Whether you’re recording interviews for your latest podcast, need a fantastic live vocal mic or you’re tracking guitars in the studio, you’ll need a decent mic or two for the job. For all these applications and more it’s hard to look much further than the best Shure microphones.
Since 1925, this great American brand has been behind everything from Presidential addresses to conference calls, and from music festivals to YouTube reaction videos. In this article we’ve rounded up our favourite Shure microphones with some buying advice to help you choose the right mic for your needs. From straightforward vocal mics to feature-filled podcast options, there’s a Shure mic to suit almost any application. Let’s take a look.
Best Shure microphones: Our top picks
Realistically, it’s hard to offer recommendations in a list like this. Shure is a name which has built up decades of heritage and history, and its products are recognised as among the best and most reliable in the business.
To think of it another way; if there were a couple of microphones we’d happily take to any recording session, or any live performance, and be safe in the knowledge they’d perform, it would be the Shure SM58 and SM57. Cliched, perhaps, but for good reason. You simply won’t find a better balance of price, performance and reliability anywhere in the market.
Best Shure microphones: Product guide
If you’ve watched a vlog, or listened to a podcast, in the last 10 years, then the chances are you’ve already experienced the aural delights of the Shure SM7B. This is a heavyweight vocal microphone, designed specifically to give your recordings that professional broadcast sheen. To achieve this, the SM7B has built-in frequency response filters, which do a great job at boosting or attenuating certain frequencies, meaning they don’t require major surgery once you get them into your computer. Its cardioid polar pattern also effectively cuts off-axis noise, meaning it can focus all its power solely on capturing your voice.
You will, however, require an audio interface or mixer to use the SM7B, as it only has an XLR connection. However, for the ultimate in top-tier vocal performance, it’s hard to recommend anything else.
Read our full Shure SM7B review
If you were to enter any live music venue, there’s more than a high chance you’ll be able to find at least one Shure SM58 vocal microphone. From the largest stadiums, to the grimiest underground clubs, the SM58 has been trusted to deliver exceptional vocal-forward performances for decades.
Some users rate the slightly tweaked frequency response, designed to trim some of the mids while accentuating desirable upper and lower frequencies. Some users marvel at its relative low cost, which makes it a viable option for anybody at any budget. For most, however, it’s the fact that - barring acts of god - you’re going to have a very difficult time trying to break one of these. You’ll struggle to find anyone who regrets owning at least one Shure SM58.
Read our full Shure SM58 review
Recording instruments, in our experience, is more an art form than a science. Different instruments, from the snares, toms and kicks of an acoustic drum set through to the force of a raging valve amplifier, will yield different results and there is no right answer. However, one thing that rings true for any producer, is the place a trusty Shure SM57 will hold in their heart. Equally at home recording on a live stage as it is in a studio, the SM57 laughs in the face of excessive volume, and delivers the most consistent, usable results you’ll get in any setting.
Taking guitar amps as an example; a typical setup will employ two (or more) mics. A condenser, to pick up the nuance and unique character of an amp, and then almost always an SM57 pressed up against the grille to capture the quiet-to-loud dynamics of the performance. It’s a potent combo, and one that has been used on countless records over the years.
As with its vocal-focused brother, the SM58, you’ll struggle to find a pro studio anywhere that doesn’t rely on the veteran SM57 for recording instruments.
Read our full Shure SM57 review
Turning its attention to the growing content creation market, and the vlogs, podcasts and streaming setups popping up in bedrooms and home studios the world over, Shure launched the MV7. This is arguably the best microphone for people who don’t want to learn about microphones, as in, they want to plug something in and for it to sound great. In less capable hands, this could have led to a dumbed-down, stripped back approach but with the MV7, Shure has another classic on its hands.
Sure, there are ways in which they’ve simplified the overall user-experience, from handy presets in the accompanying app through to the on-microphone touch controls. But underneath that layer of help there’s still a high quality, superb sounding dynamic microphone that will meet the standard of any user in a variety of applications. We like the option of using USB or XLR to record - naturally you’ll need USB to access the MOTIV app - while the build quality and durability is the same as we’ve come to expect from Shure.
Read our full Shure MV7 review
The Shure SH55 is known to many as the ‘Elvis’ mic, on account of its association with The King himself. It’s easy to see why it’s proven popular over the years, offering vocalists a trusted tool which delivers on the vocal front while also looking extremely cool. The cardioid polar pattern means it focuses directly on the sound coming from the performer’s mouth, while rejecting noise outside that axis, making it ideal for live performance over studio work.
The SH55 is not, it must be said, a toy. It is solidly built, and weighs over 600g so is better suited to being housed on a stand, but with that weight comes a degree of heft in the results it provides.
Best Shure microphones: Buying advice
As with any microphone for recording, you’ll need to have an idea of what you’re trying to achieve before you go shelling out any cash. Like any brand, Shure has microphones which you could call versatile, and it has mics which you’d more accurately call specialist, and knowing what you want to achieve up front will help narrow down your search.
For singers and vocal recording, the Shure SM58 is one of the oldest names on the mic block, famed for its near-indestructibility as much as its performance. This is a mic which is designed with live performance in mind, from its tight cardioid pattern which cuts out unwanted noise, to its relentless reliability. Alternatively, for capturing the high-intensity blast of a guitar amp at full tilt, on stage or in the studio, the Shure SM57 is still the absolute sweet spot of price and performance.
Like with many mic and recording brands, there’s a definite growth trend in the area of content creation - be that podcasting, streaming or vlogs - which has resulted in the resurgence of the Shure SM7B, along with the future-facing Shure MV7 package which includes direct app control to ensure the best possible recorded output - both mics are great podcasting mic choices.
What we’ve included in this guide are the absolute classics in the Shure stable. These mics should be your go-to options for most serious music and content creation applications. But delve deeper into the Shure catalogue and you’ll find fantastic microphones for a wide range of budgets and specialisms, from recording drums to recording quick interviews using a smartphone or tablet.
The good news is that when you’re buying a Shure, you can realistically expect a level of quality and durability from your purchase. Shure mics have a well-earned reputation for being, in some parts of the range, the industry standard, chosen by professionals for their suitability to some of the most demanding situations.
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