Ask any younger sibling what it was like to have a big brother or sister, and they’ll likely reference difficulties they had following in their older sibling’s footsteps. Living up to others’ expectations is a hard thing to do, and an even harder thing to do gracefully, but the Shure MV7 lives up to the SM7B microphone’s precedent. The compact MV7 mic looks much like its elder, the Shure SM7B, but with a twist: the MV7 is a USB/XLR hybrid microphone. This dual output system simplifies the recording process and makes backup audio files compulsory.
The Shure MV7 is a great tool that captures excellent audio in any situation. Let’s see if it’s worthy of a spot on your mantle.
Editor’s note: this Shure MV7 review was updated on April 26, 2021, to update the scoring with the results of our audience poll.
Who should get the Shure MV7?
- Podcasters should get this cardioid microphone because it can be used as a USB or XLR mic—you can even use both outputs simultaneously. The metal housing is durable, just like the SM7B before it, and can endure all the bumps associated with travel.
- Gamers will appreciate this Teamspeak and MFI-certified microphone for how it simplifies the streaming process.
- YouTubers should consider this microphone for in-studio videos. Its sound quality is superb, and it can even make automatic adjustments to the sound as you move toward and away from the mic.
What is it like to use the Shure MV7?
The Shure MV7 is an approachable microphone that lacks buttons and switches; instead, Shure outfitted the mic with a touch panel decorated by a row of LED lights to indicate the gain level. The panel also includes a mic mute toggle for on-the-fly changes. On the back of the body, you’ll find an XLR, microUSB, and headphone jack output. It features other, more premium comforts found on the SM7B like adjustable frequency responses—though, with the MV7 you must download the ShurePlus MOTIV app, whereas it’s integrated as hardware switches on the SM7B.
See also: Shure SM7B review
The touch panel looks cool, albeit a little out of place on this classic microphone design, but I found it less effective than standard knobs, dials, and switches. It’s hard to make volume adjustments when speaking because doing so requires two hands—one to hold the mic and the other to slide along the touch panel. Although the process isn’t laborious, the problem lies in how touching the mic introduces unwanted noise into the recording. If you need to adjust your gain, be sure that your mic stops moving before you start recording again.
The all-metal chassis appears impervious to scuffs, and it protects internal components like the recording capsule and internal shock mount. You may adjust the metal yoke’s clamping force, or remove it completely.
Can you use the XLR and USB outputs simultaneously?
One of the coolest things about the Shure MV7 microphone is that you can use the XLR and USB outputs at the same time. This isn’t just redundancy for redundancy’s sake—it lets you save both a low-resolution file for reference over USB, and a high-resolution file for post-production over the XLR connection. This is great if you don’t have time to edit an audio file, or if it came out perfectly on the first try. It’s also nice to have as a transcription reference if you’re recording a conversation. Shure includes a USB-A to microUSB cable, and a USB-C to microUSB cable.
Anyone familiar with photography may recognize this dual output setup as something akin to shooting in RAW and JPEG. If you’re working on a time crunch and need to deliver an assignment straight away, the JPEG file is easier to share and manage, but the greater bit-depth RAW file contains more data which affects things like dynamic range.
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Requirements for the Shure MV7
The Shure MV7 comes with everything you need to start recording, however, there are a few extras you may want to pick up in order to make production easier.
- No matter what your environment is like, you’ll need a microphone stand. If you’re working from a desktop, a compact mounted boom arm is easier to manage. You can even get a proprietary desktop mic stand directly from Shure.
- If you want balanced audio, you should invest in an XLR cable to plug into an audio interface. Shure provides microUSB to USB-A and microUSB to USB-C cables, for USB recording though.
- Just like its big brother, the MV7 does not require phantom power. It won’t damage the hardware if you pair it with your CL-1 Cloudlifter preamp though.
How does the ShurePlus MOTIV app work?
Unlike the Shure SM7B, you must download the ShurePlus MOTIV app to get the most out of the Shure MV7 USB mic. At first, this may seem like a nuisance, but its utility opens up a lot of possibilities from basic recording modes to easier mic sharing. The app also makes it easy to reference the manual, and the only way to receive firmware updates.
Auto level mode
If you don’t have the time to deal with manual settings, you can rely on Shure’s auto mode to do all of the heavy lifting. Your options are more limited in auto mode, but the tools are very powerful. The mic position toggle is my favorite control, because it optimizes the settings depending on your proximity to the microphone. You can have the mic out-of-frame, and set it to far, or keep it in-frame and set it to near—either way, you’re rewarded with a clear product.
The Shure MV7 can capture a perfect recording in an imperfect room.
You can also adjust the frequency response of the microphone with three presets tilted Dark, Natural, and Bright (more on those later). Other options include basic controls like a mic mute toggle and a monitor mix slider. The latter lets you increase or decrease the loudness of your voice through your headphones. If you fancy yourself more of a pro, click on over to the manual side.
The four different EQ profiles harken back to the hardware switches found on the SM7B, but instead of just three options, the MV7 gives you four. Low-voiced speakers who like to lean into the mic will get plenty of use from the high pass and presence boost preset. A limiter toggle sits below the EQ settings; you can enable it to reduce audio clipping.
At the very bottom of the app window is the compressor slider, and you have one of four options: off, light, medium, and heavy. When you increase the compressor effect, you reduce the dynamic range (difference between the loudest and quietest sounds) of the recording. This is a clever tool for spoken word content, but you may want to hold off on using it for singing—at least until you open your DAW for post-production. There’s also a limiter toggle, which is still a means of dynamic processing but with a much greater compression ratio.
You can save the presets within the app, which makes it easy to cycle through a commonly used setting. You can lock the touch panel, so it doesn’t register any touches and reconfigure the settings. A dedicated DSP inside the mic remembers the app settings between devices—switching from your PC to your PlayStation 4 doesn’t impact the settings. You can even ship the microphone off to someone else, and when they plug it in, all of the settings will be saved. It can only be unlocked manually from the mic with a convoluted string of gestures.
What pickup pattern does the Shure MV7 have?
The Shure MV7 houses a dynamic recording cartridge with a cardioid pickup pattern, which rests atop a shock mount. Dynamic microphones can take a little bit of abuse without incurring any internal damage, and they’re less sensitive than their condenser counterparts.
The Shure MV7 doesn’t require a preamp, or any kind of hardware interface, to function over USB. It’s also less prone to audio clipping and signal distortion from loud outputs (e.g., you’re recording a podcast and enter a loud fit of laughter). But if you want to make sure you get the most out of it, an interface is a good companion if you’re going to be recording over XLR.
Just like the SM7B before it, the Shure MV7 affords just a single cardioid pickup pattern. The generalist may shy away from this single polar pattern, but it’s incredibly popular among consumer microphones for its forgiving nature. You can place the mic anywhere (within reason), and it will effectively capture your voice while it rejects off-axis sounds.
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How does the Shure MV7 sound?
No matter your level of expertise, the Shure MV7 will produce a clear recording, so long as you avoid common recording problems. There are plenty of frequency responses to choose from, which is great if you have a specific sound in mind.
When you record in manual mode, you have four EQ options: flat, high pass, presence boost, and high pass presence boost. The differences between the four manual EQ presets are less dramatic than the differences between the three auto level presets. Take a few moments to examine the voice band frequency response charts, and listen to each demo below. All you really need to know is that the flat EQ produces the most accurate audio, and grants the greatest flexibility during post-production.
Shure MV7 (flat) microphone demo:
Shure MV7 (high pass) microphone demo:
Shure MV7 (presence boost) microphone demo:
Shure MV7 (high pass and presence boost) microphone demo:
If you record in auto level mode, you’re afforded three sound profiles: Dark, Natural, and Bright. Dark boosts bass notes, while Bright, according to a Shure representative, is endearingly referred to as the NPR tone. The natural sound setting does little to affect how one’s voice sounds, but bass notes are slightly de-emphasis to combat the proximity effect. I prefer the natural preset with the mic proximity toggled to “Near,” because it yields the most accurate response for my voice.
Shure MV7 (Dark) microphone demo:
Shure MV7 (Natural) microphone demo:
Shure MV7 (Bright) microphone demo:
As of April 26, 2021, 337 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “good” and “perfect.” This is at the upper end of what you should expect to get out of any products of this type.
What’s the difference between the Shure MV7 and Shure SM7b?
The Shure MV7 takes plenty of features from the SM7B and compacts them into a more portable, adaptable solution. Both microphones house a dynamic recording cartridge and afford just one polar pattern (cardioid), but the parts are different. The SM7B is larger than the MV7, and this plays to its advantage because it has room for better cartridge and shock mount components. The SM7B has a much more accurate bass response than the MV7, again an advantage of its size.
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While the Shure MV7 is a stellar microphone, the SM7B is more suited for applications beyond the human voice. It’s been used time and time again to record guitar cabs and drums, while the Shure MV7 is mainly for vocal recordings. Shure’s microphones all have a surprising heft to them, a consequence of durable construction.
If you feel at home customizing sound settings, you’ll appreciate the Shure MV7 software. The Shure SM7B doesn’t have a near or far mode, nor does it let you adjust the microphone gain.
Those who shirk away at the idea of software-enabled products will appreciate the analog nature of the Shure SM7B. Although you can’t tweak it exactly to your liking, you can rest easy knowing that its complete utility isn’t dependent on software.
Should you buy the Shure MV7?
The Shure MV7 hybrid microphone is a stellar performer, and can handle nearly any situation thrown at it. Budding podcasters and professionals alike will find it much easier to accept the cost of the MV7 over the SM7B. Not only can you record from your desk, you can even stick it onto a boom pole and hang it above someone’s head during video interviews. Whether you’re the constant collaborator or a lone wolf when it comes to production, the Shure MV7 deserves a spot on your desk.
Next: Shure SM58 review
Frequently Asked Questions
It really depends on 2 things: How reverberant is your space and how much ambient noise is there? The further the microphone is from the source (you) the worse these issues will be for the sound captured. If your space is super quiet and acoustically treated, then you would have no issues placing the mic further away from you and setting the gain accordingly. If not, you can either try a clip on lapel (lavalier) type microphone, or use a shotgun mic attached to the camera rig pointing directly at you.