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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I already have a SM-58 and I find the recorded results to be somewhat lacking in the lows. The recordings are quite midrangy and actually quite far from what I hear when playing against a wall. Are my ears or the mic telling the truth? :scratch:

My tone definitively needs lots of improvment I am working on that, but if it is as midrangy and empty than what I hear from the SM-58... :shock:

I know the SM-58 is a voice mic, and eventually will get a better mic but for now that is all that I have. The mic is plugged in a Presonus Firestudio Mobile. I aim the mic directly into the bell of the sax and it is about less than 12 inches away. Am I doing this correctly?

Thank you
 

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The SM 58 is not a good horn mic. You are doing everything right but the low end response (http://www.shure.com/idc/groups/public/documents/webcontent/rc_img_sm58_large.gif) on this mic is not good. Save up and get a beta 52 it will sound so much better. Make sure the mic is pointed directly down the bell the 58 is very directional and even being a few degrees of center will cause loss of response
 

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Try turning the mic level up and backing a couple feet away from the mic. This is obviously not ideal in a performance situation, but for recording yourself this should help tremendously.
 

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I agree the SM58 is not a great mic for recording to acoustic properties of the sax.

However the recording itself can be adjusted with various programs like Prologic or even Garage Band and actually make it sound much better.

Ribbon mics or mics that simulate it are better for saxophones and can be had for very low cost at around $130 for an MXL.

B
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Hi,

I already have a SM-58 and I find the recorded results to be somewhat lacking in the lows. The recordings are quite midrangy and actually quite far from what I hear when playing against a wall.
I agree, an SM58 may not be idea for recordings saxophone, but neither is playing against a wall ideal for telling you what your sound is. Having said that I have been recorded using an SM58 (e.g. on a recording session for REM) and the sound was obviously good for the producer. However that doesn't mean it's an ideal way to get a "realistic" sound of your saxophone, but neither is it as bad as some other mics.

I wouldn't use one for solo saxophone, but depending on the mix and sound you are after, it can work well.
 

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I'm not an expert on mics, but legendary jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder might disagree with the dismissal of the SM58 for recording saxophone. A saxophonist friend of mine had the opportunity to record at Van Gelder's studio a few years ago and apparently, Rudy used an SM57 (VERY similar properties as the 58) to record the tenor. Who woulda thunk?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So should I back off from the mic as someone suggest or put the mic almost into the sax like I was doing?

Thank you for the Logic & Garage band suggestion, I know these can help but for now I am recording to monitor my practice and tone progression so I want as little alteration as possible.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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So should I back off from the mic as someone suggest or put the mic almost into the sax like I was doing?
For recording, try at least a foot or 18 inches away. Further if it sounds better, but it will start to pick up more room ambience than you might like if you go too far away. It's a matter of trial and error, also try slightly offset to one side rather than pointing at the bell.

If you have good headphones you can try moving around until it sounds best in the headphones, that might well be your ideal recording mic position.
 

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The Shure SM58 & SM57 are the most useful microphones in existence.

I recorded an Upright Bass w/ an SM58 once (out of necessity) & the sound quality of the track blew me away.
 

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To quote my friend Turnaround; the Sm 57 and 58 are the recording engineers equivalent of a pencil.
 

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57 and 58 are useable.
Stepping up to a Sennheiser MD-421 is an order of magnitude better (I use one) but at 3x the price.
In the same price range the EV RE-20 and Shure SM7 are common pro solutions.

A tip I've heard lately and havent had the chance to try out yet is using a
TritonAudio Fethead ($99) or ClouldMicrophones Cloudlifter ($149) to give an
extra 20db gain on dynamic mics. They are also supposed to open up the sound
and let your preamp operate at more efficient levels. The word is they make
dynamics and ribbons sound more high-end.
 

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57 and 58 are useable.
Stepping up to a Sennheiser MD-421 is an order of magnitude better (I use one) but at 3x the price.
In the same price range the EV RE-20 and Shure SM7 are common pro solutions.

A tip I've heard lately and havent had the chance to try out yet is using a
TritonAudio Fethead ($99) or ClouldMicrophones Cloudlifter ($149) to give an
extra 20db gain on dynamic mics. They are also supposed to open up the sound
and let your preamp operate at more efficient levels. The word is they make
dynamics and ribbons sound more high-end.
+1 on the Shure SM7. Sounds great (rich and warm) on my saxophones. And in the less-than-ideal room I have my set-up in, the SM7 doesn't pick up much if any room noise.
 

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The recordings are quite midrangy and actually quite far from what I hear when playing against a wall. Are my ears or the mic telling the truth? :scratch:
Just answering the OP question, I would guess your ears are more accurate. Not debating the quality of a SM58, but it is definitely not the most neutral/natural sounding mic. I would guess neither is your pre. The SM58 is a very midrange sounding mic without a lot of detail. Not knocking it or saying it's useless mind you, just saying what it is.
 

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I have a ribbon and condensor mics but the last year or two I have been recording with the SM58 exclusively. A good pre amp makes all the difference in how well it sounds.
 

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The SM 57 and SM58 mikes work very well for live PA sound - assuming, of course, the set up includes a high quality mixer/pre-amp with good dynamic range, good powered speakers, etc. and, most importantly a sound guy who has non-burnt out ears for a good mix.

Spending more money on mikes for live (not recorded) sound is a waste of money and I defy someone to tell the difference -again assuming a pro set up. Recording is another world in itself and this dictates a better selection of mikes in some if not all cases if the live event to end up as a high quality CD production product.
 

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Spending more money on mikes for live (not recorded) sound is a waste of money and I defy someone to tell the difference -again assuming a pro set up.
Actually, on a average small rig, say JBL eon, the mics and mixer probably won't make a huge difference as long as the aren't radio shack quality. However, on the modern digital consoles and nice Line Array speakers, the mics and such are as important as in a recording. These systems re-produce everything with amazing detail. Crapy sound in, really loud crapy sound out.
 

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SM58 and SM57 are still the most useful mics in existence. I too love the MD421, RE20, and SM7, but they are at least $250 more than the SM58.

Throw your 58 against a brick wall and it will still work. Submerge it in water, dry it out, and use it later that night. Drop it out of a pickup truck going 65 MPH down the highway - no biggie.

Try that with a Neumann U87 or even an EV RE20 and see what happens. I am sure it won't be pretty. :tsk:

Unidyne III for life baby, WOOOO!!! :mrgreen:
 
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