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Shure MV7 Review
Shure has created a commendable USB version of the iconic SM7B, without pitting the two against each other. If you have a digital setup and do not intend to record vocals or instruments, the Shure MV7 is the obvious choice. Minor nitpicking aside, the MV7 is virtually flawless as a podcasting mic.
Value For Money
Fantastic vocal reproduction
Built-in headphone output
Simultaneous use of USB & XLR connections
Expanded functionality with the MOTIV app
Windscreen could be better
Really shines for vocals but unremarkable with other instruments
You should consider the Shure MV7 if you find its digital features and USB mode to be useful. Before you go, don’t forget to check out my review of Shure SM7B. Not that the world’s most popular podcast mic needs my endorsement, but you should check it out if you want to get more detail on what makes the SM7B so good.
For now, we’ll explore the Shure MV7 Podcast mic and highlight its key features, strengths, and shortcomings. I’ve thrown in some accessory recommendations and alternatives as well.
The all-metal chassis feels scratch-proof and the build quality is capable of withstanding years of active use. The top panel has a slider/touch panel with an LED row on the top that allows you to access mic gain, headphone volume, mic mute, and monitor mix.
Visually, the MV7 may remind you of a compact version of the SM7B, but these two mics are far from identical. For one, the MV7 is smaller (portable), cheaper, and decidedly easier to setup.
By easy to set up, I mean it becomes a “set and forget” mic once you get the hang of it.
The undercarriage features USB & XLR out and a built-in 3.5mm headphone port for zero-latency, real-time monitoring while recording. The mic ships with a USB-B and USB-C Cable.
The swivel mount design (5/8” thread mount) and included adapter allow you to screw the MV7 into any stand, even those with a smaller thread mount.
It does not need an interface or preamp if you are using it over USB with the Shure Motive app. You will need one if you use the XLR option (or both). The MV7 ships with a 3m (10ft) USB-C to micro-B cable and a 3m standard USB cable.
It has TeamSpeak (VoIP) and Apple MFI (iOS) certification. You can check your device compatibility here.
The Touch Panel
On top, there is a control strip to enable quick changes via touch-sensitive controls and a slider to adjust levels. The touch panel bar includes a ‘Mute button’ to the left and a headphone volume/mic gain to the right. It can be toggled to switch between mic gain (green LED) and headphone volume (orange LED).
Additionally, you can hold down the Mute and Level buttons simultaneously to lock/unlock the control panel. This can prevent any accidental changes to the settings while the mic is in use. These options are only available over USB; you can’t use them if you are using the XLR out.
What Does The Shure MV7 Sound Like?
Shure’s MV7 has a single pickup cardioid pattern with voice isolation technology that discards off-axis sounds and background noise. Application-wise, it is highly versatile and can handle a good amount of abuse.
By that, I mean a burst of abrupt high-pitched laughter. Not slamming it on the floor.
I’ve tested the USB connection using Logic Pro using the ShurePlus Motiv software with a variety of settings. In each instance, I was thoroughly impressed with crisp and clean results.
The sound can vary from natural to compressed to mid-focused while remaining pop-free and even. The recordings with the USB connection have little-to-no background noise.
On the whole, the sound signature is similar to the SM7B, but with less warmth and more brightness, even with the ‘Flat’ mode. Unlike the SM7B’s 6-inch range, Shure MV7 has a “long-distance” mode. This means you can get decent recordings even from up to 18″ away.
The only real let down for me was the bright mode on the App, which seems too raspy for normal uses.
I was keen to test it on vocals and instruments (kick drum and guitar amp). The results, as expected, were somewhat underwhelming.
You can get decent results if it is the only mic you own. The vocals sound reasonably good for most YouTube cover videos or casual recordings. Nonetheless, the “Podcast Mic” description on the packaging clearly indicates that recording instruments isn’t the principal use for the MV7 microphone.
One interesting feature is it lets you use the XLR and USB outputs simultaneously. Let’s say you need transcription references or want to save two versions of your audio – low res (USB mode) and high-res (XLR connection) – during an interview or podcast. Shure’s MV7 microphone allows you to use the XLR and USB outputs simultaneously to get this done.
Shure’s MV7 is a modern hybrid (dual format) dynamic broadcast mic. It is a beginner-friendly USB/XLR dynamic mic that is good for any at-desk or in-studio vocal recording application. It will appeal to anyone who desires what some may call the classic SM7B sound or ‘NPR tone’.
Not Ideal For
Close mic applications
Anyone on a tight budget
Users who don’t need USB (only XLR)
YouTube content creators
Users who want something better than the SM7B
Any condenser or Omni recording applications
Recording guitar amps or other instruments
Overall, I recommend the MV7 if a) you intend to use the USB connection often or exclusively, b) you have little-to-no recording experience, and c) as a plug-and-play podcast microphone.
The ShurePlus MOTIV App: It’s brilliant!
The MOTIV app is really where it’s at when it comes to ease-of-use. The free desktop + mobile app opens up a whole new world of mic sharing with a handful of helpful features for every podcaster.
The Motive software features a Manual and Auto level mode. The Manual mode has the usual fare of mic gain, monitor mix, EQ, limiter, and compressor to optimize your input. You need to play around with it a little to figure out the optimal settings for your voice, though.
You can save your favorite settings within the app and cycle through them as needed.
However, if you don’t have the time (or patience), the Auto mode is simpler and does everything for you reasonably well enough. The main features of the app on Auto mode are as follows:
Microphone Mute On/Off
Monitor Mix (Slider)
Mic Position: Far and Near toggle to optimize placement based on proximity
Tone: Dark, Natural or Bright (Adjusts frequency response)
You don’t need to use the Shure Motiv app if you plan to run it through USB or XLR output into your audio interface. In that case, any DAW like Logic Pro or Audacity will suffice.
What I Did Not Like
The extra cash for the tripod or mic stand ($20) should be included for a true representation of the value-to-cost ratio. Nearly all USB mics in the current market are shipped with a stand of some sort. It’s not like you can use one without a stand anyway.
I was also not keen on the mic yoke design. You have to twist the mic or mic stand to get it to sit on a desktop stand. The yoke is only compatible with 5/8″ connectors. You need an adapter to connect to a boom arm (with 3/8″ connector).
I’ll admit that the adapter is provided in the box. However, other mics (including the SM7B) have an inner, built-in groove for this purpose, eliminating the need for an adapter. I’m not sure why Shure decided to withhold that from the MV7 design.
Lastly, unless you have an unusually dull voice, the ‘Bright’ mode on the Shure Motiv app is too harsh for any real use. It sounds overwhelming and pumps up the plosives. You can EQ it to make it work, but it would be more constructive to make a manual preset for a similar tone.
Summary: Is The Shure MV7 Worth It?
Whether you are a budding content creator or new to podcasting, the Shure MV7 will give you a professional edge that you can’t expect from other mics in the same price range. It is a tad brighter and lacks the storied history of the SM7B, but as a USB take on the classic, it’s certainly worth a spot on your desk.
If you are a long time Shure SM7B user and want the convenience of USB and the versatility of the MOTIV app, you will be very pleased with the Shure MV7.
As of now, there is no contender in the market that can pose a worthy challenge to the Shure MV7. Some affordable options include the Rode PodMic and Blue Yeti, which can serve the same purpose to some extent.
However, these options are not truly comparable as they are condenser microphones.
Samson was set to launch the highly anticipated Q9U XLR/USB in 2020. It offers features that are nearly identical to the MV7, but it is priced competitively to entice users ($199 street price).
The rollout seems to have been delayed due to the pandemic. The Q9U is currently available for pre-order. I want to be the first to review it when it finally gets shipped in 2021!
You can consider other options in this price bracket such as Apple’s Apogee HypeMiC or Blue Raspberry. They are exceptional USB microphones, but they don’t feature a dynamic capsule and lack the Shure MV7’s dual XLR/USB applications.
The MV7’s design makes it apparent that Shure has been taking notes of what users want in the new but rapidly expanding market for podcasting equipment.
Ultimately, it does vindicate its price tag with great flair and style. Until I get my hand on Samson’s Q9u USB microphone, I cannot say if a $50 difference in price is sufficient to contest the MV7’s all too familiar SM7B-like tone. Time will tell.
For now, the MV7 deserves to be praised as an affordable version of the SM7B at the very least. You can faithfully add one to your desk, even if you don’t intend on using the USB functionality.
As someone who owns both, I still like the warmth of the ‘top dog’ SM7B compared to the MV7, its digital sibling. Yet, I cannot deny that the modern features including the Shure MOTIV software are persuasive. The simultaneous XLR/USB recording and touch controls are handy, and the ease-of-use is unrivaled in the current crop of podcasting mics.
These conveniences come at a cost, but they also give users immaculate performance backed by a reassuring brand name.
(Don’t forget to check out my review of the SM7B if you want to learn why it is the king of podcasting mics.)