SM57 vs SM58 For Recording Guitar: The Differences And Which One To Choose?

SM57 vs SM58 For Recording Guitar: The Differences And Which One To Choose

The microphone is an indispensable item for recording guitar. Choosing the right microphone will help you have good audio.

Currently, Shure SM57 and SM58 are the two most chosen models for recording guitar. So, what are the differences between them and which one should you choose?

Let’s find out together.

The SM57 Overview

1. Specifications

  • Mic type: dynamic
  • Polar pickup pattern: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 40Hz-15kHz
  • Connector: XLR
  • Dimensions: 6.34×1.68 inches
  • Weight: 0.63 pounds

2. Features

The SM57 is a cardioid dynamic microphone of Shure. Shure designs this microphone mainly for picking up both amplified and acoustic instruments.

The shape of an SM57 is different from conventional microphones. The SM57 is not a handheld microphone. Normally, people will place it on a 180° swivel stand adapter to capture instrumental soundwaves directly.

The SM57 can work well with every instrument. Because it is a dynamic microphone, it can handle most sound sources. People call the SM57 the microphone of musicians.

The SM58 Overview

1. Specifications

  • Mic type: dynamic
  • Polar pickup pattern: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 50Hz-15kHz
  • Connector: XLR
  • Dimensions: 6.3×2 inches
  • Weight: 0.66 pounds

2. Features

The SM58 is also a model in the cardioid dynamic microphone line of Shure. Since its first launch in 1966, the SM58 has been the best microphone for live vocals performance.

Designed primarily for recording vocals, SM58 has a uniform cardioid polar pattern. This pattern allows the mic to capture all the vocal sounds clearly and evenly.

With a removable steel grill, it is easy to clean and replace. Besides, the SM58 has a rugged metal chassis, so it is very durable even in the toughest performances.

Similarities between SM57 and SM58

1. Pricing

Shure SM57 and SM58 have similar price points. For a basic version of both these microphones, you will have to pay about $99. This is a reasonable price for a good quality microphone.

2. Accessories

When you buy either SM57 or SM58, you will receive the microphone along with its accessories.

Each microphone comes with a swivel stand adapter that allows you to angle as you want. Besides, Shure also provides you with a zipped bag to store the microphone.

3. Polar pickup pattern

The polar pattern lets you know in which direction the microphone will capture sounds the best. From there, you can choose a suitable microphone for a particular situation.

Both SM57 and SM58 have a cardioid polar pickup pattern. That means they pick up sounds from the front.

Cardioid microphones are good for recording. Because they will only capture the sounds that are directly in front of them. They reject the sounds on the sides and rear, so your recording will be “pure”.

Differences between SM57 and SM58

1. Connectivity

While SM57 needs a wire connection to operate, SM58 can work without a cable. Shure has provided SM58 with several wireless systems to make it work.

You can freely move with an SM58 during a live performance, recording, or speech. So, this microphone is the best one to use on the stage.

The SM57 has less mobility, so it is suitable for capturing performances in the studio.

2. Design

The exterior design is another difference between SM57 and SM58. The design of these microphones is both the cartridge design.

But the grille of the SM58 is bigger than that of SM57. This is a ball grille with a built-in pop filter to prevent plosives.

The SM57 has a design of an instrument microphone, so its smaller grill is more practical. The grill design also makes the different acoustic distance of each microphone’s diaphragm

The SM57 has a shorter distance from the top of the grille to the diaphragm. So, this microphone has a more pronounced proximity effect than the SM58.

3. Combinations

The SM57 has only one version, meanwhile, the SM58 model comes with 4 different versions.

The SM58-CN is the package of the microphone with a cable. If you choose SM58-LC, you will get the mic without cable.

The SM58S is the standard microphone featuring an on and off switch. The SM58-X2U is the version with an XLR to USB adapter.

In which cases should you use the SM57 and SM58?

The SM57 is perfect for studio applications. Its design is for recording instruments, but it can also work well with vocal recording. If you are a musician, you should get an SM57.

This microphone doesn’t need external power to operate. Moreover, an SM57 can handle most sound pressure levels. So, you won’t have to worry about the distortion when using it.

The SM58 is more suitable for performing artists or podcasters. It has a rugged construction and vocal-emphasized frequency response. These advantages make this microphone the workhorse on the stage. Its cardioid polar pattern is effective in reducing background noise.

Besides, this microphone has a built-in pop filter for limiting plosives and breath noises. The high mobility of an SM58 also helps the artist be more active on the stage.

SM57 vs SM58 – Which one is better for guitar recording?

Generally, you can use both SM57 and SM58 for recording guitar. But musicians tend to use SM57 for instrument recording both in the studio and on the stage.

Its design is primarily for recording instruments, especially electric guitar or drums. You can put this microphone close to the guitar without affecting your ability to play.

The SM57 also has a slightly hotter output than the SM58. So, when recording guitar, it provides less distortion.

Watch this video to see how the SM57 is more directional than the SM58.


So, between the SM57 and the SM58, you should pick the SM57 for recording guitar. The SM58 is more suitable for vocal recording.

But both of these microphones are reliable, durable, and affordable. You won’t regret having these mics in your studio!

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