In this post we’ll be reviewing The Shure SM7B microphone, deciding what it’s best for and whether it’s worth the hefty price tag.
If you’ve looked into upgrading your mic for YouTube, podcasts, or streaming then most likely you’ll have seen this mic, the Shure sm7b recommended a lot. But who exactly is it for?
This mic is an XLR cardioid dynamic microphone, so to use it you’ll need an XLR audio interface (I’m using the Native Instruments Komplete 6) and an XLR cable.
It being a dynamic mics means you’ll want to be using this mic for close proximity application, so the closer the better. The cardioid pickup pattern means you’ll also want to be talking directly into the end of the mic rather than the sides, which as you can hear do pick up your voice, but won’t be as clear.
The mic is quite heavy at just over a kilogram. But has a robust metal finish which looks and feels very good quality. There are switches on the back for a low-cut filter and mid boost switch, to make changes to the tone.
Usually, for my videos I do use this mic but around 30cm away from my mouth, so probably not the ideal application, but the sound is still good and doesn’t sound too distant. This application I’m using in the above video here is ideal, but does mean you’ll have your mic in the shot if you are recording video, whether that be for YouTube or live streaming.
But if that isn’t an issue then the closer the mic, the warmer and smoother the sound will be, giving you a familiar speech tone. I personally use this mic primarily for voice-over work where my face is not on the screen. So for work like that or podcasts you’ll get the best results. The windshield it comes with acts as a pop shield to reduce plosives, but if you find that’s not enough you can use the larger windshield or a separate pop shield. Though I’ve found no issues with this so far.
If you need to have your mic further away from you, then consider a condenser mic, as the signal from the mic will just be too low if you use it any further away with the SM7B. And the signal being too quiet is a big issue for this and all dynamic mics.
A positive to this is that most background noise shouldn’t be picked up by this mic, for example, I’ll type on my keyboard when talking and you should only be able to hear it very quietly if at all.
The big downside is you’ll almost definitely have to either have your gain turned up very high or use a microphone booster, such as the Cloudlifter to make your mic loud enough, especially if the audio is going out live for live streaming.
Thankfully there are cheap alternatives to the Cloudlifter coming to market at the moment which I’ve made a video about here.
Otherwise, your voice will be very quiet and when you’ve shelled out for an expensive microphone, its a frustrating thing to have to deal with.
So this mic provides excellent vocal reproduction, whether it be for voice-overs, podcasts, singing, videos you’ll get a very warm and real sounding recording of your voice. The build quality is great
So should you buy one? well at a whopping $400 it’s hard to recommend to most users. Of course, it sounds great, high-quality audio is so important for a professional-sounding video that it should always be prioritized. And if you specialize in voice-over work or podcasting then this is probably the best option on the market. But for YouTube and twitch, unless you’re already making a substantial income from them then there are much cheaper options out there that still sound great. I’m a big fan of the Shure SM58 which costs around $100 if you’re after a dynamic mic. There are also USB options if you want to avoid using an audio interface.
And I’ll always say a lot of audio issues can be fixed by making changes to the room you record in. The room I use isn’t ideal as it has hard flooring and mostly plain walls so I get a lot of echo, by adding soft furnishing such as thick curtains, rugs or use acoustic treatment to dampen the sound of the room, you’ll get huge improvements to your sound.
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