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The SM63: A Go-To Outdoor Microphone

Your go-to mic for "environmental" sound applications and outdoor sound capture should be the lightweight yet durable Shure SM63. Here's why.
February, 21 2014 |

From the researcher who wants to record the sound of singing birds in the extreme humidity of the Amazon Rainforest, to the minister who wants the outside bell to be heard at the end of a service, there are plenty of applications that require a microphone to be mounted outdoors—even in inclement weather conditions and extreme temperatures. While all Shure products are manufactured to be durable and long-lasting, we're often asked which microphone is best suited for outdoor sound capture.

Our answer? Your go-to mic for "environmental" sound applications should be the Shure SM63. A compact and lightweight yet durable handheld microphone, the SM63 offers both a professional sound and an elegant appearance. Wondering what makes it an ideal outdoor microphone? Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Reason #1: It is a dynamic mic—the dynamic element of the SM63 means it can tolerate extreme temperatures or humidity. It also means phantom power is not required for operation
  • Reason #2: It has an omnidirectional polar pattern and design—the omnidirectional pattern of the SM63 means the mic can respond to sound coming from any direction. The omnidirectional design also substantially reduces the level of wind noise
  • Reason #3: It has an internal shock mount and an internal hum-bucking coil—when mounted outdoors, a mic typically has to endure structural vibration. Fortunately, the SM63's internal shock mount provides isolation to reduce unwanted noise pick-up. The hum-bucking coil is able to reduce hum interference that often results from overhead power lines
Outdoor microphone-Shure SM63 and SM63LB Product Shot
Courtesy of Michael Pettersen, Shure's Director of Applications Engineering.

Although it's extremely rugged, the SM63 must still be sheltered from rain, sleet, snow, and other precipitation when outdoors. In short, it can be damp but it does not like being wet. For added durability, we recommend you cover the small air gap between the female connector and male connector at the XLR connection point with heat-shrink tubing. The supplied foam windscreen should also be installed.

If the mic location has extreme winds, use the A81WS windscreen.  It can be fastened to the SM63 by using self-adhering VELCRO® (the hook portion) on the upper part of the mic.  The hooks of the VELCRO will grab the open cells of the A81WS foam. By using the A53M shock mount you'll also supply additional isolation from structural vibration, if required.

Whether you're trekking into the depths of the jungle to research the sounds of wildlife, or just sitting inside an insulated beach home wanting to hear the sound of waves crashing, the SM63 will serve you well as an outdoor microphone.

Davida Rochman
A Shure associate since 1979, Davida Rochman graduated with a degree in Speech Communications and never imagined that her first post-college job would result in a lifelong career that had her marketing microphones rather than speaking into them. Today, Davida is a Corporate Public Relations Manager, responsible for public relations activities, sponsorships, and donation programs that intersect with Shure at the corporate and industry level.

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