Shure SM7B microphone, voice-over microphone

 
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Shure SM7B

The Model SM7B is a large diaphragm dynamic microphone with a smooth, flat, frequency response designed primarily for speech and particularly voice-over work where it has become the industry standard. Its distinctive design comes from the construction of its internal capsule mounting and built in pop shield and if imitation is the the sincerest form of flattery then even Neumann have taken the SM7's principle design ideas in the production of their new voice-over microphone the BCM 104. In addition to its standard windscreen, the SM7 also includes an even better windscreen for close-talk applications making the whole thing virtually immune to popping.The mic has two different tone settings switchable from the back of the body to tailor the sound for a wide variety of presenters and while the low end roll off is common on a lot of pro mics, the switchable presence boost makes it a very flexible option for voice work.

Recording

I bought a Sure SM7B because all the reviews said that it was brilliant at what it did. It's a large diaphragm dynamic mic that can out perform a condenser microphone in the application areas for which it was designed, as a voiceover microphone, for narration and radio work. Its been engineered to make it virtually impossible to pop and it has a really nice smooth sound with a controlable proximity effect that you can really work to your advantage. I know some engineers use it for kick drums and toms but when I've tried it I didn't rate it compared to the other large diaphragm dynamic, the Sennheiser 421. However it does exactly what it says on the tin so use it for a voice over microphone and it will get you a sound every time. For some applications the SM7 is just an easier option than a condenser because placement is less critical and there's no explosive breath sounds, no sibilance issues and of course being a dynamic, no phantom power is required. It has virtually no handling noise and I have recorded rock songs with the singer holding it like a 58. You can scream into this mic and it will laugh at you. Infact with a supposed handling figure of 180 db spl, theoretically the SM7B can handle any noise level you could produce in the studio. The Krakatoa volcano eruption in 1883 was so loud that it cracked one foot thick concrete 300 miles away, created a 3000 foot tidal wave and was heard 3100 miles away, and scientists calculated the spl to be around 180db so the Shure is one hardcore mic!

They do seem to be pretty expensive over here in the UK especially compared to the raft of cheap condenser mics on the market but it's dead solid, reliable and built to last forever so if you really are doing a lot of voice work its a great choice. Its surprisingly crisp and clean sounding for a dynamic mic helped by the switchable bass roll off which starts around 300hz and is almost 10db down by 50hz. Added to this is the typical shure presence lift and with both switches in its almost impossible to get a muddy voice over.
For some singers it's perfect and of course the engineer Bruce Swedien used the SM7 as the vocal microphone on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. I've also heard that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have used the SM 7 on vocals on every album they have done and you can see James Hetfield from Metallica singing into a Shure SM 7 on the "Some Kind Of Monster" DVD.


 
 
 
 
Microphones and recording 2008. Shure SM7B microphone