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Accessories Home recording mic: Shure SM58-X2U or Zoom H5?

gingi

New Member
Messages
2
Location
Israel
Hi
I would like to start recording myself playing the sax at home - just for fun and posting on youtube/soundcloud from time to time.
I'm looking for a simple setup to connect to my laptop (Mac).
I'm considering Shure SM58-X2U or Zoom H5.
Both setups can connect to the Mac and then I can use Garageband for editing.
Which one do you think has a better sound quality for tenor sax?
Which one is better for home recording?
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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12,439
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Two very different animals.

The shure is more or less an industry standard mic for live performance. I've used the 58 in various live situations for voice and sax. Nice mic, with a true sound. My SH55 has the same capsule. It's very good live imo but only average for home recording, plugged directly into the lap top. No doubt with a more sophisticated set up, interfaces, mixers etc it would be better. If you're thinking of performing live somewhere down the line it's the way to go imo. The interface this kit comes with looks very useful for recording. Especially the ear phone socket.

The zoom offers different options. While it can be used as a home recording mic, it has all those other facilities for recording in other situations. Portable sound capture unit for music, interviews etc.

As for sound quality. It's very personal. One persons preference may not be another's.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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McLean, Virginia
I use the Shure SM57-X2U and love it. I was told the 58 works better as a vocal mic and the 57 is better for instruments, but I don't know if that is true. Our in house recording expert is @Pete Thomas. Hopefully he will add his expertise as well.
I have never put them side by side. They both have the exact same capsule except the SM58 has a spherical grill which I suppose would inevitable make a very slight difference. Whether than difference is better or not for vocals vs instruments is anyone's guess.

What the grill on the SM58 does is physically keep the capsule further away from a singer's mouth. If you put these microphones very close to a source, then you get what is called the proximity effect which is basically a lot more bass.

So for any sound engineer they can tell the singer to be right on the mic without getting too much boom. But then singers often insist on showing off their microphone technique by suddenly moving the microphone a foot away, resulting immediately in a much thinner sound.

None of this, IMO, make much difference to recording with a SM58/57 on a saxophone or guitar amp as you would usually be a bit further away than is necessary to have a hugely marked proximity effect.

NB: (Shameless name dropping alert) I always delight in telling people the story of when I recorded with REM. Of all the fancy schmancy microphones available at Livingstone studios, the producer chose SM57s on the hours., (or it might have been SM58s but I think it was 57s)
 
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Messages
214
Location
Dartmoor, SW UK
I've got an SM57 and a Zoom H2n. If I'm micing a guitar cab I think the 57 is better (partly because that's the sound people expect as it's become the norm), but for acoustic guitar or wind instruments I reckon the mic(s) in the Zoom give a better sound for recording.

I know the thread was about recording, but if I'm playing live sax with the rock band (too loud to play over without micing) I've usually played into a normal SM58 on a stand (and that's what the engineer used when I recorded some sax on the last album as well). But last band practice there were some drum mics in the room and out of interest I tried one of the clip-on tom-tom mics on the bell of the sax. Absolute revelation - superb sound for rock and I didn't have to worry about playing into the mic. We're borrowing that mic for a gig on Friday, then I'm going to have to look into getting something similar for myself - don't think I want to go back to a mic on a stand again now..
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
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12,733
Location
McLean, Virginia
But last band practice there were some drum mics in the room and out of interest I tried one of the clip-on tom-tom mics on the bell of the sax. Absolute revelation - superb sound for rock and I didn't have to worry about playing into the mic.

See here: ideal tom tom or saxophone mic:

 
Messages
214
Location
Dartmoor, SW UK
That's very interesting. I wouldn't have even considered a drum mic. I will now ;)
I was surprised how well it worked - only tried it because it was there, but it sounded really good. Possibly a bit of an emphasis of the higher frequencies compared to an SM58, but worked well in the overall mix.

^EDIT - emphasis of higher frequencies!
 
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s.mundi

Member
Messages
460
Location
Texas Gulf Coast
The Zoom H5 adds convenience but the sound quality does not compare to the SM58. When you decide to work live and recording jobs; SM58 can also be used for those situations.

BS POINTS:
SM58: It's good for recording saxophone because it has a consistent leveled volume (but eliminates some of the higher saxophone tones/harmonics). Love it for live vocals: warmth-- eliminates the vocal boom -- eliminates stage and drunk audience noise -- fantastic volume before feedback --- I've dropped many times and it just keeps working
SM57: Small mechanical sound---- It reminds me of a bullet in a gun barrel - I do not like this mic and it remains in the closet.

I own several other great microphones. If I was only going to make recordings at home and keep only one microphone, it would be my Audio Technica AT2035. It takes a saxophone's voice and makes it sound like Andrea Bocelli.
 

s.mundi

Member
Messages
460
Location
Texas Gulf Coast
I've got an SM57 and a Zoom H2n. If I'm micing a guitar cab I think the 57 is better (partly because that's the sound people expect as it's become the norm), but for acoustic guitar or wind instruments I reckon the mic(s) in the Zoom give a better sound for recording.

I know the thread was about recording, but if I'm playing live sax with the rock band (too loud to play over without micing) I've usually played into a normal SM58 on a stand (and that's what the engineer used when I recorded some sax on the last album as well). But last band practice there were some drum mics in the room and out of interest I tried one of the clip-on tom-tom mics on the bell of the sax. Absolute revelation - superb sound for rock and I didn't have to worry about playing into the mic. We're borrowing that mic for a gig on Friday, then I'm going to have to look into getting something similar for myself - don't think I want to go back to a mic on a stand again now..




You are 100% correct. Daddy loves his drum microphone!
 
Messages
214
Location
Dartmoor, SW UK
@s.mundi The one I used wasn't as posh as that. Looked a bit like the one in the picture, but with a "clothes peg" type clip that was ideal for fitting on the sax. Whole thing was less than 10cm long I would guess, including the clip. I've got no idea what make or type it was - will find out more tomorrow. One of the band members is a techy in the local art college and borrowed the drum mics from there, so he'll know what they are..

 
Messages
214
Location
Dartmoor, SW UK
OK, in case anybody's interested, the mic I borrowed that I was so impressed with is apparently an AKG C418, so not a cheap bit of kit (over £200 each new). Didn't half sound nice though - I could still be tempted by a 2nd hand one (they can be had for a bit over £100). Or take a gamble on a cheap one... hmmm...
 
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