Table of Contents

SM7DB vs SM7B: Key Differences Between for Podcasters

Wired Clip is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission (at no cost to you). We appreciate your support. Learn more.

Shure SM7DB vs SM7B

When looking for top-notch sound, Shure is where many head, especially for microphones. The SM7B and its newer cousin, the SM7dB, stand out. They’re similar but have key differences. The SM7dB has a new feature, a built-in preamp for extra gain, making it great for those who want a simpler audio setup.

Choosing between the SM7B’s proven quality and the SM7dB’s extra gain depends on your current gear, how you plan to use the mic, and where you’ll use it. This comparison aims to help by focusing on what each mic does best, using their specs, performance, and useful advice.

Key Takeaways

  • The SM7B and SM7dB each serve distinct audio recording needs with nuances in design and functionality.
  • It’s important to consider both microphones’ technical and performance characteristics before making a decision.
  • Practical usage and the specific audio environment should guide the choice between these two Shure microphones.

Historical Background

My experience in microphones taught me that few names resonate as strongly as Shure’s SM7B. As a trusted tool, it has been used in various iconic recordings.

Iconic Moments

Shure’s SM7B has etched its place in history largely due to its role in Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller Album”. This has solidified the SM7B as a high-quality microphone and a part of the music legend. The warmth and clarity it provided made it an industry staple for vocalists and podcasters. Even today, its presence remains unwavering in studios around the world.

Technical Specifications

Key Differences Between Shure SM7DB and SM7B

In examining the Shure SM7B and SM7dB microphones, I focus on their technical specifications, comparing their frequency response, polar patterns, and build quality. Each specification holds significance for audio professionals and enthusiasts looking to understand these mics’ capabilities.

Frequency Response and Sensitivity

The SM7B and SM7dB microphones share a frequency response range of 50 Hz to 20 kHz, providing a smooth, flat, wide-range frequency response appropriate for music and speech. Both mics have a characteristic presence boost and midrange emphasis (known as the “mid-range presence rise”), which adds clarity to vocals. The SM7dB stands out with a built-in preamp offering an additional +18 dB or +28 dB of transparent gain, enhancing the microphone’s sensitivity without needing external devices. This feature is particularly advantageous when using audio interfaces with limited gain power.

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.

Polar Patterns and Output

Each microphone employs a cardioid pickup pattern, which is excellent at rejecting off-axis sounds, thereby reducing background noise and emphasizing the desired sound source. This pattern is central to both microphones producing clean, focused audio. The output level of the original SM7B can be relatively low, which often requires additional amplification. On the other hand, my findings show that the SM7dB’s integrated preamp compensates for this by boosting the output significantly, requiring less external gain and potentially leading to a cleaner signal.

Build and Durability

In evaluating build quality, I find that both the SM7B and SM7dB boast robust construction, designed for durability and to withstand the rigors of studio use. Each microphone has an internal windscreen to minimize plosive sounds, and an external one can be added for greater reduction. They have built-in toggles for a high-pass filter and presence boost, allowing users to modify the sound characteristics directly on the mic. While the SM7B has been a staple in the industry for its ruggedness, the SM7dB maintains this reputation. It adds the convenience of increased gain, negating the need for phantom power or external preamps.

Performance Characteristics

When assessing the Shure SM7B and the newer SM7dB, focusing on how each microphone captures sound is crucial. I’ll dissect their performance, particularly in handling voice and vocals, and how they fare with instrument recording.

Shure SM7dB Review

Voice and Vocals

The SM7B has been a staple in the industry, renowned for its ability to deliver a natural sound with a rich, warm quality. It’s especially favored for its performance with spoken word and vocals, where clarity and depth are paramount.
On the other hand, the SM7dB offers a similar audio profile but with an added feature. It includes a built-in preamp which provides up to +28 dB of clean gain, making it more adaptable for various studio setups and ensuring high-end sound quality even when working with less power interfaces.

Shure SM7B Review

Instrument Recording

For instrument recording, the SM7B has proven its versatility over time. Its flat, wide-range frequency response preserves the natural tonalities of instruments, whether I’m recording electric guitars or close-miking snares. However, its reliance on external preamps with significant gain can be challenging in some scenarios.
Conversely, the SM7dB, with its integrated preamp and dual gain options, is designed to capture every nuance of an instrument’s character. The added gain capabilities of the SM7dB ensure that even the subtlest details are conveyed with crisp sound quality without needing a hefty preamp.

Usage Scenarios

In comparing the Shure SM7B and the Shure SM7dB microphones, I’ll specifically address how each model fits within different audio environments. From my understanding, each microphone serves unique purposes that cater to the requirements of various audio professionals.

Podcasting and Broadcasting

SM7DB and SM7B which is best for podcasting

For podcasters and broadcasters, audio clarity and vocal warmth are paramount. The SM7B, renowned for its rich vocal reproduction, ensures that my voice sounds natural and clear, making it a staple in the industry. However, the Shure SM7dB has a built-in preamp that may provide additional versatility without needing external equipment.

Streaming and Content Creation

As a content creator or streamer, I rely on hassle-free setups allowing immediate recording. The dual gain options of the SM7dB might be particularly beneficial for streamers who switch between whispered commentary and high-energy reactions. It’s crafted to deliver studio-quality sound across diverse recording scenarios, making it suitable for YouTubers and live streamers.

Music and Production

The microphone’s ability to capture the intricacies of performances is critical for musicians, singers, and producers. While the SM7B has a longstanding reputation in recording studios, the SM7dB brings enhancements such as improved shock absorption and better electromagnetic interference shielding, as highlighted by Wired Clip. This positions the SM7dB as a compelling upgrade, particularly for home studios where external interference can be an issue.

Setup and Equipment

Additional Equipment Needed

When discussing the Shure SM7B and SM7dB microphones, setup simplicity and equipment needs are crucial considerations. I’ll guide you through the differences in preamp requirements and additional gear necessary for both.

Preamp Requirements

Shure SM7B: My experience has shown that it demands a significant amount of clean gain, typically around +60dB. An external preamp like a Cloudlifter is often recommended to get the best quality sound without noise. The main issue arises when the audio interface alone can’t provide sufficient gain, where an inline preamp becomes essential.

Shure SM7dB: In contrast, the SM7dB offers an integrated +28dB of additional gain thanks to an internal preamp activated by 48V phantom power from the audio interface. This can streamline the recording setup by reducing the need for an external preamp like the Cloudlifter.

Additional Equipment

Shure SM7B:

  • Audio Interface: A quality interface is still necessary.
  • Cloudlifter (or similar inline preamp): Often required for the extra gain boost.
  • XLR Cable: At least one good-quality cable to connect to the interface or mixer.

Shure SM7dB:

  • Audio Interface: Must provide 48V phantom power.
  • XLR Cable: One cable is typically sufficient since the inline preamp may not be needed.

With these points, I aim to illuminate the nuances between setting up the SM7B versus the SM7dB. I hope to make your recording setup as efficient as possible.

Comparative Analysis

SM7B vs SM7DB Technical Analysis

In comparing the iconic Shure SM7B with its updated counterpart, the Shure SM7dB, we find distinguishing features that cater to different demands in audio recording.

SM7B vs. SM7DB

Shure SM7B

  • Price: Often praised for its value
  • Sound: Renowned for its exceptional broadcast-quality audio
  • Gain: Requires significant external gain, typically +60dB

Shure SM7dB

  • Price: Slightly higher but justified by upgrades
  • Sound: Maintains the trusted quality of the SM7B
  • Gain: Features a built-in preamp offering up to +28dB of clean gain, which is a substantial upgrade

When considering the SM7B, we look at a microphone that has stood the test of time, offering unparalleled sound quality that has become a studio staple. While the SM7B needs external gear to reach optimal performance, this hasn’t deterred professionals from choosing it as a go-to microphone for various applications where quality cannot be compromised.

Moving to the Shure SM7dB, it’s notable that this model considers modern requirements, providing built-in features that streamline the user experience. The inbuilt preamp on the SM7dB is particularly convenient, reducing the need for extensive additional equipment, which could be a deciding factor for someone looking to simplify their setup.

Alternative Options

When exploring other microphones that might serve as alternatives to these Shure models, the Shure MV7 often arises in conversation. The MV7 is a more cost-effective solution, appealing to those beginning their journey into professional-level audio without the financial freedom for a hefty investment. It offers flexibility, with both USB and XLR connectivity, and intelligent features that assist in achieving a quality sound profile.

The comparison between these microphones comes down to specific needs, preferences, and budgets, nonchalantly reminding us that in the world of audio recording, one size does not fit all. Whether the SM7B, SM7dB, MV7, or an entirely different microphone, the choice is highly personal and centers on the user’s unique circumstances.

Practical Tips

SM7B & SM7DB Practical Tips

When optimizing your recording setup with the Shure SM7B or the SM7dB, I’ll guide you through enhancing sound quality and navigating potential issues. Understanding the nuances of each microphone will arm you with the knowledge to produce crisp, clear audio.

Optimizing Sound Quality

Proximity effect: I’m aware that both microphones exhibit the proximity effect—when I move closer to the mic, it boosts the bass frequencies. To maintain a natural tone, I must find the right balance between closeness and distance.

  • Use a windscreen: It’s important to protect against plosives—bursts of air from words that start with P, T, or K. I always ensure a windscreen is in place when I record, which helps to reduce these intrusive sounds. The SM7B and SM7dB usually come with an internal pop filter, but an external one can provide additional protection.

Rejection: Both mics feature a cardioid pickup pattern, which means they’re designed to capture sound from the front while rejecting noise from the sides and rear. Here’s how I take advantage of this:

  1. I position the mic directly facing the sound source.
  2. I minimize unwanted noise by angling the microphone away from noise sources.

Adjustable yoke: The adjustable yoke mounting lets me angle the microphone precisely. By tweaking it, I can further combat plosives and fricatives—harsh-sounding consonants like ‘f’ and ‘s.’ Not only does this help me avoid mechanical noises from the stand or boom arm, but it also lets me find the sweet spot acoustically in my room.

Avoiding Common Issues

Plosives and fricatives can be detrimental to sound quality. Here’s my approach to mitigate these issues:

  • Pop Filter: A pop filter is my go-to for suppressing plosives and maintaining clarity. The SM7B and SM7dB both benefit greatly from it, especially since the internal pop filter may not suffice for particularly forceful speech or singing.
  • Microphone Placement: I’m careful to position the mic off-axis from my mouth, which means the mic capsule isn’t directly in line with my breath. This reduces both plosive and fricative distortion, capturing a cleaner sound.

These practical tips should empower you with the knowledge to effectively utilize the SM7B or SM7dB microphones, ensuring a professional quality recording.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In my analysis of the SM7B and the SM7dB, I’ve honed in on the essential aspects that distinguish these two microphones. They’re both poised to deliver quality performance; however, their features cater to specific needs.

Final Thoughts

The SM7B is a high-end, industry-standard microphone, demanding a considerable amount of clean gain—around +60dB—to shine truly. My recommendation for professionals with an existing setup that can accommodate this need is to invest in the SM7B. Its pedigree is unmatched in studio environments, and it represents a sound investment for those already equipped with a suitable preamp or a high-quality audio interface.

Conversely, the SM7dB emerges as a more flexible option. Its inbuilt preamp offers versatility by making it friendlier for a broader array of setups, especially if you need to avoid the clutter of external gain boosters. For podcasters or live streamers on the go, the SM7dB’s preamp bypass option allows for the revered natural sound quality of the SM7B while providing added convenience. This enhances its performance in varied recording situations, suggesting that the SM7dB would be my recommendation for those seeking greater adaptability without sacrificing audio quality.

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.

Related Comparisons:

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I cover some of the most common inquiries regarding the distinctions and capabilities of the Shure SM7B and the newer SM7dB microphones.

What are the differences in sound quality between the SM7B and SM7dB microphones?

The SM7B and SM7dB both deliver the classic Shure sound profile revered in the audio industry. However, the SM7dB includes a built-in preamp that enhances its gain profile, potentially providing a crisper and stronger output without additional gain from external devices.

Which model did Michael Jackson prefer for recording: the SM7 or SM7B?

Michael Jackson famously used the Shure SM7, which preceded the SM7B, to record his iconic album “Thriller.” The SM7B maintains a sound similar to the original SM7, making it a choice reflective of Jackson’s preference for those seeking that vintage vibe.

Do users need a preamp like a Cloudlifter with the SM7dB or does it have enough gain on its own?

The SM7dB is designed with a built-in preamp, providing up to +28 dB of transparent gain. This feature makes it so users typically do not need an external preamp like a Cloudlifter to achieve sufficient gain levels.

What are the technical specifications that distinguish the SM7B from the SM7dB?

While sharing the same overall design and sound characteristics, the SM7dB differentiates itself with the integrated preamp, offering up to +28 dB of added gain. This addresses one of the primary feedback points from the SM7B’s users regarding the need for additional gain.

Can the Shure SM7dB be considered a superior upgrade to the SM7B for broadcast purposes?

For broadcasters, the built-in gain boost of the SM7dB may render it a superior choice, as it can directly interface with a wider range of audio equipment without necessitating external gain-boosting accessories, streamlining the setup for broadcast environments.

How does the SM7A compare to the later SM7B and SM7dB models in terms of performance?

The SM7A is the ancestor to the SM7B and SM7dB, all maintaining the recognizable Shure sound. Performance-wise, the SM7B refined the design with improved shielding, while the SM7dB advanced it further with an integrated preamp for better versatility and convenience in various recording circumstances.

Brett Robinson

Head of content and marketing over at Wired Clip HQ. I'm an Audio enthusiast and have been interested in anything from microphones to speakers. I am the lead guitarist for a small band and my main passion is editing our tracks.

Share This Post

More To Explore