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Shure SM7dB Review

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

The Shure SM7B is one of the most classic recording microphones of all time. You’ll find it in recording studios and radio stations worldwide, and if you’re a fan of podcasts and commentary YouTube channels, there’s a very good chance your favorite content creator is using one as we speak. Until now, you either needed a powerful audio interface or an in-line booster to make it sound its best, but those days are officially over.

The Shure SM7dB is the latest version of the iconic mic and now comes ready to record, straight out of the box. Now featuring a built-in pre-amp, a simple toggle on the back provides you with +28dB of low noise volume, allowing you to plug it in and go, with only a simple interface to connect to your PC. At $499, it’s a long-term, professional-grade mic that’s ready to follow you through years of content creation with the same great sound as ever.


  • Current Price: $499.99 (Amazon
  • Key Features:
    • Legendary Sound - The SM7dB delivers the familiar warm tone adored by broadcasters, vocalists and content creators alike. Shure engineers have painstakingly ensured that it has the same sound signature as the original SM7B.
    • Built-in Preamp - Providing up to +28 dB of low-noise, flat, transparent gain, the onboard preamp preserves the mic’s frequency response for a clean, classic sound. All you need is an interface or mixer offering +48V phantom power to operate the preamp.
    • Gain Level - Choose between +18dB or +28dB from the preamp. Loud sound sources like a guitar cab or snare drum? Use +18dB or bypass the preamp for the original SM7B output level. Podcasting or recording quiet vocals? Select the built-in boost of +28dB
    • Bypass Switch - A convenient bypass mode allows you to forego the built-in preamp in case you prefer to feed the mic’s unboosted signal into your professional console or interface. Bypassing the preamp reverts the SM7dB to original SM7B performance.
    • Wide Frequency Response - Whether you’ve activated the preamp or not, you’ll get the same great detail in your recordings from a proven dynamic cartridge and frequency range of 50 to 20,000Hz. Hear all the highs and lows for truly natural sounding audio.
    • Cardioid Polar Pattern - Excellent rear-rejection and textbook cardioid pick-up pattern isolates your voice from any background noise, allowing the SM7dB to capture warm, crisp audio in any environment. Ideal for less-than-ideal spaces.
    • Find Your Ideal Tone - Just like the SM7B, the SM7dB offers multiple sound signatures using switches on the back of the microphone to suit any type of voice or instrument. Find your ideal tone by cutting the lows or boosting the presence.
  • Weight (g) / (lbs): 837 g / 1.845 lbs
  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz - 20kHz
  • Sensitivity dBV/Pa: Flat Response Bypass Mode: -59.00
  • Flat Response: +18 Preamp Mode: -41.00
  • Flat Response: +28 Preamp Mode: -31.00
  • Sensitivity mvpa: 1.12
  • Impedance (Ohms): Bypass Mode: 150 / Preamp Mode: 27
  • Switchable Low Cut: Yes
  • Output Connectors: 3 Pin XLR
  • Attenuation Pad: No
  • Interchangeable Capsule: No

Shure SM7dB - Why the Need?

The Shure SM7B is one of the most well-known microphones of all time. If you’ve ever watched an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, you’ve seen it. If you’ve watched an episode of most podcasts, you’ve seen it. For more than twenty years, it has been a staple of the recording industry, having a place in just about every recording studio known to man. Even if the name doesn’t bring its cylindrical, u-bracketed body to mind, you can rest assured that you’ve heard it. The mic has made appearances on countless records since its debut more than 20 years ago. It really is that good.

And as content creation has become much more of a staple of our daily lives (or the consuming of other creator’s content), it’s become one of the go-to, top-level recommendations for anyone looking to produce professional-quality vocals at home — be that spoken word or sung. But in this space, the SM7B has a problem.

It’s hard to drive. See, when the microphone was released, people weren’t producing podcasts from their bedrooms or hosting live streams. It was designed to be plugged into expensive mixing panels, equipment just as professional-caliber as the microphone itself. Home recording is distinctly smaller scale with fewer advanced needs, especially when it comes to power. Simply put, many popular audio interfaces didn’t have the power to actually drive it to an adequate volume. But with so many people craving it’s rich, broadcaster-like tone, solutions had to be found.

Those solutions came in the form of extra purchases. You either had to invest in a more expensive interface that had enough power to begin with, or you had to purchase an in-line gain booster. The former could cost hundreds of dollars more but even something like a Cloudlifter or FetHead would run $80 to $150. This also required swapping out or adding to your setup, which was more work. If you’re not deep into the world of audio, it could be confusing. Even popular tech YouTuber JayzTwoCents was thrown off by it in a livestream that inspired a number of reactions.

It’s a popular, much recommended microphone with a set of considerations that make it more difficult to use compared to its alternatives. That’s where the SM7dB comes in.

Shure SM7dB - More Power, Same Great Sound and Options

The SM7dB aims to solve that confusion and the need to buy any expensive extras. With this release, Shure has, in essence, built-in its own Cloudlifter. Shure actually worked with Cloud to develop this microphone, so that’s not an exaggeration. 

Using a simple toggle on the back, you can engage an integrated preamp, immediately boosting the signal by a whopping +28dB. All you’ll need is an interface capable of delivering 48V of phantom power and the option is at your fingertips. Or, if you already have a setup that’s able to drive the microphone, you can leave this switch on Bypass mode, and have it function exactly as a normal SM7B. 

I generally record with a RODECaster Pro Duo, a high-quality interface that’s able to drive the original SM7B with headroom to spare. Without the preamp engaged, the demands of the SM7dB are the same. I had to provide 62dB of additional gain. Turning on phantom power and flipping the switch, it was almost as if the mic had become a condenser: 32dB of gain is all I needed to find a comfortable recording level with my compressor engaged. 

The other features of the microphone are exactly the same. It’s a touch longer than the original but has the same cylindrical shape, half metal and half windscreen hiding the zippo-like grille. Shure also includes a second larger windscreen in the box, something I’m not sure was included with the original but is a welcome addition nonetheless. 

Around the back of the microphone are its selection of built-in EQ options. Using a combination of four toggles, you can engage a low-end roll off as well as a mids presence boost. Both of these provide an immediate and noticeable impact to the recording sound. If you have a naturally lower voice, using the roll-off might be a good choice and likewise if you want a bit more crispness with the mids-boost. To my ear, I found the mic sounded its best perfectly flat, especially if you plan to use other effects like the RODECaster’s APHEX FX. 

The mic also brings back the classic u-bracket mount with its integrated XLR. This can mount to desktop mic stands or boom arms or even be handheld. The u-bracket is tension adjustable so it doesn’t move mid-recording but is also easy to shift if you need to reposition it. I did find that the XLR sometimes interfered with the tensioning knobs of my RODE PSA-2 boom arm, however.

Shure SM7dB -  Recording Impressions and Sample Recording

It’s fair to say that, apart from being a bit bigger, this is the same great microphone everyone has been recommending for years. The sound is exactly the same, it just has the preamp built in so you don’t need to buy anything extra. And that, in my opinion, is perfectly fine. Working in conjunction with Cloud, you’re getting a great uplift effect for $50 less than buying the standard SM7B and Cloudlifter separately. It’s not cheap but it’s a good value and much simpler than having to buy and wire these things separately.

So how does it sound? Well, I suspect you already know. Since the sound is identical, you’ve already heard it countless times. But, as someone who cares too much about the nuances of sound, I’ll do my best to capture it here.

The SM7dB has a rich, full-bodied tone. It’s classically “radio” in its sound signature wide a wide low-end and crisp mids. High-end detail is there, but since the microphone isn’t as sensitive, I find that it’s not as “sparkly” as high-resolution condenser microphones like the Earthworks Icon Pro. This gives whatever you’re recording a warm, lush quality, be it guitars or your own voice on a live stream.

The off-axis noise rejection is also fantastic. Compared to most microphones designed for streaming, the SM7dB is flat out going to work better for the vast majority of content creators today. Unless you’re in a sound-treated room without any outside noise, it’s going to be much more capable at blocking out everything but your voice, even without engaging a noise gate. 

That’s because the SM7dB is a highly directional microphone. It uses a dynamic capsule, which is inherently less sensitive than a condenser, and a tight cardioid pick-up pattern.  This means that it will focus mostly on the sounds taking place directly in front of it and in a close pattern around its sides. If you’re typing loudly or rapping on your desk, it will still pick that up, but the amount of outside noise that makes it s way into your steam will be much less.

Have a listen for yourself in the sample above.

Final Thoughts

The Shure SM7dB is a fantastic microphone. It offers every feature people loved about the original and adds a preamp to it so you won’t need to buy any extra hardware to get it to work. It’s not cheap but it is a professional tool, offering a level of quality and classic, signature tone that’s carried all manner of creators for more than two decades.  And compared to picking up a Cloudlifter separately, it still manages to save you both time and money. The SM7dB is outstanding in every way, I just which it were cheaper so more creators could try it for themselves. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.

9.5 Amazing
  • Classic SM7B sound
  • Powerful, low noise boost
  • More affordable and easier to use than buying a Cloudlifter separately
  • Excellent build quality
  • Onboard EQ
  • Expensive


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight