Real Shure SM57??? at

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Old February 9th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Real Shure SM57???

A couple years ago I bought a pair of SM57s on eBay. They came in Shure boxes with spec sheet, clips, and the Shure bag - looked like new stuff.

I recently read about a mod where they remove the transformer for increased base response. Guess what mine doesn't have transformers, just a glob of silicone type material where the transformer should be! My first clue something was wrong was there was an orange and blue wire to capsule instead of a green and yellow wire as described in the current spec sheet - a pdf dated 2007.

Are these counterfeit mics or did Shure make some without transformers?

I think I can guess the answer - man, these look like the real thing - on the outside...
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Old February 9th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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I have personally seen a counterfeit '58, not easy to spot. Close inspection reveals a slightly different grille, XLR, finish, weight and balance. I did not dissemble it or listen to it.
I assume there are counterfeit 57s as well.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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A friend of mine bought a counterfeit beta57. I later asked him how I could keep from making the same mistake, since the (real) b57 has proven to be such a killer instrument mic for stage use.

He wrote:
"The very first clue is weight. If you handle them side-by-side the fake is much lighter. Also, the name badge is slightly different. It’s hard to tell unless you have them next to each other. As far as I know, Shure isn’t making beta’s in China, either, so if it’s something you have ordered from eBay or other source and it comes in that soft, cheap cardboard packaging, it’s a fake. The dynamic range in the fake isn’t as good, either but you shouldn’t have to go that far to know the difference. Once again, if the price seems too good to be true, it isn’t. There’s virtually no way you can find one for a street price of less than $135 new."

(thanks Jerry!)
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Old February 12th, 2010, 07:53 AM   #4
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Yikes. Scary stuff. Why would somebody bother counterfeiting a $100 mic? I'm really amazed at this.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 02:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Yikes. Scary stuff. Why would somebody bother counterfeiting a $100 mic? I'm really amazed at this.
Because they can make them in China for about $5 and sell them for a massive profit.

The fakes are total cr*p and people only get caught because everyone wants the "cheapest".

There are loads of Shure and Sennheiser fakes around - in fact any product that sells well will be faked.

To be safe make sure you buy from a proper dealer and not from some unknown on-line supplier.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #6
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Here is a link to a transformer mod, rather than a transformer removal.
IMHO this mic sounds better with this transformer upgrade rather than removing it all together.

All the Best!
David W. Jones
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Old February 13th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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The entire thing is so pointless as to be laughable - it's a snake oil process for people with more money and sense.

The entire point of Shure SM57 and 58 microphones is not that they are superb quality or amazingly good sounding. Their popularity is simply because they are a very well known quantity that sound people can grab one and predict in advance what they will sound like. At the price, they're a workhorse - nothing more. The President of the USA has had 2 x SM57s for as many years as I can remember - always the same distance from the mouth, on the podium with the same background every single time. So first thing is they are mega reliable, second thing is the audio quality is fine, thrid thing being that each President has the same sounding system - leaving their own voice as the variable.

Of course you can mess around with a new transformer (costing more than the mic) - it is bound to sound different (better or worse, depending on your own preference as to what constitutes good). It won't, however, be an SM57 (or 58) any longer. It will be something new, something a bit more 'random'. Nothing wrong with this - but if you want a mic that sounds different to a 57/58 - then just buy what you really want from Shure/Sennheiser/AKG etc etc. Home brew things like these are just like replacing a driver in a popular brand of loudspeaker with something better/more expensive, and then ranting about how good it is.

On the counterfeit front - if you buy a brand new Shure 57 or 58 microphone from eBay, I'd estimate that it will be a counterfeit. Same applies to the Betas too. Few Shure dealers sell on eBay, leaving all other dealers sourcing products from alternative suppliers - who despite what it says on the box, are not Shure. Shure know exactly how to tell counterfeits but won't release the info because the counterfeiters would then sort it out!

If you have a genuine mic, and this really means one bought from an authorised outlet, or one that is at least 10 years old - weigh it.

I have a counterfeit Beta57 and 2 counterfeit 57s and a 58 - bought on eBay for peanuts, new.

The real 57s I have all sound exactly the same - even though some are considerably older than others - they all weigh (on my scales) 270g, 273g, 268g. The spec states 284g The fake ones weigh 246g - lighter.

Same with the Beta57 - real ones on my own scales 270g the fakes real lightweights at 194g.

The dodgy 58 runs in at 280g the real ones sit on my scales at 318/322.

Even with the accuracy of the scales being a little off - all the counterfeits weigh less than they should - by quite a bit.

The fakes also have much worse handling noise - finger movement on the real ones is much, much less. Used on a PA, they feedback more, suggesting a peaky frequency response.

I buy plenty of chinese studio type microphones, and the factories all have available these Shure mics at really low prices - like maybe $100 for 5 - not quite so low as quoted, but pretty typical. They also do Sennheisers which again are not genuine. As for radio mic systems - again eBay used to be full of dodgy ones, but of late, the numbers have reduced thank goodness.

Let's be blunt - if you get a brand new mic at a bargain price from an individual on eBay - it's not going to be real - counterfeits are that common!

Of course, hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have them. Most have no idea UNLESS they already own real ones. The real Shures are warm, and friendly to practically all sound sources. The counterfeits are a bit harsh by comparison - but they work - and maybe for undemanding purposes, people just don't notice.

I keep the dodgy ones to give to users who I know are going to abuse them - young rock bands who kick stands over, dent grills, drop mics etc. I can live with the lower quality, and with a bit of eq - they do the job. I save the real ones for people who deserve them!
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