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Thread: Thile using an SM57 mic

  1. #1

    Default Thile using an SM57 mic

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_ulJz5QF7E

    Do my eyes/ears deceive me? He's getting this sound out of a plain ol' SM57? I've been playing a lot more on stage and doing research on all kinds of microphones and pickups but, to my ear, the 57 is so close to all the other options (and a lot easier to work with), that I may just stick with that and dial in the EQ.

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    SM57s have been around for years but I think they are a little different now.
    Back in my days as a drummer in a top 40/country/rock band we did a sort of novelty thing where I got out the banjo and played FMBD and/or Rocky Top. I could hold the banjo about an inch from a 57, pick hard and easily compete with keyboards, electric guitar and electric bass. Hardly ever any feedback, and the darned things could be dropped, used outside in the rain or just about anything and keep right on working.
    Granted there are much better sounding affordable mics now, but when it comes down to it 57s and 58s will still get the job done.

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Dunno about the mic's......but plug in at 23:00 for some amazing Bach. And directly into "yee-haw"!!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Looks to me like a small diaphragm condenser, not an SM57. I spied a glimpse of a polar pattern icon. My casual guess would be a Schoeps.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Quote Originally Posted by bradeasley View Post
    Looks to me like a small diaphragm condenser, not an SM57. I spied a glimpse of a polar pattern icon. My casual guess would be a Schoeps.
    It's an SM57. There's a couple spots where you can see the name/logo, and they do have a cardioid pattern on them, too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    I agree. From that screenshot, it's definitely an SM57. What's amazing is, for a live setting, I'm not sure I could tell the difference between this and one of his condenser mic set ups in a blind A/B test.

  9. #7

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    you can have the best mic and sound setup around and have a lousy sound guy- and it sounds awful. You can have a simple set up of mics and have great sound people and sound like this. it's not all about the equipment. it's the combination of all the elements that makes a truly wonderful performance.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  11. #8
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    I always have to chuckle when people express amazement over the pro use of those Shure mics, after all, they’ve been industry standards for a reason. They get the job done well and they’re rugged. Maybe there are better options in the digital media age for dialing things in … really no doubt about that … but the 57/58s are a good and economical place for most people to start. And don’t dispose of them when you “upgrade”, as long as it’s serviceable, keep your shure mics around.
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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Condenser mikes are great. They can deliver wonderful sound. If the environment, equipment, and equipment operator are good.
    But when you can't get your instrument to dial in because of a bad room, or a bad system, or a less than expert sound man, or because the gremlins are having a party . . .
    An SM57 will work when nothing else will.

  14. #10

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    He's playing into a 57 and singing into a 58. There is a reason people have been doing that for decades.

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    If you follow all the conversations and read the liner notes, it seems he changes microphones like most people change their clothes. A lot of people were really unhappy about the ribbon mic he used to record with Michael Daves. I agree with those saying the Shures are a known thing. I use them regularly live, as my audience isn't sitting in their living room. You can drive a truck over them and they'll still let you sound like a generic version of yourself.
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    I have been using the same 58 Shure mic for somewhere around 40 years now. Put a new ball on it as the old one was looking bad, but otherwise it still keeps working. This has been in terrible environments from time to time, with rain, humidity, dust (square dances in barns), you name it. It keeps working and is dependable. I have condenser mics, but they are much more finicky about where they work and feedback easier. Austin City Limits used both the 57 and 58 on their shows for decades.
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  19. #13

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    A 58 is a 57 with a pop filter.

  20. #14

    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    SM57's are bomb proof but very range sensitive and not the most natural sounding IME. In a bar or loud room, probably perfect. I much prefer a small diameter condenser. They sound great from 6-10" away and allow you to move around a little more as you play. I don't like to keep my attention drilled in on if the mic is 2" from my instrument. You do have to be more careful about feedback, but I don't care to play where stage volume is that high. Of course, IEMs change a lot of those issues.

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Bought a couple of SM57s 30 odd years ago - still going strong. The only difference I can see between these and their modern equivalents is that they’re cheaper today than they were then!

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    I'm still using a 57 and a 58 (not all the time) from the late '70's. Indestructible. More than I am these days.

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    I've had numerous pleasant conversations with Lou Stiver and the 57 is all he and his band have ever used.
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    57 for the mandolin, 58 for the vocals works well in my band as well.
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  26. #19
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    Question Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Venue supplied the sound & Mic choice ?
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Even my dinky band is bringing our own mics, when PA is provided.
    I'd be surprised (but not blown away) if Thile left his mic choice up to whatever was in house.
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Vibey vintage mics have their place, for sure, but SM 57/58’s are great for what they are. Our praise band has used them almost exclusively for years (at least 10) and we’re still using the same ones. We’ll sometimes use some unidirectional condensers if there’s a larger ensemble singing, but that’s about it. I picked up a Rode NT-1 (definitely not vintage) to do some home recording with but have never pulled it out at church, cuz the 57/58s are reliable and sound good every time.

    Agree that a good sound person makes a world of difference, regardless of the set up.

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    In my experience, a touring performer hires a sound company, the sound company puts together a suitable system and the artist uses whatever is provided. A half decent sound isn’t solely dependent on the mics used. You have the desk, outboard gear, the speakers, the engineer, the hall acoustics etc to take into account.

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Chris arrives at venue and asks "what type mics do you use in the house?" The sound man "we've been 57/58 shures for decades now". Chris "cool man, that will work". Bottom line, they could have cut the PA off and Chris could still sound great and be heard.

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  32. #24
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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    It isn't the microphone or his fancy old mandolin.....

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    Default Re: Thile using an SM57 mic

    Industry standard for many years; touring bands used to specify them 'cause they knew what they were getting.

    I've pretty much switched to condenser mics now, but there's nothing finicky about those Shures, producing predictable good response. Bet they've made Shure a ton of money...
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