New Toys: Shure Microphones SM7DB Vocal Microphone

The new SM7dB is the first upgrade of the SM7B in 20 years and includes a custom Shure-designed pre-amp with technology licensed from Cloud and tuned by Shure engineers specifically for the SM7dB. This is welcomed news for users of inexpensive USB interfaces that struggled to provide enough mic gain for the original SM7B. 

The new SM7dB has three operating modes: Bypass and either +18dB or +28dB of additional gain. These are set with slide switches on the back of the mic. +48-volt phantom power is required for the pre-amp, but you can leave it always on and freely switch back and forth between the original SM7B's sound in Bypass mode and then the SM7dB with the additional gain if you need it. Usually, the +18dB boost of gain is more than enough. 

Other updates include: four easy-to-adjust slide switches replace the recessed switches used in the SM7B. These switches change between the three modes, the high-pass filter and the presence boost on/off switch. 

These filters are available and work the same in either Bypass or Active modes just like the original SM7B microphone. I liked that the new slide switches are easier to use and are readily available. 

The SM7B's popularity stems from its wide range of uses from radio station DJs to recording loud singers, or guitar amps and even close to drum kits. Its versatility has expanded with the increased gain required to record very quiet sources. The Shure SM7dB Dynamic Vocal Microphone sells for: $499 MSRP. Shure continues to offer the SM7B at $399 MSRP.