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Old January 5th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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Podcasting w/Shure SM57?

I recently was appointed head of Podcasting when most of my training has been in video. I have two Shure SM57 with two M-Audio Fast track Ultras. and a couple of Samson PS01 pop filters.

First off the research i have done says that the SM57 is usually used for instrument recording. Should i upgrade to the SM7B? If the mic is OK, what software is the best for editing basic vocals with the M-Audio . I have access to both Mac and PC.

If the SM57 is OK for recording vocals it comes with the basic mount. would a shock mount increase quality of recording?

Plus anything else that could help with quality of Podcast in terms of brand of Mic or Software would be very helpful.
Drew Hoffmeyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #2
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Just try doing one and then listen to it.... You tell us how it sounds.. otherwise it doesn't really matter any way.

How would a shock mount increase the quality? What is the reason for this? Once again... make a recording and listen to it. The answer is in the question... you have the gear.. so learn by doing...

and have a happy new year...
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:28 PM   #3
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The issue with recording sound for a Podcast will be how are you going to Mic the people you want to record while they talk.
The SM57 is a dynamic mic meant to be used on instruments in close proximity to the mic. The sound will be dramatically shaped by how close to the mic the talent stays. They may find it very uncomfortable to be trapped by the mic's pattern to get good sound. If they want to sit back comfortably in the chair then they might have to use the mic by holding it up to their mouths like a sports announcer used to do. Handling noise may come into play.
You will have to experiment how you want mic the people. You may find you should get a couple of Lavalier Mics although you don't say if the room you are using is quiet. Headset mics are also not a bad way to mic people. There is no sure fire method based on what you have told us so far.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #4
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I've recorded a few podcasts and quite like using a headset mike for it ... you're not on camera so you don't care what you look like and the sound is quite good, the mike is at a constant distance from your mouth and you can move, lean, etc. as you like without worrying about it ..
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Old January 5th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #5
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the SM57, while often _misused_ as an instrument mic, is really a vocal mic. its designed to be used within inches to direct contact with a user's mouth. while it will work, you'll find it has low output when used 12-18 inches away as typical with a desk mount stand.

I'd suggest if money is a big deal, a pair of USB mics. plug them in and go. be sure their drivers support using more then one mic at a time though. USB mics start at around $100.

slightly up the quality chain, a 2 - 4 input FW or USB audio interface for maybe $200, plus a pair of decent hyper cardoid or lav mics. a pair of ECM44 lavs could work nicely at $150 ea, or consider if a lav won't work, any of the various hypercardiods. if you might get two people answering in the mix, and you can only afford 2 mics, consider a caroid mic with a wider pickup pattern. not ideal, but on a budget and quiet surroundings it can work ok. also figure in 2 stands. there are plenty of cheap suspension shock mounts you could add in if vibration in the room ( AC, elevators,ect ) or people hitting the mic stand is a problem. really good mics will require good shock mounts as they have enough low end pickup to make mechanical hits audible.

as for recordiing, there are many options. audacity is free, so is Ardour2 both work mac and both work ok. paid, adobe audition is hard to beat for PC & price.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #6
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Not a U87, but... an SM57 should work fine along with a decent mic pre.
You will definitely need a windscreen and a shock mount is recommended.
Primarily designed for instrument mic'ing around 1964, this mic is used even today for live performance vocals all the time. (Tom Petty and many others) and is seen on many many podiums, including the US presidents', going back many administrations. The Gov. probably payed a few thousand $, you and I can get one for less than a hundred.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #7
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Steve Oakley wrote:
<<the SM57, while often _misused_ as an instrument mic, is really a vocal mic.>>

I don't disagree with the rest of your good post, Steve, but while the SM57 can indeed be used as a vocal mic, even Shure's literature positions it as mainly an instrument mic. And there have literally been hundreds of hit recordings with the SM57 used to record snare drums and guitar cabinets, as well as other intruments. Not sure why you would say "misused"? I don't know the early history, maybe Shure originally intended it as a vocal mic and the world started using it as an instrument mic? Anyway, good info, and I certainly agree that while you could use a 57, it's not the best tool for the job.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #8
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Tut Tut! I'm surprised at all you American types - If a couple of SM57s are enough for your President to use when he gives those speeches at his podium in the White House, I think they will be fine for a podcast.

The thing with 57s, being serious, is that they are good for most sound sources, and excellent for none. They are reliable, and capable of producing warm deep speech used close in, but are pretty 'eq-able' when used further away. They are not too narrow, so the talent won't go off mic or change timbre greatly if they move - and they are also pretty good at handling noise rejection. They don't sound like a large format 'name' microphone, but that's not really their purpose. If wind is a problem, then a foam windshield works ok. In fact, originally (as mentioned) they were commonly used for vocals - the 'California' bands in the seventies used them a lot - and Shure supplied an odd sown together open weave windsock that lightly slid over the top to prevent blasting when used up close.

If the podcast is going to be strong on content, but not have too wide a bandwidth, then the reality is that the extra 5K at the very top end won't even be transmitted.

In my mic box, 57s are the real workhorse, leaving the others to the more subtle, specific jobs.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #9
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To reiterate, the Whitehouse has it's own traveling A/V dept. and 99.99% of the time it's 57s with the Shure shock mounts & windscreens. Practically anywhere the president speaks... of course that does not make it so good. It's primarily the decent sound and bullet-proof reliability, no-pun intended. (The two 57s are redundant, NOT stereo as some believe. There is normally a second PA for redundancy, in addition the the press bridge.)
In addition, a 57 was used for the lead vocal track on a song or two on a triple-platinum album a while back whilst I was working the NYC recording studio circuit. Without naming names, this person was from LI, his initials are PS.
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