MV7 or SM7B: Which Mic is Right for You?
The SM7B has gained legendary status among producers, recording engineers and podcasters alike. Many will accept nothing else, but should they (and streamers) consider the new MV7 microphone instead?
From Marc Maron to Michael Jackson, the SM7B has earned a legion of admirers over the years. It’s become an audio icon for good reason: few microphones can rival its warm, rich tone, fantastic isolating properties and overall versatility.
Used for professional broadcasting and studio recording for decades, the SM7B has found renewed popularity with podcasters and online streamers. Nonetheless, the mic has remained out of reach for some people daunted by the advanced setup required to get that sweet sound it’s so famous for.
Now, Shure has released the brand new MV7 microphone designed especially for podcasters, streamers and vocalists looking for convenient USB and XLR connectivity without compromising their audio. Clearly inspired by the SM7B, the MV7 has a whole set of cool features for content creators and musicians.
But which one is right for you?
First off, let’s get one thing straight: If you’ve been looking to move your audio game up to the big leagues with the SM7B for a while, you should still do just that. Nothing is going to replace that legendary sound, so save yourself some time and skip the rest of this post!
So why would someone opt instead for a shiny, new MV7? Well, there are plenty of reasons, actually, and we’ll try to make that as clear as possible right here. But we’d stress that these microphones really complement rather than compete against each other. For example, someone might use an MV7 for streaming from home and a trusty SM7B for studio recording. Or maybe your podcasting rig is already running an SM7B and you’ll want the MV7 for remote guests and recording on the road.
Naturally, there are a few key differences: Whereas the SM7B can be used on everything from rap and rock vocals to guitar cabs and drums, the MV7 has been optimized specifically for speech applications like podcasting and singing. That’s not to say you can’t record your acoustic guitar with it, but the MV7 emphasizes the midrange frequencies, where the clarity and intelligibility of speech lives.
The SM7B, on the other hand, has significantly more low-end, which is where that signature broadcast sound comes from. It also has very wide and flat response, which is incredibly difficult to achieve in a dynamic microphone. There’s a good reason the SM7B has been called an SM57 on steroids…
The MV7 is also much smaller, lighter and convenient than the SM7B. Anyone seriously considering an SM7B will know that you’ll need a fairly beefy mic preamp offering at least 60 decibels of clean gain to get the sound the pros so love. The MV7 is therefore a more affordable solution for those looking to upgrade their setup without breaking the bank. The fact that the mic will “grow” with you when you’re ready to buy a quality interface is just the icing on the cake!
Two for One
What exactly does “grow” mean? For starters, the MV7 has two outputs: a standard XLR mic plug plus a convenient USB connection allowing you to plug it straight into your computer without an extra audio interface. The benefit here is clear: You can record high-quality audio with just a laptop and MV7 no matter where you are. But it still works with a standard audio rig requiring an XLR cable. (Pro tip: You can also use both the USB and XLR outputs at the same time!)
So even if you do decide to eventually upgrade your setup with an SM7B and proper interface, there’s no real downside to fear: You’ll already have a terrific second mic handy for podcast guests, streaming fun or expanded recording sessions.
Voice Isolation Technology
The MV7 – just like its big brother the SM7B – is a dynamic microphone designed to be focused solely on you. The mic’s impressive combination of cartridge, pick-up pattern and shock mount prevents any unwanted background or room noise from ruining your audio. This can be a real gamechanger for anyone recording or streaming in a space with poor acoustics. Finally, no more recording your podcast with a blanket over your head in the middle of a summer heatwave!
Auto Level Mode
Another great feature is the MV7’s Auto Level Mode, which allows users connecting via USB to have the microphone adjust the level of your voice on the fly to ensure a consistent output of your recording or stream. This will save valuable editing time in post-production and keep the volume consistent throughout – it’s like having a virtual engineer by your side!
We’ve also created desktop and mobile versions of the ShurePlus™ MOTIV app that let you access a whole slew of manual settings, including Mic Gain, Mic Mute, EQ, Monitor Mix, Limiter and Compressor. You can even set your own signature tone as Dark, Natural or Bright and save your favorite presets for another day. Get the app for free here.
Up Close and Personal – or Not
Maybe you’re a podcaster who likes to get up close to the microphone. Or are you a streamer who prefers a bit more breathing space? The MV7 can easily be tailored to your mic positioning needs by simply choosing between Near or Far mode. Being able to back off the mic with Far mode can really come in handy if you tend to make those popping 'P' sounds known as plosives while speaking or singing.
Of course, with all the cool features for content creators, it’s easy to overlook what a great mic the MV7 is for musicians, too. Singers will love the ability to record vocal tracks in less-than-ideal acoustic spaces and self-producers will prize its ability to segue from USB laptop sessions to XLR studio recording.
It’s actually quite hard to fit everything the MV7 offers into one article, but it all comes down to having total control of your sound. Convenient touch panel? Check. Zero-latency headphone monitoring? Check.
It’s that combination of convenience, control and professional-quality audio that make the MV7 ideal for so many content creators and musicians out there. Of course, it won’t replace the legendary SM7B – but it certainly makes a great addition to the family.