Using the many accessories and controls on the Shure SM7B allows you to adjust your sound to get the best quality.
The Shure SM7B is a cardioid studio microphone designed to produce quality sound through its dynamic pickup. (In fact, the Shure SM7B is included in our list of best dynamic microphones.) In order to capture the best quality sound for a podcast, you want to be within 3 to 6 inches of the microphone and with the microphone off axis from the direction of your mouth. You want to do this to reduce the plosive “P” sounds captured as you talk. Instead of directly talking into the microphone, this will help you talk past the microphone, to the side of the front of it. For recording instruments or vocals for instruments, you want to be as far as 2 to 12 inches away. The microphone is directional which means it captures sound from the front and rejects sound from the rear, so you need to be in front of it.
How close should I be to the Shure SM7B?
Depending on whether you keep the windscreen on or the pop filter, you will want to be within 3 to 6 inches of the mic. Get as close to two inches from the Shure SM7B with the windscreen on to take advantage of the proximity effect, which will boost the low end of your voice, giving it a clearer, warmer bass sound. When you use an external pop filter, you can get farther away from the microphone to about as much as six inches.
How do I get the best sound out of my Shure SM7B?
The Shure SM7B includes many features on the microphone that allows you to test and adjust each of the settings to make sure you get the sound you want. Set the gain control so that you hit about -18 dB. This is an appropriate range if you plan on boosting the gain in post-production. If you don’t think you will be editing the sound, you can set the gain so that it hits about -3 dB to -6 dB when you’re talking. If you do get loud, you will want to move farther from the microphone so it doesn’t distort and clip the sound your voice is making.
Use the thinner windscreen to get a brighter sound and the thicker windscreen if you make too many plosive sounds. The low cut filter switch on the back of the microphone can be switched on to reduce muddiness; however, this can take away from the warmth of the sound. The presence boost switch helps to make words sound clearer.
Check out our other post on how to set up Shure SM7B to learn more.
Shure SM7B Review
The Shure SM7B is a favorite among music industry professionals, but it is pricey. If you are recording in a loud area or if you need professional quality sound, it may be worth it to spend the extra cash. Different microphones produce lower and higher quality recordings. The Shure SM7B captures louder ambient noise well. It has a cardioid polar pattern that helps to reduce and reject unwanted noises. But if you are recording in a relatively quiet space, it might not be worth the money for your project to purchase more expensive gear like the Shure SM7B.
The Shure SM7B is a popular microphone that has built in features to ensure you get the best sound when you record (in fact, the Shure SM7B is included in our list of best gifts for podcasters.)
Adjust the settings on the switches and controls on the microphone to see what produces the sound, and use the provided windscreens and pop filters to check how each distorts and improves sound. As a rule of thumb, you want to stay within 3 to 6 inches when recording a podcast and 2 to 12 inches when recording music or singing. For further reading, check out our guide on Does Shure SM7B need phantom power?