a shure sm7b with an orange background

Shure SM7B Review: Why Top Podcasters Love the Iconic Microphone

We’ve all seen the Shure SM7B. Hell, most content creators have dreamed about getting one.

But why?

Well for one, it looks bad ass on camera. A lot of popular podcasters and YouTubers use this microphone. But, aside from it looking great, it also sounds great.

And, in this day and age content creators need professional-grade tools that set their productions apart.

The Shure SM7B dynamic microphone has become a gold standard for its smooth frequency response and ambient noise isolation perfectly suited for broadcast-quality voice recording.

So, in this review we’re spilling the tea on all things SM7B. This article will provide invaluable guidance for podcasters seeking the iconic warmth and intimacy that’s made the SM7B a favorite among top podcasters and content creators alike.

One last thing before we get into it.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, as well as additional affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. The money we make helps keep the blog alive.

Let’s go!

Shure SM7B History

The Shure SM7B is an iconic microphone that has been a staple of radio broadcasting and professional recording studios for decades. 

Michael Jackson used the microphone on the Thriller album. Back then it was actually called the SM7. After some tweaks and upgrades, the SM7 morphed into the SM7B in 2001.

As an industry standard dynamic microphone, the SM7B has been relied upon by generations of vocalists, voice actors, podcasters, and radio personalities.

Even in today’s digital age, the SM7B remains a highly sought-after microphone for speech applications

SM7B: Designed With Voice In Mind

The SM7B utilizes a cardioid polar pattern to isolate the speaker’s voice from ambient sounds. Its frequency response ranges from 50Hz to 20kHz, with an optional bump in the mid range to add some presence to voices.

To turn on this mid range boost there’s a switch on the back of the microphone. Additionally, there’s a switch to roll off low end.

the switches on the back of the shure sm7b

Photo by Jonatan Balderas Cabañas on Unsplash

Its distinctive windscreen reduces plosives, and internal shock isolation reduces handling noise.

What’s more, is that the cardioid polar pattern of this microphone ensures that it captures audio primarily from the front and sides, effectively minimizing unwanted noise from other directions.

Together, these specialized design elements enable the SM7B to excel in professional settings that demand clean, warm vocal recordings.

Shure SM7B Key Features and Benefits

FeatureDescription & Benefit
Smooth Frequency ResponseCaptures the entire vocal range accurately, enhancing speech intelligibility.
Ambient Noise IsolationReduces background noise, providing a clean audio track for professional quality recordings.
Cardioid Polar PatternFocuses on the speaker’s voice, minimizing off-axis sound and enhancing vocal clarity.
Presence Boost and Bass Roll-Off ControlsAllows customization of sound, tailoring to individual voice characteristics.
Internal Air Suspension Shock IsolationReduces mechanical noise transmission, ensuring a clear recording.
Magnetic ShieldingPrevents interference from electronic devices, enhancing purity of sound.
Signature Warm, Smooth ToneLends an intimate, natural quality to the voice, favored in broadcast and podcasting.
Vintage Broadcast Sound HeritageDelivers a classic, timeless sound profile appealing to a wide range of audiences.
Versatility in ApplicationSuitable for various vocal recording needs

Shure SM7B Setup

Proper positioning is key to achieving the best sound from the SM7B. The ideal placement is angling the microphone capsule slightly off-axis, pointed above the mouth.

Positioning the SM7B off-axis utilizes the proximity effect for added low-end warmth while avoiding plosives.

Mounting the SM7B on a boom arm makes it easy to maintain the optimal 3 to 6 inch mouth distance.

This close placement maximizes sound isolation and vocal presence. Ensure the boom has sufficient counterbalance so the microphone weight does not droop down.

Maintaining consistent distance and angling off-axis captures the sweet spot in terms of room ambience and direct sound from the vocal source.

This prevents overemphasis of low-end boominess or high-end harshness. Proper SM7B positioning results in a smooth, well-balanced sound.

Acoustic Optimization Tips 

Although the mic does a fantastic job at rejecting room tone, you’ll still want to pay attention to room acoustics to achieve optimal sound.

Hard, reflective surfaces cause unwanted coloration and ambient noise. Sound dampening treatment absorbs these errant reflections.

Positioning the SM7B close to acoustic foam panels helps isolate the voice. Treating parallel walls and ceilings with absorptive materials neutralizes flutter echoes and frequency buildup.

Carpets and furniture also help dissipate acoustics.

With its proximity effect warmth, multi-faceted frequency controls, and directional polar response, dialing in the perfect SM7B sound requires care and finesse.

But proper microphone technique and room acoustic treatment ensure the SM7B smoothly captures the nuanced richness of any unique voice. 

And obviously, this is the case for any microphone. So, use your ears and find a good spot to record!

The Visual Appeal of The SM7B

The Shure SM7B microphone stands out not just for its exceptional audio quality, but also for its visually appealing design, making it a popular choice for video podcasts.

The microphone looks bad ass.

Its sleek, industrial look brings a professional and edgy aesthetic to any setting. The matte black finish and solid build of the SM7B exude a sense of durability and quality, contributing to its visual appeal.

This finish also has a practical benefit – it avoids unwanted reflections from studio lighting, ensuring that the microphone looks consistently good on camera, regardless of the lighting conditions.

Furthermore, the SM7B’s design is not just about looks; it serves a functional purpose too.

The large diaphragm is visible and subtly hints at the microphone’s powerful audio capabilities, reassuring both the host and the audience of its quality.

Additionally, its design facilitates ease of use, allowing podcast hosts to comfortably get close to the microphone without it feeling obtrusive.

This close interaction with the mic can create a more intimate and engaging visual experience for viewers. In the world of video podcasting, where both sound and appearance matter, the Shure SM7B strikes a perfect balance, making it a visually appealing and reliable choice for content creators.

Podcast Genres Well-Suited to SM7B

While the microphone works for all types of podcasters, the vocal isolation technology built into the SM7B shines exceptionally well for podcasts that have several people recording at once, or shows with lots of crosstalk and laughter.

Vocal bleed is a real problem when editing and the SM7B’s noise isolation aids A LOT in these situations.

Shure SM7B Tech Specs

For all your tech nerds, here you go:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (unidirectional)
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: -59.0 dBV/Pa (1.12 mV)
  • Switches: Bass roll-off and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) switches with graphic display of response setting.
  • Connector: Three-pin professional audio (XLR)
  • Electromagnetic Hum Sensitivity: Typically, 60 Hz to 10 kHz, 11 dB SPL/1Eμ gauss
  • Body: Enamel aluminum and steel case with a full metal construction for durability.
  • Swivel Mount: Integrated, captive nut for ease of attachment to stand, fits 5/8 in.–27 thread.
  • Windscreen: Internal air suspension shock and vibration isolator; built-in pop filter.
  • Magnetic Shielding: Shields the microphone from hum caused by computer monitors, and other electrical devices.
  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 198.7 mm (7.83 in.), Width: 117 mm (4.61 in.), Depth: 96 mm (3.78 in.); Weight: 765.4 grams (1.69 pounds)

Shure SM7B Downfall

Despite its many strengths, the Shure SM7B microphone has a notable shortcoming: its need for a significant amount of gain.

This high gain requirement means that without a clean, high-quality preamp, users may face challenges in achieving an adequate signal level.

When the gain on a less capable preamp is increased to compensate, it often introduces unwanted noise into the recording. This issue can be particularly problematic for podcasters and audio professionals striving for pristine sound quality.

Solution 1: Buy a Cloudlifter To Boost Gain

One effective solution is to use a Cloudlifter.

This device acts as a gain booster, providing additional clean gain to the microphone signal before it reaches the preamp.

By using a Cloudlifter, you can significantly increase the signal level of the SM7B without the need for excessive gain on the preamp, thus minimizing the risk of introducing noise.

This makes it an ideal choice for users who want to maintain the audio quality of their recordings while using the SM7B.

Solution 2: Buy The New Shure SM7DB with Built-In Gain

Alternatively, Shure’s new SM7DB model addresses this gain issue directly.

It comes equipped with a built-in preamp, that contains technology licensed from Cloud.

It provides the necessary gain boost within the microphone itself. This built-in enhancement simplifies the setup, eliminating the need for external gain-boosting equipment.

To activate the built-in preamp on the microphone, you need to set the bypass switch to the ‘off’ position. This action enables you to enhance the microphone’s level with a gain of either +18 or +28 dB. If you prefer to use the microphone without the preamp, simply leave the bypass switch in the ‘on’ position.

Similar to the Shure SM7DB, this microphone also includes two additional switches for sound customization. One is for the bass roll-off, which reduces low-frequency sounds, and the other is for a mid-range boost, enhancing the clarity and presence of mid-range frequencies.

These switches allow for greater control over the microphone’s audio output, catering to different recording environments and preferences.

The SM7DB is an excellent choice for those looking for the classic SM7B sound quality without the hassle of managing additional gain-boosting hardware.

In fact, I imagine we’re going to see more and more of these mic’s in the hands of podcasters in the coming years.

Notable SM7B Podcasters

Popular Podcasts Using SM7B

Many of the top podcasts today rely on the SM7B to deliver professional quality audio.

Flagship shows like The Joe Rogan Experience, WTF with Marc Maron, and Bertcast with Bert Kreischer, all utilize the SM7B’s smooth broadcast-ready sound.

Beyond the charts toppers, numerous comedians, journalists, and storytellers, achieve podcast success with the SM7B.

Once reserved for recording studios, the SM7B now graces amateur podcast studios as hosts seek its authority and professional polish.

Additionally SM7B Users:

The Go-To Microphone for Top Podcasts and Creators

It’s clear that this microphone is more than just a gadget; it represents a premium audio solution for content creators. Its sleek, badass appearance and high-quality sound make it a coveted item among Podcasters, YouTubers and even musicians.

It’s totally a standout in the world of audio recording.

The genius of the SM7B lies in its design, optimized for capturing warm, intimate vocal tones.

Whether you’re dealing with podcasts that have lively crosstalk or require clear isolated vocals, the SM7B’s cardioid polar pattern, internal shock isolation, and magnetic shielding ensure top-notch sound quality.

Plus, its visual aesthetics add a professional edge to any video podcast.

But remember, it does require a lot of gain, and if you don’t have to equipment to properly power it, you may want to opt for a different mic.

OR, grab yourself the new SM7DB model with built-in gain, that tackles this issue.

Whether you’re just starting out in podcasting or you’re already a seasoned content creator, the SM7B represents a wise investment that is sure to enhance your audio quality.

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  1. […] The audio quality of the SM7B is simply outstanding. It has a flat, wide-range frequency response that captures the natural sound of my voice beautifully. There’s a noticeable warmth and richness to the audio, which enhances the listening experience for my audience. The microphone does require a substantial amount of gain, so pairing it with a high-quality preamp or an inline booster like the Cloudlifter is essential to avoid noise issues​ (Castos)​​ (The Podcast Haven)​. […]