Shure SM57 mics have been dominating the market for decades. They are affordable, insanely durable, and provide good sound quality. No wonder that manufacturers have set it as their goal to produce and sell a huge amount of their knockoffs.
Many music enthusiasts have fallen victim to the excessive amount of fake SM57. Because of the more diligent copycats out there, it has become hard to instantly mark off fake SM57 from original ones. They would even go as far as copying the documents and serial numbers to seem legit.
For that, we have taken it upon ourselves to show you how to spot a fake SM57 right away. Fret not! The process isn’t hard. All you would need to do is pay closer attention to minute details.
How to Spot a Fake SM57
If you’re new to Shure mics, realizing that you’re getting ripped off your money won’t be easy. Fabricators are getting smarter and smarter every day. In the past, it was easy to spot the difference by simply comparing the labels and fonts on the boxes.
Now, you could find seemingly identical packages that would fool just about everyone. It also doesn’t help that many of those sellers advertise their mics as original products from Shure. And since we’re becoming more dependent on online sellers, the problem will persist for the years to come.
However, telling them apart isn’t rocket science. You could simply identify a counterfeit SM57 by referring back to these remarks:
- Price of the mic.
- Package details.
- Mic details.
- Audio quality.
Many people might argue that they have bought a real SM57 for a price less than $99. They might have gotten really lucky, or they’ve purchased a really good fake.
It’s a fact that when it comes to pricing, an SM57 would cost around $105 including taxes. Shure has made it so that no retailer or online seller could sell their mics for less than 99$.
So, how are you able to find some mics for as cheap as 50$ on eBay? The answer is very simple: they’re fakes!
Online stores aren’t a dependable source for a good reason. You won’t be able to check the quality of the mic itself if you’re purchasing your product online. A reliable source for genuine SM57 would always be a reputable electronic store.
In 2014 when many of the fake copies started spreading, people were able to identify the fakes from the original copies right away.
Back then manufacturers didn’t bother to copy the logos or the correct translations or fonts. You take one look at the lousy job they did and automatically find out that what you’re buying isn’t a genuine copy.
The packages now are doing much better than before. They could easily fool you if you’re not paying close attention to every detail.
Here is what you need to look for when checking the packages:
- The colors of the box: an original package will have vivid black and white colors without any fadings or smears.
- Fonts: stretched fonts or misspelled descriptions mean that there is a high probability that it’s a fake.
- Missing texts: in many of the fake packages you would find the side with the serial number and package content missing the phrase “Cable tie”.
- Missing serial number: Many of the fake packages have overcome this grave mistake, you could still find some packages missing one of the two serial numbers on the side.
Sometimes when dealing with a less obvious fake, you would find them including a second sticker with a serial number that has S/N 20E0746158 and the production date of 2015/05/07 on all their boxes.
The Content of the Package
When you’re done checking the outside of the box, it’s time to investigate the content of the box further. The box comes with the instruction manual, warranty paper, the mic clip, and the mic case with the mic inside.
The first thing you need to do is to thoroughly examine the documents provided. A genuine SM57 would have a warranty with a unique serial number and nearly arranged documents.
Even though comparing packages isn’t always a plausible method, it could tell many things about the authenticity of the product within.
Investigating the Mic Case and the Clip
There is a good reason why fake copies are much cheaper than original copies. The fake copies use low-quality materials to cut down the cost of the production process. That is greatly shown in the mic case and the mic clip.
When you examine the case of a fake SM57, you will find that it’s made of a very cheap type of plastic. It looks glossy and rubbery on the outside and if you examined it further you could even find loose threats.
A genuine case will look rather leathery and sturdy on the outside. Instead of having a glossy surface, they will have a smooth dark matte surface.
When examining the clip, you would notice that they look rather convincing. However, a fake clip would have rough edges. If you decided to place the mic in a fake clip, you would find it hard to keep it in place.
Checking the Mic
Shure mics are well-known for their sturdiness and long lifespan. Some people would even joke about their ability to withstand a train crash. They are that strong.
A fake one, however, is made of a much poorer material and is much less durable than an original one. If you want to find out whether your SM57 is fake or real check these 6 elements:
- Weight of the mic.
- Space between the capsule and the body.
- The mesh on top of the capsule.
- The capsule rotation.
- XLR connector.
Weight of the Mic
Due to the poor quality of the mic, you would find that fake SM weighs less than the original one. It might not be a noticeable difference if you’re just comparing the weight using your hands, but on a scale, you could see it clearly.
Space Between Capsule and the Body
Another obvious difference in counterfeit mics is that there is no space between the capsule and the other half of the body. They look as if they were glued together. A real one would have a tiny gap between the upper and lower parts of the mic.
The Mesh on Top of the Capsule
When examining the mesh on top of the capsule, you would find that a fake mic has a much lighter colored mesh. The mesh of a fake mic would look almost straight, while a genuine one would look much more concave.
The Capsule Rotation
Another difference is that the capsule housing on a counterfeit mic won’t rotate, and if you tried to force it, it would cut the wiring inside. A genuine copy would be able to rotate freely without a problem.
Examining the XLR connector, you’ll find that many of the fakes have yellow connecting pins, while the real ones have silver pins.
A common mistake that fabricators make is using wiring of different colors than the original one. A genuine SM57 would have yellow and green colors.
If you want to be completely safe from buying fake Shure products, always buy from a well-known seller. It’s easy to get fooled when fake products are dominating the market. But if your only option is depending on online sellers, learning how to spot a fake SM57 would come in handy.
Always check the price difference, and ask for real-life pictures of the product. Also, check for the seller ratings if you’re buying online.
When you receive a new package, don’t be afraid to thoroughly check every inch of the content. And if you ever ran across a fake copy, don’t feel shy and ask for a refund!