Another two classic dynamic microphones – for the faint hearted, as usual
In our previous post we were talking about two classic dynamic microphones, but we have received a lot of pissed off e-mails that we should have written about the SM57 and the RE20. Those poor, angry creatures didn’t know that our next blogpost will be about those two mics, hehe. Patience is your friend, dear n00bies. Of course they can now say that we write about them exactly because they’ve suggested it. Which could even be true… but it isn’t. Pwned. Anyway.
Shure SM57: This true classic of a mic was born in 1965, that if we don’t count its predecessor, the Shure Unidyne III 545, which is basically the same microphone, only it’s shiny and sports a switch as well. They have painted the SM57 black so it doesn’t blink into the cameras, and they have taken away the switch so the nervously shaking artists don’t accidentally turn it off. Trust me, it’s helpful. Don’t ask. As far as frequency response goes, this mic has its signature sound, which is a rather big presence boost at around 6kHz, and then the top-end starts rolling off quite early, at around 10kHz and takes a steep dive at 15kHz, so it’s not a bright mic, more like an aggressive, midrange dominant one that you can rock out with. The response is pretty flat between 200Hz and 3000Hz, and if you don’t expect a big, warm bass from this microphone, it will be your friend, because it rolls off bass just below 200Hz. It’s probably THE most popular microphone ever produced, and people use it on everything, from guitar cabinets through snare drums to vocals, and presidential speeches. Yep. Good thing that it doesn’t need a tremendous amount of gain either. And if you ever get tired of its sound and you have spare nails to play with, just take your SM57 and hammer those fucking nails into your feet, so you stop playing with your audio gear, n00b.
Electro Voice RE20: Another classic with a nice, rugged build – those grills look like they came from a 1940s car, but they didn’t, of course. Why, what were you thinking? This cardioid broadcast microphone was introduced in 1967, and has a much flatter response than the above discussed SM57 or even an SM7, but it still gives the impression of a midrangey sound, akin to a ribbon mic with its smooth roll-off in the highs. The patented Variable-D™ design allows you to close mic all kinds of stuff without having to fight the bass boost that would normally be the result of the proximity effect. Otherwise, the response is fairly flat from about 70Hz to about 3kHz, where’s a tiny boost and a dip at 4kHz, then a round presence lift peaking at around 9kHz, with a gentle roll-off of the top end. Even though it was designed to be a broadcast mic, it can be used on anything as well, at least if you have enough clean gain in your preamp of course, cause it’ll need a good amount.