Can You Record Vocals With an Sm57? (Answered)

If you’ve been looking to record your vocals with a microphone, you might have been thinking about using an SM57.

This isn’t a bad choice, but you’ll want to be aware of a number of things before choosing this microphone for your recording purpose.

First of all, the SM57 was meant for instrument usage rather than vocals but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used with vocals.

Can you record vocals with an sm57?

Yes, you can record vocals with an SM57 microphone. Lots of people have done it.

The SM57 is an industry-standard mic, but it wasn’t designed for vocals.

It was actually designed to be the perfect guitar mic.

It’s great for that because it has a super-cardioid polar pattern that captures all of the sounds in front of it while still rejecting what’s behind.

But since the SM57 was designed to be used up close, this means you have to get pretty close to it to make your vocals really come through.

And when you do that, you are basically putting your vocals in the same space as the sound of the guitar that it was intended for.

What is an SM57 and what is it used for?

An SM57 is a professional microphone that has been used in live sound and recording applications for decades.

The SM57 has a cardioid pickup pattern, which allows it to pick up the source signal while rejecting off-axis sounds along with any unwanted noise from the environment.

In plain English, this means you get clear vocals without getting the high-end, hiss, or rumbling of the room muddying up what you are trying to record.

Most studio engineers swear by the SM57 for recording vocals because it gives them a great clean sound while also giving them control over how much room tone they want in their finished product.

Singing into an SM57 is just as simple as singing into a condenser mic or ribbon mic.

You just sing as you would normally, making sure the microphone is placed close enough to capture your voice but not so close that it picks up too much of the sound from your mouth.

As long as you have it placed correctly, there is no reason why you can’t record great vocals with an SM57.

Do you need a lot of preamp gain to use the SM57 for recording vocals?

The one thing you will want to be aware of is that, like with most dynamic microphones, you probably will not get enough volume if you do not have a high-quality microphone preamplifier or audio interface.

You will probably need more gain on your preamp than you would with a condenser microphone.

And if you’re recording with an SM57, it’s something you’ll have to take into consideration.

This is why many engineers recommend using an SM57 as a secondary mic rather than the only mic for vocals.

How can you use an SM57 to record vocals?

One common use for the SM57 is to place it just in front of the performer, off to one side.

By using this technique, you avoid any potential issues caused by the mic being too close or getting too much sound from the singer’s mouth.

This allows you to get a good clean read on the vocals without picking up too much of the sound of the room that might interfere with the recording.

Another common technique is to place it just behind or under the nose of the vocalist.

Because of its cardioid pickup pattern, this technique works well for rejecting off-axis sounds and getting a clean read on your vocals without picking up too much background noise from the room.

It’s also common to put the SM57 on a mic stand and position it in front of the vocalist, pointing at their mouth.

This allows you to get close enough that you can capture strong vocals without picking up too much room tone.

But again, if possible, place a second microphone directly in front of the vocalist to capture a better clean track.

What are the benefits of using an SM57 to record vocals?

The SM57 allows you to capture vocals that are clean, clear, and free from the noise of the room.

When you place the mic just in front of or under the nose of your vocalist, they get a good strong signal without getting too close to the source.

And because it’s a dynamic mic, there is not a lot of high-end information that you have to worry about filtering out when you mix.

What are the downsides of using an SM57 to record vocals?

The biggest downside is that it won’t give you a natural, “airy” sound like a condenser microphone or even some ribbon mics.

It’s also not really made for recording soft, intimate vocals (although it can be used in that capacity).

If you’re looking for a mic to record breathy or whispery vocals, this isn’t the best option.

But if you need something that will give you clear, accurate vocal recordings without too much noise or room sound getting picked up by the mic

How close do you have to be to the mic when recording vocals with an SM57?

When recording vocals with an SM57, you want to make sure the microphone is close enough to capture a strong signal from your voice while still being far enough away that it doesn’t cause potential problems.

As a general rule of thumb, position yourself so that the diaphragm of the mic is just out of reach of your mouth.

You don’t want to hold the microphone, but rather point it in your general direction.

This will reduce the amount of handling noise you pick up while also ensuring that you have a strong signal without being too loud.

Tips for recording vocals with an sm57:

Here are some additional tips for recording vocals with an SM57:

  • If you can, use a pop screen to help control plosives.
  • Place the microphone at about ear level so that it’s pointing slightly toward your mouth. This will ensure you get a strong signal without having to hold the microphone too close.
  • You can also use an SM57 to record guitar amps, percussion, and other instruments.
  • Experiment with the placement of your mic to find which position gives you the best results.

Final Thoughts

The SM57 is a dynamic mic that is often used for recording vocals.

It’s known for its ability to capture clear, accurate vocal recordings without too much noise or room sound getting picked up by the mic.

It’s also common to put the SM57 on a mic stand and position it in front of the vocalist, pointing at their mouth.

This allows you to get close enough that you can capture strong vocals without picking up too much room tone.

But again, if possible, place a second microphone directly in front of the vocalist to capture a better clean track.

Good luck out there!

All information written above is based on my own knowledge and should not be copied or plagiarized in any form – written or spoken. Thank you.