In the content creation world, Shure is best known as the maker of the SM7B, what may just be the most iconic broadcast microphone ever made. As great as it is, that microphone is out of reach for many of us but Shure might just have the answer. Today, we’re looking at the MV7, a USB/XLR hybrid that’s targets squarely at podcasters and streamers. At $249, is it worth a buy?
- Current Price:$249 (Shure, Amazon)
- Type: Dynamic (moving coil)
- Polar Pattern: Unidirectional (cardioid)
- A/D Converter: 16 or 24-bit, 44.1 or 48 kHz
- Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 16,000 Hz
- Adjustable Gain Range: 0 to +36 dB
- XLR Sensitivity: -55 dBV/Pa (1.78 mV) at 1 kHz
- USB Sensitivity: -47 dBFS/Pa at 1 kHz
- USB Maximum SPL: 132 dB SPL
- DSP Modes (Presets): Near/Far, Dark/Natural/Bright
- Headphone Output: 3.5 mm (1/8")
- Power Requirements: Powered through USB or Lightning connector
- MFi Certified: Yes
- Software Compatibility: ShurePlusTM MOTIV Audio, Video, and Desktop Apps
- XLR Output Impedance: 314 Ω at 1 kHz
- Connector Type: Micro-B USB and XLR
- Mounting Type: 5/8"-27 thread mount
- Housing: All-metal construction
- Net Weight: 0.55 kg (1.21 lbs)
- Dimensions Microphone: Length 53.6 mm; Diameter 66.5 mm
- Mic in Yoke: 164 x 153.6 x 90.2 mm H × L x D
- Cable Includes one (1) 10-foot Micro-B to USB-A cable and one (1) 10-foot Micro-B to
Visually, the MV7 takes a lot of inspiration from the SM7B. So much, in fact, that your viewers will probably think that’s what you’re using. I reached out to Shure to make sure there wasn’t any formal relationship between the products. Visual similarity aside, these are two standalone products and the MV7 has an awful lot going for it to make it a compelling mic for any aspiring streamer or content creator.
The first thing to know is that this is a hybrid microphone. It features a USB and XLR connectivity, so you don’t need an audio interface to use it. Since it has an XLR connection, it’s better able to grow with your setup over time. Usually, if you wanted to add a mixer or GoXLR to your rig, you would be stuck buying a new mic since those devices don’t have USB inputs. With the MV7, all you need to do is buy an XLR cable and you’re good to go.
Even more interestingly, you can record from both outputs simultaneously and the mic natively supports Android and iOS connections. If you already use an audio interface, you can run to second connection to your phone for an easy scratch track or second output. This is a very cool feature that’s very uncommon — and ask anyone who has lost a recording due to an audio glitch. Running a safety track is important and being able to do it on a whole second device is a valuable layer of security. The only thing that’s strange here is that the microphone uses Micro-USB, which is a very outdated choice for a premium audio product in 2020.
The other important thing to know is that the MV7 is a dynamic microphone. That’s important, because the majority of mics targeted at streamers and podcasters are condensers, which truly isn’t a great fit for content creators recording out of their houses and dorm rooms. Dynamic microphones are much better at rejecting outside noise, so if you’re recording in an untreated room or with external noise, far less of that environmental noise will make it into your broadcast. The trade-off is that dynamic microphones like the MV7 do tend to sound more compressed vocals and sound slightly less natural than a condenser, but unless you’re singing, this will almost certainly be a non-issue. If you’ve ever enjoyed talk radio, then there’s a good chance you might even like the timbre a good dynamic like this brings. I certainly do — but even more than that, I like that I don’t need to worry so much about running a fan in the room on a hot day or typing on my keyboard while I’m recording.
The microphone also comes with a powerful software suite that can help you dial in its sound. Using Shure’s Motiv software, you can choose from several EQ profiles to add more bass to your voice or boost the treble. You can also enable a Limiter and Compressor to keep yourself from clipping, and also customize a set of leveling features to tailor the mic’s responsiveness and Near or Far distances.
In addition to the usual features we would expect from a Shure microphone, the MV7 has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Rather than use knobs or buttons that would break its clean look, the MV7 bears a touch sensitive control panel. Your mic and headphone levels are controlled by swiping left and right across its surface which illuminates an eight LED color-coded level meter. You can swap between each by tapping the associated icon, and holding your finger there turns the meter into a mixer to blend how much of your voice versus how much of your PC audio you hear. There’s also a tap to mute icon. Tapping and holding both locks the interface so you don’t make any accidental adjustments.
This system is neat and works reasonably well but does require more effort than I like. It takes a good three swipes to move from one end of the meter to the other, which is two too many. Tapping either of the icons is also hard without angling the mic down, which you don’t want to do mid-recording.
The MV7 also features an auto-leveling feature, which you’ll either love or hate. The microphone actively monitors its levels and, when you’re in danger of clipping, will turn you down to preserve the recording. Likewise, if you’re off-axis or have moved away, it will turn you up to make sure you can still be heard. In practice, I found it to be a bit fiddly. I like to “get up on” the mic to elicit the proximity effect (extra bass). Even when I wasn’t clipping, the mic would routinely turn me down to what I felt was slightly too quiet. When sitting back six inches or so, it worked very well. This feature can be turned off and customized for Near or Far distances in the software, and will not function when the touch panel is locked, so there are workarounds if it's not for you.
You’ll also want to be aware that the stock bundle does not come with any kind of stand. Instead, it features a u-bracket, which allows you to adjust the angle once it’s mounted. Shure does sell bundles with stands included, however. You’ll also be happy to know that it features a built-in shock mount and pop filter, so you won’t be stuck buying those as well as a stand — though you may still want a little extra filtering if you get close to the mic. At distance, plosives aren’t bad, but close in, they do make their way through the foam fairly easily.
Here’s how the microphone sounds:
Impressions time. I really like this microphone. I have begun using it for voiceover, as well as virtual teaching and it is notably clearer and better sounding than even the Samson Q2U, which is excellent in its own right. There is a crispness that I really like because of the mid-forward tuning that Shure has applied and it gives vocals just enough of an edge to cut through the rest of the mix. It’s exceptionally good for talking through gameplay for this reason.
I am also very impressed at how cross-compatible it is. I didn’t expect to be able to plug it into my phone and have it work without a hitch. It’s an incredibly versatile microphone.
At $249, the Shure MV7 is cheaper than the SM7B, but it’s still not cheap. At the same time, its hybrid nature makes it a mic that you’ll be able to grow with and that would outlast USB options like the Blue Yeti. The added flexibility that provides, as well as innovative features like simultaneous output, auto-leveling, and software enhancements like vocal EQs, make this an outstanding option for aspiring streamers.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.