What’s the Difference Between the SM58 and the SM57?

Having recently compared the classic SM58 with a Beta58, it seems logical to progress forward with further comparisons. This time, we’re tackling one of the most frequently asked questions put to our technical support team: What makes the SM57 different from the SM58?

The answer to this question is actually relatively simple; so, scroll down and we shall tell you more!

SM58 vs. SM57


The 57 and 58 microphones are actually based on the same cartridge design. The main difference is in the grille. The SM58 was designed for vocal applications, and therefore uses a ball grille with built in pop filter to eliminate plosives.

The SM57 is designed as an instrument microphone, where a smaller grille size is more practical and plosives are less of a concern. Subsequently, the SM57 does not use a ball grille with pop filtering and instead features an integral resonator/grille assembly, where the grille is actually part of the cartridge.

Each grille design places the diaphragm of each microphone in a different acoustical environment. The distance from the top of the grille to the diaphragm is shorter on the SM57 compared to that of the SM58, which allows for a more pronounced proximity effect through closer mic positioning. Additionally, the different resonator/grille assembly design of the SM57 produces a slightly higher output above 5 kHz.

It’s All a Matter of Microphone Application

Although the SM57 was originally intended for instrument applications, there are plenty of examples through music history of it being used as a vocal microphone. This is because the increased proximity effect – and 5KHz frequency boost – can be used to the engineers advantage with certain vocalists. In other words, the same qualities that help instruments, can sometimes also bolster certain voices. It’s all a matter of what works for your application. Experimentation, and using your ears remains the key factor.

So there you have it, they’re actually pretty similar, with subtle, but potentially significant differences.

If you found this post helpful, you might also like our other comparison posts, covering the following:

SM58 and the Beta58 Comparison

Sm57 and SM7B

SM57 vs Beta 57

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Marc Henshall

Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and dabbling in DIY (preferably with a good craft beer or two).

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  • Nuno Andrade says:

    Hi, I know it’s an old article. But I hope this helps:
    I found that there’s a grill mount designed just for the SM57 for vocal applications, and it’s cheap. Not as sturdy as the ball grill of the 58 but it works ok,

  • Greg says:

    Will an SM57 grill fit an SM58? It would add a great deal of flexibiility if it did. Currently, I take the grill off my SM58 when using with my instrument (actually a melodeon), this works fine but is not ideal as it leaves the cartridge exposed.

    • shureUK says:

      Hi Greg. Good question. The 2 grille designs are not interchangeable. Removing the SM58 ball grille will change the sound and allow you to get more proximity effect. However, keep in mind that the housing that contains the cartridge does have an impact on the sound. Therefore, removing the grille does not technically make an SM58 the same as an SM57, if that makes sense? Hope this helps.

      • Greg says:

        Thanks for your comment. My personal take is that the mic is a tad brighter without the grille and that helps it cut through the mix. This might be my imagination! I get it that this does not mean it is responding as the SM 57 does but I don’t have a 57 to compare it with (yet). I wonder if a dual purpose mic of this sort would prove popular for the small studio.

  • Rob K says:

    This article is going to help me settle an argument, so I thank you for it.

  • Samuel says:

    Thanks, Marc. Short, but objective! Helped a lot

    • shureUK says:

      You’re welcome Samuel. Definitely to the point, but I’m glad it answers your question. Anything else just let us know 🙂 Cheers, Marc.

  • Joe Smith says:

    nice recap. thank you!

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