Shure SM7B Review – The Best Microphone Under $500?
The Shure SM7B is a dynamic cardioid microphone. It has become a widely popular option among producers, vocalists, and broadcasters.
The SM7 was a series of microphones started by Shure back in 1976. Later on in 1999 Shure created the SM7A. It wasn’t until 2001 that Shure released the SM7B.
What Will Be Covered In This Review:
- What’s Included?
- Build Quality
- Sound Quality
- What Others Think About The Shure SM7B
The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. This mic does a great job recording any instrument but where it shines most is vocals.
The SM7B has a wide frequency response from 50Hz to 20kHz. This can be adjusted with the bass roll-off switch.
There is also a mid-range emphasis switch. This can be used to give a vocal more power in the mid-range.
This microphone has internal shock isolation. You’ll get no internal rattling, vibrations, and mechanical noises thanks to this feature.
It’s worth noting that you need a preamp to power this microphone. You don’t have to get the most expensive preamp to get this mic up and running. Later on in this review, I’ll recommend one.
The Shure SM7B comes with 2 different windscreens. You’ll get a standardized foam windscreen as well as what Shure calls a ‘close-talk’ windscreen. The close-talk windscreen prevents a lot of unwanted pops, breathing noises, and wind noises.
There is also a yoke mount included. Most microphones tend to come with “so-so” stands. Surprisingly the SM7B came with a pretty good one.
The yoke stand is sturdy enough to hold up the SM7B without too much vibrations. The stand holds the microphone safe and secure. It’s definitely a reliable stand to use regularly.
Shure has always built quality products. Their microphones never disappoint me.
The SM7B has a very compact design. It’s painted a flat-black that makes the microphone look simple and sleek.
This microphone is very durable. It has a superior build quality compared to all of the other competing microphones in it’s price range.
Dynamic microphones are meant to be banged around in general. They are a lot more durable than condenser microphones. Based on Shure’s track-record in quality, I can confidently say that the SM7B will last you for ages.
The SM7B provides a rich sound that is perfect for vocals. It has a crisp high-end and a deep low-end.
This microphone gained a lot of it’s initial popularity through the artists and bands that used it. The most notable artist that used the SM7 was Michael Jackson. A ton of songs on his album Thriller were recorded with the mic.
Since this microphone is dynamic, it does an excellent job at picking up only what’s in front of it. Especially if your studio isn’t acoustically treated, this mic will reduce the amount of background noise.
There are producers who swear by condenser microphones for vocals and then there are producers who swear by dynamic microphones for vocals. I say that they’re both good for vocals.
What mic you use is dependent on the room you’re recording in and the singer that you’re working with. It’s always a good idea to use what sounds best instead of choosing one option to record with all the time. The SM7B sounds good in almost any studio enviroment.
This microphone is good enough to be compared to $3000+ mics.
Mix Magazine wrote an article back in 1998 about how Eric Paul, a grammy-winning producer, favors the SM7 series of microphones for vocals. He has even made bold statements such as:
“I will almost always guarantee you that if the expensive mic doesn’t work, an SM-7 will”.
The SM7B also does a great job at reducing mouth-clicking sounds. When using the windscreens, you’ll get rid of a good amount of unwanted sounds. It might still be a good idea to buy a pop-filter.
What Others Say About The Shure SM7B:
A lot of people agreed that this mic provides a very deep sound. With low, male vocals, the low-end will sound very deep and rich!
Everyone seemed to be surprised at the flatness of the SM7B. Dynamic microphones usually aren’t that flat but the SM7B has a very accurate, well-balanced sound.
The midrange boost can be very helpful. If you are working with a weaker-sounding vocal, the midrange boost can add a little more warmth to the sound.
I even read a review referring to the build quality that said “The SM7B is built like a tank”. This is true because dynamic microphones are a lot more durable than condenser microphones.
The SM7B is also perfect for recording high hats and snares. Since there is such a detailed treble, hats and snares sound amazing.
- Rich sound quality
- Sleek design
- Very flat for a dynamic mic
- Requires an amplifier
- Since the SM7B is a dynamic microphone, it won’t sound as airy as a condenser microphone would.
What Mic Preamp Should I Get?
The preamp you get should have at least 60db of gain. Your audio interface will most likely not have that kind of amplification.
I would recommend the Golden Age Projects Pre73.
It gives 80db of gain, which is plenty! It costs $350. That might seem expensive, but when compared to the other $1000 preamps, this is a bargain.
This is a transformer-based preamp that has a great vintage sound. The Pre73 gives vocals a nice warm touch.
There is a great-sounding low-end on the Pre73. When you start adding gain there appears to be a subtle amount of overdrive distortion on the lows. The overdrive sounds very clean and helps contribute to the warm sound that the Pre73 produces.
If you’re looking for a reliable microphone that excels at recording vocals, the SM7B is a great choice. It has crystal-clear sound for an affordable price.
The SM7B will last you a lifetime and will sound good in most situations; Even if you haven’t set up acoustic treatment.
What do you think of the SM7B?
Let me know in the comment section below!