Good sm57 alternatives

Last Updated on March 30, 2024 by Justin

If you are not already aware, the Shure SM57 microphone has been an industry standard for micing up guitar amplifiers, snare drums as well as a wide array of instruments like whole brass sections since its inception.

Audix i5 DynamicPyle-Pro PDMIC78Sennheiser E906Beyerdynamic M201Lewitt MTP-440-DM
Top ChoiceCheapest AlternativeBest for AmplifiersBest Premium AlternativeBest for Snare Drum

It is known as a rugged workhorse that always does its job and produces the mid-rangy sound we’ve come to know and love from the SM57 mic.

If you’ve ever been to a gig anywhere around the world, the chances of an SM57 being involved in the live rig (especially for guitar) are exceptionally high. To the point where it is almost guaranteed. But…

What if you are looking for an alternative to the legendary microphone? The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to the SM57 on the market.

But before going through these we have to answer a few questions to determine help direct your buying choice. Before buying an SM57 alternative mic, one has to know why they are looking to do so. Answering these questions will help determine this.

Looking for a similar Sound or a Different sound alternative?

Are you looking for a Sm57 alternative that has similar sound characteristics to the original or if you looking for a microphone that has the same application but sounds completely different?

This review looks at alternatives that both sound similar, as well as those that are completely different from the famous 57.

Budget or Premium SM57 Alternative?

In the world of microphones, there are so many options from cheap to expensive and anywhere in between. There are both SM57 alternatives that cheap as well as ones that are expensive.

We will be looking at both ends of the spectrum from cheap alternatives to expensive ones.

Similar Alternatives on a budget


1) Audix i5 Dynamic Mic – Best SM57 Alternative

Audix i5 Dynamic Instrument Mic

  • Very similar in price to the SM57
  • Application is identical
  • Better suited for snare drums more high-end and brighter.
  • More direct response
  • Still very similar

See the video below for an in-depth comparison between the i5 and the Sm57. The video compares these two microphones on different instruments so you’ll get the best idea of how it sounds.

2) Pyle-Pro Dynamic Microphone

Pyle Pro Moving Coil Mic 

  • Like an SM57 clone at a fraction of the price (you can get 3 of these for the price of one Sm57)
  • Slightly higher mids than the 57
  • Exceptionally similar to the Sm57
  • Reliable and sturdy design

Sadly, I was unable to find a suitable video that compares this mic to the SM57.

3) Audio Technica MB2K

Audio Technica MB2K

  • Very popular as an alternative especially of its price
  • Works well as a live instrument mic as well as for recordings
  • Said to be a tad brighter than the 57
  • It has a lot of positive reviews, some even claiming it is better than the 57.
  • Features a switch that the SM57 does not

The video below demonstrates the difference between the MB2K vs the SM57. Unfortunately, the video is in Spanish.

However, in the video description, the reviewer has kindly put tabs on the video so you can hear how each mic sounds and skip to the parts you desire.

4) Lewitt MTP-440-DM

Lewitt MTP-440-DM

  • Like the Sm57, it is a very rugged mic
  • In the same price range as the SM57
  • Said to be clearer in tone than the 57
  • Gets very favorable reviews as a great dynamic instrument mic.
  • Apparently, Kenny Aronoff (the top session drummer in the world) has been seen using these on his snare.

If you take a look at the video below,  it gives you a great comparison of the Lewitt vs the 57 on a guitar cabinet in a very condensed video.

You’re really able to hear the difference between these two microphones. Which one do you prefer?

Premium Alternatives to the SM57

We now turn our attention to the other microphones that do the same job as the Sm57 but offer something different in terms of sound, features, etc.

5) Beyerdynamic M201

Beyerdynamic M201

  • Allows you to achieve the most accurate sound of any instrument
  • Has a built-in humbucker and is able to avoid any unwanted bleed
  • It is said to have more clarity and better balance than the 57
  • Works best on snare drums and guitar amps

In my opinion, the Beyerdynamic is the best dynamic microphone for recording acoustic guitar. Although, I tend to opt for a condenser mic as well as this together.

The video I have shared below shows the Sm57 vs the Beyerdynamic M201.

The video also compares the M88 by Beyerdynamic. You can get the M88 here if you are interested.

6) Sennheiser e906 – Best Guitar Amp Mic

Senheiser e906 Pro Audio

Introducing a microphone designed specifically for micing up guitar amps. This is the Sennheiser e906 dynamic microphone.

  • The SM57’s biggest competitor for guitar amps
  • Has a flat surface specially designed to mic up a guitar amp
  • Often known as “the other industry standard” when it comes to amp microphones
  • The big bands often have an Sm57 working in conjunction with the e906
  • 3 switchable settings: Bright, medium, dark
  • Gives a very well-rounded and full tone, amazing microphone
  • It has a “sister” mic, the e609 (very confusing) which is essentially the same design but its application is more general instruments whereas the e906 is specifically for guitar

Want to see how these two microphones compare? Check out the video below.

What is cool about this video comparison is that it not only compares the two different sounds of each microphone but also shows how they sound blended together.

Something that a lot of famous touring bands do as I mentioned above.

7) Heil PR 30

Heil PR 30

  • Much larger diaphragm than the SM57 which gives it a substantially bigger range of frequencies
  • Best suited for guitar amps and studio vocals (think radio broadcasting)
  • This is due to its focus on the upper to high mids
  • Another mic with a built-in humbucker. Something that the Sm57 doesn’t feature
  • Made in the USA

Yet another great comparison video. This one shows the Sm57 vs the PR30. You can really get a good idea from this video how much more mid-focused the Sm57 is.

8) Sennheiser MD421

Senheiser MD421

  • Exceptionally good dynamic microphone for all instruments
  • Shines are best when being used on guitar amps and snare drums. Also does really well with broadcast vocals.
  • Has a lower midrange focus whereas the 57 is a bit brighter. Apparently, the MD421 works well with an SM57
  • It also rejects feedback very well
  • It has the ability to roll off bass with 5 different switchable options

This is the best microphone for recording electric guitar. It has an incredibly wide frequency range which makes it perfectly suitable for guitar amps. For this microphone, I’ve shared two videos below that compare the MD421 with the SM57.


Do You Still Prefer the SM57?

Get the Shure Sm57 Here

After watching all of these microphone comparisons, you might still think the Shure SM57 is for you. If that is the case…I don’t blame you at all.


If you enjoyed this article, check out our post about the stands for guitar amps