I just keep coming back
Not sure why anybody would have to read reviews of a mic this legendary, but here's my input. For recording vocals, I keep experimenting with large diaphragm condenser mics. I've tried everything from a cheap Rode to an outrageous Neumann. I start off loving what I believe to be a "wider, more open, more natural sound" but still end up spending hours and hours in mixdown tweaking the vocal track with plug-ins. For one thing, I don't have a good room for vocals (it's just an untreated extra room in my house), so the generous pickup pattern on those mics works against me. Recent example, I had sung about 10 takes into a Blue Spark on my latest song and had spent most of a day comping them into one track and then trying different compressors, EQs, reverbs, etc. As often happens, the end result was unsatisfactory, and in fact, I had reached a point where I just kept making it worse. I had a new SM57 I'd bought with the intention of miking my guitar amp instead or using the emulated out (turns out it DOES make a big difference, but that's another story), so while taking a frustrated break from the mix I looked over at the Shure and the light bulb came on over my head. In about three minutes, I had it replacing the Blue on my vocal stand, with a pop filter about an inch and a half in front of it. First thing I noticed in my headphones was that I could crank the input up on the 57, because the tight cardioid pattern was rejecting all the awful ambience in my untreated room -- not just unwanted reflections, but car noise, jet noise, neighbor noise... I live in a very loud spot near an air base. Anyway, having that kind of gain on the input gave me a real dose of confidence; I could hear my voice really clearly in the cue mix. I hit record and sang the song once straight through. I felt really good about it, and when I played it back, I STILL felt really good about it. In fact, all I did (besides delete the other 10 takes) was adjust the tuning on about three individual words (being able to hear myself so well helped me tremendously in staying on key note after note) and run a subtle delay as a send effect to fatten the track up. No compression or EQ needed in post (had some in the front end chain), and no comping or additional takes required! I love the sound of this track, and amazingly a week later, I'm still loving it -- which is rare... I usually hate the sound of my vocal track more and more as time passes. So, the SM57 has once again become my first choice for lead vocals (I've bought and sold many over the years), and that's not even discussing how much better my amp sounds going through the Shure than it did coming out of the "emulated" jack. Obviously, if you're doing live work, you should already have a whole box of these, but my long-winded point here is, if you've got a room that you don't particularly want coloring your tracks, I highly recommend this mic for recording work as well, especially if you're singing any genre of rock music and/or intend to get a little loud.