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Shure SM57 Unidyne III

Discussion in 'Andy Sneap' started by XtremeParanoia, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. XtremeParanoia

    XtremeParanoia Waste of Space

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    I was going through my fathers old audio equipment, angry at him over getting rid of the mixing board and various mics and pres that he had from when I was a small child, when I came across a Audio-Technica mic case. I figured I would find out what was left. In the secondary compartment I found a mic bag with a SM57 Unidyne III inside.:tickled: I was just curious from anyone on here who is in the know. What is the difference between this mic and the SM57s that I can buy today. Did I find a good SM57 or should I still be looking to pick up one as I had planned?
     
  2. black sugar

    black sugar The Burninator

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    The Unidyne should be the same as a new sm57. Very minor differences, if any. They have the same capsule, and almost the exact same body style.

    The Unidynes allegeldy have "smoother top end" or something, but that's probably just the vintage mojo (or 50 years of dust and cigarette smoke) at work. Also, from what I've gathered, some of the Unidynes were made in the US, some in Mexico, and people with magical hearing think there are differences.

    You could buy a new(er) 57 on eBay, a/b the two, then turn around and sell the one you don't like. If you sell the Unidyne, just be sure to call it a "VINTAGE sm57, John Lennon and the Beach Boys used them, L@@K!". ;)
     
  3. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    Whilst on the subject, anyone know the difference between a sm-57 and an sm-57 LC ?
     
  4. XtremeParanoia

    XtremeParanoia Waste of Space

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    Thanks for the input black sugar:)
    Yeah, the mic I have is made in the USA. I'll buy a few more SM57s like I originally had planned and throw up some comparisons to see if anyone can really tell a difference.
     
  5. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog LLC

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    Resurrecting an old topic, because I recently became interested in this subject and have been researching it lately. I also just scored a couple of vintage Unidyne III 545 mics for $40 out the door on eBay today, and I am eagerly awaiting them in the mail. It's 99% likely I will be incorporating the Unidyne III (in addition, of course to my trusty, circa-2004 pristine SM57) in Recabinet Modern 2.0 and Recabinet Vintage.

    Here's what I've found in my research thus far:
    1. Recording geeks have come up with all sorts of interesting sounding theories about the difference between the Unidyne III and the SM57, mostly attributing the sonic difference to Shure switching manufacturing from the USA to Mexico in 1985 (or 1975, depending on who your source is!) Obviously, with so much conjecture and rumor-mongering being passed off as "fact," it's been a frustrating (but intriguing) research project for me.
    2. Several different models of the Unidyne III / 545 have come out, mainly to accommodate all of the myriad bizarre mic cable and mic mounting standards that predated modern XLR, some offering switched operation, some not, etc. They've been produced continuously from 1960 up through the current production model (Shure Unidyne 545 SD) available today. That's right - Shure still makes the Unidyne III 545, they never stopped as far as I know - and while it is related to the SM57 in many ways, it's clearly not the same mic.
    3. If we look at the manuals for the 1960 version, and today's version, it's clear that very little (other than measurement methods, perhaps) has changed in terms of the frequency response graphs - but that both the 1960 and the 2009 versions of the Unidyne III bear the same considerable frequency reponse differences compared to its close relative, the SM57.
    Here's a comparison of the current, 2009 frequency response graphs as found on Shure's website:

    Shure SM57:
    [​IMG]

    Shure Unidyne III 545 SD:
    [​IMG]

    These frequency response graphs pictured above are current, 2009 data based on production models, and they show that the Unidyne III sounds particularly different in the high range - quite possibly giving it a nice boost in that area that many engineers find desirable and "mojo" worthy.

    So is the difference between, say a 1960 Unidyne III and a 2009 SM57 really the result of different factories and manufacturing standards, or is the difference primarily because these mics are simply not the same model?

    Only way to know for sure is to test a vintage Unidyne III against the current Unidyne IIIs. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to do this at some point. I'm not sure exactly what vintage my recent eBay win is, since it was apparently part of a big haul out of an old radio station closet and the seller isn't a gear geek (hence I got a good price.) I'm hoping I got something at least made in the early 70s, but we'll see...

    Anyone know anything else on this topic?
     
  6. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    I have a unidyne, not sure which one, but it looks and sounds almost just like the mics they use at fast food restaurants. kinda low-fi.
     
  7. AudioGeekZine

    AudioGeekZine arsehole know-it-all

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    The 57 graph looks like comb filtering in the high end. Likely due to the resonator cap which gives it the presence boost.
     
  8. gorath23

    gorath23 Member

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    There is also speculation that because the actual moulds/casts for the capsules haven't changed in 40 years or so, repeated use has worn them. Thus newer capsules made from the worn casts are apparantely worse. :err:
     
  9. Jarkko Mattheiszen

    Jarkko Mattheiszen The FU guy.

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    We have an old Unidyne lying around somewhere (IIRC it's equipped with a switch). I'm going down to Southern Finland this weekend so I'll try and find the mic to bring back here, since no-one uses it anyway. I think it sounded generally speaking really bad, though, but can't say for sure since it was years ago I tried it.
     
  10. Torniojaws

    Torniojaws They call me Juha

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    I believe it only means that it comes with the mounting adapter.

    Edit:
    According to this, it means that it doesn't come with a cable (LC = Less Cable):
    http://homerecording.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=12348
     
  11. WestCoastCrush

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    I have one. It's got less fizz to it than a SM57. Which can be good or bad. Big downer is that it kinda sounds two dimensional in sparse mixes. Overall character that it brings to your average guitar sound I would describe as being very much like Atreyu's The Curse. Which isn't a bad thing considering the prices of some of the gear Garth Richardson likes to use.

    Nonetheless, it usually isn't my first choice.

    But then again, neither is an SM57...
     
  12. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    Blecchh, I think the sound on "The Curse" is pretty awful - way too low-gain and not much balls IMO
     
  13. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    IVE GOT 2
    they're ace,
    like a 57 with smoother top end and more present low mids... just like the graph, amazing on snare
     
  14. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog LLC

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  15. yarrick19

    yarrick19 Member

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    Just wanted to mention that the sought after model is the made in USA "Model SM57 Unidyne III," not the 545.

    I have a few of them and they are great for micing guitar cabs.
     
  16. Loren Littlejohn

    Loren Littlejohn Lover of all boobage.

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    LC stands for "less cable". There is no difference.

    And yeah I know that I am answering a question from 2006 :lol:.
     
  17. gorath23

    gorath23 Member

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    I thought that the 545 was a Unidyne III, one and the same.
     
  18. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog LLC

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    I started a thread about this on GearSlutz, where the legendary Motown mastering engineer Bob Olhsson said "A 57 is a selected 545 that's painted black." I will take that as the definitive word. I think the main thing is, the new 57s and 545s aren't made to the same standards as the old ones, and that there has always been a wide tolerance of variation in these mics.
     
  19. yarrick19

    yarrick19 Member

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    There were a few different variations of the Unidyne III - one being the Model SM57 Unidyne III. I've attached a picture of mine showing the model name on the capsule section of the mic.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Kazrog

    Kazrog CEO/CTO, Kazrog LLC

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    Awesome picture, I love the brush script font on that mic. I don't think the ones I scored on eBay have that, so they're probably not as "vintage" and possibly made in Mexico, but getting two 57/545s for $40 shipped doesn't suck regardless.
     

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