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  #1  
Old 01-23-2013, 07:14 PM
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Default Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Before I get into this, I just want to say that I am a NOVICE with drum micing and anything of the sort.

I purchased a Shure SM57 brand new, and I have found that when I plug it directly into my PA (Mic cable, from the mic, straight into the PA head jack which is a 1/4inch), the mic is incredibly quiet. Do I need like, a preamp or something? I'm pretty confused.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

XLR to 1/4" has a signal loss, use xlr to xlr if you can or get a better preamp its not the sm57s fault.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Exactly. You're losing 1 of the 2 wires transferring the signal - around 6 dB which is subjectively perceived as half volume. As said - no prob with a good pre-amp with lots of gain.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

So the fact that the cable is XLR to 1/4 is killing half of my volume levels? I suppose thats why most drums plug XLR directly into a mixer or interface first. Thanks Guys, appreciate the quick response. Keep drumming!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Well it's a bit more complex, but not much.

1/4''/jack connectors come in mono/unbalanced and balanced versions.
They're referred to as TS (tip, sleeve) vs. TRS (tip, ring, sleeve).
Tip and ring have the signal on (ring = signal is phase reversed), sleeve = ground.
TRS connectors look like stereo jack plugs. So if you're using an XLR to TRS cable there won't be any signal loss, yon only have a 'connector adjustment'. That 6 dB signal drop will occur with XLR to TS jack connectors only as you're losing one wire = half of the signal.
It depends on which inputs your mixer has/accepts. TRS are better because they're far more noise resistant, they pick up far less noise induced by other cables, power connections, dimmers and other equipment.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Does your PA channel have a pad switch?
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Not to complicate the issue as the above are very good answers but I have found that modern microphones can have a much hotter signal - I could never get my SM57's loud enough - I sold them for Sennheiser e900 series - epic microphones - and plenty hotter = much more gain before feedback - which I have found to be very helpful on a small live stage. HTH.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

All XLR mics always need a preamp. XLRs are just quiet by nature. There is signal loss when you go to 1/4", but really what you are dealing with in just the nature of microphones.

You can get preamps by themselves, but if you get a kick mic or something down the road, you'll have to buy another preamp along with it. I would suggest getting a mixer with preamps built in so you can grow into it. 2-channel or 4 channel mixers are pretty cheap, they average around $50-$100.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsabol View Post
All XLR mics always need a preamp. XLRs are just quiet by nature. There is signal loss when you go to 1/4", but really what you are dealing with in just the nature of microphones.

You can get preamps by themselves, but if you get a kick mic or something down the road, you'll have to buy another preamp along with it. I would suggest getting a mixer with preamps built in so you can grow into it. 2-channel or 4 channel mixers are pretty cheap, they average around $50-$100.
I've never used an outboard preamp on any of my microphones and never had an issue of them being too quiet. I just plug them directly into the XLR inputs.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

It really depends on the sensitivity of the mixer's microphone inputs. Most stand alone mixers are equipped with microphone preamps with a sensitivity or input gain control on each channel to use to control the level going into the mix channels. This is to resolve very high inputs that will cause clipping and this control can also be used for total gain structuring within the mixer.

BTW, are you positive that you are plugging the microphone into a "microphone" channel and not into a 1/4" line input? There is a very big difference, about 45 or 50 decibels in level. If it's a line input channel you're plugging into, your microphones level will be Very low in amplitude.

Dennis

Also make sure that the 1/4" jack on the PA doesn't say Hi Z.

Last edited by audiotech; 01-24-2013 at 04:36 AM. Reason: after thought
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Something that might help, b4 u go out and spend a bunch of money on a preamp or new mixer, crank up the mids on the channel that you're using. Also, turn the gain up ( 1/8 of a turn b4 feedback). These aren't answers to the problem, but they should help get you by before you can get the cash for other PA gear.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsits View Post
I've never used an outboard preamp on any of my microphones and never had an issue of them being too quiet. I just plug them directly into the XLR inputs.
I'm not saying you have to have outboard preamps.. I'm just saying preamp has to be somewhere. The channel you are plugging into probably has a gain knob for the built in preamp. I doubt that that's not the case. I could be wrong, but that's the way I've always know it.
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Last edited by wsabol; 01-24-2013 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Hopefully you do not have a counterfeit SM-57.

Was reading about mics on another forum and one of the guys posted this:


Spotting a Fake Shure Microphone
From Joe Shambro, former About.com Guide

Shure Microphones are both industry-standard and legendary; they sound great, they're reasonably priced, and the build quality is second to none -- in fact, the Shure SM58 vocal mic is well-known for being able to stand up to excessive abuse, as any live sound engineer working in clubs can attest.

The Shure SM58 vocal microphone and the Shure SM57 instrument microphone are some of the most common microphones on stages and in studios worldwide. Priced at around $99 each, they're a bargain -- and they generally sound great for those on a budget.

Unfortunately, their popularity has created a large problem: counterfeit microphones produced in China, sold at rock-bottom prices. What's even worse is that these microphones are hard to spot, unless you know what to look for -- the counterfeiters have gone as far as to reproduce the packaging and included accessories down to every last detail.

With the ability to produce accurate copies for under $1 in factories in China and Thailand, counterfeiters are making a huge profit off musicians and sound engineers looking for a good deal on a solid product. It's not just on the Internet, either -- some small music shops, swap meets, and online selling forums such as eBay and Craigslist are hotbeds for fakes.

So, how do you know if your Shure microphone is a fake?

First: If the deal's too good to be true...
Shure, like many manufacturers, adheres to a Minimum Advertised Price policy. This means that the lowest price an authorized dealer can charge is dictated by corporate policy. For both the Shure SM58 and SM57, that price is $98. If you're buying a brand new 57 or 58 from someone -- be it on eBay or locally -- and their advertised price is far below that price, they're either not an authorized dealer, or you're buying a fake, both bad situations to be in when buying new.

But remember, $98 is the minimum price they can publicly advertise, and sometimes -- especially locally -- the price will work out to less, if they're willing to negotiate at the time of purchase. Still, if the pricing sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Obviously, used prices will be less, but both SM57 and SM58 prices have remained stable; even in poor aesthetic shape, either of these mics can draw between $50 and $70 for a used microphone.

Look at the XLR connector on the bottom.
On authentic Shure microphones, each of the XLR pins will be labeled as 1, 2, and 3. Most fake microphones will not have these markings, and instead, will have some sort of connector branding logo or, more commonly, no markings at all.

Look under the hood.
On a 58, unscrew the windscreen. Examine the bottom of the windscreen; on the metal ring that goes around the thread, you'll notice a lip. A flat lip is a telltale sign of a fake microphone; the authentic SM58 will have a rounded edge.

Look at the capsule on the top of the microphone. On fake SM58, you'll find a "CAUTION" sticker wrapped around the capsule head. This is not on authentic microphones.

On both the SM58 and SM57, carefully unscrew the microphone in the middle. You'll see the inside of the microphone, with two wires leading between the sections. On the genuine microphones, these are yellow and green colored, and on many fakes, they've followed this color scheme; however, if they're a different color, chances are you're looking at a fake.

Now, look at the circuit board on the lower half. Genuine microphones will have a quality control stamp in red lettering. These will be omitted on the counterfeit mics.

Look & weight of the microphone
On the SM58, underneath the ring where the windscreen connects to the body, there's a printed "Shure SM58" logo. On counterfeit microphones, you'll find that this is a sticker wrapped around the mic itself. A sticker is common on SM57 microphones, but look carefully at the font and the type spacing -- on fakes, it'll be a little wider spacing and a much smaller font.

On both microphones, fake microphones will weigh noticeably less than authentic mics.

Check the box
Microphone counterfeiters have become very good at making Shure packaging look convincing, but one of the sure-fire ways to find out if your mic is fake is to look inside the box.

Authentic mics ship with accessories including a microphone clip, cloth cable tie, Shure sticker, carrying pouch, manual, and warranty card. Fake microphones tend not to include all of these accessories; most obviously missing is the warranty card and cable tie. Also, the bag will be of low quality -- on the original Shure bags (which are indeed made in China), you should be able to feel the embossed Shure logo. Remember, Shure's microphones are made in Mexico, not in China.

Another thing to watch out for: make sure the model number listed on the box matches what's inside. Many counterfeit Shure microphones come with a cable in the box; the only Shure microphone that includes a cable is the Shure SM58-CN. If the box includes a cable but isn't labeled with the proper model number, then you may have a fake mic. Also, some fake SM58 come with a switch attached; the model number should read SM58S. The plain ol' SM58 will be listed as SM58-LC.

Last but not least... trust your ears
Finally, you should take a listen to your microphone up against a known genuine Shure microphone -- finding one to borrow for a project shouldn't be hard, since both the SM58 and SM57 are very common among musicians and engineers.

A fake SM58 will sound very bright and harsh with moderate gain applied. A genuine 58 will sound like, well, a 58 -- smooth in the lows and midrange, with a slightly recessed and pleasant high end. A genuine 57 will give lush midrange tone with great low end response -- a counterfeit will not produce similar results.

Overall, remember the golden rule of buying gear: if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you're not getting a fair deal.

Sorry for the long read, but hopefully this helps
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsabol View Post
I'm not saying you have to have outboard preamps.. I'm just saying preamp has to be somewhere.
Absolutely. There should be a preamp with a gain knob in the signal path. You don't plug a mic straight to a line input.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

SNIP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaseGlomstad View Post
I plug it directly into my PA (Mic cable, from the mic, straight into the PA head jack which is a 1/4inch)
End SNIP

You have two easy options to make this work better for you.

Use an XLR in on the PA head if one is available.

If not, buy a cheapo Microphone Pre-amplifier and then use a 1/4" to 1/4" cable into the PA head.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

I have a couple cheap Apex condenser mics that I use for overhead cymbal micing from time to time. These mics won't work at all with a XLR to 1/4". They only work with XLR to XLR. But, I do know that the SM57 is dynamic. So that wouldn't necessarily be the case with it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:17 AM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrence R View Post
I have a couple cheap Apex condenser mics that I use for overhead cymbal micing from time to time. These mics won't work at all with a XLR to 1/4". They only work with XLR to XLR. But, I do know that the SM57 is dynamic. So that wouldn't necessarily be the case with it.
Two words: Phantom Power.

Phantom power is required for most (read: non-electret) condenser microphones. TS (most 1/4 jack cables) cannot transfer phantom power due to the wiring. Phantom power is usually transmitted through the two 'live' pins of an XLR cable. A TS jack only has a single 'live' wire and a ground and thus doesn't conduct the current.

A TRS jack theoretically could phantom power a condenser microphone (two live jacks and a ground) but it's not something I've ever needed to do in practice.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:08 AM
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Default Re: Shure SM57 on a Snare. Too quiet?

If an XLR input is available (and if it is truly a PA head it has to have them) there is no earthly reason not to use them. Some PA heads have a 1/4 input that is meant for keyboards and other hot signals. More advanced mixing boards have ways to get the same gain levels out of either input. But if there are two different jacks, use the XLR for any microphones.

XLR to 1/4 cables are kind of rare. You can't plug most microphones directly into a guitar amp, especially a tube guitar amp with a high input impedance.

FWIW, I tend to like the Beta 57 or 56 (integrated stand mount) better than the SM57. They are more directional and isolate the snare better. I love the sound of the Sennheiser but the more forgiving pattern that makes them easier on guitar cabinets makes them pick up a lot more of the rest of the kit. Fine if you just want a touch up on the snare. Less good for recording or where everything is individually mic'd.
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