Some of Shure’s mic designs are timeless classics – we know this, they know this. This is why the American brand has begun to bring back some of these legendary designs. One of these, that repackages retro looks with modern tech, is the Motiv MV51, which proves one of the most capable USB microphones on the market today. It’s time to take a closer look…
It’s easy to do a double-take when first sighting the Motiv MV51 – it’s a little odd to say the least. Yet, as you spend a little time with it, it grows on you. If you have a penchant for nostalgia, the design of this mic should satisfy, as it delivers a modified version of the mics you may have seen in the 1950s, albeit with a flatter chassis. It’s built very well indeed and feels like a quality product, with a robust all-metal body.
The controls are all located on the front, while power options and the headphone jack sit round back. The bottom of that stand can be unscrewed to reveal a threaded piece, allowing the mic to sit on any standard mic stand mount, although around the back the integrated kickstand gives you the option to prop it up nicely on a desk.
What’s under the hood? First off, this is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, with a 1” diaphragm that’s linked up to an efficient A/D converter, supporting up to 24-bit audio with a 48kHz sample rate. This translates to a frequency response range of between 20Hz to 20kHz and a max SPL of 130dB, suggesting it should work well with instruments as well as vocals. Note that it’s a fixed cardioid mic, so no pattern switching is available.
As mentioned, the controls are on the front and are a little different to those found on a standard condenser mic. If you are familiar with Shure’s line of USB mics, you probably know that they prefer to include DSP modes instead of analog-style controls. The Motiv MV51 comes with five switchable preset modes allowing you to instantly change the parameters of the mic’s output based on your application – Singing, Vocals, Instrument, Loud and Flat.
Perhaps it’s not as sophisticated as we would like, yet this makes the Motiv MV51 a very versatile mic that’s easy to set up and record with. In addition, it comes with both USB and Lightning cables.
The performance of Shure Motiv MV51 is impressive to say the least. For such a compact package, it definitely does carry the full weight of large diaphragm condensers. Shure’s choice to include a variety of DSP modes has ran into a lot of positive but also negative responses from the community. Some prefer to dial things in themselves, while others are thankful for the easy access and setup process. We actually like what Shure did. Not only did they nail the sound profiles for each mode, but it also feels like they have extended the range of applications this mic can serve. Recording vocals for a track is as easy as plugging the mic into your computer or smart device. As a matter of fact, you can record an entire song with nothing but this microphone and a cell phone. In that sense, Shure Motiv MV51 is awesome.
What Shure has managed to do with MV51 is fuze two very distinct worlds. On one handwe have a modern and highly capable condenser mic, but on the other, we have that retro look. For the price, it is one of the most interesting models we have seen lately.