Shure MV7 Review: Dynamic USB/XLR Podcast Microphone

I am super excited to bring you a review of this brand new microphone. This is the Shure MV7. It's been inspired by the iconic Shure SM7B. That's the broadcast mic you see everywhere in radio stations. It's the one used by thousands of podcasters, gamers, streamers, and voiceover artists. So what's the big deal? Well, this MV7 mic has some of the elements which make the Shure SM7B so popular, but adds a new twist because it combines an XLR output with a USB output. So you can connect this mic directly to your Mac, your PC, your Android phone, or your iPad or iPhone. It's also got a headphone output so you can monitor your recordings directly through the mic. You don't need any other equipment to record with it. And that makes it so much more affordable, accessible and dead, easy to use. It's just been launched. Obviously at this price point, it's not simply a USB version of the SM7B, but you can see that Shure is aiming this at a whole bunch of people who want a dynamic broadcast mic like the SM7B, but it's way above their price point or it's just too technical to set up and use. This is a much more entry-level product. 

Okay, let's crack on and see what you can do with the Shure MV7. So if we start with what's in the box, you get the microphone obviously, and it feels really solid. It has a robust metal casing and large windscreen. It's on a yoke again made of sturdy metal, and that fits to a microphone stand. You can also fit it onto an overhead boom stand if you have one of those. Either way you'll obviously need some kind of microphone stand with it. The yoke has a standard screw thread and there is also an adaptor should you need it for your stand? If I just pull off the windscreen I can see what the mic looks like underneath. It does feel very solid and well-built. You also get a quick start guide and two cables, a USB-C cable and a standard USB-A cable. Both are three meters in length which is an improvement on the one meter cables that ship with the other Shure mics I've tried.

 A couple of things to say on the cables. I've seen a few gasps of dismay that even though this microphone comes with a USB-C cable, the USB port on the mic is an old school micro USB. And it's also worth saying something here about the compatibility of this microphone. If you want to use the MV7 with any iOS device that has a lightning port, so your iPhone or your Lightning iPad, you will need to buy the Lightning Cable as a separate accessory as there is not one in the box. I happened to have one. So I tested it with my Lightning iPad and it worked really well. I also tried connecting my iPad using the USB lead and a USB adapter. And although the mic worked as an external mic, the Shure MOTIV App wouldn't recognize it, and so I couldn't access all the extra functionality of the app. And as you'll see shortly, the app is really important when you're using this in USB mode. 

Another thing to note here while talking about compatibility, the USB-C lead worked brilliantly on my windows laptop and also on my Android phone. However, if you check on the Shure site, the MV7 is not compatible with USB-C iPads. So if you're new to different microphone types, this is a cardioid-dynamic mic which means it's very directional and also not too sensitive. So you can speak close to it like this and you'll find that if you go further and further away then it's picking up less and less of your voice, okay? If I come back up close plus turn it to one side, speaking to it like that, or I turn it right round and speak to the back of it, that is very forgiving. So if you had a condenser mic it would be much more sensitive. It picks up much more of the ambient sound in the room and any background noise. This is much more focused on what is right in front of it which makes it a much easier mic to use in a variety of different spaces. I'm recording it via the USB output directly onto my Macbook. And at the same time I'm taking an XLR feed into my Zoom Portable Recorder.This microphone has been very much optimized for vocal use i.e. for podcasting, gaming, voiceovers and also for singing. Unlike the Shure SM7B which can be used on a much wider range of applications like recording guitar, cabs, drums, wrapping, rock, vocals such sort of thing. So very much a vocal mic. 

You can adjust the levels of the headphone port and the microphone gain directly on the mic. You toggle between the two levels here. There's green dots for microphone gain, orange dots for headphone volume. If you hold for two seconds, you can access the monitor mix which allows you to decide how much computer playback and how much direct monitoring of the microphone you hear through the headphones. There's also a button to mute the mic which is really useful, is once you have this connected you'll probably use it as your computer audio output, and so you won't want the mic picking up your voice all the time when he just wants to listen to stuff, or you may wish to mute on and off while you're creating a podcast or back chatting to someone while streaming. Now, if you hold the mute button in, you'll also exit the auto level mode and revert back to manual mode. In USB mode, it's a plug and play device. I just plugged it into a USB port on my MacBook, selected it as the recording device and boom, it was ready to go. It also plugged and played seamlessly via USB-C to my Android phone and to my windows laptop, and with the optional Lightning Cable to my iPad. Now to get the most from the MV7 in USB mode, you do need to download the Shure MOTIV Software. There's a desktop utility available for Mac and PC. And there's also an iOS and an Android app. The app on Android and iOS has exactly the same functionality but it also has a built-in recording function. So I've mentioned the app a lot, let's examine what it does. 

So here we have the ShurePlus MOTIV App set up side-by-side with my recording software where I'm recording the signal as I speak. So at the moment I have got this microphone on manual settings. And in the manual setting you have a little bit more control over the individual aspects of the microphone. So what you can do within the manual mode is you can choose to mute the mic. Then you have got manual control over the gain on the mic. So you can turn it right down or you can turn it right up. But I found that at 30 DB, it's about right. We've got control over the monitor mix that we looked at on the mic. So you can control whether you entirely hear direct monitoring of the mic and no computer playback, or 100% computer playback. Then you can control the EQ. You've got four presets. You've got the neutral EQ which I've got set at the moment. You can choose this one which is a bit of a high pass builder. So that will take out some of the lower end of your voice. You've then got a presence boost, which will boost some of the mid tones of your voice, but otherwise quite neutral. And then you have got a combination of the high pass and the presence boost there. So that attenuates the lower frequencies and boosts the mid-level. 

So if I go back to the neutral EQ. You've also got a limiter. Now this is a post-conversion digital limiter. So it's not really working the same as an analog limiter would do, but it will attenuate your signal a bit if you shout at the mic or there are sudden noises. So that's what the limiter would do. If you turn it off and then shout it again you might hear a difference. Also there is a limiter. You can turn the compression off completely or you can apply a bit of light compression. The more compression that you apply, the louder the overall signal will be. When you're on auto level, you no longer have any control yourself over the gain of the mic. So if you look at the microphone the alternate LEDs are lit to show you that it's in that state. So auto level, you don't manually adjust the gain on the mic. And then you have still got control to mute the mic. You also have a choice between two settings for microphone position.And if you want the mic to be a bit further away from you like this, then put it on the far setting and it will immediately boost the signal on the mic to allow for that. So you can have two different kinds of positioning for the mic. So moving back to near, and then finally you have three tone settings. You could choose to have a darker tone where it would bring out the depth of your voice like this. Or you could go for a bright radio-level tone like this where it accentuates the presence in your voice and takes out some of that load signal. So let's go back to the natural and that is all the things you can do in the app. 

One more thing, if you have been using the auto level and you haven't actually got the app going in front of you, you've just got the mic going and you want to change so that you can have access to the gain controls of the mic, then remember that you can hold in the mic mute button which is this one here. And if I hold that in for a couple of seconds, it switches to manual mode, as you would just have seen on the software. And once you've done that, you then have control of the gain of the mic actually on the mic itself which might be quite useful, but that is a one-way ticket. Once you have pressed the mute button in and switched to manual mode you can't then press it again to go back to auto-level mode. It will remain in manual mode but you'll remain having control over the mic gain.

Okay, now perhaps it's time to talk about the XLR output. This is such a good feature on this microphone and it's what makes it really versatile. Now you might just start out using the MV7 as a USB mic, but if you ever wanted to upgrade your setup then you could use it with an audio interface or with any gear like this portable recorder that has an XLR microphone input. It's also fantastic that you can make a USB recording on your computer and at the same time make a backup recording. But bear in mind that all the USB functionality that we just looked at, the touch panel LED controls on the mic, the various DSP settings in the MOTIV App do not apply when you're recording via an XLR mic cable. This is the setup you'd use more if you wanted to record the microphone into a door or other recording devices and then do post-processing on the recording. But having that XLR output gives you the ability to use this in so many more settings than if it were just a USB mic. So it's a really nice feature. Well, we, the ability to alter the tone of the microphone, it's perfect for live streaming and vocal applications.

And don't forget, MV7 also a great microphone for singing, especially if you want to record vocal tracks in less than ideal spaces as the MV7 is a dynamic mic, it's directional and does not pick up background noise. So it's a much easier mic to use than a condenser where you need to think much more about acoustic treatment of your recording space. Because it is so easy to set up and to adjust the sound in the app and get something that sounds so nice out of the box, it's an excellent microphone for beginners. And with that jewel format, it won't hold you back as you get more experienced, you can use it as a USB mic right now, but future proof yourself if you then want to get an audio interface. The fact that you can use it on so many devices without any other equipment makes it really portable and versatile, and it is super affordable for that purpose.

Thinking about a few of the downsides, I would not buy this mic necessarily if you're purely going to use it as an XLR mic. If you already have an audio interface setup and you're looking for a good XLR microphone you'd probably get more for your money at this price point. The real beauty of this mic is the versatility and portability, and also that it is so easy to use for a first time setup. And the XLR functionality is excellent to use either as a backup recording and it does mean that as your studio setup grows this microphone will grow with you. A couple of other negatives, the micro USB port on the mic either a full-size USB or a USB-C would have been a bit better. And then there is the lack of compatibility with USB-C iPads and the need to buy a lightening cable for your iOS devices on top of the mic. And just one more thing to note, you do have to be careful about knocking the stand (knocking) because it does pick up knocks and bumps. So watch out for that. 

However, my overall verdict is I really like this microphone and would definitely recommend it. I've tested and reviewed loads of USB mics.The Shure MV7 is standing on the shoulder of giants and it does not disappoint. I do like the way my voice sounds through it. So I will continue using it in future. Thank you so much for reading. Hope it was useful for you.

Shure MV7

USB Podcast Microphone for Podcasting, Recording, Live Streaming & Gaming, Built-In Headphone Output, All Metal USB/XLR Dynamic Mic

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