The Shure SM57 is a modern classic microphone, and it is used more prominently in the studio that any other singular microphone. It is a legendary, but simple dynamic microphone, with a frequency response from 40 Hz to 15,000 Hz, cardioid pattern, 150 ohms rated impedance, and the basic 3-pin XLR connector on the base. It is unidirectional in nature, with a very small sound entrance and windscreen. It doesn’t have a particularly flat frequency response, but it sounds very musical, and it can be used in a variety of applications, including guitar amps, vocals, drums, wind instruments, stringed instruments, acoustic guitars, room ambience, and more.
What’s great about the Shure SM57 is that it is used almost universally, and it is one of the cheapest microphones you can buy. It is still a quality product from a quality microphone manufacturer (in Shure), and that makes it perfect for so many budgets and applications. However, there are many fake Shure SM57’s floating around, particularly on eBay, and if you are not careful, you will end up with a Chinese-made fake that looks just like the real mic, but sounds thin and tinny. In fact, I owned a fake SM57 for a few months, and I didn’t realize it was fake until I started testing it against another SM57: I knew the mic was sounding bad, but I assumed it was my other equipment, bad mic placement, or phase issues, because I just assumed the mic was real and it fine working condition. Do make sure you do not fall into the same trap, and buy from reputable sellers.
Overall, the Shure SM57 is a great mic that belongs in every studio, simply because it is so universally used. Even if you have better microphones that work better for specific situations, it’s still a good idea to keep these around, because they are always useful and every musician is familiar with them.