Dynamic Microphone – Shure SM57 Alternatives/Budget Mics

Many microphones have claimed to be a good substitute for the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone.

As you may know, the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone is the standard workhorse in most audio recording studios. It can be used on just about everything. I’ve even read stories of SM57′s being used in a drum overhead condenser mic setup. They truly are very amazing and extremely durable. And at under $100, they are relatively cheap. However, if you need more than one for your home studio, the price adds up quickly. I do not know many people who have $500 or more to spend on microphones. And I am one of those people. So based on my findings over the years, here are some of my suggestions for the best budget microphone alternatives to the Shure SM-57 dynamic microphone. Do not buy based on what I say, though. Do some research.

Image of Dynamic Microphone

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I’m always on the hunt for the best budget microphones. I do a lot of research and microphone tests to find the inexpensive alternatives. There are hidden gems out there if you feel like taking the time to look. Heck, some are so inexpensive you can could even purchase a few different dynamic mics and do a microphone test for yourself. In the last few years I’ve developed a serious interest in Radio Shack dynamic mics. Although they have produced a bunch of crap, they have also put out several gems. Two of these being the 33-984 and the 33-1070, which were both built by Shure. The 33-984 is a rugged dynamic mic that much like the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone, can be used in a variety of situations. I received mine for free, so that was an added bonus. I like to use it in live performances on back-up vocals. It’s definitely a very useable dynamic mic. I would not hesitate to use it on guitar amps or rack toms. The 33-1070 is an even better dynamic mic. I bought mine on Ebay for around $20. It was made by Shure specifically to compete with the Electrovoice RE-50. It has an omnidirectional sensitivity pattern as opposed to a cardioid pattern like most dynamic mics. So it s a different beast. It is perhaps not a good alternative to the Shure SM57 for close-mic applications. It will not reject any bleed. But it is great for adding ambience to a mix. I like to use this dynamic microphone along with a cardioid condenser microphone in a two-microphone setup for recording vocals. This allows me to mix in as much of the omnidirectional dynamic microphone that I want. I found that this setup gives me a nice full sound that I wouldn’t be able to get with one cardioid microphone by itself. The Electrovoice condenser mic that I use in this setup is also another great mic for many audio recording applications. It may even be a bit better than the Shure SM57. It definitely has a smoother sound. When I acquired it, it was on sale, marked down from $129 to $39. Not really a great price efficient alternative at its regular price. But at it’s sale price it definitely is. I am still mad at myself for not buying more of them.

Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Mic

End Date: Sunday May-28-2017 8:36:18 PDT
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Another extremely useful dynamic mic is the Behringer XM8500. This dynamic microphone can be found at as little as $20! I have used it on rack toms often, and it is definitely my main dynamic microphone for live backup vocals. No worries about it getting destroyed. Right now it is missing, but for $20, I’m not sweating it. It is much cheaper to replace than the Shure SM57.

But perhaps my favorite out of all the inexpensive dynamic mics in the GLS ES57. I read all the hype about its comparison to the Shure SM57. There are microphone tests posted on YouTube that do a side-by-side comparison between the two mics. The general consensus is that it is everywhere as good. Of course, there are always the haters. So I suspected the harshest critics to be the snooty computer audiophiles. So at about $30, I had to do a microphone test for myself. And no one I know has been able to distinguish it from the SM57 dynamic microphone, including myself. The GLS ES57 seems to be everywhere near as good in sound quality and durability. I plan on getting more when I can.

GLS Audio Instrument Microphone ES-57 & Mic Clip - Professional Series ES57 Dyna

End Date: Sunday May-14-2017 9:50:39 PDT
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To sum all this up, I think that you have to make good use of what you have to work with. And this may not always be ideal. There are a ton of suitable dynamic microphones that will work everywhere as good as the Shure SM57. Is it a great dynamic mic? Absolutely! But it is not the only one. And it is not the only factor that goes into capturing a good computer audio recording. Learn the basics and practice with the equipment you have. Aim to get the best sound possible you can. Proper microphone placement and good effects processing are going to be good tools to tailor the dynamic microphone you have to the sound you want. Just experiment with your recording program and techniques. You may just discover another gem!

Hopefully soon I will post video of an SM57-alternative microphone test so you can decide for yourself what is the best option for you.

The Subjects of My Dynamic Microphone Test (And One Handheld Condenser)
– Shure SM57 (Transformerless Mod and Right Angle Mod)
– GLS ES57
– Behringer XM8500
– Pyle PDMIC58
– Electrovoice PL-84