Sennheiser e609 vs SM57: How Do They Compare?

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Verdict: “Both the SM57 and e609 are excellent microphones that serve different purposes. The SM57 is the undisputed versatile workhorse that can handle almost any application. The e609 excels at delivering a bright, focused sound perfect for miking loud guitar amps and drums.

For guitar amps, the e609 is hard to beat. But for an all-around mic, the SM57 is a no-brainer. You really can’t go wrong with either – it just depends on your specific needs.”

These two microphones are staples in the audio world, each with its own unique set of features and intended uses.

The e609 was first introduced in 1998 and has become a popular choice for miking guitar amps and other loud instruments, while the SM57 has been a mainstay in the audio industry since its introduction in 1965. It’s a classic, highly respected microphone that’s known for its versatility and ruggedness.

But how do these two microphones compare, and which one is the right choice for you?

Specs Comparison


FeatureSM57e609
Polar PatternCardioidSuper-cardioid
Frequency Response40-15000 Hz40-15000 Hz
Output Impedance310 Ohm350 Ohm
Sensitivity-54.5 dBV/Pa (1.88 mV)1.5 mV/Pa 1 kHz
Dimensions157 x 32 mm55 x 34 x 134 mm
Weight284 g140 g
Additional FeaturesContoured frequency response, pneumatic shock minimization, ability to handle heavy use on stage, includes clamp, 3/8″ thread adapter, and bag.Suitable for electric guitar, percussion, wind instruments, and drums, includes MZG 100 clip and bag.

Intended Uses

The Sennheiser e609 is primarily designed for miking guitar amps and other loud instruments, while the Shure SM57 is more of a jack-of-all-trades. It can handle vocals, instruments, and amplifiers with ease.

In fact, the SM57 is so versatile that it’s often referred to as the “workhorse” of the microphone world.

It’s a common sight on stage and in recording studios around the world and has been used on countless notable recordings, including those by Bruce Springsteen, Bono, and AC/DC.

The SM57 is also the mic of choice for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has used it to record every induction ceremony since its inception in 1986.

Personally, I’ve used the SM57 on just about everything under the sun, from vocals to drum overheads to guitar cabs. It’s definitely a versatile little bugger.

Polar Patterns

The e609 has a super-cardioid polar pattern, which means it has a pretty tight pickup area and a good rejection of sound from the sides and rear.

I’ve found the e609 to be particularly useful for miking up guitar amps in a live setting, where there can be a lot of ambient noise.

Some notable artists and recordings that have used the e609 include Joe Satriani, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses.

The SM57 has a cardioid polar pattern, which means it has a slightly wider pickup area and less rejection of sound from the sides and rear. This can make it a good choice for capturing a more natural and full sound.

Frequency Responses

Both microphones have a frequency range of 40 to 15,000 Hz, which means they can capture a wide range of frequencies.

However, the e609 is known for its slightly boosted high-end, which can give it a brighter, more present sound.

The SM57 has a slightly more contoured frequency response, which can give it a more balanced sound.

In my experience, the SM57 tends to sound a bit smoother and less “in-your-face” than the e609.

Features

Both mics have a pneumatic shock mount to minimize handling noise, but the SM57 has a slightly more robust construction.

The e609 is known for its durability, but the SM57 is practically indestructible. I’ve dropped it, smashed it, and generally treated it like crap, and it just keeps on chugging.

Pros and Cons

One of the main pros of the e609 is its ability to handle high sound pressure levels, which makes it great for miking guitar amps.

However, it can sometimes be too bright and harsh sounding for some applications.

The SM57 is incredibly versatile and works well in just about any situation, but it may not have the same level of off-axis rejection as the e609.

This can be an issue if you need to isolate a specific sound source or reduce background noise.

Other Notable Differences

One thing to note is that neither microphone has a high pass filter, so if you need to roll off low frequencies, you’ll need to do it manually.

Another difference is that the e609 is slightly smaller and lighter than the SM57, which can be a consideration if you need a more compact microphone.

So, Which One Should You Buy?

It really comes down to your specific needs and preferences. If you need a rugged, versatile microphone that can handle just about anything, the SM57 is a no-brainer.

If you’re mainly going to be miking guitar amps and need a highly durable microphone, the e609 might be the way to go, especially for live settings.

Sound-wise, e609 is a bit brighter, and that is exactly what you might want. SM57 sounds more natural and wider, and that’s also something many would desire.

Personally, I always have an SM57 in my mic locker, but the e609 definitely has its place as well.

The Sennheiser e609 and the SM57 are both excellent microphones that have made a significant impact in the world of audio.

If you’re still on the fence, it might be worth trying out both microphones and seeing which one you prefer.

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