Is Shure SM57 Good for Recording Acoustic Guitars?

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Yes, it is! The Shure SM57 is an excellent choice for recording acoustic guitars. Its ability to eliminate unwanted noise makes it excellent for capturing the detail and clarity of an acoustic guitar. So, what gives it this ability? The Shure SM57 is versatile. Therefore, performers can use it to record the acoustic guitar and other instruments. Its tough build and ability to weather high sound pressure levels make it popular for live gigs. Its cardioid polar pattern reduces bleed from other instruments on stage while also allowing it to record sound from the head’s back and front.

The SM57 is used as a close-miking option when recording. The microphone should be placed 6 to 12 inches from your guitar’s sound hole. The Shure SM57 has proven its worth in nearly every application imaginable, which is why studios will have ten to twenty of them on hand. Keep reading for more reasons why the Shure SM57 is good for recording your guitar!

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Why is the Shure SM57 suitable for recording acoustic guitar and vocals?

These are the numerous reasons why the Shure SM57 is an excellent choice for recording acoustic guitar and vocals;

  • One of the most important aspects is its frequency response, which includes all of the most prominent frequencies produced by vocals and acoustic instruments. The SM57 has a frequency response range of 40Hz to 15kHz. Male vocalists’ fundamental frequencies are generally between 100Hz and 300Hz, while female voices are most prominent between 200Hz and 400Hz. Furthermore, the most prominent frequencies produced by an acoustic guitar are in the range of 100-500Hz, with higher frequencies reaching up to 15kHz. As you can see, vocals and acoustic guitar fit nicely into the Shure SM57’s frequency response.
  • The SM57 also has a natural presence boost in the mid-range frequencies, contributing significantly to its legendary versatility. The slight boost improves vocal recording clarity and allows the microphone to capture the finer details of an acoustic guitar, such as harmonics, chord resonance, or picking techniques.
  • The SM57 is extremely easy to position when recording acoustic guitars. It can be used with a standard microphone stand and has a simple clip mechanism. It can also be used as a handheld microphone, which is useful when inspiration strikes and you need to quickly record a vocal melody.
  • It is also a good choice due to its ability to handle high sound pressure levels. The volume of both of these sound sources is likely to vary. Vocals could be soft and airy in one song, then belted out in the next. Similarly, the acoustic guitar can be played softly with fingerpicking techniques, or it can be played aggressively with a plectrum and strummed to produce a significantly louder sound.

The SM57 Is also A “Balanced” Microphone!

The Shure SM57 is a dynamic and balanced microphone. Understanding the difference between a balanced and unbalanced signal is essential for ensuring that your recording equipment is set up properly. The SM57 sends the signal from the microphone to a recording device, speaker, mixer, or amplifier via an XLR cable. These cables have three conductors in their connectors and three wires inside the cable, which is required for balanced signal transmission.

A balanced XLR cable has three wires: two signal wires and a single ground wire. The ground wire’s function is to shield the signal wires, preventing interference. It explains why the SM57 produces so little noise. In comparison, an unbalanced cable, such as a TS guitar cable, has only two wires inside it. These two wires are made up of a signal wire and a ground wire, with no additional signal wire found in a balanced XLR, used to record an SM57.

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Since each of the wires in TS jack cables must terminate when they come into contact with the connector, they are used to carry unbalanced signals. The ground wire functions similarly to the signal wire in a balanced cable, shielding it and carrying a small portion of the audio signal. A balanced cable’s signal wires transmit a duplicate of the audio signal. However, the polarity of these two copies has been reversed, resulting in them being canceled out by one another.

It may appear counter-productive, as canceling both audio signals will result in silence, but this is essential to send a balanced signal. It is due to the receiving audio equipment, such as an audio interface or amplifier, flipping the inverted signal back to its original form. As a result, the original signal is preserved, while the noise produced by the microphone or other equipment is still polarized. It is why balanced signals are thought to be clearer than unbalanced signals and why almost all microphones, including the SM57, use them.

Advantages of the SM57

  • Easily records loud sounds because it efficiently handles sound pressure levels. 
  • Durability (they are very sturdy). 
  • Isolation (eliminates background noise efficiently). 

Disadvantages of the SM57

  • One criticism of the SM57 for acoustic guitar is that it requires you to get the microphone reasonably close to being effective, which can lead to problems with over-emphasizing the bass, which causes boominess and leads to a muddy recording. You can fix this by angling the microphone away from the sound hole.
  • Since the microphone is so close to the guitar player, any movement becomes amplified. No guitarist sits perfectly still, and you may have taken the time to carefully position your mic, only to discover that the sound is constantly changing as the guitarist moves naturally with his playing.

Final Thoughts

Acoustic guitars are delicate instruments that require the use of a microphone capable of capturing the nuance and subtlety of your performance. For several reasons, the Shure SM57 is ideal for recording acoustic guitar and vocals. The Shure SM57 has a wide frequency response, can keep noise to a minimum, and can handle high-pressure levels, making it an excellent choice for capturing vocals and acoustic guitar. It is a legendary and dynamic microphone that remains a best-seller today!

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