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Presonus M7

Test & Review

Do you want to get a lightweight condenser studio microphone with a cardioid polar pattern? Why not opt ​​for the Presonus M7? It is a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm. It is specialized for recording lead vocals, speech and acoustic instruments. Discover in this guide our test and review of the Presonus M7 microphone.

Presonus M7 Review

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the article 👇

Presonus has made its mark in the music production industry since 1995. The company is best known among audiophiles for the creation of Studio One, a digital audio production ( DAW ) platform. Many sound engineers use this program in their projects.

Presonus has also produced high quality microphones such as the PX-1 or the PD-70 . However, these microphones seem quite expensive for a regular user. With this in mind, Presonus has launched a more affordable alternative to its mics in the form of the M7. This model delivers decent performance for a home studio, podcast or livestream.

Presonus M7 with accessories
Picture from Electronicemporium.in

Presonus M7 Microphone Overview

The Presonus M7 is a studio condenser microphone with a large diaphragm . This condenser microphone or condenser microphone comes with a microphone clip, an XLR connection cable and a carrying case. The Presonus M7 does not come with a suspension stand, however. This is not a real concern considering that the M7 is very light in its design. It is also very pleasant to hold the microphone in hand given its polished metal finish.

This can be understood as the M7 was initially offered as an accessory to the Presonus AudioBox 96 Studio The kit is equipped with an M7 microphone and its table stand, an audio interface, an XLR cable and a USB cable to connect the sound card to a computer. Added to this is a license for One Artist , very practical software for any studio recording.

microphone Presonus M7

The table stand provided with this kit is sufficient if you want to use the Presonus M7 for gaming or a podcast (by the way, also discover our guide on the best gaming and streaming microphone ). However, a boom microphone or shotgun microphone holder is more recommended if you want to use the M7 as a vocal microphone .

If you don't buy the M7 with this kit, you can always use it with a mixer using the XLR connector. The mixing desk is certainly more common equipment in a professional recording studio than a home studio. However, it allows the M7 to be used with a preamplifier or other condenser or condenser microphones.

A mixing desk also gives you the possibility of combining the M7 with dynamic studio microphones in addition to other condenser microphones. Such an investment may nevertheless seem exorbitant compared to the micro price. This is all the more true knowing that you must also obtain an external 48v to power the Presonus M7.

The Presonus M7 is not an omnidirectional microphone like most condenser microphones on the market, including the Warm Audio WA-8000 or the Manley Reference Cardioid. The Presonus M7 indeed offers a cardioid type pattern . The polar pattern is also not switchable as is the case with a condenser mic such as the SE Electronics SE2300. The Presonus M7 operates only with a cardioid polar pattern .

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Presonus M7: cardioid directivity

The Presonus M7 microphone uses a cardioid polar pattern. This type of pattern has some notable advantages compared to an omnidirectional or figure 8 directivity. It can nevertheless be more disadvantageous than these two types of directivity in certain situations.

Cardioid microphones do more than just respond to surrounding sound sources. They are also more attentive in their listening. The cardioid pattern is more sensitive to frontal sounds. Side sounds are captured more faintly while rear sounds are very attenuated.

This is why the vast majority of stage and studio microphones are of the cardioid type. This includes models with the design of a lavalier microphone . Cardioid microphones are used for lead vocals, speech, and acoustic instruments.

A microphone with omnidirectional polar pattern captures any surrounding sound source with equal sensitivity to the magnetic field in all directions. This is equivalent to human listening, where background noise or handling sounds have no effect on your own perception.

micro-studio-Presonus-M7
Picture from Stars-music.fr

Omnidirectional microphones are often used for orchestral recordings . They can also be used in a home studio to record acoustic guitar, percussion or backing vocals. This type of pro mic works well in the overall recording of any dynamic instrument that sounds better with a little space.

The figure eight or two-way is difficult to understand in the principle of listening in humans. It is like standing between two people and listening to them without considering the rest.

A bi-directional mic like the AKG C314 has the same sensitivity to sounds coming from the front and back. Sounds coming from the sides are very attenuated. This type of directivity is most useful to professional recording methods . This includes stereo techniques like crossover bidirectional and mid/side stereo.

The figure-of-eight pattern is also the dynamic description of the natural pattern for professional ribbon microphones . Many condenser microphone models with switchable polar pattern can also be used with a figure-eight pattern.

It is rarer to find a dynamic moving coil with a figure-of-eight polar pattern. Only a handful of manufacturers make small-diaphragm condenser microphones with true figure-of-eight polar pattern . This includes Neumann and Austrian Audio.

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Presonus M7: technical performance

The Presonus M7 microphone is set at a frequency response of 30 Hz to 18 kHz . These pure numerical values ​​over the transmission range are not very useful by themselves. A frequency response curve is more meaningful, because it illustrates the sound balance of the microphone.

Let's imagine that there is a 6 dB in the higher frequencies. We can deduce that the m7 will have a brilliant sound . However, the frequency response cannot determine whether this brilliance is pleasant to the ear or unpleasantly sharp.

Frequencies are often scaled logarithmically , because this corresponds better to human perception than a linear scale. We can therefore say that frequencies are represented in octaves, which are always accompanied by a doubling of the frequency.

The difference between 100 Hz and 200 Hz is as wide on the x-axis as the difference between 1000 Hz and 2000 Hz or 10,000 Hz and 20,000 Hz . The lower range contains almost no musical information, except for the lowest parts of the kick drum.

Presonus M7 in studio

The 40 to 200 Hz is the foundation of a recording. The lowest note of a four-string bass is around 40 Hz . The low E note of a guitar's electric current signal is located at nearly 80 Hz . A baritone's notes are around 100 Hz , but it is rare to hear them except in a country singer. Vocals by pop artists have almost no sound component below 150 Hz .

200 to 500 Hz bandwidth corresponds to the lower midrange. This is the body of most instruments. It is also on this band that the human voice deploys the most energy. The range of 500 to 3000 Hz is associated with the mids themselves. It is decisive for the character of the sound, because the human ear is sensitive to the smallest details.

A phone's transducer transmits very little around this range. Yet you can recognize a caller in an instant just by hearing them say hello.

The range of 3000 to 7000 Hz is important for the definition of sound and the good understanding of speech. voiced consonants fall in this frequency range.

The 7000 to 14,000 Hz is associated with treble. It determines the brightness with which you perceive a sound source. However, it is not recommended to amplify the dynamics at this frequency as this risks creating a too piercing sound or obscuring the other sound components. The part above 14,000 Hz is necessary to bring an airy aspect to the voice or stringed instruments.

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The maximum sound pressure level ( SPL ) of the Presonus M7 has been specified at 134 dB . SPL indicates the maximum value you can achieve in microphone volume without producing audible distortion. The limit of total allowable distortion has traditionally been 0.5% . Microphone technology later developed in favor of broadcasting .

In this context, the transmission had to be as clean as possible. This is why many newer microphone manufacturers measure SPL at a cutoff value of 1% total harmonic distortion , or THD . This is supposed to give seemingly better values.

The limitation in the micro level used to be quite significant. Many older models barely reached 120 dB SPL . More modern equipment like the Presonus M7 or the Blue Yeti USB mic can often handle huge levels without distortion.

SPL is especially relevant for capturing percussion. A tambourine can easily reach 120 dB in sound level in a short distance capture. This problem does not arise with modern condenser microphones. Older condenser microphones or cheap gooseneck may still exhibit audible distortion at such levels.

Dynamic microphones also begin to distort at high sound levels. However, it is quite rare to indicate the SPL on this type of microphone.

Presonus M7 with tripod
Picture from Rockvilleaudio.com

Sound quality of the Presonus M7

The M7's components have not been tested for recording complex-sounding instruments. This mic is also not suitable for recording lower-pitched vocals. The Presonus M7 does not deliver enough bass in its results for such use. This is because it is not optimized for capturing the low frequencies of an electrical signal. The sound captured is more focused on treble , which correspond to the highest frequencies of a sound wave.

The Presonus M7 can also produce a proximity effect when used. This means that bass transmission increases the closer the microphone is placed to the sound source. The proximity effect is problematic for an occasional user. It can, however, help achieve more creative sound for more experienced sound engineers.

The proximity effect can virtually add volume to a singer's voice. It can, however, reduce speech intelligibility or make a mix sound mushy. Vocals and guitars can fatten in the low frequencies and interfere with bass and kick drums.

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The presence of a proximity effect is beneficial and new to your recordings. It can be used in a targeted manner to make the sound thicker and more imposing. Its use must nevertheless be controlled so as not to destroy the sound balance and deprive the mix of its transparency.

The proximity effect is more noticeable on sound sources with low frequencies below 200 Hz . It is important for recording male vocals, but is less useful for recording female vocals.

Such an effect can also pose a problem when recording guitars, given that the low E string resonates at around 80 Hz . Acoustic guitars, in particular, tend to produce rumbling bass when the microphone is placed too close to the sound box. The proximity effect is more advantageous low frequency instruments like the double bass.

It should also be noted that the audio signal from the m7 microphone is not very strong in itself. A preamp is needed to strengthen the signal at the transmission line. Note that a preamplifier is not to be confused with an amplifier. Amps boost the signal in the transmission line so it can be sent to a speaker.

The Presonus M7 microphone emits a very weak signal which must be amplified to the same level as the other signals by a preamplifier. The signal thus amplified can then be processed by an amplifier to be reproduced in an electrostatic field on the magnet of a speaker.

Presonus M7 with complete kit
Picture from Sweetwater.com

In addition, also consult our complete test guide for the Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387 . Discover in this guide the dynamic characteristics, sound quality, as well as our opinion and some test demos of the Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387 condenser microphone.

The technical characteristics of the Presonus M7

  • Microphone type: Studio microphone
  • Polar diagram: unidirectional
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz to 18 kHz
  • Maximum sound pressure levels: 134 dB
  • Output impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Microphone sensitivity: -38 dB ± 3 dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 75 dB
  • Noise ratio at input: 19 dB
  • Microphone input: XLR
  • Power supply type: 48 Volt phantom power supply
Presonus M7 with cover
Picture from Rockvilleaudio.com
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Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,4 /5
4.4/5

Value for money

4,8 /5
4.8/5

Global mark

4,6 /5
4.6/5

Our opinion on the Presonus M7

The Presonus M7 is a great option for those who want to have a home studio without investing a lot of money in the microphone. Its sound picture is far from being as impeccable as on a Neumann or Austrian Audio microphone. It may sound duller to an audiophile's ear. The frequency response is also not fast enough to ensure recording accuracy.

The technical specifications of the Presonus M7 are nevertheless very satisfactory considering its price. The weight and quality of finish give this microphone a very pleasant feeling in the hand. Its bass approach also makes it a good choice of mic for recording percussion and male vocals, and especially with the range of a baritone.

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Presonus M7 Demo

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