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Shure SM57 wins shootout.

I used Metallica's very own vocal preamp and any mic I wanted to...the 57 won

I have a friend who works for SSE (sound engineer company in England who do festivals live sound)

My friend borrowed me two flight suitcases full of amazing mic's and also a dual channel preamp used by Metallica and also a lovely valve preamp.


The top preamp is the one SSE save just for James Hetfields live vocals.

I wasted around five hours trying to get the Dual preamp to sound good with my over heads. The metallica preamp had a really noisy gain compared to the other valve amp In the end it sounded better going straight into my sh*tty Alesis interface. I should of seen that coming, thanks metallica. :rolleyes:

I recorded an amazing guitarist with some great gear.

This dual rec and diesel cab set up was so clear, tight and unforgiving (rhythm left speaker).

I spent hours trying to blend close mics and mics set further back and blending them. in the end you really can't beat an sm57 close mic'd pointing around the edge of the cone until the fizz goes away. I previously used 57's purely because Andy Sneap and other engineers use them but now I know for sure its because they sound great. quite a dark sounding mic in my opinion and they leave room for other instruments.

all esp's. many with Bare knuckle pick up's

the guitarist uses overdrive to further tighten the tone and add grit. I had hardly any gain on the dual rec itself.

a mesa boogie mark 3 (used for lead solo's). note how much middle we dialed out. there is a signature Micheal angelo batio overdrive pedal in there to tighten the sound and also add a bit of 1Khz mid's to let the lead tone have its own place in the mix. i also boosted this area with eq after recording.

This is a fender Supersonic used for the rhythm guitar (right speaker). yes I know it looks like an indie wimpy amp but believe me this amp is super heavy and amazing. tons of non fizzy gain and super versatile.

A tired bloodshot lead guitarist who I pushed till breaking point to get the best out of him. he can do anything on guitar. you can really hear his influences in his song such as Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Van Hallen, Alex Sckolnick etc.

As for bass gear this is a 1978 ampeg Svt II

i blended the DI with yet again a 57 (it honestly sounded the best in my opinion) i tried to get an Andy sneap testament dark roots bass tone. which i think i came close to.

drum set up. (this drummer was 14 years old when recording this!)

note how I only used two Overhead mic's i really don't benefit from using any more mic's. I do ride the OH fader quite a lot though.

Anyway here is the finished product.

a 1980's style guitar solo instrumental.…"]View:…]="…"]View:…]

hope you enjoy it and the moral of the story is 'if in doubt use an sm57'.


anonymous Wed, 04/16/2014 - 04:53
carlo_caci, post: 413815, member: 48008 wrote: I used Metallica's very own vocal preamp and any mic I wanted to...the 57 won

I have a friend who works for SSE (sound engineer company in England who do festivals live sound)

Anyway here is the finished product.

a 1980's style guitar solo instrumental.


hope you enjoy it and the moral of the story is 'if in doubt use an sm57'.

That was sweet. I'm not a fan of the shredding thing, but I can respect the talent. Very nice gear too... I bet you felt like you were in guitar player's heaven? ;)

carlo_caci Wed, 04/16/2014 - 06:13
DonnyThompson, post: 413823, member: 46114 wrote: I was just reading an article on AC/DC, and I read where the secret to their guitar tones wasn't in turning up... but using a lot of tubes and turning down. ;)
Great advice. I didn't know that I thought they cranked 100w but I suppose the ac/DC sound is quite clean by today's standards. I know with this recording there was plenty of gain. I am very weary of fizz and harshness and after a certain point when i turn the gain up i only hear noise being added instead of tone. I always have issues with the guitar signal getting to hot and sounding clipped/distorted once I have all the limiters and compressors added. I always have to keep going back and turning them down.

anonymous Wed, 04/16/2014 - 07:09
Carlo, when you get a chance, check this article out:

A quote from this article:

"The secret to Malcolm's playing, as Guitar Magazine explained, was open chords with the amps turned down, not up, and mics shoved right up close to capture all the details. He didn't churn out huge rock riffs through blasting amplifiers, his playing, and magic, is much more subtle than that, despite the rawness of the early studio albums."
- Darryl Mason, OrstraHyun Interview

audiokid Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:03
pcrecord, post: 413833, member: 46460 wrote: Those SM57 are true workhorses that could be used on so many things and with a low price tag. No wonder why we like them.
On a cab, it's always my first pick and then if I find the sound is not full enough I add a ribbon.. Wow... I'm seduced every time !! ;)
R121 and a 57/58. Choice.

dvdhawk Thu, 04/17/2014 - 08:54
I'm as much a fan of the SM57/58 as anybody, but I don't think this is a case of better or worse, winners and losers. Like so many audio preferences, it's just more familiar. We know what it's going to do, and it meets our expectations every time. Does an SM57 jammed against the grill cloth faithfully reproduce the sound of the guitar amp? No, it over-emphasizes the bass in a way we're all VERY accustomed to hearing it. Then what does everybody usually do? HPF the guitar track to get rid of all the excessive lows. OK, that's one choice. If that familiar sound, and process, is the best thing for that song, or that guitar rig - do that all day.

I have a handful of SM57/58s, but there are numerous dynamics that will capture the guitar tone MUCH more accurately live and in the studio. The choice is yours; familiarity, or faithfully reproducing the tone (which you'd like to think the guitar player has carefully crafted). Guitar players can be tone-freaks, and even then, the added familiar 57 tone puts them right where they want to be, while others hate what a 57 does to their 'signature' tone. So then in a live setting, they end up turning up their amp until they're off at the board.

anonymous Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:12
I think Hawk said it best. The 57/58 has been around for so long now, is so familiar to us, and has become such a studio staple, ( do you know any studio that doesn't have at least one of each?) that we've grown accustomed to it. And, I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm not inferring that they were bad mics that we were forced to get accustomed to... it's actually quite to the contrary.

They are both solid workhorses - stories abound regarding the punishment that these mics have seen, and they still end up working perfectly. (I have my own stories as well... one involves ice, snow, and a lawnmower... LOL)

The 57/58 gives us exactly what we expect from them, every single time. And there's nothing at all wrong with that kind of continuity. You know precisely what to expect from these mics the moment you plug them in and mic the sources intended.

IMHO of course.

dvdhawk Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:04
The cool thing is, Carlo got to try out a bunch of good mics and hear that they each have their own unique sonic-fingerprint. There's no debating the SMs are industry-standard for a reason. I'll sing into either SM without hesitation, but personally, I don't use them on my own guitar amp(s).

I have pretty decent gear, but I am NOT one of these guys with fancy/expensive guitars, or hot-rodded amps, or a bunch of boutique pedals. Most of my friends who fall into that category are NEVER satisfied. They spend their entire lives, and many thousands of dollars, trying to find some elusive tone that they can't quite describe, or ever really put their finger on. [aim at nothing, hit it every time]

Most of my guitars and amps are pretty "work-a-day". I know exactly what I want my guitar to sound like (the way it sounds). And regardless of whether it's live or recording, I want to preserve the tone of the amp as much as possible - so I'd prefer a mic that doesn't have so much proximity effect. My favorite dynamics for a guitar amp would be an AKG D3600, or Sennheiser MD441. The AKG has dual-elements, that almost completely nullifies the proximity effect.

I own 4 of the D3600s and wouldn't dream of selling any of them. They're funny looking, but they really give you true sound of any amp. [bass, kick, toms, trombone] We've had a lot of guitar players comment on how much they like having a recording that actually sounds like their amp.

My drummer has another great vintage dual-element AKG D224e, that he's been using for years on his hi-hat. That mic is so good on everything (electric, acoustic, snare, violin). It's a small dynamic that has smoothness that could compete with a ribbon mic, and detail that rivals any SDC condenser - without all the unwanted sensitivity of a condenser. So you get what you aim it at, and not everything from here to the parking lot. I'd love to find one in great condition to add to my own collection.

The MD441 is just as sweet and articulate as the D224e, and another mic that shows how detailed a dynamic can really be. The only downside of the 441 is, the blasted thing is about a foot long by the time you get a cable hooked into it - which makes it a bit awkward for smaller stages, or any other tight set-up. But they are real gems for recording.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, before we had anything that nice available to us, I used an AKG D190e and found it to be much truer to the amp's sound. I bought 2 of them used in the mid 80s for something like $40 and gave one to the other guitar player in the band. We had a big beautiful sounding 4-way PA, with honest to goodness, hiss-free highs up to 18kHz. That PA really gave you your money's worth from good reverbs, lush synths, and vocals because of the added freq. response. Most other bands at the time were all sub and horn. Most of them had little or no midrange, and nothing at all above 12k except ratty little piezo boxes. The other guitarist I was working with then has always been a genius at finding the right tone for a song, and years later, when he finally broke his D190 he switched to an SM57. The local guitar players, who regularly came to see us, asked if there was something wrong with his amp or reverb unit. His rig was running perfectly, the new mic just didn't have the clarity to convey the sound of his amp through a PA that let you hear the difference. My D190 still works, but it hasn't seen much use since I bought the D3600s.

Of all of those, only the MD441 is still in production. And of the other mics currently available on the market, I personally prefer the Sennheiser e906 (or e609) to a 57 for my own guitar. They both seem less boomy in the bass department, even positioned right against the grill cloth. Of course they're designed to look like a vintage MD409, which by all accounts is on a completely different level. I've never had a chance to use a 409, but I remain optimistic I'll have one in the collection someday.

Lots of guys just hang the 409, 609, or 906 by the mic cable wrapped through the handle. That works fine for me, because nearly all of my amps have a single 12" or single 10" speaker. It doesn't work so well for guys with any other speaker configuration. [2x12, 4x10, 4x12, what have you] **Here's a tip though, keep the mic clip on the mic - even though it's hanging from the cable, and you're not using any stand. The clip will keep the mic from spinning out of position.

FWIW / YMMV / and all the rest...

kmetal Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:17
the MD 441 is super underrated. its nice on snare, really good on vocals, excellent off axis rejection. its kinda like a 57 or dynamics in general where they sound good on most voices and great on some, its got a high end similar to a condenser like detailed. takes eq good.

loud amps, 57s, cant wait to see some concerts this summer

moonbaby Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:50
Sorry to interrupt, but if I may add...
Another great dynamic that I have found to "out-57 a 57" is the Beyer M201. Also have its' discontinued sibling the (omni) M101. Both great dynamics, very detailed and smooth, transients are punchier.. And as far as Beyers go, probably some of their more robust mics. I use the 201 anywhere a 57 would be used, the 101 works well as a room mic, even a HH mic on the right kit in the right environment.

dvdhawk Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:25
Thanks for the recommendations Jim. I've been wanting to add a few Beyers, but I've never had as much access. I recently picked up a distributor that carries Beyer and Heil, so somewhere down the road I'll be adding some of each - based in part on your high praise for both of them. Although, if I remember correctly, you said the Heils have a healthy proximity effect. So, probably not going to be my first choice for guitar amps.

RemyRAD Mon, 04/21/2014 - 15:46
Most folks that know me, know that I really don't go in for the heavy Metallica Rock 'n Roll. But when it's done this well! Well... it's fabulous! It's Sucking Frocks Dude! I like it better than Metallica! You got it down! Yeah baby.

This kid on drums is really 14? His daddy must Beat him Hard, to make him Play that Well? I loved how he stayed on the back side of the beat. He never rushed it like so many others do. It's that kind of playing my brain just locks right into. A superb job indeed.

I got news for ya... your crappy equipment... it ain't crappy. It's got just the right sound to present this the right way. Anything else would be different not necessarily better. This was completely spot on. Bob Rock couldn't have done it better or even as well. And yet he has one of my old PYE limiters, which were like the EMT, PDM, types. (It could be mine? I sold nine of those back in the mid-80s so?) Still... yours rocked me to my core. I loved it! It got me all excited. And I didn't even have any Brazilian coffee?

You guys have the best beans.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Davedog Mon, 04/21/2014 - 21:07
Whatever the detractors might say about SM57/58's the fact is, high-pass and it gets correct every time. For whatever reason, the musical part of how a guitar amp with a 57 on it sits in a mix seems to be forgotten. Lots and Lots of mics sound better and more completely represent the actual in-the-room sound of your amp. Lots. Beyer 201!! Yep. A GREAT MIC on any source. MD409's. Yep. MD441 and 421's .YEP!! U87 with the pad. Pretty darned accurate. I owned a D19. And a D10. Both wonderful mics. Wish I still had em. But for ease of mixing a guitar amp I will put up one of my old 57's and a Royer ribbon, check the phase, set the levels, roll off the low-end on the 57 and NEVER think about it again. If I want it modern I put it through a nice fast preamp. If I want vintage its tubes or the ADK pre with Jensen transformers and 2520 op-amps.

Its really great to hear of someone understanding that it isnt all about how much gain is on the amp to be heavy. It really never has been. I'm old enough to have experienced 100 watt Marshall's of the Super-Lead and Plexi era.....NO MASTER VOLUMES!! Anyone who thinks those amps weren't really really clean through a lot of their power curve hasn't really sat in a small room with one turned up. I don't know how many amps like that I have recorded with the vari-ac putting out about 90 volts.

There's yer Eddie and a bunch of other's sound.

anonymous Wed, 04/23/2014 - 06:30
I've cut many, many guitar/amp tracks with mics other than the tried and true 57/58.

It's not like the 57 is the only mic I own. I own and have used 414's (different models, ranging from EB's to XL's), 421's, 409's, RE20's, U87's and 89's... all with great success.

Yet, I just can't seem to break the ancient habit of reaching for a 57 or a 58 first. I guess it may be because it's a very "instant" kind of sound.... reliant, predictable, very much a "what you expect is exactly what you'll get" scenario.

It's the same way for snare... I always seem to reach for a 57 first. I'm positive I would also get fantastic results with a 414, or an RE20, or any other models in the slew of mics that I own, and the reason I am positive is because I have used them.

So, is it a situation of "because that's just what everyone else does", or is it simply a habit, based upon past experience?

vibrations1951 Wed, 04/23/2014 - 18:56
Well DVD, being a guit player myself I just had to find a D3600 to try out. I work hard on my tone and am one of those guys that wants the tracking true to my sound going in. Well I lucked out at finding 2 in good shape at a Guitar Center (99.99ea.) Just came today and I am all smiles! They are all you said they are and make my Vox modeling amp sound like, well, my amp! Keeping the amp vol low to save these old ears, I could get all the power-feel-bigness-whatever I needed out of the old Mackie 1604 mixer pres. After all, one can never have too many mics right? Thanks so much for the suggestion...I can't wait to try them on other sources! They're keepers for sure.


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