headphone. Full stop.

Seriously, I treat those headphones like glass and they still somehow get nicks and scratches in various places.

A Shure SM57? Good luck trying to get it to crumble under pressure.

Because I can assure you of this: It AIN’T Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

 The SM57 is more like a steel anvil.

It’s been said many times before, but it bears repeating; you could literally use this thing to hammer nails and hang pictures on your wall like Biggie in “Juicy”.

After reading this sentiment many times on the internet over the past few years, I always thought it was overblown until I bought one for myself and was like, “Wow. Yeah. You really could use this thing to hammer nails and hang pictures on your wall like Biggie in Juicy.”

shure sm57 need phantom power

The AT2020 is also super durable, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable using it to hammer nails and hang pictures on m… Okay, I’ll stop. xD

That said, it’s very heavy and feels substantial, which is a little surprising given it’s only around $100. The same can be said for the SM57.

Holding these mics in your hand may lead you to believe they’re actually products in the roughly $300-500 range. They are that good.

The SM57 specifically is made of enamel-coated metal, a polycarbonate grille with a stainless steel screen, and a pneumatic shock mount system.

The culprit behind its incredible durability?

Well, as it turns out, Shure was actually a contractor for the United States Military in WWII and made an array of military-grade items for the U.S. Army.

This strict attention to detail continued in their product line, with the SM57 being a standout example.

In addition, it’s been used in every U.S. President’s speech since 1965. Wowza. 

Intended Applications

Shure SM57 Review

Aside from build, one of the main differences between the 2 mics is their type.

The SM57 is a dynamic microphone while the AT2020 is a condenser.

  • Related: Condenser Mic vs. Dynamic Mic: Use Cases Considered

Large-diaphragm condenser microphones like the AT2020 are typically used for vocals, but they can also be good for instruments depending on the situation.

Dynamic microphones, specifically the SM57, are fantastic for guitar cabinets, snares, loud brass instruments, etc.

Due to its incredibly high SPL of 190, the SM57 could theoretically record a space shuttle (measured at 180dB) taking off without batting an eyelash.

Because of these things, it becomes the go-to for anything LOUD as it won’t distort at all and has a fantastic transient response.

  • Related: What Is Transient Response? Discover Audio’s Dynamic Secret

The AT2020 by contrast, while still good in its own right, only handles an SPL of up to 144dB and isn’t nearly as good at miking loud sources. 

Again, I may primarily stick to vocals with the AT2020.

As far as other applications?

I have used the SM57 to mike an acoustic guitar with mixed results and wouldn’t generally recommend it.

It’s a bit difficult to find the sweet spot and it’s very picky about directionality.

In addition, you’ll be taking out a lot of the low-end (post-processing) and it’s generally a bit trickier to EQ.

For acoustic guitar, I’d recommend a small-diaphragm pencil condenser like the MXL 991 as its frequency response is specifically tailored for this instrument.

  • Recommended: Comparing Large-Diaphragm vs. Small-Diaphragm Microphones: Sensitivity, Sound, And Applications

It’s much more forgiving and records an almost perfect first take – with minimal EQ needed.

shure sm57 need phantom power

MXL’s 991

FR & Sensitivity

The Audio Technica AT2020 and Shure SM57 are two distinct microphones that vary significantly in terms of sensitivity and frequency response.


Audio technica at2020.

The AT2020 is a condenser microphone known for its sensitivity.

Condenser mics are generally more sensitive than dynamics, and the AT2020 is no exception.

It is designed to capture a broad range of frequencies and subtle nuances in audio.

This high sensitivity makes it an excellent choice for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments with intricate details.

The AT2020 has a sensitivity rating typically expressed as -37 dB (dBV) re 1V/Pa, which means it can capture softer sounds with greater clarity and detail compared to dynamic microphones.

Shure SM57 Review

The Shure SM57, on the other hand, is a dynamic microphone, and dynamic mics are generally less sensitive than condenser mics.

The SM57 is specifically designed for durability and handling high sound pressure levels, making it ideal for instruments, especially those with loud sound sources like guitar amplifiers and drums as alluded to earlier.

The sensitivity of the SM57 is typically expressed as -56 dB (dBV) re 1V/Pa.

While this sensitivity rating is lower than the AT2020, it allows the SM57 to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion, making it a preferred choice for close-miking instruments and amplifiers.

Frequency Response

The AT2020 boasts a relatively flat and extended frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, which covers the entire audible spectrum.

This flat response is favored for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments as it faithfully reproduces the source material.

The Shure SM57 has a more tailored and focused response, ranging from 40Hz to 15kHz.

This tailored response is designed to accentuate midrange frequencies, making it a great choice for instruments like snare drums, electric guitars, and brass instruments.

48v Phantom Power

What Is 48v Phantom Power?

The Audio Technica AT2020 is a condenser microphone and requires phantom power to operate.

Phantom power is a DC voltage typically supplied by an audio interface or mixing console.

It’s needed to power the internal electronics of condenser microphones.

  • Related: What Is 48v Phantom Power? Unlocking Sound’s Secret Power

In contrast, the Shure SM57 is a dynamic microphone and does not require phantom power.

Dynamic microphones generate their own signal without the need for external power, making them more versatile in terms of connectivity as they can be used with equipment that may not provide phantom power.

The Shure SM57, when connected to a standard audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Universal Audio Volt 2, often requires additional gain from devices like a Fethead or Cloudlifter.

  • Recommended: Universal Audio Volt 2 Review

This is because the SM57 is a dynamic microphone with lower sensitivity, and it may not provide a strong enough signal level on its own.

These external devices provide clean, transparent gain, allowing the SM57 to reach an optimal recording level without introducing noise, ensuring that the microphone performs at its best.


Both the Shure SM57 and the Audio Technica AT2020 feature a unidirectional cardioid polar pattern.

This pattern captures sound primarily from the front of the microphone while minimizing pickup from the sides and rear.

  • Read More: Cardioid vs. Supercardioid vs. Hypercardioid Microphones

The unidirectional cardioid pattern is beneficial for isolating a specific sound source while rejecting unwanted noise from other directions.

This makes both microphones highly suitable for a wide range of recording scenarios, whether it’s for capturing vocals, acoustic instruments, or close-miking amplifiers and instruments on stage or in the studio.

In live sound applications, the cardioid pattern helps minimize feedback issues, as the microphone focuses on the sound source in front, while in the studio, it allows for precise control over the recorded sound, making it a popular choice for achieving clean, focused audio recordings.

My personal experience with both of these would indicate that the SM57, and all dynamic microphones really, is better at rejecting pretty much any and all noise you might encounter; especially if you’re like me and live in a noisy apartment complex.

With all that said, you be the judge. And I’m not talkin’ about Aaron.

Keep in mind the SM57 was recorded here without a Fethead.

I did the best I could in balancing the gain on my interface and minimizing noise vs. getting it loud enough for a clean take.

If you plan on buying an SM57, which you absolutely should, be prepared to spend some money on either an interface that’s powerful enough or invest in a Fethead to provide the extra gain.

Final Verdict

In the world of microphones, making a choice between the Shure SM57 and the Audio Technica AT2020 can be a tough call.

However, if versatility, durability, and time-tested performance are your priorities, the SM57 emerges as the compelling long-term choice.

Having personally owned and used both microphones, I found the Shure SM57 to be the one I consistently reached for.

Here’s why:

First, is versatility.

The SM57 is a Swiss Army knife in the microphone world.

Its rugged build can take a beating, making it a go-to option for live sound and stage performances.

It can handle high sound pressure levels without distortion, making it perfect for close-miking instruments, drum kits, guitar amplifiers, and even vocals when needed.

The higher Sound Pressure Level (SPL) handling of the SM57 ensures that it excels in diverse recording and sound reinforcement environments.

Whether you’re rocking out on stage, tracking in the studio, or simply need a reliable microphone for a variety of purposes, the SM57 consistently delivers.

And let’s not forget its legendary durability.

shure sm57 need phantom power

It’s a microphone that can withstand the test of time and continue to perform flawlessly, even in the most demanding conditions.

While the AT2020 is a fantastic microphone in its own right, particularly for studio vocals and acoustic instruments, its sensitivity and condenser design make it more specialized.

If you’re seeking a microphone that can handle a multitude of situations and endure years of use, the Shure SM57 is the clear winner.

Its reputation and track record speak for themselves, making it the microphone that you’ll turn to time and time again, ensuring your investment is a great one.

And, as if you needed more reasons to drop everything and buy it, consider this last point and check out Matt’s video on how to, with the A81WS windscreen, make the SM57 sound basically identical to an SM7B – a mic that costs roughly 4x the price.

That’s right you heard me correctly!

Video Comparison

Credit to Matt for an incredibly helpful and excellent video.

Ready to buy one? I promise it’s one of the easiest purchases you’ll ever make.

Learn More:

Well, that’s about it for today my friend i hope you’ve enjoyed this audio technica at2020 vs. shure sm57 discussion and came away with some valuable insight..

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which of these are you more likely to go with? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,


Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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Stuart Charles Black

Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.

What Is 48v Phantom Power? Unlocking Sound’s Secret Power

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Shure Service And Repair

Find An Answer

Does the sm7b need phantom power, jun 7, 2021 • knowledge.

The SM7B does not require phantom power and is not affected if phantom power is present on its mixer input. Note that some third-party external pre-amps commonly used with the SM7B DO require phantom power to operate, however.

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Watch the Video

More than able to reproduce tone, the SM57 is also uniquely designed to deal with high-pressure sound that explodes from instruments and amplifiers. So you can turn it up without distortion drowning out the show. Your music deserves all the loud it can get.

Made for the stage

Handles the pressure, only the loud you want.

Shure Logo green


Before using this product, please read and save the enclosed warnings and safety instructions.

General Description

The Shure SM7dB dynamic microphone has a smooth, flat, wide-range frequency response appropriate for content creation, speech, music, and beyond. A built-in active preamplifier provides up to +28 dB of low-noise, flat, transparent gain while preserving frequency response for a clean, classic sound. The SM7dB's built-in preamp delivers the legendary sound of the SM7B, completely uncompromised and without the need for an in-line preamplifier. The SM7dB back panel switches allow customized frequency response and the ability to adjust or bypass the preamp.

Powering the SM7dB Preamplifier

Important: The SM7dB requires +48 V phantom power to operate with the preamplifier engaged. It will operate in bypass mode without phantom power.

To deliver audio directly to a computer, use an audio interface with an XLR input that provides +48 V phantom power, such as the Shure MVi or MVX2U, and turn phantom power on.

When connecting to a mixer, use only balanced, microphone-level inputs with phantom power. Turn phantom power on for the channel your SM7dB is connected to.

Depending on your interface or mixer, phantom power may be enabled through a switch, a button, or control software. Refer to the user guide for your interface or mixer to learn how to engage phantom power.

Preamplifier Best Practices

The SM7dB features a built-in active preamplifier which provides up to +28 dB of low-noise, flat, transparent gain that optimizes audio performance.

Adjust the gain level on the SM7dB before adjusting levels on your interface or mixer. This approach maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio for a cleaner, clearer sound.

In podcast or quiet vocal applications, you are more likely to need the +28 dB setting, while louder talkers or singers may only need the +18 dB setting. For instrumental applications, you may find that the +18 dB or the bypass settings reach the ideal input levels.

Using Variable Impedance Mic Preamplifiers

Select the highest available impedance setting on the external preamp when using the built-in preamp.

If you are using a low impedance setting to change the tonality for creative purposes, bypass the SM7dB's built-in preamp. Keeping the SM7dB preamp engaged with a low-impedance setting will not yield the same changes in tone.

Microphone Placement

Speak directly into the mic, 1 to 6 inches (2.54 to 15 cm) away to block off-axis noise. For a warmer bass response, move closer to the microphone. For less bass, move the microphone away from you.

WARNING: The alt text might be translated, or is different across content.

Velcro Cable Tie

Use the enclosed velcro tie to secure the cable.

Use the standard windscreen for general voice and instrumental applications.

When you speak, you may hear vocal pops from some consonant sounds (known as plosives). To prevent more plosive sounds and wind noise, you can use the larger A7WS windscreen.

Adjust Back Panel Switches

A diagram of the back panel of SM7dB.

① Bass Rolloff Switch To reduce the bass, push the top-left switch down. This can help lower background hum from A/C, HVAC, or traffic.

② Presence Boost For a brighter sound in mid-range frequencies, push the top-right switch up. This can help improve vocal clarity.

③ Bypass Switch Push the bottom-left switch to the left to bypass the preamp and achieve the classic SM7B sound.

④ Preamp Switch To adjust the gain on the built-in preamp, push the bottom-right switch to the left for +18 dB and to the right for +28 dB.

Switching Microphone Orientation

A diagram of the SM7dB in the boom and stand mount configurations.

Boom and Microphone Stand Mounting Configuration

The SM7dB can be mounted on a boom arm or a stand. The default setup for the SM7dB is for a boom mount. To keep the rear panel facing upright when mounted on a stand, reconfigure the mounting assembly.

To set up the SM7dB for a microphone stand:

  • Remove tightening nuts on the sides.
  • Remove the fitted washers, the lock washers, the outer brass washers, and the brass sleeves.
  • Slide the bracket off the microphone. Be careful not to lose the washers still on the microphone.
  • Invert and rotate the bracket. Slide it back onto the bolts over the brass and plastic washers still on the microphone. The bracket should fit so the XLR connector faces the rear of the microphone and the Shure logo on the back of the microphone is right-side up.
  • Replace the brass sleeves. Be sure they are seated properly within the inner washers.
  • Replace the outer brass washers, the lock washers, and the fitted washers.
  • Replace the tightening nuts and tighten the microphone at the desired angle.

Note: If the tightening nuts do not hold the microphone in place, you may need to re-position the brass sleeves and the washers.

The mounting assembly of an SM7dB exploded so you can see each part

Mounting Assembly - Exploded View

① Tightening nut

② Fitted washer

③ Lock washer

④ Brass washers

⑤ Brass sleeve

⑥ Mounting bracket

⑦ Plastic washer

⑧ Response switches

⑨ Switch cover

⑩ Windscreen

Install or Remove the Stand Adapter

To mount the microphone on a 3/8 in. stand, insert the included brass stand adapter and tighten it with a coin or screwdriver.

WARNING: The alt text might be translated, or is different across content.

Important: Make sure that the slots on the adapter face outward.

The stand adapter with arrows pointing toward the coin notches.


Dynamic (moving coil)

Frequency Response

50 to 20,000 Hz

Polar Pattern

Output impedance, recommended load, sensitivity.

(typical, at 60 Hz, equivalent SPL/mOe)

Preamplifier Equivalent Input Noise

(A-weighted, typical)

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Power Requirements

(with preamp engaged)

48 V DC [2] phantom power (IEC-61938) 4.5 mA, maximum

0.837 kg (1.875 lbs)

Black enamel aluminum and steel case with black foam windscreen

[1] 1 Pa=94 dB SPL

[2]All specifications measured with a 48 Vdc phantom power supply. The microphone operates at lower voltages, but with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity.

Graph of typical frequency response for SM7dB

Typical Frequency Response

The SM7dB polar pattern

Typical Polar Pattern

A diagram showing the dimensions of an SM7dB.

Overall Dimensions


Furnished accessories, replacement parts, certifications.

Hereby, Shure Incorporated declares that this product with CE Marking has been determined to be in compliance with European Union requirements.

The full text of the EU declaration of conformity is available at the following site: .

UKCA Notice

Hereby, Shure Incorporated declares that this product with UKCA Marking has been determined to be in compliance with UKCA requirements.

The full text of the UK declaration of conformity is available at the following site: .

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive

Image of a household waste receptacle, crossed out

In the European Union and the United Kingdom, this label indicates that this product should not be disposed of with household waste. It should be deposited at an appropriate facility to enable recovery and recycling.

Please consider the environment, electric products and packaging are part of regional recycling schemes and do not belong to regular household waste.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) Directive

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals) is the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) chemical substances regulatory framework. Information on substances of very high concern contained in Shure products in a concentration above 0.1% weight over weight (w/w) is available upon request.

Does Shure SM7B Need 48v Phantom Power?

The Shure SM7B can be intimidating at first and many people are wanting to set up their mic correctly. One of the first questions that people have, when they set up their Shure SM7B, is “Does the SM7B need 48v of Phantom Power?” Find out below.

There are two different answers to this question, depending on your setup.

Quick Answer: You do not need 48v of phantom power for the Shure SM7B unless you are using an inline preamp like a CloudLifter, Fethead, Dynamite, etc.

Phantom Power For Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone. Dynamic microphones use a magnet and a coil to generate electrical signal from the diaphragm of the microphone. Adding 48v of phantom power will not improve the performance of the magnet and coil in any way whatsoever.

With most modern dynamic microphones, phantom power will not hurt them, but they also will not improve them. It is best practice to leave phantom power (48v) turned off, unless you need it turned on for a specific reason.

Shure SM7B Pricing:

Phantom Power With An Inline Preamp

If you’re using an inline preamp with your Shure SM7B, you will need to power the inline preamp with 48v of phantom power.

Popular InLine Preamps include:

  • Cloudlifter CL-1:
  • Triton Audio Fethead:
  • sE Electronics Dynamite:

Shure SM7B Pricing

  • Shure SM7B Microphone:
  • SSL2+ Audio Interface:
  • Cloudlifter CL-1 Inline Preamp:
  • XLR Cable:
  • Mic Stand:

Shure SM7B 48v Phantom Power Topics

  • 0:00 ​ – Introduction
  • 0:15 ​ – Pricing & Specs
  • 0:40 ​ – What Is Phantom Power
  • 1:29 ​ – Phantom Power For Shure SM7B
  • 2:41 ​ – Phantom Power For Inline Preamp (Cloudlifter)
  • 4:08 ​ – Summary
  • 4:25 ​ – Final Thoughts

Related Articles

  • What Does 48v Do On Scarlett 2i2?
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 & Shure SM7B | Setup & Demo
  • AT2020 Microphone | STOP Making These 5 Mistakes!
  • Yamaha MG10XU With Shure SM7B Microphone
  • How To Connect Condenser Mic To Computer (Mac or PC)

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Table of Contents

shure sm57 need phantom power

Does Shure SM58 Need Phantom Power?

condenser microphone, phantom power

Phantom power is the name given to a process of delivering direct current to microphones that have active circuitry inside of them. However, not all microphones have a need for phantom power.

Does Shure SM58 need phantom power? No, the Shure SM58 microphone does not require phantom power simply because it does not have any active circuitry within it.

This article will explain what phantom power is and why the SM58 does not need it, whether or not phantom power can harm a dynamic microphone, and what the Shure SM58 microphone is. 

What is Phantom Power, and Why Doesn’t the SM58 Need It?

Phantom power is, by definition, “DC (direct current) electric power transmitted through microphone cables to operate microphones that contain active electronic circuitry.” It is commonly used with condenser microphones.

There are two types of microphones: dynamic and condenser microphones. The Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone, so it does not require phantom power. For more information on the differences between dynamic and condenser mics, check out this other article. 

However, condenser microphones are more sensitive microphones and include an electrically charged plate. This plate needs extra power to run, so the phantom power sends the correct amount of power to the entire microphone set-up, allowing it to work properly.

More details about phantom power are:

  • It is called phantom power because the power supply for it is invisible. It sends its voltage through the audio wires.
  • It is a direct current voltage, which means it is an electric charge that flows in only one direction.
  • It usually sends between 12 and 48 volts.

What is the Shure SM58 Microphone?

The Shure SM58 microphone is a microphone produced by Shure Incorporated since 1966. This particular microphone is one of the best-selling microphones in the world because it has an impeccable reputation with musicians, particualry for performing live.

Musicians love the SM58 because it is a cardioid dynamic microphone that includes features that are required to produce quality live vocals. Known for its durability and sound, it has remained the first choice for performers for decades. 

The two features of the Shure SM58 microphone that make it great for live vocal applications are:

  • Cardioid microphones are made in a way that reduces sound that can come in from other directions. The microphone looks like an “apple” placed onto top of a large “stem,” which is the part the performer holds. This build prevents feedback from the sides and rear of the person using it, making for quality vocals.
  • Dynamic microphones work by electromagnetic induction. Because of this, they are long-lasting, inexpensive, and resistant to moisture (which is a great characteristic for something that works so closely with a human’s mouth). 

On the website, the SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone boasts a 5 star rating. Pricing ranges from $99 to $109, depending on features and whether or not a cable is included with the microphone. 

Shure tells how the SM58 is the top choice for rock stars, pop idols, presidents, comedians, and popes. It is definitely an amazing buy for anyone that needs quality vocals for a decent price.

Can Phantom Power Harm a Dynamic Microphone?

While dynamic microphones do not need phantom power to run, they will typically not be damaged by it. Most modern dynamic microphones are made to be able to accept phantom power: they just won’t use it.

It is recommended to check the user manual that comes with your dynamic microphone to make sure that it is able to accept the phantom power without issues. Additionally, phantom power is hardly ever an issue for a professional-graded dynamic microphone.

Moreover, it is suggested to turn phantom power off when you are plugging and unplugging any microphones because of potential power surges and bothersome loud noises that can happen. The power surges that happen can damage equipment over time.

Which Microphone is Best – Dynamic or Condenser?

The fact that the majority of microphones are grouped into two categories – dynamic and condenser – tells us that both types are great; they are just perfect for different kinds of projects.

Dynamic microphones:

  • Work best to record loud sounds
  • Use a wire coil to amplify the signal
  • The output is lower than a condenser microphone
  • Cheaper than a condenser microphone
  • Does not need batteries or external power supplies
  • Reliable and well-made
  • Needs little to no maintenance
  • Capable of smooth, extended responses

Dynamic microphones are perfect for powerful vocals, capturing strong signals, and live performances.

Condenser microphones:

  • Works best in studios to pick up sounds with detail and accuracy
  • More delicate microphones
  • Uses a diaphragm suspended by a fixed plate to pick up amplify lower sounds
  • Need phantom power to run, usually 48 volts
  • Must be handled with care

Condenser microphones are recommended for delicate vocals, capturing high frequencies, and in-studio use.

Both dynamic and condenser microphones are suitable choices, but they are definitely limited to their prospective markets.

How Shure SM58 Measures Up

There are many uses for microphones in today’s technological age. Streaming and podcasting have seen a rise in the use of microphones. Add these modern uses of microphones with the classic vocal performance uses, and there is a high demand for quality microphones.

So, how does the Shure SM58 measure up for each of these industries that require microphones? What features and abilities do the microphone have that make it a great choice for streaming, podcasting, and live vocal performances?

For Streaming

Streaming is the act of transmitting audio and video to audiences and is very popular in the gaming community. It is a continuous flow of video that requires a reliable microphone.

The Shure SM58 offers the following features that are great for streaming:

  • High-quality microphone
  • Solidly built
  • Focused on vocal quality
  • Very affordable
  • Minimizes background noise

Choosing the SM58 as your streaming microphone will require you to also purchase an audio interface, but the quality of vocals you receive from this microphone is well-worth considering it to be your streaming microphone.

For Podcasting

Podcasting is a great way to share information using a voice recording over the internet. Podcasts feature interviews and episodes and rely almost solely on audio.

  • Legendary vocal microphone
  • Amazing audio quality
  • Great for home studios because they minimize background noise
  • Long-lasting and durable

Choosing the SM58 as your podcasting microphone is a smart decision, especially for those that are not equipped with a professional studio and are working from a “studio” set up in their homes. 

For Live Vocal Performances

The Shure SM58 has been the go-to microphone for live vocal performances since 1966, when it was first introduced to the market. It is built to handle a beating and can be thrown around and live to work another day.

The Shure SM58 offers the following features that are great for live vocal performances:

  • Great durability or live performances
  • Suitable for outdoor performances
  • Ideal for recording with loud instruments
  • Offers amazing control
  • Offers pointed focus to vocals

Choosing the SM58 as your live vocal performance microphone is an extremely wise decision, and it will have you following in the footsteps of some of the most famous live performers in recent history. 

The Bottom Line…

The Shure SM58 is a professional quality microphone that produces crisp vocals and offers outstanding reliability and durability that can deal with even the toughest performances. 

It does not require phantom power and is a staple for all vocal and audio-recording needs. While there are other brands of dynamic microphones on the market, there is a reason that the Shure SM58 still maintains its spot as a best-selling microphone decades after it was originally introduced – it is the best.

Rob Wreglesworth

Rob has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous rock star....but that hasn't stopped him from writing and recording music in his home studio. Rob has over 15 years experience of recording music at home.

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