Shure’s MV7 microphone is the historic audio company’s latest entry into the streaming and podcasting landscape. Chances are that if you’ve watched any streamers or video creators over the past few years, you’ll likely have seen at least one of them use Shure’s SM7B Mic, as it quickly established itself as the premium choice. The MV7 is based around the SM7B, aping its distinctive shape (albeit a tad shorter). What separates the two, however, is the dual methods of audio output. The SM7B is an XLR Studio Mic through and through, meaning you need an additional audio interface to get the signal into your PC. The MV7, however, not only has an XLR port, but also a USB connection, which allows you to use it out of the box with a huge array of devices. But does the SM7B’s legendary audio quality filter down to a microphone with a slightly cheaper price point? Let’s take a look.
The first thing to note about the MV7 is that this thing is solid. Unboxing it has a distinctly premium feel, with the mic itself being reassuringly heavy. On the underside of the mic you have the XLR, Micro USB and headphone ports, while the side features a capacitive trio of buttons, allowing you to mute it, and switch between adjusting the headphone and input volumes with simple swipes. The mic itself has a lovely annodised finish to it, with a printer Shure logo, and a detachable wind screen, which acts as a bit of a pop filter as well. The unit we were supplied with came with an all-metal mini tripod which feels as sturdy as the rest of the mic, as well as two USB to Micro USB cables, one being USB-C and the other a traditional USB-A. It does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity to have the mic itself use USB Type C, as that’s where things seem to be going at the moment, but hardware-wise, that’s the only real downside.
Onto the performance then. I’ve actually recorded my VO for the past few videos using this, and also another podcast that I do, and overall, there’s been a marked improvement to the audio quality from using the Blue Yeti Nano that was our previously recommended microphone. The MV7 can be used straight out of the box, but Shure recommend using their MOTIV desktop app, so I downloaded it and gave it a whirl. As with most software based solutions, this gives you a range of control over the input and output levels, tone and effects that will be applied to your voice. The MV7 also boasts the ability to isolate your voice a lot more than other mics on the market thanks to its pickup pattern, but from the testing I’ve done, I can’t honestly say that room noise is completely eliminated, but it does make my voice seem a lot clearer than other microphones that I’ve tried in the past.
While we’re on the subject of the Motiv app, I recently moved over from using a MacBook Pro to an iPad Pro for most of my portable work. With the mic being supplied with a USB-C cable, I was really excited to give it a spin and record natively onto there. The disappointment was real, however, when I checked the compatibility chart and saw that, frustratingly, the USB-C iPad Pros were listed as incompatible. It did function as a working microphone, but there was no advanced control. However, a firmware update (available via the app on a PC) gave the iPad app a bit more functionality, albeit slightly reduced from the fully featured options if you were to use a device with a Lightning port and a separate USB cable, or indeed a full audio interface. My understanding is that this is down to Apple’s limitations rather than the device itself, so as a little plea to Tim Cook, please, get it sorted! These are “pro” devices after all.
My only real complaint with the MV7 is that it requires a lot of gain to get a decent level out of it. While the in built electronics are superb and do this without any noticeable noise, it can produce an output that is considerably quieter than its competition, at least over USB (at the time of writing, I do not have an XLR audio interface available). For some, this won’t be an issue at all, but I thought it worth mentioning.