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SM7B vs. SM7dB: Choosing the Best Broadcast Mic for Your Needs
Episode 2723rd October 2023 • Podcasting Resources Guide • Juergen Berkessel
00:00:00 00:09:13

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In today's episode, we'll cover the introduction of the Shure SM7dB XLR, a new microphone with a built-in preamp delivering clean gain. This microphone is based on the iconic status and rich sound quality of the original Shure SM7B favored by professionals worldwide like Joe Rogan and Michael Jackson. So what are the differences? Let's find out...

  • 00:00:43 - Introducing the new Sure SM7dB ()
  • 00:02:49 - An "Iconic" Microphone? ()
  • 00:05:16 - Use Cases for Built In Pre-Amps ()


Welcome to the Podcasting Resources Guide, the companion podcast to our popular app. In this podcast, we take a deeper dive into our reviews and offer our insights on the latest podcasting platforms, tools, and techniques. In today's episode, we'll cover the introduction of the Shure SM7dB XLR, a new microphone with a built-in preamp delivering clean gain. This microphone is based on the iconic status and rich sound quality of the original Shure SM7B favored by professionals worldwide like Joe Rogan and Michael Jackson. So what are the differences? Let's find out...

Can you believe how quickly time flies? It feels like just yesterday we were talking about microphones, and now it's been ages! But fear not, because today we have something extra special to chat about. Get ready to turn up those voices and lean in closer as we introduce you to the star of the show: the Shure SM7dB XLR!

As the podcasting world continues to expand, we're constantly introduced to exciting new gear that leaves us giddy with audio excitement. And the Shure SM7dB XLR is no exception, my friends. This microphone is stepping up to the mic (pun intended!) and delivering a performance that deserves a standing ovation.

Now, if you're familiar with the world of audio brands, you've likely heard of Shure. They've been perfecting sound for years, and their microphones are practically celebrities in the studio realm. Today, we're taking a deep dive into their latest creation, the Shure SM7dB, which is an innovative upgrade to the iconic SM7B.

Speaking of innovation, the SM7dB brings its A-game to the party. It features a built-in preamp, giving you up to +28 dB of clean gain.

So, what does this mean for you, dear podcasters? Well, it means that this microphone is ready to capture your voice in all its warm and crystal-clear glory, without the need for any additional devices or booster seats. It's like reaching that top shelf of supreme sound quality with ease. And the best part? It's high end, and priced at 499 dollars... To take the sting out of that think of it as roughly equivalent to 100 cups of that fancy artisan coffee we all love.

Now, hold onto your headphones because there's plenty more to unpack about this exciting new microphone from Shure. But we'll save the juicy details for later, so make sure you stay tuned! And hey, if you're thinking, "Not another episode about podcasting microphones," well, we can't blame you. With technology advancing at warp speed, it's no wonder we're spoiled for choice.

So, let's jump in and discover why the Shure SM7dB deserves a spot in your podcasting arsenal.

Why is the Shure SM7B considered an "iconic" microphone? Well, let's dive into its history and status in the audio world. The Shure SM7B is not just any microphone; it's a legend. This microphone has earned its revered status through years of delivering rich, broadcast-quality sound and its durability that withstands the test of time.

You see, the SM7B has graced the studios of countless music legends and podcasting heavyweights. It has been the go-to choice for professionals all over the globe. Its reputation precedes it, and for good reason.

The 'B' in the name represents the second iteration of the SM7 model. But what about the 'dB' in the Shure SM7dB? Well, that's a nod to its sibling model's most defining update, the built-in preamp. This preamp provides a smooth +28 dB of gain, enhancing the microphone's already exceptional sound quality with a more powerful output signal.

When it comes to celebrities who've chosen the Shure SM7B, the list is impressive. Take Joe Rogan and Marc Maron, for example. These podcasting titans have recognized the SM7B's capabilities and use it to capture their compelling conversations. And let's not forget the late music icon Michael Jackson, who recorded his hit album 'Thriller' with an SM7. It's clear that the SM7B has been a favorite among stars in the industry.

However, it's essential to note that while sharing a mic choice with the stars may be cool, that alone is not enough reason to get one. The Shure SM7B has earned its iconic status through its superior sound quality, durability, and versatility. If there were a Hall of Fame for microphones, you can bet the SM7B - and now the SM7dB - would be celebrated inductees.

So, what sets the new Shure SM7dB apart from its predecessor? The true distinguishing feature lies in its new high-quality built-in preamp. This addition addresses the primary complaint about the original model – not having a strong enough output signal. With the new preamp, the SM7dB delivers an impressive gain lift.

The SM7dB pays homage to its legendary sibling, the SM7B, which has become an icon in the audio world. And by incorporating a built-in preamp, Shure has taken a great microphone and made it more powerful for certain applications.

Shure took everything we loved about the SM7B and added this one modification. The in-built preamp can boost the output signal by a whopping +28 dB. This is great for users who require additional gain and clean audio capture without the need for external amplification.

You might be wondering why this addition of a pre-amp matters. Well, the added gain provided by the integrated preamp means that you require less from your interface. This makes the SM7dB more compatible with a variety of setups, whether you're using a high-patterned mixer or a simple USB interface.

Think about live streamers and webcasters on the move. Carrying a bulky mixer with powerful enough preamps can be cumbersome, but with the SM7dB, they can still achieve a powerful sound without needing to lug around additional components. Its performance, combined with its flexibility, makes it an ideal tool for podcasters recording in different environments where the available preamps may not provide sufficient gain.

Now, is the SM7dB the ultimate travel setup? Maybe not, but it doesn't compromise on the quality that the SM7B is known for. It preserves that gorgeously smooth and natural tone, offers optimum rejection of background noise, and has a customizable frequency response for detailed audio capture. Audio purists will be pleased to know that the preamp can be bypassed, giving you the option to attain the raw, visceral sound that the SM7B is loved for.

But let's remember that while the significant dose of gain is a fantastic feature that will suit many podcasters, it may not be necessary for everybody. If you're already using a robust mixer interface like the Rodecaster Pro, which provides ample gain for microphones, you might not require the extra boost that the SM7dB has to offer. In those cases, the original SM7B can still be a reliable companion.

So how do you decide if you really need this new version versus the original? When should you go for the SM7dB instead of the classic SM7B? Well, it all depends on your specific needs. If you already have a high-end interface or a mixing board that provides plenty of gain for a single mic, then the SM7B may be the way to go. On the other hand, the SM7dB really shines for folks without complex audio rigs or for portable recording kits.

For streamers, podcasters, and amateur recordists who've always wanted that sweet SM7 sound but don't need the complexity, the SM7dB solves it all. You won't need any extra boxes or expensive preamps anymore.

And if you're comparing costs, the SM7dB can actually save you some cash. Buying an SM7B and adding a Cloudlifter or Fethead preamp can add up fast. With the SM7dB, for just around 100 dollars more than the SM7B alone, you get that pristine broadcast vocal sound right out of the box.

So the SM7dB is a great option for those who want the podcasting friendliness and a built-in preamp. The SM7dB has a cardioid polar pattern, which helps to minimize background noise and focus on the sound source directly in front of the microphone. It also has an internal shock mount and pop filter to reduce handling noise and plosive sounds. If you need USB connectivity direct to a computer or mobile device, consider Sure's MVX2U USB Converter, which allows you to connect the SM7dB to a computer via USB for easy recording and streaming. So consider this combo if you're looking for a microphone that offers a powerful sound without the need for extra gear.

Thank you for tuning in to the Podcasting Resources Guide, where we explore the latest podcasting platforms, tools, and techniques - don't forget to subscribe and catch us on our next episode!



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