I'm looking into buying my first microphone, and I've (basically) decided on a used SM57. It comes with a standard cable (I'm guessing XLR to XLR), however, I'm wondering how to record various sound effects with the microphone. It would be better to have it be portable because I can't record all of my sounds on my computer. Is there some sort of cable to use with my phone? Or is the only practical way to go about it by paying for an audio interface and hooking it up to my computer?

  • Zoom H4n is almost always the way I go here. You can use it's XLR/TRS combo jacks for external input to record, or it has a really nice microphone X/Y pair attached. It records standard files to standard SD cards. And, you can use it as a USB audio interface on your phone and computer, allowing you to go live some day if you want to.
    – Brad
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


You need a portable / field recorder with an XLR input in order to use the mic in the field, to record sounds. There are many different makes and models out there, discussed in many threads on this site such as here. At the mid/low tier I personally would recommend a Tascam DR-100 MkII.

May I ask what made you to decide to use a Shure SM57? It's a dynamic mic, which is usually best suited to micing up live performances, rather than being used as a field recording mic. For field / sound effects recording, a shotgun condensor mic, such as the Rode NTG-1 or NTG-2 might be a little more suitable and in a similar price bracket.

  • Honestly, I'm just a starting Foley artist that's trying to make sound effects for my games. I don't know all of the ins-and-outs of what is a good microphone, but I've got a decently low budget for making decent sounds. I never anticipated it to have so much variation from person to person, or to be so expensive. I'll look into those other microphones, as well as some portable recorders. If you have any other suggestions, I'd be glad to hear some. Thank you!
    – Keto Z
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 23:26
  • No problem! If budgets are tight, and you haven't bought a mic yet, then mid/low end recorders usually have built in microphones. Again, the Tascam DR-100 MkII is great for this; the onboard mics and pre-amp are brilliant, for the price they it costs, the Zoom H4n a close second. If you're starting out, on a tight budget, and just want some really basic sounds then something even smaller, like a Tascam DR-05, or Zoom H1 may be a better choice, though won't have XLR connections if you want to get external mics later to use with it.
    – Skarik
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 8:06

A Shure SM57 is not very suitable for recording Foley sounds. A condenser microphone is much more typical to use for recording ambient and natural sounds and Foley/SFX (sound effects).

A "sleeper" product I have found is an ISK "Little Gem" condenser microphone. It comes with omnidirectional, cardioid, and hyper-cardioid microphone heads which you can select to suit the particular recording situation. There are other similar budget-price reasonable quality condenser microphones.

If you want to record a professional-grade XLR microphone on a smart phone or similar gadget there are XLR microphone preamp gadgets which implement such connections. For example IK Multimedia iRig PRE.

Example: http://www.iskproaudio.com/products/little-gem

Example: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigpre/

  • He's bought that sm57 because I suggested it on another thread. But he had a budget of just $50, not enough to buy a decent condenser, even used. When your on a really tight budget any mic can 'do' Foley. Foley/sound design is 80% technique.
    – Melloj
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 11:24

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