#3
In my opinion, unless you are using a really terrible microphone (which the sm57 is not), microphones are more like 'flavors' than anything. Its like asking "whats the next step after chocolate icecream" lol. Each mic will offer you something different that another will not. You can do a little research and try to find a microphone that better suits your needs (i.e. Lets say you are trying to gather a more omni-directional sound that is warmer sounding overall, then you might want a nice condensor mic). But if you are looking for a mic that will provide good low end, upper midrange bite, and is a very widely used mic, well then the sm57 is right up there at the top of that list
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#4
Senn MD421 is one of the classic mics for cabs. Senn e609 and Audix i5 are another two popular choices but they're very close to SM57. The Royer R-121 is great and often combines with the SM57.

I combine AT4040 with SM57 or e609 recorded at the same spot, actually prefer the e609 or e835 over the SM57. Sometimes I combine two dynamics and darker and brighter one for a more interesting feel. Beyer M01 and some EV ND767, or 976 (not sure) on the same cab and at the same spot. You could also try to mic more than one cab. Usually it is good to mic the same spot on one cab to avoid phase issues, but sometimes phase issues make it interesting (read about Knopfler's sound on "Money For Nothing" - pure accident).

I've used Oktava condensers with e835 and they have a nice gritty almost crunchy sound, unfortunately don't remember the model, maybe MK319. They sound killer on a 5150, super aggressive.

The C414 is a great go to room of cab mic as well, that is taking in consideration my poor budget. If money weren't an issue, the Royer and a C414.


This covers some of the other usual suspects with somewhat scientific tone tests:
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/18_Cab_Mics_You_Should_Meet

I'd probably say MD421 or a AT4040 would be second if I have to pick to supplement a SM57. The Oktava maybe close third.

If money is no issue - C414 and the Royer.

I also hear some good things about the Samson ribbon mics, VR88 especially for guitars.
Last edited by diabolical at Apr 14, 2016,
#5
Quote by TheEmoStrangler
are you using a pre amp?
You mean an audio interface? Yeah, of course.
---
I asked on a few other sites and the MD421 and E609 were the most commonly suggested. What I am most wanting is something maybe more flat response and maybe more sensitive. The SM57 has a bump around 5k? For many amps that is a good thing but for an AC30 it adds some undesired bite.
Last edited by Will Lane at Apr 14, 2016,
#6
Quote by Watterboy
In my opinion, unless you are using a really terrible microphone (which the sm57 is not), microphones are more like 'flavors' than anything. Its like asking "whats the next step after chocolate icecream" lol. Each mic will offer you something different that another will not. You can do a little research and try to find a microphone that better suits your needs (i.e. Lets say you are trying to gather a more omni-directional sound that is warmer sounding overall, then you might want a nice condensor mic). But if you are looking for a mic that will provide good low end, upper midrange bite, and is a very widely used mic, well then the sm57 is right up there at the top of that list


^^ This!!

1000s of brilliant platinum album guitar tracks have been done with a 57 so yes... Different favors, not a step up. Mic placement is far mor important in getting the tone you want than mic label IMO. If you really can't get it done with a 57, it's not the mic.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 14, 2016,
#7
Well, I, myself could do it with an SM57. But I am not behind the live soundboard at the same time I am playing guitar. Recording, I can get far with an SM57 and a PG48. Live, I am limited to one mic realistically so the best I have is the 57.

The e906 looks like it is my best bet. With the "frequency rolloff" position selected, according to the frequency chart, it is mostly flat response.

EDIT: Going with the e906. Will report back.
Last edited by Will Lane at Apr 14, 2016,
#8
Actually for an AC30 I think you might be better off with a condenser or a ribbon, I'd probably go with the Samson VR88 on budget. If you want super flat the AT4040 (or AT2020 on budget) is probaly the most neutral sounding.
#9
Or keep using the venerable SM57 and set it off center/off axis from your speaker. The further from the center of the cone, the more HF rolloff. That is what Les Paul would do (did) on his recordings and live shows.

https://ask.audio/articles/6-mistakes-to-avoid-when-recording-electric-guitar
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 14, 2016,
#10
I think there are better mics than the 57. But to me one of the best things for a guitar is a 57 combined with an Royer 121. So that would be my recommendation. The sm57 though for many styles is still world class though...

Maybe upgrade other things in your chain... Amps, or preamp, or even guitar.
#11
Room treatment probably.
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#12
Quote by Will Lane
For guitar amps in particular. Both recording and live. Disregarding budget, but it needs to be a reasonable step up.

If wanna stay with dynamic mics....a 57 great mic....many producers use a second mic or even a third, to mix the different sounds so sm57 and 421 up close to cab ,a condenser microphone akg414 (£600) Neumann (£1800),Telefunken ela m251(£9,000) for room sound etc...and mix the sounds together like you can in Guitar rig or Amplitude....thats where these concepts came from,used in modern day software....proper old school studio techniques.... that have graced thousands of records...and we all love.

For Dynamics mics
Sennheiser hd421 £275ish
Shure sm7b *** £275ish (A great all rounder, probably better for guitars than 421)
The SM7b Also cuts out a lot of unwanted noise ,as has built in pop screen making it good for live or studio, Also used in \Radio stations for DJ's voice,good on cabs or Acc Gtr's Vocals a useful mic to have in the armoury.

Nellyslideguitar

I've made video about dynamics v condensers.. inc's some of the above mic's...
https://youtu.be/5UgF7f1bcbs
#13
I've never personally used one (and I'm honestly far from an authority on microphones), but I know a lot of people who swear by the Shure SM7 for recording distorted guitars. I once asked a friend/former coworker of mine, who is an accomplished live sound engineer, and he said that they're very good for it.

So, depending on who you ask, that is often considered a step up. Personally, I would consider (AM considering, really, as someone else with just an SM57 and is looking to expand) making a lateral move and getting an e609. I strongly prefer them to 57s most of the time.
#14
^From what I have heard, read, seen about the e609, it is really just a Sennheiser SM57. Nothing really better at all, just a bit different. Which is really the case with this topic, most are just different, not necessarily better. The 57 and the e609 are on the same "tier" I guess you could say. And by the way, the R121 is way out of budget!

The reason why I went with the e906 is because it seemed more like a vertical jump to a next teir, rather than a horizontal one of the same tier. I didn't want an SM57-ish mic, but something new altogether. The e906 has a different frequency response, and with the treble cut position, it is almost flat response. If you want/need the bump around 4-5k, good for you- the 57 is cheap and will do it well! But I do not want/need such a bump...

And speaking of the e906, I got it the other day and used it yesterday. I tried it with the "flat" position (which still has an SM57-esque bump) just so I wouldn't be thrown off too much, as I did not have time to play with EQ settings for the Church service. It still sounded more honest, crisp, and attack-y in comparison to what I remember about the 57. But without A/Bing them, I can't really say anything for certain.

So expect such a video soon...
Last edited by Will Lane at Apr 25, 2016,
#17
i5


e609 and 906


Shure sm57 S7B


I think it is time we look at the curves. As you can see all of the models discussed apply pretty much the same approach and attenuate around the same frequencies, but do it a little differently.
The Audix i5 boost lows and cuts a touch of midrange but almost mimics the sm57.

The Sennheisers are not too dissimilar between themselves and touch just a few frequencies away from the sm57.

The S7B is quite similar in response to the sm57 but has better proximity effect handling and larger area which makes it better for vocals. As far as I know, James Hetfield uses it for vocals.

Btw, here is one other mic, Sennheiser e835 which I prefer in some cases over sm57, it seemed also more open and fuller when tracking distorted guitars, looking at the curve again very close to the rest:

As you can see, this one has a much smoother graph, less attenuations.
#18
Interesting. It looks like to me the i5 does not really cut mids, but boosts the treble and bass up considerably so that the midrange is less apparent. The 57 looks to be a bit flatter up until the boost around 4k (i5 starts around 2k) then they both drop around the same point. The e609/906 follows a similar pattern but the e906 allows a progressively more flatter response dependent upon the built-in treble switch, and both seem more rounded in the frequency boost than the Shure units. Curious if that is due to any "rounding" the testers did. The e835 seems a bit smoother in the frequency jumps but still has such a jump. All of them seem to have a ~5db boost (relative to the rest of the curve) varying, ~between 2k-4k that persists until 9k-10k. The main reason I went with the e906 is because the "treble cut" switch position has less of a boost, around ~2db mostly between 4k-5k, not persisting afterwards.

How accurate are these graphs usually?
Last edited by Will Lane at Apr 25, 2016,
#19
These are the manufacturer specs, considering that all these models have been around for a while I'd say pretty accurate.
Don't forget that it all depends on what settings from the amp and speakers you will encounter. Probably the amp/speaker settings have more impact on here than the difference between these mics but you get some tonal variations between them for sure.
One of the reasons why I like the e835 is as its curve is a lot smoother so everything happens more gently, but you can see that overall the bumps are pretty much in the same area.

Here are two more popular dynamic mics, that seem to also have lift in the upper mid range:





The EV 767 has a proximity boost so you get all these lows when you put it close to a speaker, I think the i5 is probably doing the same thing.

As you can see, there isn't really that much difference, or the difference is not so huge that you can't fix with some eq, both from the amp or the console, as long as you use quality dynamic mics, which all these are.

... and now for the scary truth, for half the price this is the PG57, the Shure budget SM57


Not much different, is it?

One of the reasons why I like to pair a dynamic mic with a condenser or a ribbon, so you can capture the missing nuances or a bit more of room/air sound.
#20
Here is the vidya!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g38BiUHPmTA

TBH, I really have trouble distinguishing between them with the clean tones. The SM57 may be a little more bright, which is great for a mix- but the e906 was more honest to what the amp was actually producing. During the high-filter switch section in the middle, the e906 sounded most like the SM57 when the switch was in the "boost" position. The e906 sounded most natural/flat/honest with the switch in the "cut" position.

Now with the drive tones, it is much easier to distinguish the two. The SM57 sounds "boxier" in comparison to the e906. I kept the switch in the "cut" position for the drive tones.

I think it sounds best with them both on.
#21
Quote by Will Lane
Here is the vidya!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g38BiUHPmTA

TBH, I really have trouble distinguishing between them with the clean tones. The SM57 may be a little more bright, which is great for a mix- but the e906 was more honest to what the amp was actually producing. During the high-filter switch section in the middle, the e906 sounded most like the SM57 when the switch was in the "boost" position. The e906 sounded most natural/flat/honest with the switch in the "cut" position.

Now with the drive tones, it is much easier to distinguish the two. The SM57 sounds "boxier" in comparison to the e906. I kept the switch in the "cut" position for the drive tones.

I think it sounds best with them both on.

Did you put much thought into the placement over the speaker? Looks to me like each mic is over a different part of the cone, which should throw off pretty much any hopes of comparing them fairly. I know that if I move my 57 an inch in any direction on my amps (one of which is an AC4) that it completely changes the sound. You might want to try placing each one on an equivalent section of speaker (like an inch inside the edge on each side) so that you can hear the differences in mics, not differences in your speaker cone.
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#22
^Of course I paid special attention to placement. I placed them on opposite sides of the cap, as equidistant as I could get it. I even turned the overhead lights off and shined a light into the grill cloth to get the diaphragms as similarly placed as I could. If you are wondering about distance/phase as well, the SM57 was a fraction of a millisecond off, I corrected that in post for the blend clips.
Last edited by Will Lane at May 1, 2016,
#23
I noticed a bit more depth and fullness with the e906 which is consistent with how I've experienced this mic. As you can see though, neither one of these is a deal breaker either way - perfectly good tones with both. I think you see a lot more moving to condenser or ribbon mics and combining with dynamics.
#24
Quote by Will Lane
You mean an audio interface? Yeah, of course.
---
I asked on a few other sites and the MD421 and E609 were the most commonly suggested. What I am most wanting is something maybe more flat response and maybe more sensitive. The SM57 has a bump around 5k? For many amps that is a good thing but for an AC30 it adds some undesired bite.

Make sure to really try a whole heap of different mic placements before investing in another mic.

If you are to get another mic, I'd look at either a ribbon or a condenser, not another dynamic at this stage.

If budget isn't an issue I'd probably get a royer R121 personally.

But if you must get a condensor - the seinheisser md421 is a step up from the sm57. Plus it combines well with an sm57 (Petrucci of dream theater mics his cabs like this), and sounds awesome on toms if you ever record drums.
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Last edited by mulefish at May 12, 2016,
#25
Be sure you know how to properly read a manufacturer's microphone response chart. These can be thought of as advertisements and not really meant as an apples to apples comparison between mics.

Looking at the picture of a polar response pattern can give you a VERY inaccurate understanding of the mic in question. Usually these are *normalized* polar plots, and you really need to know how much gain was added or subtracted to get the plot in question for each frequency. Don't believe for a second the picture that every single cardioid is flat (dB wise) at the business end at every single frequency, the way the picture shows.

Be careful that you understand the concept of "smoothing" when looking at the frequency response chart as well. These pictures are often laughable, but can sometimes at least give you an idea of the trend of a particular microphone
#26
I prefer ribbons on electric guitars, smooths them out and adds some darkness that can be very nice when mixed with a 57/421/HE30 (another great mic).

It really comes down to, as someone said earlier, color/flavor/tone. I've seen guys record very crunchy guitar with tube mics, ribbons, dynamics.

I remember 1 guy using DPA omnis in a big room. Talk about accurate sound.
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#27
I actually prefer the Sennheiser e835 over the SM57 on most things, except the 57 is easier to place because it is smaller.

For miking guitar cabs, though, I'm not sure I could live without my Sennhesier MD421. It has the same basic character of the 57 only somehow always sounds fatter. It is most definitely a step up.

I do say that, though, with the caveat that NO mic is better than another mic all the time on all things. There are times when the sound of one mic - even a much less expensive one like the 57 - is just the thing you are looking for.

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#28
Honestly?

Another 57. Fredman is the shit.

Maybe a C214. I've been liking large diaphragm condensers on guitar cabs lately. R121 is great too for certain things.
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