PG Alta Microphones

Congratulations on the purchase of a new Shure PG Alta series microphone. The PG Alta series delivers professional quality audio at an affordable price, with solutions for capturing nearly any source, including voice, acoustic instruments, drums, and amplified electric instruments. Suitable for live and studio applications, PG Alta microphones are built to last, and meet the same rigorous quality testing standards that make all Shure products trustworthy and reliable.

Drum Kit Bundle Variations

4-Piece Kit

(PGADRUMKIT4)

  • PGA52 kick drum microphone
  • PGA57 snare drum microphone
  • (2) PGA56 drum microphones
  • A50D mount

5-Piece Kit

(PGADRUMKIT5)

  • PGA52 kick drum microphone
  • PGA57 snare drum microphone
  • (3) PGA56 drum microphones
  • A50D mount

6-Piece Kit

(PGADRUMKIT6)

  • PGA52 kick drum microphone
  • PGA57 snare drum microphone
  • (2) PGA56 drum microphones
  • (2) PGA81 overhead condenser microphones
  • A50D mount

7-Piece Kit

(PGADRUMKIT7)

  • PGA52 kick drum microphone
  • PGA57 snare drum microphone
  • (3) PGA56 drum microphones
  • (2) PGA81 overhead condenser microphones
  • A50D mount

Note: Availability of specific bundles varies by region. Contact your local Shure distributor for details.

General Rules for Use

  • Do not cover any part of the microphone grille with your hand, as this will adversely affect microphone performance.
  • Aim the microphone toward the desired sound source (such as the talker, singer, or instrument) and away from unwanted sources.
  • Place the microphone as close as practical to the desired sound source.
  • Work close to the microphone for extra bass response.
  • Use only one microphone to pick up a single sound source.
  • For better gain before feedback, use fewer microphones.
  • Keep the distance between microphones at least three times the distance from each microphone to its source (“three to one rule”).
  • Place microphones as far as possible from reflective surfaces.
  • Add a windscreen when using the microphone outdoors.
  • Avoid excessive handling to minimize pickup of mechanical noise and vibration.

Applications

The following table provides basic recording techniques for several sources. Experiment with various configurations and microphone placement to achieve the preferred sound.

Source Suggested Microphones Tips
Drums

PGA181: Stereo overheads

PGA52: Kick drum

PGA57: Snare Drum

  • See stereo microphone techniques for overhead placement options
  • If the kick drum resonant head has a hole in it, place the microphone inside for improved isolation from other instruments
  • Aim the PGA57 towards the center of the snare drum head to capture more stick attack, or closer the edge to capture more overtones.
Vocals PGA181
  • Place the microphone 1-6 inches (2-15 cm) from the source
  • Use a pop filter (Shure PS-6) to prevent plosives
Acoustic Guitar PGA181
  • Use two PGA181 microphones to record in stereo using one of the stereo recording methods, or a single PGA181 for a mono signal
  • Place microphone(s) 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) from the guitar
  • Place near the 12th fret for a balanced sound, or closer to the sound hole for more bass
Full Band

PGA181: Stereo pair, aimed at entire group

PGA52: Kick drum or bass amplifier

PGA57: Vocals or guitar amplifier

  • Use close-placement microphones on sources that are most likely to need extra volume in the mix, such as vocals or acoustic instruments.
  • If more close-placement microphones are necessary, use one PGA181 to capture the entire group, and use the second PGA181 on an instrument.
Guitar/Bass Amplifiers

PGA52: Bass amplifier

PGA57: Guitar amplifier

PGA181: Guitar or bass amplifiers

  • Aim the microphone at the center of the speaker cone for a bright, punchy sound, or towards the edge of the speaker for a mellow sound.
  • The PGA181 delivers a clear, detailed sound
  • The PGA57 and PGA52 deliver a warmer sound that helps to smooth out harsh sounding amplifiers

Advanced tip: For a more spacious sound, use a PGA57 or PGA52 close to the amp, with a PGA181 placed 10-20 feet away. Pan them slightly in opposite channels to create a full, roomy sound.

Strings PGA181: Stereo pair (ensemble), any individual instrument
  • To record a string ensemble, use one of the stereo microphone techniques to capture the width of the source
  • For an individual instrument, try using one PGA181 approximately 1 foot from the source, with the other PGA181 in the room (6-12 feet from the source) to capture ambience.
Brass and Woodwinds

PGA181: Stereo pair (ensemble), any individual instrument

PGA52: Tuba

PGA57: Saxophone, trumpet, trombone

  • To capture brass and woodwind ensembles, use one of the stereo microphone techniques to capture the width of the source
  • For an individual instrument, such as a saxophone, aim the PGA57 toward the bell of the instrument and use a PGA181 in the room (6-12 feet from the source) to capture ambience
  • For a simplified approach, simply use one PGA181 placed 1-2 feet from the instrument
Piano PGA181 (Stereo pair)
  • Use a stereo recording technique, with the microphones placed inside the piano lid
  • For upright pianos, keep the top open and/or remove the front panel when possible

Setting up Drum Microphones

Before you begin, review these fundamental concepts to get the best possible results:

Tuning: Before recording a drum kit, make sure the drums are tuned. A well-tuned kit significantly improves the sound quality for recording and live sound reinforcement. It also makes mixing and signal processing easier, faster, and more effective.

Placement: Use the proximity effect to your advantage when increased bass is desired. Small changes in microphone placement (distance and angle) strongly impact the sound characteristics. If time permits, experiment with various microphone positions to achieve the preferred sound.

① Kick (PGA52)

  • Place the microphone in front of the resonant kick drum head.
  • If there is a hole in the head, place the microphone inside for better isolation. Removing the resonant head and placing the microphone closer the beater head provides increased attack.
  • To reduce the sustain and overtones for a focused attack, try using a pillow inside the kick drum.

② Snare (PGA57)

  • Place the microphone 1-4 inches above the drum, near the rim.
  • Point towards the center of the head to capture more stick attack, or closer the edge to capture more overtones.
  • Aim the microphone with the rear side pointed towards the hi-hat to reduce the amount of cymbal in the snare drum signal.

③ Toms (PGA56)

  • Place the microphone 1-4 inches above the drum, near the rim.
  • Use the included AP56DM drum mounts to attach the PGA56 onto the drum. The microphone can also be mounted on a standard 5/8" microphone stand.
  • Point towards the center of the head for a deeper sound, or closer the edge to capture more overtones.

④ Overheads (PGA81)

Overhead microphones capture cymbals and an overall stereo image of the drums. Refer to the stereo microphone techniques section for details.

Overhead microphone tips:

  • Pan one microphone to the left and the other to the right on a mixer or in recording software to create a stereo image
  • The farther the left and right signals are panned, the wider it will sound
  • Overheads can be panned from the audience or drummer's perspective, depending on preference. Pan the toms to match the overhead panning for an accurate stereo sound.
  • Other stereo drum recording techniques to learn about include the Glyn Johns method, Recorderman, and Mid-Side.
  • Additional information on recording drums and microphone techniques is available at shure.com

Proximity Effect

Directional microphones progressively boost bass frequencies as the microphone is placed in closer proximity to the source. This phenomenon, known as proximity effect, can be used to create a warmer, more powerful sound.

Avoiding Pickup of Unwanted Sound Sources

A supercardioid microphone has the greatest sound rejection at points 120° toward the rear of the microphone. Place the microphone so that unwanted sound sources, such as monitors and loudspeakers, are at these angles, not directly behind it. To minimize feedback and ensure optimum rejection of unwanted sound, always test microphone placement before a performance.

Recommended Loudspeaker Locations for Supercardioid Microphones

Phantom Power

All condenser microphones require phantom power to operate. This microphone performs best with a 48 V DC supply (IEC-61938), but it can operate with lower voltages.

Phantom power is provided by the mixer or audio interface that the microphone is connected to, and requires the use of a balanced microphone cable: XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-TRS. In most cases, there is a switch or button to activate the phantom power. See the user guide for the mixer or interface for additional information.

NOTE: Applies to PGA181 condenser microphones only. Supplying phantom power to the other included microphones will not cause damage.

Microphone Techniques for Stereo Recording

Stereo recording using two microphones adds realism by capturing sound similar to the way that humans hear. Panning (directing the signals left and right) adds width and directionality when listening on stereo systems or headphones.

Tip: Panning the signals farther apart increases stereo separation and width. Be careful of panning too far, as it may result in a hollow sound in the middle of the stereo field.

① X-Y Coincident Pair

The X-Y technique provides excellent phase coherency because sound arrives simultaneously at both microphones.

Placement: Set up the microphones with the capsules close together, but not touching. Experiment with angles between 90 and 120 degrees to capture the full width of the source.

② ORTF

Developed as a French broadcasting standard, ORTF technique replicates the spacing and angle of human ears. It provides a natural, wide sound.

Placement: Angle the microphones at 110°, with the capsules 17 cm apart.

③ A/B Spaced Pair

Spaced pair recording can deliver a dramatic stereo effect because sound arrives at each microphone at a slightly different time, providing the listener with timing cues that localize sounds.

Note:

For drum overheads, the snare drum should be equidistant from each microphone to achieve a tight, focused sound. Use a measuring tape or piece of string to verify this distance.

Using the Quick-Release Lever

PGA56 and PGA52 microphones feature a quick-release lever to easily adjust position.

  1. Pull the lever open
  2. Move the microphone into the desired position
  3. Press the lever back towards the microphone to tighten

Pictured is the PGA56.

Note: To adjust the tension on the lever, pull it open and use a flat head screwdriver to tighten or loosen the bolt on the opposite side.

Specifications

PGA52

Type

Dynamic (moving coil)

Frequency Response

50 to 12, 000 Hz

Polar Pattern

Cardioid

Output Impedance

150 Ω

Sensitivity

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

-55 dBV/Pa¹ (1.75 mV)

Polarity

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Weight

454 g (16.01oz.)

Connector

Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Environmental Conditions

Operating Temperature -20° to 165°F (-29° to 74°C)
Relative Humidity 0 to 95%

1 Pa=94 dB SPL

Typical Frequency Response

Typical Polar Pattern

PGA56

Type

Dynamic (moving coil)

Frequency Response

50 to 15, 000  Hz

Polar Pattern

Cardioid

Output Impedance

200 Ω

Sensitivity

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

-57 dBV/Pa¹ (1.45 mV)

Polarity

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Weight

287 g (10.12oz.)

Connector

Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Environmental Conditions

Operating Temperature -20° to 165°F (-29° to 74°C)
Relative Humidity 0 to 95%

1 Pa=94 dB SPL

Typical Frequency Response

Typical Polar Pattern

PGA57

Type

Dynamic (moving coil)

Frequency Response

50 to 15, 000 Hz

Polar Pattern

Cardioid

Output Impedance

150 Ω

Sensitivity

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

-56.5 dBV/Pa¹ (1.5 mV)

Polarity

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Weight

280 g (9.88oz.)

Connector

Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Environmental Conditions

Operating Temperature -20° to 165°F (-29° to 74°C)
Relative Humidity 0 to 95%

1 Pa=94 dB SPL

Typical Frequency Response

Typical Polar Pattern

PGA81

Type

Electret Condenser

Polar Pattern

Cardioid

Frequency Response

50 to 20,000 Hz

Output Impedance

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

120 Ω, actual

Sensitivity

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

-38 dBV/Pa [1] (12.7 mV)

Maximum SPL

1 kHz at 1% THD, 1 kΩ load

138 dB SPL

Polarity

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Connector

Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Weight

383 g (0.8 lbs)

Housing

Cast Zinc

Power Requirements

48 V DC phantom power (4 mA)

[1] 1 Pa=94 dB SPL

Frequency Response

Polar Pattern

Optional Accessories and Replacement Parts

7.6 m (25 ft.) Cable (XLR-XLR)

C25J

5/8" to 3/8" Thread Adapter

31A1856

Vinyl zippered storage bag

95B2324

Drum Microphone Mount

AP56DM

PGA52 Replacement GrilleGrille

RPMP52G

PGA57 Replacement Grille

RPMP57G

4.6 m (15 ft.) Cable (XLR-XLR)

95D2153

Wireless Microphone Clip

WA371

Popper Stopper® Pop Filter with Metal Gooseneck and Microphone Stand Clamp

PS-6

Foam Windscreen for all larger Shure "ball-type" Microphones available in black, blue, gray, green, red and yellow

A58WS

Microphone Clip for SM58, SM57, SM87A, Beta 87A, Beta 87C, PGA57, PGA58, PGA48, PGA81

A25D

Certifications

This product meets the Essential Requirements of all relevant European directives and is eligible for CE marking.

The CE Declaration of Conformity can be obtained from: www.shure.com/europe/compliance

Authorized European representative:

Shure Europe GmbH

Headquarters Europe, Middle East & Africa

Department: EMEA Approval

Jakob-Dieffenbacher-Str. 12

75031 Eppingen, Germany

Phone: 49-7262-92 49 0

Fax: 49-7262-92 49 11 4

Email: info@shure.de