3 Shure SM57 Alternatives That Work For Everything

What are the best SM57 alternatives? See what our top picks are in this post.

The SM57 is the Swiss Army Knife of microphones. It’s reliable, durable, and useful for almost every situation. 

But whether you’re looking for a different sound, or need an easy replacement, there are plenty of SM57 alternatives out there to try. 

Quick Look: The Best SM57 Alternatives

 
Our Pick
Budget Pick
Premium Option
$99.00
$99.00
$39.99
$249+
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Polar Pattern:
Supercardioid
Frequency Response:
40Hz-15kHz
Frequency Response:
50Hz–16kHz
Frequency Response:
55Hz-14kHz
Frequency Response:
50Hz-18kHz
Weight:
0.63 lbs
Weight:
0.4 lbs
Weight:
0.83 lbs
Weight:
0.85 lbs
$99.00
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Frequency Response:
40Hz-15kHz
Weight:
0.63 lbs
Our Pick
$99.00
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Frequency Response:
50Hz–16kHz
Weight:
0.4 lbs
Budget Pick
$39.99
Polar Pattern:
Cardioid
Frequency Response:
55Hz-14kHz
Weight:
0.83 lbs
Premium Option
$249+
Polar Pattern:
Supercardioid
Frequency Response:
50Hz-18kHz
Weight:
0.85 lbs
02/18/2024 07:08 am GMT

1. Audix i5 — The All-Around Best SM57 Alternative

  • Tight cardioid polar pattern for sound isolation
  • Higher frequency response (50Hz–16kHz)
  • SPL handling over 140dB
  • Flat-top design for close-miking instruments and cabinets
  • Incredibly durable — perfect for road use

The Audix i5 comes at about the same price as the Shure SM57. But there’s a growing number of musicians and sound engineers who prefer the i5 over the 57.

For starters, the Audix i5 has a slightly higher frequency response with a reduced mid range. Because of that, many users feel like it’s less harsh and doesn’t require as much EQ treatment — especially for distortion guitar cabinets.

On top of that, the i5 delivers a warm low end with a sparkly high end. These traits help bring out snare hits and make other instruments pop out in the mix.

Overall, the Audix i5 is a fantastic alternative to the SM57. 

Audix i5 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
$99.00

The i5 is an exceptional instrument mic that challenges other industry standard mics. It offers a crisp high end while taming the harsh mid range. Use it to bring sounds to the front of your mix.

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02/18/2024 04:14 am GMT

2. Shure SM48 — Cheap SM57 Alternative

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Narrower frequency response (55Hz–14kHz)
  • Ideal for vocals, but also great for instruments
  • Same legendary Shure durability

The Shure SM48 is an inexpensive microphone that can replace your SM57 in a pinch. It’s primarily a vocal microphone, but also works well as an instrument mic if you need it.

The SM48 has a narrower frequency range than the SM57. So while it captures most of the same mid range, it won’t do as well capturing the low or high ends.

Also, be aware that it’ll require a little more gain than the SM57.

All that said, the SM48 has the same legendary durability that all Shure microphones are known for. So you’ll never have to worry about any serious damage from dropping it.

Shure SM48 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
$39.99

The SM48 is a budget-friendly mic that delivers most of the same performance as Shure's more recognizable models. Also built with their legendary durability.

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02/18/2024 03:56 am GMT

3. Telefunken M80 — Premium SM57 Alternative

  • Supercardioid polar pattern for improved sound isolation
  • Higher frequency response (50Hz–18kHz)
  • SPL handling over 135dB
  • Flat-top cap for close-miking instruments and cabinets
  • Available in a stunning array of colors

If you’re looking for a premium upgrade from the SM57, definitely consider the Telefunken M80. It’s a fantastic dynamic microphone that handles vocals, guitar cabinets, drum kits, and other instruments exceptionally well.

Performance-wise, there are two things that make the M80 stand out compared to the SM57:

  • Polar Pattern: The Telefunken M80 has a supercardioid polar pattern. This narrows its directional focus for even better sound isolation.
  • Frequency Response: The M80 has a little stronger boost in the high-end, which helps brighten up your sound (especially snares).
Telefunken M80 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone

The M80 lets you produce clean, crisp-sounding audio from any source. Its narrow pickup pattern also helps you better isolate a signal.

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As for the build quality, everything about the M80 looks and feels high-quality. So you shouldn’t have to worry about durability. Plus, the handle has a flat edge, preventing it from rolling around in case you drop it.

On top of all that, the Telefunken M80 comes in a rainbow of colors. So you could get a mic that matches your personality or brand. Naturally, we’re big fans of Sonic Atlas yellow and pink.

Telefunken M80 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone - Yellow
$299.00

Get it in yellow!

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Telefunken M80 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone - Pink
$299.00

Get it in pink!

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Telefunken M80 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone - Cherry
$299

Get it in cherry wood!

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How We Picked These SM57 Alternatives

These choices come from personal experience in live sound and studio settings. I’ve also spent several years working in the music industry doing sales and marketing. So I’m familiar with these microphones and how they perform.

On top of that, I’ve consulted other musicians and sound professionals to find their favorite instrument microphones.

Why We Picked These Microphones

There’s no shortage of dynamic instrument microphones out there. So when finding alternatives to the Shure SM57, we needed mics that met these requirements: 

  • They’re versatile enough to accurately record any sound source in any situation
  • They can work as a handheld vocal mic if needed

Any one of the mics on this list does both of those jobs exceptionally well. Use them for vocals, guitars, amps, horns, and whatever else you can think of.

And while there are other great dynamic instrument mics out there, some of them have more specialized designs and functions. So they wouldn’t work well as a one-to-one substitute for the SM57.

Which Mic Is Right For You?

None of these mics will necessarily replace the Shure SM57. Likewise, the SM57 could never replace any of these microphones.

These are all professional-grade microphones with slightly different quirks. Depending on the situation, one might work better than the others.

Whether you pick one of these alternatives or stick with the tried-and-true SM57, you’ll have a reliable microphone for any situation.

All that said, these are my general thoughts on these mics:

  • The Audix i5 and Telefunken M80 are both great for bringing out the crisp high-end in lead vocals and snare drums.
  • The Telefunken M80 is especially great for sound isolation on a busy stage. It’s also designed to reduce feedback and proximity effect.
  • If all you need is a cheap replacement or backup, then go with the Shure SM48.

Our Overall Pick: Audix i5

At the end of the day, I think the Audix i5 is the all-around best SM57 alternative you can find. 

It’s robust, durable, and offers a clean and accurate audio performance that’s a little less harsh than the SM57.

And in terms of price, design, and function, it’s the most comparable to the SM57. So if you need a one-to-one alternative, the Audix i5 is it.

Audix i5 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
$99.00
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02/18/2024 04:14 am GMT

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