I'm liking ribbons more and more for all electrics (borrowed a Royer, own an AEA84, lust for the old ones).
There's a lollipop from MBHO that's also rebadged by a few others including audix that is unbelievable for acoustics
sm57 is usually the second best choice for just about anything so if you're just starting or need something that will get a lot of mileage, get an sm-57. Sm-7 is also nice for guitar and great for bass with ampegs etc.
the choice of pre and placement are also major factors......placement is "free" so I'd recommend mastering that before dropping $$$$ on the latest flavour of the month pre or mic.
I, like most of the old guard have used 57s and 58s for many years. They ARE great mics. I would further add that 57s are excellent vocal mics as long as you have experience enough to back off with the plosives.
I replaced my Shures with AKGs, Apex and Sennheisers over the course of the last few years and prefer the sound of the AKGs for voice. Different EQ curve I guess. I just like them better.
I used $40 Berhinger's , then a AKG D72S, and finally got a SM58. No contest there , the 58 is worth every penny. Last week I picked up a Berhinger C-1 condeser with a mic200 preamp and I'm not to sure I like the sound of the condensor? The 58 seems to be warmer where as the condensor is really etched sort of and thin. I am still playing with the settings on the preamp but so far the 58 is the winner.
57s are a standard on guitar amps but not usually by themselves (in a studio situation)... usually paired with a large diaphragm condenser (watch out for phase issues... putting 2 mics on a guitar amp is more of an art than a lot of people realize, if you are new to recording you'll probably get better results from a single mic). I'm leaning more towards the Sennheiser 421 these days for guitar amps.
As great a mic a Shure 57 is, if you want "that commercial" sound on your vocal recordings even a cheap large diaphragm condenser will do the vocal more justice.
Someone was asking about a good general all purpose mic...
I can't say enough about a mic that is sort of a little known dirty little secret... the M-Audio Solaris, a $300 large diaphragm condenser. I'm pretty finicky when it comes to home recording and getting "that commercial cd' sound and it takes alot to impress me when I'm listening to clips online that people have posted. I was in another forum and heard a guys tune where the quality of the vocal recording just floored me, and I don't just mean his performance. I contacted him to ask what he used expecting him to tell me it was a U87 or something and he said it was the Solaris... no preamp or post processing other than a tiny bit of verb and delay and some compression. I went out and bought one the next day. It's now my goto mic for everything from a second amp mic to vocals and anything in between if needed... and it has all the features of more expensive condensers - pad, 3 patterns, low pass and its own spider mount and case.
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