How do you turn your 100 dollar Shure SM57 microphone into a 400 dollar Shure SM7B? In this video I will explain my setup and show you my settings in Logic Pro. Then it’s up to you to decide if you think this is a way for you to go.
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Timestamps of the video
- 00:00 – Introduction
- 00:49 – Hardware (what products do I use exactly?)
- 03:35 – Software #1 (active plugins on individual audio track)
- 07:02 – Software #2 (active plugins on Stereo Output)
- 08:13 – Listening (audition with and without plugins activated)
- 09:50 – Disgusting moment (what de-click actually removes)
- 10:04 – Ending
Setup Shure SM57 – hardware
First, let’s discuss my setup of the hardware. Cause I recently changed that. Maybe you have noticed it on the channel. My videos look different and sound different since the beginning of December 2020.
Now I don’t want to discuss the visual aspect, but I do want to dive into the audio. Starting with the setup of the hardware.
What do I use?
I want to address six pieces of hardware:
- Shure SM57 microphone which is an industry standard mic for recording instruments like snares and guitars. I use that for my voice recordings. Costs around 100 dollars.
- Shure Windscreen to reduce pops and other unwanted sounds. Costs around 15 dollars.
- Triton Audio FedHead which is a mic pre-amp giving me an extra clean 27Db before the signal hits my audio interface. Costs around 70 dollars.
- Klotz M5 microphone cable. Costs around 20 dollars.
- Konig & Meyer Microphone Table Stand which is positioned 40 centimeters in from of me. Costs around 30 dollars.
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio Interface. Costs around 250 dollars.
That makes it a total investment of 485 dollars. That’s a lot of money! But, if you would use a Shure SM7B microphone you would also need a mic pre-amp, a microphone cable, a microphone stand and an audio interface.
So an honest comparison in costs would be the investment in the microphone itself and the extra windscreen for the SM57. And that will leave us with an investment of 115 dollars for the Shure SM57 and 400 dollars for the SM7B! 285 dollars less. Quite a difference!
Now this was the hardware side of the story. Let’s continue with the software side inside my DAW.
Setup Shure SM57 – software
This is my Shure SM57 Logic Pro template. So when I fire it up there is already an audio track active with the right plugins and settings.
What do I have on the audio track?
- First a noise-gate plugin. I use the Fabfilter Pro G plugin, but any other noise-gate plugin will do. Even the default Logic Pro Noise Gate plugin which you can find under the Dynamics section. What does it do? Simply said, any sound that doesn’t reach the threshold will be removed. So if you have a floor noise or a hiss in your recordings which you can hear when you take a break in your talk, the noise gate will remove that. The result, a much cleaner and more professional recording.
- Second plugin is the Izotope RX Elements. This is a beast of a plugin. Worth every penny! I have talked about it earlier in the video about Removing pops and clicks in your audio production. This plugin is a life safer in many situations. What does it do? In this case, it cleans up the audio recording even more to make it sounds really professional.
- Third plugin is the Waves de-esser. It makes the s’es and t’s more smooth sounding. Less sharp and therefor less exhausting for the listeners. Again, a small difference but yet an effective one to make it more professional sounding.
- The fourth plugin is an EQ plugin. Again I use one of Fabfilter, in this case the Pro Q. But any plugin will do. The default stock EQ from Logic Pro is fine for this purpose. About the EQ cuts and boost, I didn’t figure out these ones by myself. Julian Krause did an almost scientific comparison about the frequencies of the Shure SM57 and the Shure SM7B. Matching them with these cuts and boost. Giving the SM57 the same flat sound as the SM7B.
- Last one on the audio track is one of my favourite compressors. The Waves CLA-76. This compressor makes sure that the audio is more consistent in terms of loudness.
Should you buy or find a substitute?
So five plugins on the audio track. If you don’t own them, find a substitute to start with. For example the default stock Logic Pro plugins. If you’re planning to buy any, I would suggest to start with RX Elements from iZotope. Then the Waves plugins and last the ones from Fabfilter. If you’re doing other recordings than voice, believe me … you’ll benefit from these plugins many times! And let’s be honest, you probably want to use these or similar plugins too for post audio production when recording with a Shure SM7B.
This is a referral link to the Waves website, giving you an additional discount of 10% on any sale: https://www.waves.com/r/nfe2v2
If you’re planning to buy any plugins from Fabfilter, throw me a line. I can arrange a discount for you too.
What do I have on the stereo output track?
Alright, let’s continue with the stereo output track. What do I have active on that track?
- Again RX Elements, but this time the de-click option. We will listen to its effect in a second. What it does? Simply said, it removes all kinds of clicks and pops out of your recording. And you’ll be amazed about how many disgusting sounds this tiny beast removes.
- Second plugin is again a compressor. The Fabfilter Pro C. It subtle ticks down a couple of transients to make the audio again a bit more consistent in volume.
- Third and last plugin is a limiter. I use the iZotope Maximizer, but many limiters will do. Eventually I aim for a -14 LUFS. That’s a perfect loudness for the voice of my videos.
That’s all about the software side of this story. Let’s continue with a listening session to hear the difference with and without the plugins.
Listening to recordings with Shure SM57
Let’s listen to a recording with and without the plugins I mentioned. You’ll hear a major difference!
What I’ll do is, I will flip the plugins on and off. Let’s go!
For all the ones with a weak stomach, I would suggest to dial down the volume right now. Cause I will give you a listen to what the RX elements de-click option has removed from the recording. Sorry, but it is really disgusting.
Alright. I hope you enjoyed and appreciated this video. If you did, give me a thumbs up. Subscribe to the channel if you haven’t done already and don’t forget to ding that bell if you want to be notified when I upload a new video about composing, realistic orchestral mockups, orchestration, audio production and other related topics.
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