You’ve probably heard of the SM7B from Shure. And if not, you’ve necessarily seen it in pictures before – on radio sets or on YouTube channels.
Indeed, it is a legendary microphone that can be found in almost all recording studios, but it is also increasingly used by streamers on Twitch or YouTube as well as by podcasters.
But is it just hype, or is the Shure SM7B really a good mic? We will answer that question thoroughly in this Shure SM7B review.
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone Review
Appearance & Manufacturing
Of course, if the sound is the most important when talking about a microphone, you still want to use your microphone for many years: the quality of manufacture is, therefore, an important criterion.
As usual, the very serious brand Shure does not disappoint with the SM7B.
The packaging, first of all, is solid and secures the microphone well: it even allowed my SM7B to survive the tossing of parcels over the gate by the delivery man without problems. Not bad.
Once the microphone is unpacked, we immediately realize that we are dealing with something well-made. Admittedly, the price is a little on the high margin of dynamic microphones, but you get a solid, well-crafted microphone that will work forever with a little care.
Indeed, the metal structure seems particularly robust and, moreover, has the effect of minimizing the SM7B’s sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation: practical to prevent your phone from destroying your recordings.
Recommended: AKG P120 Project Studio Condenser Microphone Review.
Beware, however, of the small cable that connects the electronic circuit to the XLR connector: it is well attached, but one can imagine that pulling on it excessively is not a good idea.
Finally, the Shure SM7B comes with two protective windshields (one being bigger than the other, we will see the impact on the sound a little later), a 5/8″ to 3/8 thread adapter ″, and a small plate that you can install on the back of the microphone to hide the adjustment sliders (which we will also discuss a little later).
In short, everything is well made and inspires confidence: we are clearly on a quality microphone, at least as far as its appearance is concerned.
The sound of the SM7B is very characteristic: it is somewhat reminiscent of that of the SM57, but with more depth and much less aggressiveness.
It is typically the “radio voice-over” sound that is obtained when using this microphone for recording spoken voice, even if it will, of course, be necessary to add effects behind it (compressor, limiter, etc.) to really have a perfect radio rendering.
It can also be used on rock or metal-type vocals (especially guttural voices). In other words, in musical styles where the level of detail is less important than the density and the ability to absorb the decibels.
On softer styles, I would orient myself by default rather than condenser microphones.
The advantage of the SM7B, on the other hand, is that it is very insensitive to the acoustics of the room in which you are recording.
In other words, if you have a room that resonates quite a bit (as is often the case when starting out in a home studio, for example), it’s probably the microphone that will give you the best result because it will pick up very little natural reverb.
This phenomenon is linked to the fact that the SM7B is very directional: it is, therefore, necessary to take the time to find the right positioning before recording.
A head movement of a few centimeters to the side will strongly influence the frequency response. Once the correct position has been identified, you will be able to take quality voice recordings.
Feel free to experiment with the windscreens provided, as well as the two sliders on the back of the microphone, which allow you to cut the bass or put the voice forward with a boost in the upper mids.
Finally, also note that if the SM7B is often used for vocal recording (a role in which it excels), it can be used perfectly on other instruments because it is quite versatile.
Thus, you can very well use it to transplant a snare drum or record a guitar amp.
Using the Shure SM7B
Well, the sound is very good, but this Shure SM7B review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tell you that you first need a preamp with a lot of gain.
Indeed, like a number of other dynamic microphones, the Shure SM7B is a microphone needing a large amount of gain: at least +60 dB.
Problem: Most audio interfaces don’t go up to this number or exceed it.
Result: when you push the preamps integrated into your sound card to the limit, you generally have background noise that appears, which necessarily affects the quality of the recordings.
So what to do?
Ideally, in a studio setting, you could plug the mic into a big preamp with a very low noise floor.
That said, in a home studio or in a streaming/podcast context, we rarely have the budget to buy this kind of thing.
At least not when you’re just starting out.
Recommended: AKG P220 Project Studio Condenser Review.
But don’t worry, there is a solution: connect a mini-preamp like the Cloudlifter CL-1 or, less expensive and just as effective, a small FetHead from Triton Audio just after your microphone.
This device, powered via phantom power, allows you to benefit from +27 dB of additional gain without adding background noise. As a result, you no longer need to push the preamps of your audio interface, and your sound quality is greatly improved.
For me, it’s an essential accessory for the SM7B if you want to record voice and have a qualitative result.
Who Should Get the Shure SM7B?
If you are looking for an affordable yet high-quality microphone, the Shure SM7B is a great option. This microphone is perfect for vocalists, musicians, and podcast producers who need a good mic for recording vocals or acoustic instruments.
The Shure SM7B features a cardioid pickup pattern that provides clear audio quality in all directions. This makes it perfect for recording vocals or acoustic instruments in a room with many sound sources.
The Shure SM7B also has a shock mount system that minimizes handling noise and vibration. This makes it ideal for use with recording software like Logic or Pro Tools.
Overall, the Shure SM7B is a great choice for anyone who needs a top-quality microphone at an affordable price.
FAQs About Shure SM7B
What famous singers use Shure SM7B?
Famous singers such as Adele, Bruno Mars, and Justin Bieber use the Shure SM7B microphone. This microphone is a great option for singers who want to improve their sound quality.
This microphone features a cardioid pickup pattern, which means that it will capture the sound of your voice specifically.
This microphone is also lightweight and easy to carry. You can attach it to your guitar or vocal stand using the included mounting bracket. This makes it ideal for singers who want to take their performance anywhere they go.
If you are looking for a high-quality microphone that will help you to improve your sound, the Shure SM7B is a great option.
Is the Shure SM7B good for live vocals?
The Shure SM7B is a great choice for live vocals because it has a wide frequency range and good sound quality. It is also easy to use and has a rugged design that makes it perfect for live performances.
Some people may be concerned about the Shure SM7B’s price tag, but overall it is a great microphone for live vocals. If you are looking for a versatile microphone that can handle a variety of sounds, the Shure SM7B is a great option.
How long will a Shure SM7B last?
The Shure SM7B is a great microphone for voice recordings and podcasting. It has a lightweight design and a wide frequency response range. The mic also has a built-in shock mount, which makes it ideal for live performances.
The Shure SM7B is a durable microphone that will last for years. It is also easy to use, so you can start recording your voice recordings and podcasts right away.
Is SM7B dynamic or condenser?
The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone that is a great option for live sound applications, such as band performances and spoken-word recordings. This mic is perfect for capturing the true sound of your instrument or voice, thanks to its highly sensitive pickup pattern.
However, some users have questioned the true dynamic nature of the SM7B. Some believe that it is actually a condenser microphone due to its low noise level and high sensitivity.
If you are looking for a versatile mic that can capture both the intimate sound of your voice and the live energy of your performance, the Shure SM7B may be the perfect choice for you.
Does Shure SM7B need phantom power?
One downside of the Shure SM7B is that it needs phantom power to work properly.
If you are planning on using the Shure SM7B for podcasting or voiceovers, make sure to bring along an extra phantom power supply. Alternatively, you can purchase a phantom power adapter online.
Do I need a Cloudlifter with SM7B?
The answer to that question largely depends on your needs as a music producer. If you’re mainly using the microphone for vocals, then the Cloudlifter may not be necessary. However, if you’re also using it for instrumentation or background noise, the Cloudlifter can really help to improve your sound quality.
One of the biggest benefits of the Cloudlifter is that it helps to reduce background noise. This means that your vocals will be more distinct and stand out against other noises in the environment.
In the end, the Shure SM7B is, for me, an irreplaceable microphone.
If you make voice recordings and are looking for just that slightly “radio” sound, this is clearly the microphone for you. Certainly, there are cheaper clones – but I can only advise against them: you will never get the sound you are looking for with these.
In other words, if you want the sound of the SM7B, you need an SM7B! 🙂
In addition, the famous Shure microphone proves to be both solid and versatile, which confirms its role as a “must have” in the studio and in the home studio for anyone wishing to develop their microphone fleet.
A legendary microphone, and one that will remain legendary for a long time.