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Shure SM7B

Test & Review

The Shure SM7B is the most famous dynamic microphone in the world. For decades, it has been used everywhere, both in radio studios and recording studios.

Shure Sm7b In Studio

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the Test 👇

Presentation of the Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is a legendary high-end dynamic microphone. It is one of Shure's best-selling microphones. It has a cardioid polar pattern, bidirectional and directional style to ensure perfect off-axis rejection.

To have very good sound quality, its frequency response displays a flat diagram. In fact, your sound, acoustic and electrostatic wave recording equipment offers a response curve in cardio mode. The pressure levels and frequencies that its amplifier picks up, the electrical signal converter remains stable.

This is in particular the guarantee of precise and clear reproduction of the bandwidth using solid capsules and high quality membrane. In addition, the Shure SM7B has a DPA bass and midrange attenuator for increased presence.

Buying a Shure SM57 microphone means taking advantage of both the characteristics of condenser and dynamic microphones. In fact, this directional stereo lavalier microphone records sounds both indoors and outdoors. This boom microphone can actually be used as an external microphone and as a stand microphone.

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We are dealing with a very versatile microphone. But it is mainly used for recording vocals and different types of instruments. It is the ideal choice for the following applications:

  • In the recording studio: to record instruments and vocals
  • In external recording
  • Film and television sound
  • In application for broadcasting
  • For a narration (Podcast, voiceover, etc.)

A great outdoor and studio mic

A priori, as a room microphone, the stereo microphone displays a good dynamic description. It reduces handling noise as best as possible to make the sound source clearer in cardio polarization. This promises better capture of the sound wave and acoustic pressure vibrations from all possible angles.

In the skin of a studio microphone, the Shure lavalier mic remains an excellent studio piece of equipment and recording equipment in its own right. Indeed, using a microphone of this type to capture the sounds of acoustic instruments allows you to best reproduce basic vocals.

And after a pin connection to a mixing desk, I noticed a clear improvement in the sound recording. In addition, this electrostatic and magnetic improvement via phantom power is observed at both high and low frequencies.

a very versatile microphone.
Picture from amazon.fr

The dynamic characteristics of the Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is an improved version of the older SM7 (introduced in 1976) and the SM7A (introduced in 1999). Since its launch in 2001, this pro studio microphone has been one of the best-selling microphones in the world.

Shockproof, the omnidirectional microphone appeals to singers as well as fans of different studio recordings. This craze for taking the microphone comes in particular from the fact that it offers a good gooseneck voice pick-up.

Connected to a mixer, the USB mic will improve your recording technique without shaky or bass interference. The external power supply makes it possible to activate its transformer and recorder to power the dynamics.

I also tested it with a dynamic and monitoring instrument to see how far it can go. A priori, the professional micro-USB type microphone can also amplify the dynamics correctly.

In practice, the USB cable connector/connector it uses looks very similar to that of the Rode NT USB. And when comparing them, I always notice the absence of percussion and analog faults in the speaker.

Shure SM7B, a versatile directional microphone

One of the main reasons for its adoption remains its incredible versatility thanks to its cardioid polar pattern. In addition to this, the singing microphone has a wide and flat frequency response. This micro-USB is simply perfect for carrying out various recording setups.

Many people think that to get the best sound , it is somewhat mandatory to only use expensive condenser microphones like those from Neumann and Telefunken.

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This microphone can easily prove them wrong. Three times cheaper than the Neumann TLM 103 microphone and 8 times cheaper than the U47, it is capable of doing just as well. And in some cases, it can do even better!

With a low noise level, and perfect rejection of off-axis sounds, the Shure SM7B produces very clear sound when recording in the studio. Plus, with the addition of its bass cut and mid boost controls, it provides a rich, clear tone.

The directivity of the transducer, the addition of attenuation controls and its polar diagram contribute to its good responsiveness in terms of frequency. Having its own advantages and disadvantages, it resurrects the old topic of dynamics versus capacitors. But, in reality, the sound quality of the Shure SM7B is exceptional.

for better recording
Picture from amazon.fr

Integrated internal suspension and pop filter

However, like many dynamic microphones, the mic's output level is quite low. To bring it to near nominal level, the Shure requires considerable gain. I then recommend using a Fethead or a Cloudlifter as a preamp.

The Shure SM7B is equipped with an internal suspension (also called Shockmount) which provides more than sufficient absorption. This also replaces the bulky external supports that you usually see from Neumann.

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So even though the mic initially seems huge, it's actually much smaller than a Neumann U67 pro + Suspension combo.

Additionally, a pop filter is integrated. Combined with the mic foam, this eliminates the need for external pop filters. Now imagine the Neumann + Shockmount + huge pop filter on top of it all. This will completely obstruct your vision and make eye contact between the host and guest impossible, not to mention other limitations.

There is of course a situation where you want to remove the foam windshield completely and use a conventional pop filter. This is exactly what you will do when you record vocals in the studio.

Although the Shure SM7B takes the best of a dynamic microphone, you have to be careful on one point.
Picture from fatllama.com

The reason is that foams muffle high frequencies, so the mic won't sound as bright as you'd like in the mix. With the Shure SM7B, this is particularly important. Because it softens the treble and therefore does not sound as bright as capacitors.

However, it has a great feature called “presenceboost”. This compensates for its lack of brightness and gives you better results in the end. Besides, lowcut is also present. This displays a smooth and pleasant transition. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to use it as much as the high boost.

The Shure SM7B is a quality microphone
picture from laboitenoiredumusicien.com

Sound and quality of the SM7 B

The Shure SM7B has a very rich, but neutral and completely natural low end sound quite different from the Rode Procaster mic . In this regard, it is comparable to a high-quality microphone. It should be noted that the microphone has a pronounced proximity effect. However, like any microphone, positioning is essential. Whether you use it as a vocal microphone or to pick up instruments, once correctly positioned, the sound will be exceptional.

You won't hear any distortion or buzzing from a typical consumer-grade mic. It's just clean, deep, balanced bass. And that's one of the reasons why people fall in love with this microphone.

You no longer need to compromise between boomy and thin sound, completely removing that commonly distorted bass.

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You'll likely see the benefits even if you don't have a deep voice. But if you have one, you'll never trade it for anything else!

At the same time, it does not sacrifice the quality of its entire frequency range. The medium is equally neutral, with little to no coloring. While the top of the spectrum is a real gem. Although there is a visible drop off in frequency response, the treble is exceptionally smooth and very transparent.

This is due to the fact that the microphone has a dynamic capsule, but also to the quality of the microphone. To my ears it sounds better than any flatter capacitor because even expensive capacitors tend to have some degree of edginess, graininess, or harshness. However, the Shure SM7B is just completely smooth.

The Shure SM7B is suitable for all types of surfaces
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Focus on the frequency response of the Shure SM7B

There are, of course, downsides to a dynamic microphone. For example, it is not as crisp as condenser mics like the AKG C214 for example. And it doesn't offer an extended response down to 20kHz. But these are not really disadvantages, but rather characteristics common to all dynamics.

Nevertheless, its more or less flat response, up to 12 kHz, should be more than sufficient for all vocal applications. Moreover, this has more to do with the quality of the high-end than the height it can reach.

And of course, the transient response is not anywhere near condenser microphones. As a result, it won't be able to capture as much detail. But it’s still pretty decent for a dynamic microphone.

Shure SM7B Purchase
SHURE SM7B

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On the contrary, for applications other than studio recording, condenser microphones are often too hot. Then they capture literally everything.

This is especially true for radio stations, because you don't want to record your guest's every fart. Not to mention the background noise, air conditioning and all the possible reflections in the room. In fact, all these details are unavoidable outside the studio walls.

However, that's not the only reason why the Shure SM7B is so popular. Unlike studio-quality condensers, this mic is also much easier to use. Therefore, it ensures a more consistent production and leaves less chance for you or your guest to make a mistake.

The Shure SM7B is better for recording
Picture from soundguys.com

Shure SM7B Features

  • Microphone type: Dynamic (moving coil)
  • Frequency response: 50 to 20,000 Hz
  • Directivity curve: Cardioid
  • Output impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Sensitivity (at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage): -59 dBV/Pa (1.12 mV) with 1 Pa=94 dB SPL
  • Hum pickup (typical, at 60 Hz, SPL/mOe equivalent): 11 dB
  • Polarity: Positive sound pressure on the diaphragm produces a positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3.
  • Net weight: 0.764 kg (1.69 lb)
  • Housing: Dark gray painted steel and aluminum body with dark gray foam windscreen.

Mic setup

Although the Shure SM7B takes the best of a dynamic microphone , you have to be careful on one point. Among other things, it requires a significant inherent gain (around 60 dB).

In professional studios this won't be a problem. On the other hand, if you're using consumer-grade mixers and preamps, make sure they have sufficient power. Otherwise, you may end up with noise or very low output.

To solve this problem, you can also place an additional preamplifier in the chain. For example, the Cloudlifter, but that's just to give you an idea.

Shure SM7B Purchase
SHURE SM7B

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Also, I've seen a lot of people complain that it doesn't work with their inferior home studio gear. However, that's not the problem with the microphone...

The pros and cons of the Shure SM7B

The advantages of Shure SM7B

  • Very natural sound
  • Clean and rich stockings
  • Exceptionally smooth tops
  • Low and high slope high pass filters
  • Ease of use
  • Works without external support and without pop filter
  • Good sound insulation
  • Cheaper than high-end condenser mics
A versatile microphone
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Disadvantages of the Shure SM7B

  • Requires a decent preamplifier

In addition, also consult our guide to the Blue Baby Bottle SL microphone . This guide presents a complete test of this condenser microphone, the sound quality produced by this microphone, as well as reviews.

My verdict on the legendary Shure SM7B

The Shure SM7B is a fantastic mic.

It is extremely versatile and we use it most often for recording vocals. Overall it is suitable for everyone, even beginners.

Are you looking for a “go everywhere” microphone for your studio recordings? Or maybe you're looking for a do-it-all microphone for your home studio? The Shure SM7B was specially designed for you.

Shure SM7B Purchase
SHURE SM7B

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You can easily connect your microphone to a sound card or any audio interface thanks to its three-pin XLR cable. However, as the Shure SM7B requires a fairly significant gain, we recommend the Cloudlifter.

The Shure SM7B is easy to wear
Picture from mon-micro.com

As a versatile microphone, the Shure SM7B can handle different types of sound sources. In voice applications, it has already proven itself. However, in order to know the limits of the transducer, we advise you to use it on a snare drum and bass drum. Especially since it can withstand a fairly high sound pressure level. It will also work wonders if you apply it to an acoustic guitar.

Shure
Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,8 /5
4.8/5

Value for money

4,6 /5
4.6/5

Global mark

4,7 /5
4.7/5

Our opinion on the Shure SM7B:

The Shure SM7B is an exceptional studio microphone that offers a good microphone level and unparalleled audio quality. It displays the perfect compromise between condenser microphones and dynamic, handheld microphone-style condenser microphones.

Shure SM7B Demo

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SHURE SM7B

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