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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,110 Member Since:23/10/2013

#101 [url]

May 12 17 11:24 PM

I think that well used ones from the 90s and early 00s that are Mexican production, sound very similar to ones from the 70s and 80s, US production, that have also been broken in.

Units from the very same time period (90s/00s) that got used less to none, DO seem to have a less sweet sound than the more heavily used ones. That's as far as I'll go.

I guess I'm suggesting there is a bit of an extended break in period with the design. 

I don't have a NOS 70s one to compare with, that's a good point. That would be interesting to hear, and might add some new insight. I guess I'm dubious about the idea that a new one in the 70s was amazing compared to a new one, current day, but who knows... 

Last Edited By: gtoledo3 May 12 17 11:31 PM. Edited 1 time.

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John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,219 Member Since:31/05/2015

#102 [url]

May 13 17 12:31 AM

gtoledo3 wrote:
John - we had the discussion about diaphragm coils awhile back, and since then, I found the old user group email from a Shure Rep that I had been referencing (this wasn't in response to me):

"Date: 1995/09/12
Message-ID: <434ucs$pts@newsbf02.news.aol.com>#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 109959180
sender: r...@newsbf02.news.aol.com
references: <432p8d$a34@news-e1a.megaweb.com>
organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
reply-to: shure...@aol.com (ShureGuy)
newsgroups: rec.audio.pro

Please allow me to set things straight. The 545 is not made of reject
parts from the SM57. The SM57 has a voice coil made of a different
material than the 545. The 545 uses an all copper voice coil, which
makes
it a little heavier than the SM57 coil. In fact, we started making the
545 about 7 years before the SM57. Also, do to manufacturing reasons,
it
is impossible to use 57 rejects for the 545. Since the 545 and SM57
have
different grills, the cartridges are mounted differently. Also, since
the
cartridges are manufactured into the mounting assembly, it is
impossible
to use a reject SM57 for the 545. The mounting hardware will not allow
it.

This is a widely held myth of our products and I hope this helps clear
things up.


Rick Waller
Applications Group
Shure Brothers Inc
Shure...@aol.com
ph: 708-866-2634
fx: 708-866-2606
"

----


Anyway, I don't doubt that there are differences in the transformers over the years, I'm sure of it! But it is probably highly arguable to say that they were ever a higher quality.

On the matter of coil material - I think there is some confusion because the 57 has a *copper clad aluminum* coil. So, it looks copper, but is not solid copper. Whereas the R45 cartridge has always had the pure copper coil.

I still maintain that the biggest difference between decades of 57/57 production, is whether or not they are broken in. I wish Oliver was around to talk about context on the transformer issue, because my guess is that he would agree they have always sucked, even for the minor differences...but who knows. 

How nice of Mr Waller to answer. Too bad that some of what he says is not entirely true. The cartridges do not mount differently; theyt are interchangeable. I have mounted many 57 carts on545s and a couple of 545 carts on 57 bodies,.

It is possible that in recent years they may have made changes to make interchangeability difficult, but on mics up until at least the early '90s the parts were, in fact, interchangeable.

Back when I was doing service work at Bay Area music stores I did a large amount of service work on both versions of the Unidyne III as well as the ball windscreen versions of the same cartridge - including stripping cartridges down to the bare magnet/diaphragm assembly. I swapped internal cartrides betewwen outer shells of both types and even betwwen 57 and 58 types, which required a bit of delicate surgery to swap phase plugs.What he is saying about incompatibility is not true, at least on older versions of the microphone. Even on new ones they are all capsule-interchangeable, unless they've changed the threads on the new versions of the 545, which I seriously doubt.

I notice a 1995 date on the quoted message - is Mr Waller still at SHure?

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,110 Member Since:23/10/2013

#103 [url]

May 13 17 11:21 AM

Yeah, it's old, but there is not a lot of first hand info out there besides the product spec sheets that have been made over the years. The extra bit I mentioned about the coil in the 57/58 being copper clad aluminum (specifically) is something I got out of calling someone at Shure...but I think I have seen that info online as well. Which is why it "looks" copper, but it is not solid copper like the R45 cartridge.

Anyway, the main point I was originally making was about similar susceptibility to hum field across all decades of production, which is removed to a large degree with the upgraded TAB transformer... and a sonic difference that occurs as the foam and cloth ribbon ages AND breaks in from use (and maybe the diaphragm itself?).

I'm not leading a crusade or anything, just relating some observations. As far as ancillary points that have popped up, I'm sure they may be true.

Last Edited By: gtoledo3 May 13 17 11:56 AM. Edited 2 times.

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trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since:11/10/2013

#104 [url]

May 13 17 11:54 AM

This is very interesting stuff. I took WW suggestion and used the AKG SDC, and like I reported it really sounded good, to me at least. I wonder after reading all this if the newer 57 I have, would benefit in the long run from breaking in and using alot. Not that I really need to since its just me but thats interesting to think about, i may record something with it and just use it for fun and keep it active.

Thanks for the great reading!

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John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,219 Member Since:31/05/2015

#106 [url]

May 13 17 5:18 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
Yeah, it's old, but there is not a lot of first hand info out there besides the product spec sheets that have been made over the years. The extra bit I mentioned about the coil in the 57/58 being copper clad aluminum (specifically) is something I got out of calling someone at Shure...but I think I have seen that info online as well. Which is why it "looks" copper, but it is not solid copper like the R45 cartridge.

Anyway, the main point I was originally making was about similar susceptibility to hum field across all decades of production, which is removed to a large degree with the upgraded TAB transformer... and a sonic difference that occurs as the foam and cloth ribbon ages AND breaks in from use (and maybe the diaphragm itself?).

I'm not leading a crusade or anything, just relating some observations. As far as ancillary points that have popped up, I'm sure they may be true.

I'm quite certain that the original version of the 57 used a copper coil. Originally the SM5X mic series were simply "professional" versions of the regular Uniodyne/Unisphere chrome bodied mics with a TV friendly non-reflective finish and a slightly higher price tag, sold through "professional" outlets rather than regular music stores. Sure started making aluminum coils in the late '70s or early '80s, at the same time they released two alternate mic series, IIRC called the SM4X and SM7X series, but I could be in error on the numbers. One of these series consisted of transformerless versions of the 57 and 58 on slightly shorter bodies and, IIRC, were the first Shure mics (of this general type, anyway) to employ aluminum voice coils - at least that's the first mention I recall seeing in the Shure product literature.. One series was black, the other light brown, and both had an odd finish that was slightly fuzzy ("velvet like") to the touch. Neither series lasted more than a couple of years.

You can tell the difference between copper and aluminum wire when you try to solder to it - it's much harder to solder to aluminum with normal Sn/Pb flux core electronic solder.

This information comes from disassembling and working on many Shure microphones during a period between the late '60s through the late '80s, not from official Shure sources, which I have found to be less than reliable over the years.

EDIT: I just did a bit of googling and it appears that Shure is in fact currently selling versions of an SM48 (found no mention of a current 47) and the 7x series does indeed to have not outlasted the '80s. I found some online literature, however the mics do not appear to be exactly the same as the original issue that I remember; the newer versions no longer have the velvet touch rubberized finish and no mention is made in the spec sheets of voice coil material.. Both series appear to be transformerless. Both appear to be aimed at the karaoke market and similar applications, whereas when first introduced they were targeted at small clubs and semi-pro rock bands and sold at music stores alonglide the SM5X series mics. The current SM48 is advertised at outlets like Sweetwater as being a lower cost, budget alternative to the 58. My guess is that's where the off-spec capsules are going (response is given as 55hz-14kHz.). MSRP is $62, street around $50-$60. It appearts to be the only surviving model between both the 4x and 7x series.

Why is it that I'm feeling kinda like a mechanic who used to specialize in Yugos?

Last Edited By: John Eppstein May 13 17 5:25 PM. Edited 2 times.

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John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,219 Member Since:31/05/2015

#107 [url]

May 13 17 5:43 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
I think that well used ones from the 90s and early 00s that are Mexican production, sound very similar to ones from the 70s and 80s, US production, that have also been broken in.

Units from the very same time period (90s/00s) that got used less to none, DO seem to have a less sweet sound than the more heavily used ones. That's as far as I'll go.

I guess I'm suggesting there is a bit of an extended break in period with the design. 

I don't have a NOS 70s one to compare with, that's a good point. That would be interesting to hear, and might add some new insight. I guess I'm dubious about the idea that a new one in the 70s was amazing compared to a new one, current day, but who knows... 

Amazing, no. A bit less rasty, yes. Both have pretty horrible off-axis response.

I do have a 545L, which is the so-called "lavalier" version of the Unidyne III that comes with a short body with a recess on the end for a "lavalier" clip to hang around one's neck like a baby albatross, and a 20 foot non-detcahable cable, which I got NOS in a sealed box for cheap because of the weird physical format. In conjunction with a line matching transformer it makes a GREAT harp mic when plugged into a guitar amp. Since it's a 545 made in the '60s it does have a pristine original copper VC capsule, which does definitely sound better than a new 57, even with only a few hours use on it, so I don't much believe in the "break-in" theory. What I DO believe is that copper voice coils sound better ("warmer"?) than aluminum, at least in the basic Shure cartridge design. (I also believe that copper sounds better than aluminum is speaker voice coils as well.)

I'd like to have a new production 545/Unidyne III to compare to one of my new 57s, but not enough to pay actual money for one. Too bad I haven't had a store gig in 30 years...

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jaykadis

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,421 Member Since:24/01/2011

#108 [url]

May 13 17 7:47 PM

We did a vocal rehearsal the other night and used my old ('70s) 565s instead of the usual assortment of everyone's EV, Audix, Heil and Shure (Linda still insisted on using her KSM8). The 565s might just see further deployment.

I prefer copper to aluminum wiring for my house, too.

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,110 Member Since:23/10/2013

#109 [url]

May 13 17 8:08 PM

"Since it's a 545 made in the '60s it does have a pristine original copper VC capsule, which does definitely sound better than a new 57, even with only a few hours use on it, so I don't much believe in the "break-in" theory."

Well John, now you're talking apples and oranges. Of course a 545 sounds a little sweeter than a 57, subjectively speaking. I agree.

But I have one mexican production 545, and a couple older US production to compare to (and some 546s), and I really do not think the mexican one sounds any worse. Comparing like for like. I'd like to hear a newer one made in the last few years I guess, but I'm not exactly burning with curiosity either.

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bob olhsson

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,331 Member Since:25/01/2011

#110 [url]

May 14 17 10:37 AM

When it first came out in the late '60s, they advertised the 56 and 57 as being the same as a 546 which they said used selected 545 capsules and a better transformer. I have do doubt that it may have evolved over the years but this was more than just a rumor.

www.audiomastery.com Bob's room 615 562-4346 georgetownmasters.com Georgetown Masters 615 254-3233 www.thewombforums.com

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John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,219 Member Since:31/05/2015

#111 [url]

May 16 17 1:07 PM

bob olhsson wrote:
When it first came out in the late '60s, they advertised the 56 and 57 as being the same as a 546 which they said used selected 545 capsules and a better transformer. I have do doubt that it may have evolved over the years but this was more than just a rumor.

Yep, I remember that. By "better" transformer, of course, they meant "different" - better from their point of view because it didn't require the extra high impedance winding found on most 545 transformers. The 56 and 546 used the same transformer, which gave a choice of two or three low impedance settings - 50 and 200 and maybe something else. The 57 did not use the same transformer, as it had only the single output impedance.

Back then if you wanted a replacement capsule they'd sell you the same part number for either a 56/57 or a 545/546.

I don't know if the people at Shure these days (and for the last couple of decades) intentionally issue revisionist "history" or if they honestly don't know and have nobody left from the old days they can ask - I'm actually inclined to suspect both - they're deliberately lying about things they really don't know about. (where's the "facepalm" smiley?)

Last Edited By: John Eppstein May 16 17 1:12 PM. Edited 1 time.

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,110 Member Since:23/10/2013

#112 [url]

May 16 17 1:30 PM

John, the r45 or r57 cartridges are the whole moving capsule part AS WELL AS the part right below, that screws onto the body.

Even the top part of the cartridge is physically different - from the label, to the design of the perforated metal at the bottom, and the coil material itself.

It seems really dubious that there would be a one part fits all solution between those different models, unless someone was just ordering one part and fitting them onto everything because they didn't know any better.

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