Are newer SM57's inferior to older SM57's?

FAQ #3096 Updated September 06, 2017

Question:

I am setting up a new studio, and looking into getting some standard microphones for it. I have heard from many people that the new SM57's sound worse than the old ones, due to the manufacturing of these microphones moving to Mexico. I am very worried by this, as the SM57 is a great microphone in a studio setting for guitar amps, vocals and the like. Can you explain to me the differences with the new microphones? I love Shure products, and would hate for the quality to go down the pan just because Shure wanted to save a few bucks. I don't care where they are made, as long as these classic recording tools continue to provide us with quality sound and construction.

Answer:

This is an urban myth.

The Shure SM58 and SM57 have been fabricated in Shure's Mexican facilities since circa 1985. In fact, the quality has risen since then, not declined.

Rumors, such as this, are often started by Shure competitors. Shure has been in business since 1925. Quality and reliability are the standards on which Shure is built. This has not changed and will not change.

However, a new SM57 may not sound like one made 30 years ago because materials age in a microphone. The old one may sound better or sound worse...just like a guitar or a piano may change in timbre over the years.

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