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Is it really worth it - SM7 over a SM57

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by lostindundee, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member

    Hi there

    I tried to do searches for this, for what one would have thought would have been discussed somewhere. However, the forum did not allow me to search for this. Sorry!

    I have several mics:

    x2 SM57
    x1 SM58
    x2 Fathead II (with Lundahls)
    X1 SM81
    x1 KSM27

    Whilst I'm not entirely unhappy about the sounds I'm getting, I've been reading a lot about he SM7 being a significant step up from the staple that is the SM57. Would an SM7 really make a difference?

    I'm using Portico Preamps and I'm sure I read here on R.org that a decent preamp with an SM57 with a pop shield with a vocal technique of singing a fist's-space away from the mic would yield as good a result as any, even as good as a U87. Can't remember who wrote this.

    I'm just wondering, should I spill out the cash for an SM7.


    Regards

    LiD
     
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is a choice that will be totally subjective. The SM7 will do some things that none of the mics on your list will do. If these things are something you need then it will be a good fit. It will handle vocalists with a loud voice. It will do vocals with a large disparity in volume....loud to soft....It will do screamo and for spoken word there isnt a lot that are better. Your Porticos allow you to get as much out of your mic collection that you can possibly get. In a lot of ways the SM7 is the same mic as the 57 but does have some differences. They both are in the same ballpark as far as frequency response. The SM7 will handle a lot more spl.

    So the real answer is, if you want one, buy it. If you dont like it sell it and get something else. You buy these used and you cant lose money if you do your research on price.
     
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I agree with what Dave says. A lot of this depends on whether you are trying to fit a particular vocalist or build a versatile mic collection. If you are trying to fit a particular vocalist and an sm57/58 works well for that vocalist than trying an SM7 (or other dynamics like an RE20) would be a good idea. If you want to build a versatile collection you might save up a look at a multi-pattern LDC rather than the SM7 (which, after all, is a variation on mics that you already own). Can't go wrong with the SM7, though. You'll probably end up with one (or something similar) if you continue to expand you collection.

    As a side note - the comment about SM57/U87 is good, but should not be misinterpreted. The idea is that if the song/vocalist calls for an SM57 then it won't be improved by a U87. This is why studios that own U87s sometimes end up using SM57s for some vocals. The U87 is a "better" vocal mic in the sense that it will be a better mic for more songs/vocalists than the 57.
     
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have the Portico 5012 and Sm57, SM7B and a 87ai.

    First just to further echo the same train of thought, the Sm7B is not like a 57 It can go from close to flat to radio DJ with a few switch changes. I love it on male rock vocals, and some sibilant female vocals. The 57 I find nice on singer that need a bit of bite in the 4k range. However its very rare I reach for a 57 in a vocal session, not that its a bad mic, Its just rare it gets a chance to 'try out'....

    Now the U87 is a different animal. It provides much more detail. Its a bit more intimate, but the beauty of the mic is that it is not harsh in the upper end. In fact compared to more modern mics, like the Rode NT2, its sounds down right mellow. Mellow but detailed....

    To answer your question, yes a SM7b is worth it.

    Side question how do like the KSM27?
     
  5. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member

    Hi there.

    Thanks for your replies folks. I realy appreciate it. There was lots of good advice there which was exactly what I needed. As I was awaiting a response, I bought a second SM81 from eBay for Acoustic Guitars...and also a couple of shockmounts for them. Couldn't help myself. Ha Ha

    Dave & Bob - It was kinda a toss up between the SM7 and the RE20. They are both very similar mics with a slight difference in frequency response and proximity effect. However, on versatility I've been reading that the SM7 pips the RE20 to the post. Although I'm going to go with the SM7, I don't think I could go wrong with either. Hell...I may end up with both eventually. Who knows?

    Bob...I now totally get what was likely intended by the SM57/U87 comparison. I also agree with you regarding the LCD purchase. An LCD multi-pattern is perhaps a bit down the line for reasons outlined in Link555's bit below.

    Link555 - Firstly...cheers for the SM7 advice. I'll likely get one soonish. Regarding the KSM27 and to clarify something for Bob. The KSM27 is a great mic. I like it. However, my recording space sucks. I'm very limited spacewise and if I done extensive room treatment, I would be doing so mainly in my kitchen. My biggest issue is the traffic outside creating its noise outside and also vibrations up the building (7 floors up). I'm looking at rubber blocks under my mic stands and a heavy density insualtion baffle over the 3'x3' window. The stuff I'm gonna use (here in the UK) is similar to Owens Corning 703. Lots of people have raved about this stuff. Apparently, it's so dense that you can hardly lift the 5 pack in the link below.

    http://www.wickes.co.uk/Heavy-Density-Insulation/invt/161189

    Anyway...as probably already figured out...my KSM27 and LCDs in general don't do well in my house at the moment. However, if I get this Kitchen sorted out to an extent where I can temporarily eliminate the unwanted intrusions, at least when I'm using it to record, then I just may splash for something like a U87 or something not so grand perhaps.

    Incidentally...more positive things are said about the KSM32 which is reported to be very quiet. Whereas the KSM44 is apparently a multi-pattern version of the KSM27 - which is now discontinued to become the now SM27.


    Cheers again folks. I knew I could get some sense here. :)

    LiD
     
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I would like to add a couple more mics in this category for your consideration. The Heil PR40 and the PR35 are LDD's with a nice bump in the upper mids that the RE20 and SM7 don't have. This , I believe , gives these mics a bit more of a 'condenser' sound while retaining all of the dynamic features one would desire in such a mic. Isnt it great that you can stick something in a kick drum and it sound GREAT and then SING through it later on!!!!

    My buddy Moonbaby has these mics and will attest to their quality of build and their performance in comparison to these selections you mention. NOT running the RE or the SM7 down......LOVE them...I like the RE27 a bit more for singing though...Comparably priced also......

    So, understanding your need for a mic that gives you the detail without the all-encompassing sensitivity to the surroundings, I would recommend the Heils over either of the others. Or maybe even the new Shure ribbons.............
     
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I like ALL of the mics listed so far!!! DD is right about the Heil PR-40, love mine on kick, bass amps, then stick it on a gutsy vocal, it rocks. It seems to be fatter than an RE-20, but my RE-20 certainly has its' place when I need a "drier" sound. I used to use an SM-7 for some broadcast work I was doing, but for me, it isn't as versatile a mic as the RE-20. Like others have stated, the "7" is for leather lungs.
    I aquired a pair of KSM27s earlier this year.They work well on acoustic instruments and some vocals, but I prefer SM81s on OH's and acoustiic guitars. Definitely NOT for the space "Lost" has cited that he has to contend with.
     
  8. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member

    Thank you Davedog and moonbaby.

    This is excellent input. I've been researching the Heils for the last 1-2 hours after reading your posts. Very positive things said about them. Seems they're pretty much in the same ball park as the SM7 and RE20. Slightly different too it seems, which is good. When you consider the following:

    Heil PR40 - £229 GBP
    RE20 - £405 GBP
    SM7 - £342 GBP

    I may have to have a punt on the Heil. Thanks for that.

    I saw the RE27 (£597 GBP) reviewed on youtube here alongside a RE20. The same guy also does the SM7 in another clip in the'Related Videos' at the side.

    Regarding my kitchen, I'm sure I'll make a very big difference baffling the window, hanging a blanket behind me and using a homemade version of realtraps' portable vocal booth - using my high density panels wrapped in burlap/felt/muslin, this being instead of my smaller SE Reflexion Filter. I'll let you know how I get on once I've done it.


    Thanks again

    LiD
     
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    You could try the transformer bypass mod on an SM57 to get more of that SM7 tone. An SM56 or 545 with the integral stand adapter and switch can be modded to let you switch the transformer in or out. There's no doubt that the tone is quite different and generally much better, but it might not drive long lines as well.

    I can recommend the RE20 from much experience. People I trust have said good things about Heils.
     
  10. lostindundee

    lostindundee Active Member

    Thanks bouldersound

    That's an intriguing mod. However, I just bought the sm7b tonight so no going back for me there.

    Regarding the RE20 and the Heil Pr-40, I may end up getting both eventually. Depending on if I feel I need them.

    Thanks again for chipping in here bouldersound. Much appreciated.


    LiD
     
  11. cancerstik

    cancerstik Member

    Found this video really interesting towards the debate.
     
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    This guy is pretty ignorant to the ways of basic audio. Of course if you record at a lower level and then bring the level up in post, you'll bring everything up - including the noise that comes from a cheap pre or one lacking sufficient gain...
    The SM7 is a mic that requires substantial gain to operate at its optimum, there's no secret to this, everyone who has ever owned or used one knows this.

    There's nothing from this video that pertains to hi resolution/hi fidelity recording applications. Many things effect the quality of a podcast - the mic, the pre, the acoustics of the environment, the available bandwidth, the connection, youtube playback, codecs...

    And what debate? The 57 and the SM7 are two different mics...
     
  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    What do you record? Speech, singing, bit of both? For singers you have tons of popular choices suited to different voices and styles. For voiceovers, same thing applies - what the end result should sound like. Some broadcasters will pick RE20s or SM7s without a moments thought. Voiceover studios will probably go down the Neumann route, certainly here. Studios that record vocals will probably consider Neumanns, but have an open approach to trying almost anything. They'll usually look, then listen, then pick something to try.

    Nowadays there is a need for rules, and lists and worst of all, rubbish youtube videos that show just how detached from reality people are. Why anyone would put appalling audio on a video that makes you wonder why anyone would buy either mic, is just typical of how silly things now are. I watched one yesterday - five minutes of unboxing, with wobbly camerawork and a caption saying part 2 would come soon when his recoding interface turns up! A mic review, without plugging it in, and wait for it ........ It was a Shure SM58.

    Nowadays you can order a mic, and if you don't like it - send it back and buy another! Or you can find somebody you are friends with on Facebook and borrow some to try out!
     
    audiokid likes this.

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