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Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

  1. #1

    Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    I read a post in another forum that states the following. Can anyone substantiate this?

    The Beta 57 and 58, Sm7, SM58, and SM57 all use the same old Unidyne III design type cartridge and all have the same "voice". This has been discussed, tested, graphed, blindfold shootouts, etc. and it is extremely hard if not almost impossible to distinguish a difference in the voice. If you can "learn" a difference from consistent samples a simple move or pop filter will cause one to take the others characteristic or vice versa. All differences in sound are caused by the distance the capsule is mounted from the end and slight output impedance differences, patterns of sensitivity from physical design, and slight output impedance differences from the transformer used. Again, the voice is the same.

    There was a recent shootout in which experienced industry professionals could not identify consistently which mic was an SM7 and which a SM57 in a vocal recording. Dispite the physical differences the cartridge is the same basic design in all and maintains the same "voice". The console or mixer you plug into or distance, angle, etc, can easily cause physical characteristic to overlap in performance. You would not be able to identify which mic is which in a recording if used in random applications (varied distances, pre-amps, etc.) They all have the same "voice" and can yeild near identical results.

    Here is the response patterns from a voice done by 3D Audio's Lynn Fuston. Shows SM7 and SM57 patterns overlapped. The results are so close it's actually shocking. You would get much more variation in comparing a pair of U87's.



    Fuston points out that the key is simply the distance you place your mouth from the diaphragm itself. With lips touching the grill the 57 gains lows over the SM7 because of closer distance to the diaphram due to design. Back the mic away 1/4" to compensate for distance and low response evens out. The fundamental voice and mid frequencies do not really change.

    With pop filter off and diaphragms at equal distance the SM7 and SM57 will yeild pretty much identical results.




    Don't have an SM7 and need a good vocal recording? Pop on a foam filter and no one will know but you.



    Don't have a 57 but you do have a 58 and need a guitar mic? Just move it a 1/4" closer than you would a 57 and you have a match...or just unscrew the pop filter. Same with a Beta 57 or 58 and compensate for output variations at the board (if it makes you feel better). There's no extra magic from the number designations, they all have the old Unidyne III type design cartridge and they all have the same voice.

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  3. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    interesting......
    i wonder how much credibility this has.

  4. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    i did find these

    comparison of the of the sm57 and sm7
    also a sm57 vs sm7b
    im not sure why everytime i upload photos on this forum they get resized down to a small pic.... but anyways the graph shows almost identical results

  5. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    I agree that vocally ... for some vocalists or vocal styles...there may not be a discernible difference between them. It also depends on the experience level of the vocalist.

    Same for using them for a bass amp or guitar amp mic. The frequency response is very close, although the 57 may come out as being a little brittle (which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on what sound you're going for) or not as "fat" on the amps than the 7b.

    For the non-experienced vocalist if I had the three (7b, 57, and 58....and I do), I would have them use the 7b (typically). Why? Because the 7b is much less susceptible to the proximity effect. An experienced vocalist is usually able to control it (been there, done that....knows not to kiss the mic, etc)

    Personally for me, the frustrated thing with the 7b is it required alot of juice to run! Sheesh you gotta crank up the dB on the preamp!

    We won't know for sure until Paul does a 7b, 57, and 58 shootout on the toms!
    TonyB
    _________________
    Good Song + Good Arrangement + Good Performer + Good Performance + Good Acoustic Environment + Good Recording Chain + Good Monitoring Chain + Good Engineer + Good Luck =
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  6. #5

    Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Originally Posted by TonyB

    We won't know for sure until Paul does a 7b, 57, and 58 shootout on the toms!
    LOL I was going to ask Tony to do the same thing.

  7. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Originally Posted by paul999
    LOL I was going to ask Tony to do the same thing.
    You're the "mic'ing the drums" expert!
    TonyB
    _________________
    Good Song + Good Arrangement + Good Performer + Good Performance + Good Acoustic Environment + Good Recording Chain + Good Monitoring Chain + Good Engineer + Good Luck =
    Good Product

  8. #7
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    Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    interesting. I knew the 57 and the 58 were the same thing with a different grill, but I didn't know that about the 7b. Not surprising though that people love a certain mic not knowing that the only thing it's doing is making the vocalist stand back a couple more inches.

  9. #8

    Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Hey Paul,

    Dont mean to be rude and hijack your thread, but someone said you are "the drum micing expert".

    If you want I can ask in another thread.

    I want to record drums. How close should I try to mic, or is this a "depends on what sound your are looking for" kind of thing?

    I would think (particularly for toms) as close as possible for the the low end proximity effect and less mic bleeding? 1/4 inch from head? an inch?

    How close on the top/bottom snare?

    I think the kick is variable, moreso depending on your taste?

    How high are your overheads? x/y pattern? Room mic?

    I have 8 dynamic mics and 2 condenser overheads.

    Thanks

    Gamble

  10. #9

    Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Originally Posted by gamble
    Hey Paul,

    Dont mean to be rude and hijack your thread, but someone said you are "the drum micing expert".
    No worries I love talking about micing drums. I think Tony B was buttering me up into doing a shootout.LOL

    How close should I try to mic, or is this a "depends on what sound your are looking for" kind of thing?
    It is a bit of a try and see thing. The general rule I use is the this. If I am getting unpleasant bleed put the mic closer to the source. Hi-hat bleed in the snare seems to annoy people the most. I have been using 414's on toms lately and I keep them about 4-6 "back. On the other hand with dynamic mic's I usually mic about 1-4" above the head.



    How close on the top/bottom snare?
    I rarely use a bottom snare mic. But i always record it.LOL

    With a 57 I mic it about 1" from the head aiming across the head. I have been using an sm-81 lately and love it big time.


    How high are your overheads? x/y pattern? Room mic?
    I am blessed with what I consider a great room. My overheads are usually 2-3 feet higher then my highest cymbal. I use ORTF almost always. I hate how a mono room mic sounds. I use 2 sm 57's or 414's about 30 feet back.
    I hope that helps

  11. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Originally Posted by paul999
    I hope that helps
    You sound like an expert to me!!!



    To reduce hi-hat bleed into the snare, I've found that taping a piece of egg-carton foam around the 57 (that's what I happend to use) works real well.

    the bleed is noticeably reduced.

    I'm not breaking any new ground here; it's an old trick many studios use.
    TonyB
    _________________
    Good Song + Good Arrangement + Good Performer + Good Performance + Good Acoustic Environment + Good Recording Chain + Good Monitoring Chain + Good Engineer + Good Luck =
    Good Product

  12. #11

    Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Thanks for all information guys!

    What is ORTF?

    Thanks,

    Gamble

  13. Re: Is an sm57 and sm7b the same mic?

    Originally Posted by gamble
    Thanks for all information guys!

    What is ORTF?

    Thanks,

    Gamble
    This will explain alot.... ORTF stereo technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Check out the attached jpg.
    TonyB
    _________________
    Good Song + Good Arrangement + Good Performer + Good Performance + Good Acoustic Environment + Good Recording Chain + Good Monitoring Chain + Good Engineer + Good Luck =
    Good Product

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