Shure has an enviable pedigree in the world of professional audio, with many podcasters and radio pros swearing by their products. However, for those starting out in podcasting or game streaming, getting set up with one of their top-end mics, such as the legendary SM7B, can be off-putting and often quite pricey. In addition to the microphone itself, at the very least you need to invest in a USB interface with XLR inputs, which can easily raise the overall cost to £400 or more.
This is where a microphone like the Shure MV7 comes in. It’s not quite a match for the SM7B when it comes to sound quality, despite the similar appearance; however its USB connectivity makes it far easier to get started with and its sound quality is extremely good.
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Shure MV7 review: What do you get for the money?
Despite being cheaper than an SM7B, the Shure MV7 is far from cheap. You can pick one up for £219 at Amazon but the list price is a hefty £259. For this money, you’re not getting an awful lot of extras for your money, either.
In the box is the microphone itself, a pair of 3m cables – one USB-A, one USB-C – and a bracket with a standard 5/8in thread for attaching it to a microphone stand. You’ll have to buy one of those yourself, though, as Shure doesn’t include one as standard.
For the money, build quality is exceptional. The MV7 comes with a rugged, all metal barrel to protect it from knocks and there’s a metal grille to protect the microphone’s dynamic recording cartridge as well, beneath the foam windscreen.
Wrapped around the barrel is a touch-sensitive strip, squeezed between the two bracket attachment points, which allows you to quickly control mic and headphone levels. It can also be locked to prevent accidental level changes.
On the bottom of the MV7 are all the various connections, with a Mini USB port for connecting to your computer, a headphone jack for real-time monitoring and an XLR connector for those who want to integrate the microphone into a more professional level setup.
One of the MV7’s more interesting features is that both the XLR and USB port can be used simultaneously. This means, for example, that you can record a low-resolution file for quick previewing or sharing via USB, while laying down a high resolution file at the same time.
Shure MV7 review: Sound quality
Unlike microphones that use condenser recording cartridges, like the Blue Yeti X, the Shure MV7 is designed to be used exclusively at close range with the microphone directly in front of you.
This limits you to using the microphone for certain applications. It’s fine for podcasting, YouTube streaming and voiceovers but, since there’s no omnidirectional mode, you can’t use it to record a group discussion or a face to face interview.
The plus side is that the microphone is very selective in what it records. It picks up sound from in front of the microphone pretty much exclusively, discarding audio from the sides and the rear of the microphone effectively, and banishing background noise completely.
The Yeti X does have a cardioid mode – alongside a number of other modes, including omnidirectional and stereo – but it still picks up a fair amount of background echo and noise, much more so than the Shure MV7.
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As for the quality of the sound produced by the Shure MV7, that’s excellent. I don’t have a Shure SM7B to compare it with but the consensus among the podcasting cognoscenti is that it’s still a better microphone than the MV7. At this price, however, where it competes directly with microphones like the Blue Yeti X, it rules supreme, producing balanced and rich vocals that are neither too bright nor too dark and with very little background noise.
If you want to have a listen, check out the recent PC Pro podcast, where I made a guest appearance for the Hot Hardware segment. You’ll have to scrub through to 55mins, but this will give you a pretty good idea of what it sounds like with default settings enabled. Note that I’m recording in my garden office, which is, essentially, a wooden box.
Even if you don’t like the default sound profile, you can use the accompanying Shure MotivPlus app (compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS) to tweak the settings to your liking. Adjustments include the usual suspects – gain, EQ, compressor, limiter and monitor mix – however, I found it easier to simply stick with the Auto level mode, which gives you simplified settings based on a shorter list of parameters.
These include the ability to set the microphone to “near” or “far” based on how close you are to the microphone, with the choice to select a preset “Tone” (Dark, Natural or Bright), a toggle for mute and a slider to adjust the monitor mix. You can also use the LEDs on the microphone to indicate your audio levels if you so desire.
Shure MV7 review: What don’t we like
I highlighted this above but for the price, and the market that Shure is aiming the MV7 at, it’s disappointing that there’s no desk stand included. The Blue Yeti X comes with a good quality stand and although the audio quality isn’t on the same level, it’s also much cheaper.
I’m also not a big fan of the way you have to reach around the bracket to access the touch controls. In fact, I found that, invariably, I had to stand up and crane my neck to see what I was doing, or tilt the body of the microphone towards me. That isn’t ideal if you need to make quick adjustments mid recording.
Shure MV7 review: Should you buy it
Those criticisms aside, there’s no doubt that the Shure MV7 is the microphone to buy for podcasters and streamers looking to up their audio game.
Sound quality is fantastic, it’s super-convenient to use and the provision of both USB and XLR connections means it gives you room to grow. It may not quite match the legendary SM7B when it comes to outright audio quality but for most podcasters it’s a brilliant, cost-effective compromise.