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Shure SM7dB Review: New 2024 Model Worth It?

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Shure SM7dB Review

The Shure SM7dB updates the iconic SM7B microphone, renowned for its excellent sound quality in professional recordings. This new model introduces a built-in preamp, solving previous versions’ gain issues and making it easier for users with basic audio interfaces to achieve optimal audio levels.

The SM7dB retains its predecessor’s warm, smooth sound while offering two gain settings (+18dB or +28dB), accommodating a wide range of recording needs. This evolution ensures the microphone remains a top choice for creators across music, podcasting, and streaming, providing studio-quality sound in any setting.

Shure SM7DB Is It Worth It

Key Takeaways

  • The new Shure SM7dB provides an onboard boost, aiding users with low-sensitivity microphone issues.
  • With its historical roots, the microphone maintains its high-quality sound profile while addressing modern recording needs.
  • The built-in preamp feature allows direct, uncomplicated connections for various audio recording setups.
2024 Model
Shure SM7dB Dynamic Vocal Microphone w/Built-in Preamp
  • Built-in preamp for easy gain control.
  • Dual gain settings for recording flexibility.
  • Studio-quality sound maintained.
Wired Clip is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Experiencing the Shure SM7dB For The First Time

The Shure SM7dB, as the latest model, elevates podcasting with its built-in preamp, removing the need for extra gain equipment and streamlining setups. Its dual gain settings allow for tailored audio sensitivity, ensuring clarity across various recording scenarios.

These updates, alongside improved shock absorption and electromagnetic interference shielding, make the SM7dB a practical choice for podcasters seeking professional sound quality with minimal setup complexity.

Previous Model: Shure SM7B Review

How to Operate the Shure SM7dB Controls

Shure SM7dB Rear Controls

Controlling the Shure SM7dB microphone involves several key functions to ensure optimal sound quality. You can find the controls for the built-in preamp and frequency response on the back of the device. Here’s a simple guide to adjusting the mic settings:

  • Gain Control: The mic features a preamp with selectable +18dB and +28dB gain boosts. Utilize the switches on the rear to enable your preferred level of amplification.
  • To switch on the gain boost, activate phantom power from your audio interface, then move the ‘bypass’ toggle towards the right position.
  • Bypassing Preamp: For a classic SM7B experience, use the mic in bypass mode. This disengages the internal preamp, allowing use with external devices like a Cloudlifter for clean gain enhancement.
  • Sound Shaping: Regardless of preamp use, you can still adjust the bass roll-off and presence boost to refine your sound.

Additionally, with the ShurePlus MOTIV app, you can access digital adjustments such as auto level, limiter, compressor, and equalizer settings to craft your audio further. These manual tweaks let you tailor your output to match recording conditions or personal preferences.

Shure SM7dB Connectivity

The Shure SM7dB utilizes a secure, balanced 3-pin XLR cable for audio output connection. Situated beneath the yoke, the XLR connector ensures compatibility across audio interfaces and mixers. I utilize phantom power only if activating the microphone’s gain boost feature.

  • XLR Cable: Locking, balanced 3-pin
  • Location: Base of the yoke
  • Phantom Power: Necessary for gain boost

What connection is the Shure SM7B?

The SM7B features an analog, balanced XLR connector for use with professional audio gear like recording interfaces and audio consoles with mic-level XLR inputs.

Microphone’s Directional Characteristics

I’ve worked with various microphones and understand that how they capture sound is pivotal to their performance. The Shure SM7dB, for instance, is equipped with a cardioid polar pattern. What this implies is that I can confidently use it to record sounds primarily from the front, while it effectively reduces noise from the back. Such directional mics like this one are particularly adept at isolating the desired sound source from unwanted ambient noise.

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Directionality: Unidirectional
  • Optimal Sound Capture: From the front of the microphone
  • Noise Rejection: From 180° directly behind the capsule
  • Side Forgiveness: Moderate, allowing some lateral movement

The cardioid design ensures that the SM7dB is forgiving enough to handle slight off-axis speech, yet it remains focused on sound sources in front of it. This balance between directivity and flexibility makes it an excellent choice for studio recordings.

Shure Podcasting Mics – The Best From The Brand

Exploring the Sonic Performance of Shure SM7dB

Shure SM7dB Performance

Demonstrating the Onboard +28dB Boost

During my session, the SM7dB’s +28dB boost feature was a game-changer. Hooked up to a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (Gen 2), I set the pre-amp gain nearly to the max. The microphone sprang to life, capturing the warmth and richness of my vocals with remarkable fidelity. This additional sensitivity enhances the mic’s ability to reproduce high-quality audio across various applications—be it voiceovers, instruments like snare drums or guitar amps, or even finicky live room recordings where the responsiveness to proximity is key. Musicians relying on passive systems will note the microphone’s aptitude for balancing impedance and maintaining sound quality without necessitating a labyrinth of external gear.

Auditory Characteristics of Frequency Adjustment Settings

Demonstrating the Low-End Attenuation Control

When activating the bass roll-off on the SM7dB microphone, it modulates the lower frequencies with a high-pass filter. This reduces bass pickup, rendering a cleaner recording in environments prone to low-frequency clutter.

  • Engaged bass roll-off: Achieves a reduction in lower frequencies
  • Effectiveness: Leads to a well-defined vocal audio spectrum

Presence Amplification Control Demo

Employing the presence boost enriches the higher frequency range, which can significantly improve voice clarity and articulation.

  • Presence boost engagement: Enhances higher frequencies.
  • Outcome: Yields sharper and more prominent vocal recordings

Combined Impact of Both Frequency Response Adjustments

Uniting the bass roll-off with the presence boost on the SM7dB reveals a pronounced modification in audio character, emphasizing clarity while suppressing rumble.

  • Simultaneous alterations: Bass roll-off and presence boost
  • Sonic change: Results in a cleaner and more focused vocal presence

Considering the Shure SM7dB for Purchase

When assessing whether the Shure SM7dB is a suitable addition to your audio arsenal, it’s important to consider its enhanced capabilities. Equipped with an integrated preamp offering an additional +18 to +28dB, this microphone promises a robust signal level that caters to setups with insufficient input gain.

  • Price Consideration: It’s cost-effective for those lacking a powerful interface since it negates the need for external gear.
  • Simplified Setup: Streamlines podcasting or streaming setups.

However, if your current setup already has a high-grade interface that provides ample preamp gain, you could opt for the original SM7B and allocate your funds elsewhere. The new model’s price premium may not justify the upgrade in such cases.

Compare: Shure MV7 vs SM7B

2024 Model
Shure SM7dB Dynamic Vocal Microphone w/Built-in Preamp
  • Built-in preamp for easy gain control.
  • Dual gain settings for recording flexibility.
  • Studio-quality sound maintained.
Wired Clip is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Shure SM7dB Pros and Cons

Shure SM7dB Pros and Cons

Pros – What I Liked About the SM7dB

  • Legendary Sound Quality: Warm, smooth audio that enhances recordings.
  • Built-in Preamp: Offers up to +28 dB gain, capturing clear sounds without noise.
  • Ease of Setup: Quick setup with convenient gain toggling for various recording needs.
  • Bypass Switch: Flexibility to use without the preamp to fit personal setup preferences.
  • Wide Frequency Response: 50 to 20,000Hz range for natural and detailed sound capture.
  • Cardioid Polar Pattern: Isolates voice from background noise in challenging environments.
  • Versatile Sound Signatures: Adjustable settings for different voices and instruments.
  • Portable and Hassle-Free: Easy, uncluttered setup ideal for mobile recording.

Cons – What I Disliked About the SM7dB

  • Specificity to Vocal Types: It may require trial and error to find the right setting.
  • Learning Curve: Comprehensive features might overwhelm beginners.
  • Weight: Durable but heavy, which might not suit all preferences.
  • Preference for External Preamps: Some may prefer the character external preamps add.

The SM7dB is a powerhouse for audio professionals seeking a high-quality, versatile microphone, though it may present a slight learning curve for newcomers to recording.

What are the Reviews Like From Podcasters?

After trying the SM7dB microphone myself, I checked out what other people had to say about it. It turns out a lot of folks like it. It got an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from over 10,000 reviews, with many users praising its professional sound quality. Musicians, in particular, mentioned how it makes their recordings sound better, giving them that studio feel.

Some people did mention that this mic might not be perfect for everyone. They said you need to really understand how to use its features to get the most out of it. This matches what I found; having a built-in preamp is handy, but you’ve got to play around with the settings to make it work best for you.

What stood out in the reviews was how often people talked about the mic being durable and well-made. This matches my thoughts on its quality build. It’s seen as reliable and worth the investment for people who are serious about their content, which is a big plus. The added feature of a detachable windscreen also got a thumbs-up for making recording sessions more flexible. Despite minor critiques, the overwhelming majority think the SM7dB is a top-notch mic, combining high quality with useful features.

Unboxing the Shure SM7dB

Opening the Shure SM7dB box, you find a dynamic vocal microphone with a sleek black design. It comes with a large foam windscreen to reduce unwanted noise during recordings. A built-in preamp shows it’s immediately ready for serious use in streaming, podcasting, and recording. It uses XLR connections, fitting well with professional audio setups.

The microphone feels sturdy, weighing over 1.85 pounds, indicating durable construction designed for long-term use. The package is simple, not overloaded with extras, focusing instead on providing everything needed for high-quality audio recording from the start.

Alternatives to the Shure SM7dB

If you’re seeking a more wallet-friendly broadcast-quality dynamic microphone, Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X could be the right choice. At $229 on Amazon, it’s a sturdy option equipped with an external pop filter. This mic caters to professionals in broadcast settings where clear voice reproduction is essential.

Shure MV7 Review

For those who admire Shure’s offerings but need something more affordable, the Shure MV-7 is a noteworthy contender, priced at $249 on Amazon. Especially suitable for novices, the MV-7 draws inspiration from the acclaimed SM7B. It brings the convenience of both USB and XLR connections to the table, giving users the flexibility to interface with various equipment. Moreover, the integrated headphone jack permits instant audio monitoring. The adjustability extends to sound customization through the ShurePlus MOTIV app, which offers control over EQ and features an Auto-Level Mode to tweak gain and compression as needed.

My 7 Top Shure SM7db Tips and Tricks

Shure SM7db Tips

The SM7B’s potential can be maximized by implementing proper mic technique, using the right preamp, and occasionally involving the ShurePlus Motiv app for EQ controls.

  1. Activate Phantom Power: Ensure your setup provides +48 V phantom power for the microphone’s preamplifier to function optimally.
  2. Adjust Gain Properly: Set the microphone’s gain first to optimize signal-to-noise ratio, adjusting further on your interface or mixer as needed.
  3. Utilize Back Panel Switches: Experiment with bass rolloff and presence boost switches to tailor the microphone’s frequency response to your recording needs.
  4. Proximity for Tone Control: Use distance from the mic to manage bass response—closer for more bass, further away for less.
  5. Proper Windscreen Use: Employ the standard or larger windscreen to guard against plosives and wind noise, improving recording clarity.
  6. Correct Microphone Orientation: If using a stand, reconfigure the mounting assembly to ensure the microphone is correctly aligned.
  7. High Impedance with External Preamp: If using an external preamp, opt for a high impedance setting for best sound quality unless seeking specific tonal changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shure SM7db Improvements

What Sets the Shure SM7dB Apart From the SM7B?

The SM7dB is an evolution of the SM7B with several notable distinctions. Firstly, the SM7dB incorporates an active integrated pre-amp, which means it can produce additional gain that might be lacking from a basic home audio interface. This built-in preamp eliminates the need for external gain-boosting devices for most users. Additionally, the SM7dB presents user-friendly controls and flexible mounting options, maintaining the sturdy build of its predecessor.

What improvements have been made in the SM7dB over the previous models?

Improvements in the SM7dB focus on user convenience, notably adding an active integrated pre-amp. This new design facilitates high-quality audio capture without requiring significant external gain, as was often necessary with previous models like the SM7B.

Steps for Optimal Shure SM7dB Configuration

To get the best out of your SM7dB microphone, follow these setup guidelines:

  • Placement: Position the microphone close to the sound source for the clearest audio.
  • Gain Setting: Adjust the built-in preamp to match the needed gain levels without incorporating external devices.
  • Environment: Use in a quiet space to capitalize on the microphone’s noise attenuation capabilities.

Requirement of Additional Amplifiers with the SM7dB

The Shure SM7dB’s design minimizes the need for external amplification, like a Cloudlifter, thanks to its integrated preamp. This allows for sufficient gain for most recording situations, especially when paired with consumer-grade audio interfaces.

Compatible Microphone Arms for the Shure SM7dB

Any microphone arm or stand with a standard 5/8-inch thread should accommodate the Shure SM7dB. Here are some considerations:

  • Strength: Choose a robust arm to support the microphone’s substantial weight.
  • Reach: Opt for an arm with adequate length for versatile positioning.

Shure SM7dB Package Contents

When you purchase the Shure SM7dB, the package generally includes:

  • Shure SM7dB microphone unit
  • A swivel mount for versatile orientation
  • A protective windscreen to minimize plosives and unwanted noise.
2024 Model
Shure SM7dB Dynamic Vocal Microphone w/Built-in Preamp
  • Built-in preamp for easy gain control.
  • Dual gain settings for recording flexibility.
  • Studio-quality sound maintained.
Wired Clip is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Renowned Users of Shure Microphones Like the SM7dB

Microphones from the Shure SM7 line have been the go-to choice for several professionals in the broadcasting and podcasting sphere, known for their preference for high-quality audio reproduction. While specifics may vary, notable figures in the industry utilize these microphones due to their reliability and performance in producing clear, professional-grade recordings.


Rose Evans

Helping podcasters grow their podcast has been my passion for the past 6 years, being part of the Wired Clip team means I can do this on a much larger scale.

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