Photo of a Shure SM57 dynamic microphone

Microphones….pretty essential if you’re going to be recording any sort of audio source. Whether that’s a singer, mic’ing up a guitar amp, an acoustic guitar, a drum-set or even just background ambient noise, a good microphone should be one of the first things on your shopping list.

I recommend the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone (Amazon affiliate link) as an excellent multi-purpose microphone. Equally at home on a guitar amp, an acoustic guitar or on vocals, you should be able to pick one up for under $100. They sound fantastic, and are famed for their rugged build quality – buy one of these and it should last you a lifetime.

The SM57 is probably famed for its use on guitar amplifiers more than anything else. You have almost certainly heard it helping get the electric guitar sound on some of your favorite albums. However, that’s not all it can do. It can also be used on….

  • Vocals – it’s actually a great vocal mic, and I have got some great results recording my own voice with one
  • Acoustic guitar – although often a condenser mic is used on acoustic guitar, the SM57 (a dynamic mic) will do the job nicely
  • Snare drum – perhaps less applicable to a home studio, but in pro studios all over the world SM57s have been used to capture snare drums as they cope admirably with the loud transient peaks

If you only have one microphone in your home studio, you can’t go far wrong with an SM57.

I’m also going to give two other recommendations….

  • The Rode NT1A (Amazon affiliate link) is a great first condenser microphone (as opposed to a dynamic microphone). Particularly good on vocals and acoustic guitar.
  • The good old Shure SM58 (Amazon affiliate link). Probably the most famous microphone in the world, known for its live use. But it’s equally at home in a home studio – I often record vocals in my studio with an SM58.