Which is Better: SM7B vs AT4040?

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The Shure SM7B and the Audio Technica AT4040 are both high quality microphones. While the SM7B is a dynamic mic, the AT4040 is a condenser mic; this means that the SM7B is able to record loud sounds better than the condenser mic, while the AT4040, because it is a condenser, captures quieter sounds. For this reason, the SM7B is a better microphone for loud, live instruments, while the AT4040 is better for studio sound and podcasting. Check out our guide to find the best microphones for recording in podcasting.

You may also be interested in our comparison between the Shure SM7B and the Rode PodMic. We have also compared the Audio Technica AT2035 vs Rode NT1 in this other article.

Is the Shure SM7B worth it?

A favorite among the music industry, the Shure SM7B is popular but pricey. The Shure SM7B is only worth the high price tag when faced with the following factors: are you recording in a loud space and if you’re a professional. If you have been in the recording game for a while, you know that different microphones produce higher and lower quality sounds. With the Shure SM7B, louder, more ambient noise is captured very well. Its cardioid polar pattern helps it to reduce unwanted sound and reject noises that you don’t want. But if you are in a relatively quiet environment, it may not be worth it for your project to purchase such expensive gear.

Is there a difference between Shure SM7 and SM7B?

Choosing which mic is better between the SM7B and the AT4040 has everything to do with what you’re using the mics for. Image source.

The Shure SM7 was introduced in 1973 as a unidirectional dynamic microphone. Over the years, Shure has improved upon the first iteration, SM7, and added more features, including the humbucking coil which helped reduce noise that computer monitors put out. It also improved upon the microphone mount that came with every product. Additionally, the SM7B is an improvement upon the SM7 and those that came before it with a foam windscreen that is significantly larger. This helps prevent unwanted sounds like wind or breath to be captured by the microphone.

Which is Better: AT4040 vs. AT2020?

Both the Audio Technica AT4040 and AT2020 are high quality cardioid condenser microphones. The AT4040 came after the AT2020 and is considered an upgrade, and appears to definitely improve upon the original.  The 4040 has features that are not included with the 2020, including a low cut filter and a -10dB pad, has less interference, and a shock-mount, dust cover, and carry case. The overall audio quality of the AT4040 over the AT2020 is clearly better once you put it to the test. Another option to check out is the Audio Technica AT2035.

Summary

Choosing the right microphone for the job is important, whether you’re producing music or a podcast. The SM7B is a dynamic microphone that will produce better sound when you record loud, ambient noise, and the AT4040 is great at capturing more subtle noises recorded in a quieter space. Both microphones are great quality, though the AT4040 is much less expensive.