If there is one microphone that professionals will happily turn to for recording vocals time and again, it is the Shure SM7B. This legendary model is among one of the best dynamic microphones on the market today, and – even with its sub-$500 price tag – one of the best bang for your buck mics. Today we’re going to take a closer look…
Following their standard approach to aesthetics, the Shure SM7B is very simple, although quite different compared to other dynamic mics on the market. For starters, it requires a yoke mount in order to be used (thankfully the mic comes with one supplied).
Otherwise, the word is ‘standard’. The rugged all-metal tubular chassis is completely black and devoid of any discerning details. While it’s not going to win any awards for its aesthetics – not compared to some of the beautiful dynamic mics out there anyway – it’s a very well-built mic that looks the part in any studio.
Under the hood, things are a little more interesting. Shure has packed the SM7B with high-end hardware that puts this microphone slightly above the competition. A few things stand out. For starters, the SM7B features a built-in pop filter, although the mic also ships an additional external windscreen that slips over the fixed unit.
The capsule is internally suspended and well-shielded from EM interference for a reliable performance. There are two controls available on the mic – one for bass roll-off and one for presence boost, both allowing you to shape the wide frequency response range (listed at 50Hz to 20kHz) to meet your recording needs. On that note, this mic features a standard cardioid pattern and a staggeringly high 180dB max SPL.
Ultimately, the core performance is what sets the SM7B apart from other dynamic microphones. Out of the box, with no features engaged, it delivers a frequency response curve that is optimized for vocals – coping just as well with both spoken word and screeching metal vocals. Whatever the application, you get a very organic sound and high levels of clarity with impressive noise rejection from areas to the side and the back of the microphone. When you switch on the bass roll-off and presence boost, the sound suddenly becomes much clearer and even more defined.
Meanwhile, the huge max SPL is way more than you will ever need, making it the perfect tool for recording aggressive instruments and heavy drums in the studio. With the plethora of noise-reducing features, the SM7B has also proven to be extremely effective at rejecting ambient noise, even in studios that lack sound insulation.
Shure’s SM7B is one of those multipurpose microphones that is over-engineered and packed with more headroom than you will know what to do with. It’s borderline undefeated when it comes to recording vocals, which is why it is such a mainstay of professional recording booths around the world. Yet it proves just as effective for instrument recording, making it a 10/10 for versatility. It’s not a cheap model – and may be overkill for many amateur applications – but it is undoubtedly one of the best dynamic studio microphones available today.