Recording with an SM57? Amplifying an SM57 as a mic for singing while jamming?

#1
Hey guys,

havent visited this forum in a while. recently set up a small room in the basement of my college residence house as a some-what sound proof jam/recording room. Prior to this I've simply been recording in a large, multi-doored, cluttered, garbage filled garage-style room that sounds terrible.

QUESTION 1:
I currently have a shure SM57 and I am wondering if I would be able to use it as not just a recording mic, but also for a singing microphone for peformances. I.e. while jamming I can play guitar and sing into the mic. Now I'm wondering 2 things: 1) some recording questions below and 2) the equipment I would need to amplify me singing into the microphone.

I have the XLR cable for the mic, would I simply need to plug it into some random amplifier to hear my voice over the guitar and drums? If not, what do I need?


QUESTION 2:
Mic-to-USB adaptor and multi-tracking music program?

I made a couple recordings of me and my buddy (on drums) and me on guitar playing some original songs live in the basement, simply by sticking my shitty old iPhone 4 inbetween the drumset and my guitar amp, recording using the voice memo app. This phone is almost 4 years old and has been responsible for 100% of the music recording, production and finished product.

You can hear the most recent of said recordings here: pretty cool songs just bad quality and sloppy playing: https://soundcloud.com/jackhos/sets/december-1st-demos

Anyways

I have til like January 10th off and a drumset, guitar, bass, .etc at my disposal. I also have a Shure SM57 microphone (the oldschool ones popular with nirvana and shit)

Now I plan on recording each song like this:

(since I already have worked out the tempo/bpm to each one my songs)
1. Record a very simple drum beat outlining the song (while listening to metronome bpm of song in headphones)
2. Record rhythm guitar over this.
3. Record a better drum version (more fills and a specific verse/chorus/bridge beat .etc)
4. Record the vocals
5. Record the lead guitar
6. Write a bassline (mostly mimicking the guitar cause I'm not much of a bassist) and record it


Question:

I'm not looking into buying an interface. I had a steinberg before and its pretty shite. What I am looking into is the Shure X2u, which is a XLR-to-USB adaptor that attaches the SM57 to the computer so I can record directly into it.
http://www.shure.com/americas/products/microphones/sm/sm57-x2u-usb-digital-bundle

It's about $100 and christmas is coming up and I'm thinking of snagging one.

So then I'll have

SM57 recording mic
X2u USB adapter

now I need some sort of Garageband-esque program I can record onto. Garageband is so sick but I don't have a mac. Audacity is pretty atrocious and limited aswell. I'm looking for a 60s-70s/nirvana sound, so not necessarily top quality, could be a bit lo-fi, but still good.

Any suggestions or information very welcome.
#2
Look into Reaper, Tracktion and Mixcrat on the PC. Not sure if getting the USB adapter for that much is a good deal as the range is pretty limited and still you'd have to deal with the drivers of your audio card when monitoring (the sound coming out). I'd suggest you look at a slightly better interface maybe for just a few $, maybe PreSonus or Focusrite, they have some decent gear that goes for about $150. The case of PreSonus they also come with Studio One Artist which will take care of your need for a recording app.

The SM57 is essentially the same mic with some small changes, such as the grille design:
http://shureblog.co.uk/faq-whats-the-difference-between-the-sm58-and-the-sm57/

I've preferred the SM57 on some vocals and if you feel bad, Bono uses it as his main mic.
#3
I really would recommend getting a dedicated interface rather than that xlr to usb converter device. I have the lexicon alpha and I do find it very good for my needs. It has two inputs of an XLR and a normal 1/4" instument in.

Reaper is a great free program, far more intuitive than audacity.
#4
I second the Lexicon Alpha as a great way to get started. It costs about $60.00 and is a full stereo interface with a single XLR mic input and USB out and comes with a basic version of CueBase (I have never used the included Cuebase so I can't comment on it). I had an Alpha for about five years and it worked perfectly for my needs. After five years of heavy use the pots became a little noisey (when being turned) and I was going to buy another one to replace it. When I went to Musicians Friend to order another Alpha they had a "Stupid Deal of the Day" on a Tascam interface with more inputs so I now use a Tascam inerface that also works well (just plug and play) but the Alpha worked great for me and is cheaper than the Shure (never used the Shure so I can't comment on it).
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 18, 2014,
#5
Quote by Rickholly74
I second the Lexicon Alpha as a great way to get started. It costs about $60.00 and is a full stereo interface with a single XLR mic input and USB out and comes with a basic version of CueBase (I have never used the included Cuebase so I can't comment on it). I had an Alpha for about five years and it worked perfectly for my needs. After five years of heavy use the pots became a little noisey (when being turned) and I was going to buy another one to replace it. When I went to Musicians Friend to order another Alpha they had a "Stupid Deal of the Day" on a Tascam interface with more inputs so I now use a Tascam inerface that also works well (just plug and play) but the Alpha worked great for me and is cheaper than the Shure (never used the Shure so I can't comment on it).

I also started with a Lexicon Alpha. Those things sound like complete and utter garbage.
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#7
When I was first in the market for a decent vocal mic, the sound engineer at work told me to get an SM57, because they were pretty much the go-to mic for live performance, and did pretty well in the studio as well. I took his advice and have been using it ever since. So yeah, you won't have any problems with your SM57 in a live performance.

You could plug your mic into an amplifier, but then you're at the mercy of the input levels of the amp. Most live performers use a mixer or PA of some kind to make sure that one doesn't drown out the other.
#8
Thanks for all the info guys. What I was asking about when I meant amplifying an sm57 was, Plugging my guitar into one amp (VOX AC30) and then plugging the SM57 microphone into a seperate amp, a small crappy one like a VOX AC4TV (I have one i dont use) and then being able to sing and play guitar at the same time, for a live setting/recording. I'm curious if I could do that.


As for recording guitar, what I ended up doing was placing my SM57 directly up to my VOX AC30, and kept it at a volume of only like 8% (it gets loud really easy and can become a nuisance to those I live with so I keep it low) and plugged the mic cable directly into my Steinberg CI1 USB interface. I said this thing was shitty in the past but I just dont think I ever got a grasp on how to use it.. so I spent the last 3 days messing around with it, and recorded a tone test.

TONE TEST:
https://soundcloud.com/jackhos/rock-aint-dead-demo-guitar-tone-test


Shure SM57 > Steinberg CI1 interface > Laptop > Sequel LE 2 (program) w/ no amp simulator or effects

Equipment: VOX AC30 w/ blue alnico speakers, 2005 Fender strat (mexican), JH1 Wah-wah pedal & a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver.


Let me know what you guys think of this tone. I'm pretty happy with it but my ears are biased.

FYI: The sound/tone I am aiming for is Jonny Greenwood, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page & that classic 60s/70s tone with a hint of 90s grunge.

Any suggestions or ways I could make it sound better? planning on recording an album with this gear one day lol

Link to new thread: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=33148425#post33148425