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4.35 (47 Reviews) This is the same microphone that Michael Jackson used to record his vocals for the highest selling album of all time to date, "Thriller"! Want to hear what the mic can sound like? Listen to "Thriller"!
Hello fellow gearslutz. Its the holiday season and being the gearslutz that we are, we want another new affordable piece of gear to add to our studio setups. Well, let me introduce you to the Shure SM7B. This is the same microphone that the "King Of Pop" himself, Michael Jackson, used on his most successful album of all time to date, "Thriller". This is one of the best microphones, if not the best to use for vocals in its price range. You can find one online for $350 or less at anytime. I personally own one of these & I'll admit I was hesitant to get one but once I did, "WOW" was I impressed! Its a dynamic microphone, so you will need an audio interface or pre that gives more than -60db of gain to help give it some kick. My personal pre that I use it with is the GAP 73 which is a Neve 1073 clone. This microphone is awesome at not picking up background noises so you can use it in an untreated room at anytime & still get professional sounding results. Its sleek design & various sound settings is a plus as well. Mostly all professional radio stations world wide use the Shure SM7B to broadcast. I would strongly advise anybody with a studio, whether it be a bedroom or professional one to get a Shure SM7B! Happy Holidays!
The popularity of this mic in broadcast studios is a testament to the clarity of its vocal reproduction. Whilst sometimes used on guitar cabinets, it is primarily considered a vocal microphone.
On male vocalists, especially those with a slightly deeper than average voice, it is capable of creating recordings equal to microphones 3x its price.
Being a dynamic mic, it is more important that usual to find a decently matched preamp with plenty of gain. For those on a budget, the Golden Age Projects Pre73 seems to add a nice rich character to the SM7b. A preamp with at a minimum of +60db gain is required.
For those with a less than ideal sounding room, the fact that it is a unidirectional dynamic mic will focus the recording directly on the source and ignore unwanted room noises.
For the price, it is one of the best value microphones on the market.
*Edit: To explain the 7/10 for "ease of use", I marked it down a few points for its gain requirements: there are a number of preamps or interfaces with built in preamps on the market that don't provide the adequate amount of gain making it a little less flexible that other microphones.
A great microphone for vocals. It does need a good high gain low noise preamp like our Robbie from Blue Microphones but is has been an instant hit with our voice over clients. It works best when you are closer to it and has two separate wind screen/pop filters one for more distant work and one for closeup work. The microphone really does sounds like something that costs three to four times as much. The one thing I really like about it is that it does not pick up a lot of room ambiance or outside noises and that is very helpful in doing voice over work. So far no problems. It was very easy to setup and we just started using it. I would rate this microphone for VO work very near the top of the vocal dynamic microphones. We auditioned two other vocal/radio station type microphones, both from EV, and were not as impressed as we were with this microphone.
I bought this mic a couple of months ago, and I must say I have completely fallen in love with it. It sounds absolutely fantastic, GREAT bottom end and it sounds like a £5000 mic. Another thing is that I can record stuff without picking up a lot of the ambience in my little studio.
I make ambient/dub music so when I'm recording vocals etc I love the little extra bass there.
There is not a lot of features on this mic(But you dont really need it), you can choose between a couple of eq settings on the back but that's it really.
PS: Get a good preamp with low noise!
This is the mic that the Shure SM57 wants to grow up to be. While there is no 1 perfect mic for all occasions, this mic works well on almost any application.
Overall sound is similar to the SM57, but decidedly fuller and smoother. Anywhere you are currently using a SM57, you can be confident that the SM7B will do the job better.
The back of the mic features 2 EQ switches; a bass roll off and a treble boost.
With the eq switch on the back set flat, it has a fairly smooth sound, but with the treble boost, it has a nice aggressive edge.
It is most commonly used for vocal work, and you will see it in radio stations everywhere.
I have successfully used this mic on rap vocals, voiceovers, violin, guitar cabinets, and in my opinion, it is THE mic to use on snare drum. For reference, I had access to U87, 414, 421, and other expensive mics when I used the SM7B.
This is a sturdily built mic, and has a cage protecting the element (important for use with sloppy drummers).
The SM7b is great for use in less than perfect recording spaces (bedroom studios), as it has excellent off access rejection (always an important consideration when selecting a snare mic).
While the SM7B is priced a little higher that many of the newer mics on the market, it remains popular because it is a great general purpose dynamic mic, for a reasonable price.
I use the sm7b for male vocals and for taming mid- to high- frequency problems like screechy fiddles and sibilant singers. For vocals it is pretty nice, but I sometimes find that an at4047 or even nt-1a will sound better, unless sibilance is a problem. The best sound with the sm7b on vocals comes with the singer three inches or less from the mic.
For taming a screechy fiddle, however, the sm7b is superb-sounding. With very little EQ it can give the fiddle an excellent tone, unlike any other mic I have tried in this application.
These mics are built like tanks and are large and moderately heavy, so placement in tight spots is challenging. You need a good mic stand to handle these mics. I bought a special mic stand adapter so it can hang nicely from a mic stand in the position it was intended (like a broadcaster mic).
Next to an Audix D6, the sm7b has the lowest sensitivity of mics in my collection. So the need for a pre with lots of clean gain cannot be understated. It works well, though, with sytek and grace m101.
The sm7b has a pretty flat frequency response with the flat settings I use (no bass rolloff, no presence peak). If you invoke the bass rolloff and the presence peak settings, it sounds like an sm57 to my ears.
easy to use, know what you get mic.. I usually use it with the SP737 as it needs a little EQ help on most sources (to me)
love hate with proximity effect .. as with the filters .. when they work ..its fine.. when they miss...not so much. the lack of 'sparkle' can be a good thing on certain things ..on some things it hurts.
good all around mic.. I get more universal application out of an AT4050 for a few bucks more
I am never afraid to put this (or an RE20 ) in front of someone ...with a U87 or other quality LDC I am a little more selective ..
good workhorse mic that does not give the 'cheapin out' vibe
This is a great mic and a little work horse! It's a great "for everything" mic. If you can only have one vocal mic or looking to get your first this is the way to go.
Now with that said, I would like to discuss the negatives since I see a lot of glowing reviews which are fair and accurate. This Mic sits great in a rock mix or with a lot of instruments. I would not say this is the mic to go to for solo vocal performances, choir or female vocals. It can work on female vocals in a rock mix, but I prefer to use condenser that's brighter for female vocals, solo vocals and classical stuff. THis mic shines because it sits in a song and cuts very well and sounds great doing it. I feel it's genre based, but covers most all genre's. Just not something you want if you're recording a american idol or theatre style vocals of solo tracks.
I say it's a must buy for rock/rap/country...pretty much anything involving modern music and rock/pop.
If you pair this with the right preamp like a neve/great river or API it sounds really great! Results vary depending on your setup. I've heard some complain they didn't hear what everyone else did and couldn't get enough gain when they plugged it into a mbox or something...That's why! Check to see if your system can handle it before you buy one!
After reading up on all of the SM7B hype and having a fellow trusted Gearslut highly recommend it, I took the plunge and purchased one of these mics.
The build quality is extremely sturdy. Built like a tank. Very sleek look. The mic stands out from others because of the way it is mounted.
The sound quality in my opinion is great for the price! It has a very thick sound to it and is great for rock vocals, other vocal styles that are less controlled, guitar cabs, bass, acoustic, snare...It really is a good all-rounder. I use it mostly for vocal applications.
The mid range boost can help some weaker thinner voices, and I usually keep the low cut in the on position due to the low frequencies this mic picks up. As most people mention, taking the widescreen off gives you a different sound. With the low-cut and mid-range boost switches as well as the 2 widescreens that this mic can use, this mic has plenty of different sounds available.
This mic is pretty straight forward, although, I feel that the way it attaches to the mic stand can be awkward.
One warning for this mic would be making sure you have enough gain to run the mic prior to purchasing. I have not experienced this issue with my Apogee Ensemble or Ramsa WR 8616 preamps, but I have read that lower quality preamps with less gain have a hard time giving enough gain for this mic.
Overall, great mic, great price (~$250 used), easy to use.
The Shure SM7B has been known for years as the standard radio broadcast microphone, as well as a great vocal microphone. Yet, many engineers seem to be unaware of how good it can sound on electric guitar cabinets.
Since almost everyone has covered the vocal side of things, I'll cover the guitar side of this microphone.
Unlike the SM57, I wouldn't use this as the sole mic on a guitar cabinet. I normally have paired it in the past with something like a Royer R121 to round it out a bit. But when in this combination, its awesome.
I used this combination of SM7B and R121 in this short video with a Two Rock amp and '59 Strat
The SM7B handles loud signal levels rather well. Placement is easy (or as easy as it is with any mic), plus you get a killer vocal mic out of it. Its well made and I'm sure will last forever, and if not, there's likely strong parts availability.
Great mic for someone who's just starting out! It's always seen as a vocal mic(probably because of the mj shoutout most give it) but it's great for snare and shines on High hat! For vocals I'll always prefer a nice large diaphram tube mic, but honestly I've heard some great vocals recorded on a sm7. Sometimes you've got to do a bit of eq but it beats out all of those low low end large diaphram mics around the same price.
I've used this mic for about 3 years now. What drew me to it wasn't the Michael Jackson testimonials, but rather Dave Gahan, of Depeche Mode, who uses this as one of his go-to mics in the studio. Love him or hate him, he has a very deep voice, and as many have said already, this mic works particularly well for singers with deep, gutteral voices & singers who tend to get a bit Aggro.
Pair it with a nice tube-pre..... and you've got one hell of a mic!
First of all I would have never known about this mic until I started rummaging around Gearslutz. I have pretty bright rooms and they don’t help whatsoever with large diaphragm condensers. We made decent recordings with a reflection filter in place but we also made a whole mess of horrible ones. We also don’t record in a treated room so it made things pretty difficult. Eventually the goal is to have the correct room and treatment in place but for now this is the best bet. I just received my sm7b plugged it in and right off the bat there’s a major difference. I’m still waiting on my Cloud lifter and pre73 to compliment it but as far as I can tell now it’s a step above our akg220. Room noise is eliminated and it seems to focus in on my vocals a lot better than the AKG. Although I’m by no means a professional I believe this was a solid purchase. I can’t wait to have it all set up with the rest of my gear and really do some comparisons. It took a lot of careful consideration and deliberation to figure out what I was going to purchase and I’m glad this was the final choice. From reading countless forums this was the best situation for my recording environment.
Everyone should own this mic, but again, AFTER a well designed mic pre with PLENTY of gain. On most microphone preamps you will most definitely need to crank the gain well past halfway in order to get enough signal out of this lovely mic. I used it on hardcore metal voices, pop male/female voices, deep reggae voice - it's such an amazing mic to use especially in a session where everyone wants to be in the same room together since it has so much rejection because it won't pick that much of everything else up.
For what ever reason I couldn't get great sounds out of instruments with low end, like kick or bass - but it sounded nice on snare, lightly distorted guitar amp. I also liked the mid-bump and high-pass feature, but HATED having to switch it. Perhaps I didn't know what I was doing, but I always found it tough to use those darn switches!
It really handles high spl's well, it was really the only mic that sounded just right on this hardcore metal client who when he sang could shake a room. It was quite ridiculous how loud he screamed actually.
In conclusion: This mic sounds great and really natural, it's difficult to make changes with the way the highpass and midbump switches are located. However, having those switches are a nice way to alter the sound. As far as value for the money, it's really not an expensive mic as far as studio mics go. "Shure" there may be other mics that can sound similar, but couple this with a well designed preamp that has plenty of clean gain and you are in for a treat.
-- much gain needed if using a low level source.
-- may require much eq to get the sound you are looking for.
I purchased this about a year ago. I removed the mic stand holder and use it like a handheld. There is a bit of rattle in the coils, but if careful you should be able to avoid any noticeable artifacts.
I have recently stacked my two Saffire pres to drive this while doing low level vocals. The results are not know yet, but you can probably get a "conderser"
type sound ( i.e. the train that is 5 miles away will be audible )
When belting vocals - use the heavy, thick form or you will gets pops.
A huuuge dynamic microphone with a foamy popfilter attached to it. The mic stand mount is an integrated part of the microphone. It comes with a pretty high price tag.
This mic need a lot of gain and coupling it with a good sounding microphone pre amplifier is kind of inevitable. It will perform MUCH better with a good preamp.
It is kind of a lottery weather it will sound good on a given source. I haven't really figured it out yet :-) ...but one thing is for sure; It can be "da bomb" on male rock and metal vocals, grinds, shouts, growls and such!
It is in the league of top-of-the-line dynamic microphones, like Sennheiser's MD441 and electrovoice's RE-20, but I do not find it super versatile. However, it is a very well build microphone and can potentially be EXTREMELY good sounding on some sources, so it is definitely a mic that you should have in you microphone locker if you are running a larger scale studio. I would not recommend it for the home studio user, as there will be a lot of other mics that will prove to be way more useable than the SM7.
...on the other hand - what the hell? Be a gearslut - buy one even if you don't need it! :-P
I love the SM7B - and working with a lot of male rap vocals - for this role its pretty much my number 1 goto mic... Like everyone says, it does need a fair amount of gain (being a dynamic mic) but for anyone looking to buy a mic with a budget for a cheap condenser or one of these - i'd definitely recommend checking one out.. the build quality is far superior to most of the modern chinese LDC and the sound is rarely not suitable, sometimes outstanding but always useable and the mic responds well to further processing without any detrimental side effects. When tracking a band live with everyone in one room, the amount of off axis rejection of sound is often good enough that if a guide vocal turns out to be a one take wonder/performance of a lifetime (you get the drift -lol) then any spill recorded wouldn't really be a problem.. Its other main uses for me have been as a good kick drum mic (never tried it on snare) - less EQ'd/hyped sounding than a AKG D112 or Audix D6 in this role and on guitar cabs where it kicks some major butt (coupled with a thick tube pre its phreaking awesome!! The UA LA610 and this mic is a winner 99% of the time)
Overall - its like another studio workhorse of mine the AT4050, a solid performer - rarely the wrong tool for the job, but sometimes the perfect one.. and neutral enough to take further processing in its stride.. You DO need a pre capable of a healthy amount of clean gain (of which there are some great ones out there that won't break the bank - like my new fave the TK Audio DP-1 ) but this is an example of a worldclass dynamic mic that keeps up mics 2 or 3 times its price in quality..
Despite only owning this mic for a relatively short period of time, I've already used it on an enormous range of sources. From various parts of a drum kit, to guitar and bass cabs, to the obvious position of vocals, and it has sounded great on almost every occasion. I've used it both in a studio setting and in a 'live session' setting, and whilst background noise was noticeable, with careful placement and simple post recording editing, it sounded as if it had been recorded in a booth!
On guitar and bass cabs it's got that smoothness and warmth that an sm57 is lacking, and it has now replaced the 57 as my 'go-to' mic for recording guitar and bass. I've found on a kick it performs similarly to an RE20, plenty of low end and high end detail and on a snare (if you can position it!) it's a nice alternative to a 57.
On vocals is where this mic really shines though! It's got all the clarity you'd want for any rock or metal vocalist, but being a dynamic mic you can really capture the 'attitude' of the performance.
As a microphone it is very well built as is expected of Shure and the mounting bracket, whilst sometimes a little awkward in tight spaces, is perfect for a vocalist that likes to hold the microphone whilst singing, little or no handling noise is picked up. All in all it's a mic that I will own for a very very long time and continue to use widely with my setup.
No surprise that this mic has as many reviews here as it has. The very best thing I heard before buying my Shure SM7B was some wise man at Gearslutz Web site cautioning, "it requires so much gain you are going to think yours is broke." True enough. You need a pre with a lot of gain fro this mic, or you need a pre that you like the sound on all the way to the right.
I have really come to appreciate this mic, and it has been said a million times and ways, but maybe because it it true: you don't really begin to appreciate all the virues of this mic until you start mixing the tracks you recorded with it. Side by side, A/B with a decent (not even a great) LDC and you won't bu sure you can live without all the articulation and the "size" and high end of the LDC sound, but one you start working with an SM7B on vox especially, you'll see that the "takes EQ well" is really true. And plus to my admittedly non-professional ears, SM7B vocal tracks "sit" fabulously well--blend naturally. They "are what they are" no matter what you surround with them.
OK was that explanation non-technical enough for you?
This Shure SM7B is a must have for any mic locker. It can be used on guitar or bass amps, kick drums, toms, and of course vocals. This is the perfect mic for someone who wants to make an excellent vocal recording in a sub par room. I would, and do, recommend the mic to everyone looking to add a "Swiss Army Knife" microphone to their collection!
Do we need another SM7b review? No. But who can resist, it is such a cool mic, and practically a bargain. Plus, the main thing is, it does sound really good.
When I got my SM7b, I was prepared to be let down, because of all the buzz about the mic. And truth be told, I was not overly impressed at first. But then I loaned the mic to a friend, and he cut some killer metal vocal tracks with it. I was intrigued enough to give the mic another chance, and what I found was that 1. it needs a LOT of gain and 2. it has a definite sweet spot, where it sounds magical. This can vary for different sources. When you move out of the zone, the mic begins to sound much more "vintage" and "old timey". It's a fine line.
But given the fact that it has at least some magic, and is so reasonably priced, it is a mic every size mic cabinet should contain. In GS world anyway.
The sm7 / 7b gets a lot of love at this forum but it's anything but a onesizefitsall solution that it's painted as (ie: best mic ever I use it on everything no need to buy anything else!). Well, when I first got it, I loved the way my mid-lower baritone voice sounded on it. Great for voiceovers depending on the timbre of your voice (naturally as that's what it was inteded for). I sounded thick, detailed, and smooth (all adjectives you've seen before for this mic) - the best way to describe it after spending time with it is, I uh, sounded like a radio dj. Is this bad? Not really, but I don't consider it as open and detailed as it could be as it focuses more on smoothness and presence.
When I first got it, I didn't have studio monitors but some scooped hd280 headphones, so I thought it was the bee's knees. Now that I can hear subtle differences, I've discovered that I get a LOT more detail after removing the windscreen. It, dare I say, sounds somewhat muffled with it on (though it does have a warmer feel to it with the screen on).
In actual application, I found my dad's voice sounded pretty flat and thin on this mic. He is also a baritone, but his doesn't boom/project like mine, so just being in that vocal range doesn't automatically qualify you to becoming one with the mic (so be sure to try one out before buying - I got lucky).
In other applications, I found I don't necessarily find my own rap vocals to be jaw dropping good. It still sounds more madeforradio to me than open and crystal (like how most pop / rap is nowadays). That's how I hear the "dark" nature of this mic. Depending on context, you can make any description sound desireable (like dark).
Now, on the flip side, if im recording singing vocals with a well-projected baritone ranged singer (myself and a friend of mine I've tried so far), the mic shines pretty well. It gives just enough detail to convey emotion and seems to hide more bad than good, keeps sibilences in check, and is really good in bad recording rooms due to its proximity effect, smooths the singer so it sounds like butter, but, given my previous observations, that sort of makes sense. Singing in a mic meant for all the typical reasons used for radio broadcast, used by many amateurs who (most of them I'm sure) have less than ideal recording rooms, of course it's going to sound magical to more people than not. It's a cheap solution to the most frequent problem amateurs have (lack of a pro recording environment), and for the right type of voice for the right kind of application, it sounds great. Will it make you sound great for every application? Odds are, no.
(Used with A&H zed14, and pre73) Also, I'm an amateur, not a studio engineer, so take what I say knowing this is from an intellectual joe everybody and not an expert.
Used mine for mic-ing a bass cabinet, great for mix with a DI. Relatively low sensitivity and good off axis rejection makes for a good male vox mic when for the singer songwriter thing with acoustic guitar.
I've had this mic for around a year and a half now, probably the best mic purchase i've made in a while. I use it for basically anything i can stick it in front of. The mic itself has a couple of switches on it, the presence switch and the HPF switch, when using it for vocal's and the like, i will have it set completely "flat" because i get this really smooth response with no hyped top end, but when the rolloff and the presence is engaged it sounds a bit more like a higher quality sm57, so i'll use it in this fashion when mic'ing a guitar cab with it.
When it comes to ease of use, the only problems with it is that it has an interesting mount, so all the adjustments must really be made with the mic stand to move it anywhere, and it's also a pretty heavy mic, so basically if you have a crap mic stand, the mic will slowly drop. The other problem is it's hunger for so much gain, i'm lucky in that the pre's on my Duet and UA710 have enough gain for it, but you start to hear the noise of the pre when trying to drive it from a lot of regular interface. However the other features in my mind make up for it. The switches on the back are setup in a way that when you switch them up or down, they will give a graphical representation of what they will do, so it's REALLY easy to know whether you've switched things the right way or not. The switches also need like a key or something pointy to get to them which some people hate, but for me it means that you can only ever change their settings intentionally.
Some cool features it includes are the wind sleeves/pop filters. When you use the big one, you get a REALLY direct sound out of the top of the mic, almost completely void of off axis material. The regular sleeve is similar, but it doesn't cut out as much off axis material, still enough to the point that if you're not pointing right at the source, you'll know. These sleeves are really good if your room isn't the best, because i find they do cut out a lot of room noise and isolate the source VERY well. However when in a good sounding room, take the sleeve off (and use a regular pop filter screen) and suddenly you get this crisp open sound.
Bang for buck wise, i wish it were cheaper in Australia, but that wouldn't stop me buying another two or three more at this price (or even if it were a little more expensive), it's a far better mic than it's actual price would suggest. In great Shure fashion, built like an absolute tank.
I believe that it may no longer be possible to actually say anything about the sm7b that hasn't been said somewhere previously on gearslutz.
The SM7b is great on a lot of sources, in a lot of contexts. To me, it sounds like a more neutral, wide-open sounding sm57, which is quite a nice sound. It's also versatile, with the switches on the back, even though I tend to keep them flat, and the 2 different windscreens. I tend to leave the windscreen off for most applications.
However, right now I am poor enough that at home I'm running the sm7b thru a fast track pro, which introduces a lot of noise to quiet sources. My LDC AT3035 that I got used off ebay gets much more use than the 7b on vocals, for this reason of noisy pres. I use the 7b on elec guitar amps a lot, and it works well even with the fast track pro for this.
I think for someone just starting out on a mic collection, and if you are planning on doing mainly vocals, you should hold off on the sm7b if...
-you do not have a preamp that delivers a lot of clean gain
-you don't already have an ldc you like of similar quality/value to sm7b
Of course, if you already know you like what it does to your voice and you only need one mic, go for it. It's basically a great sounding, more neutral sm57. Takes eq great, and has a distinct sound.