Shure SM7B vs Rode NT1 Review


For most people, the microphones from our smartphones and laptops are more than enough for basic podcasting or vocal recording, but there are many reasons why you should invest in something a bit better and more professional. In any case, it’s better to buy a one quality mic right away than dozens of average ones.

Let us introduce you with two outstanding microphones that can find their application in wide range situations such as radio/podcast show, recording voice over, instruments, singers. In general, any kind of studio work can be successfully completed with Shure SM7b and Rode NT1. The very first thing you notice about these two mics is that one is a dynamic microphone while the other is a condenser microphone. In this article, I compare the pros and cons of the Rode vs Shure and let you decide.

To get the latest price for the SM7b on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

To check the latest price for the Rode NT1-a on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

What is the difference between dynamic and condenser mics?

Dynamic mics

Dynamic microphones can be used for many purposes, provide great sound and usually are suitably robust. For regular, everyday tasks, you won’t find a more reliable device than a quality dynamic mic.

In a dynamic vocal microphone, sound waves induce a moving wire or coil to vibrate in a magnetic field, therefore inducing current and then turning back to sound. The audio waves hit a thin metal that is attached to a coil of wire. That thin metal diaphragm vibrates with a coil in reply to a sound wave and the magnet inside the coil creates a magnetic field. The motion of the coil in the magnetic field produces an electrical signal. The movement of the diaphragm produces electricity. Because of all of this, dynamic microphones are known to be velocity-sensitive. The most used kind of microphone is dynamic since it is a comprehensive solution for many recording situations.

They are sturdy and capable of withstanding high levels of sound pressure, such as those delivered by a snare drum. They do not need a power source(phantom power) to work. They are relatively inexpensive but not as suitable as condenser mics when comes to recording instruments that produce higher frequencies.

Condenser mics

Condenser mics use two metal plates, one attached (back panel) and another movable (diaphragm), forming a capacitor. A capacitor serves to transform the concentration and separation of the sound waves into electricity. After the sound wave hits the diaphragm, the interval among the two panels varies, creating a change in an electrical form named capacitance. This is the difference in interval due to the movement of the diaphragm compared to the fixed rear panel, which produces an electrical signal that responds to the audio being captured. These mics demand phantom power (V) to operate.

To get a signal, condenser mics need an electric current to charge the panels. They are ordinarily produced either by the battery or sent by the microphone’s cable. This process is known as phantom power. Most capacitor microphones can operate with phantom voltages which are usually provided by a audio mixing console. The diaphragm assembly is lightweight compared to dynamic microphones and is, therefore, more efficient in movement and capable of recording high-frequencies. Additionally, they are more complicated than dynamic microphones and are prone to adverse effects due to extreme temperatures and humidity.

Cheaper models can produce a small amount of noise. In general, condenser microphones are more expensive than dynamic microphones but are more suitable for recording the sounds of acoustic instruments and vocals because of their high sensitivity. They should be avoided when dealing with high sound pressures, such as the snare drum. The sound produced from the condenser mic can be described as crisp, clear and detailed and in general, the quality is better than a dynamic microphone.

Which One Is Right For You?

If you have a private audio recording room, get a condenser. If you want to record live performance or if you want to record loud instruments like drums or guitar amps, get the dynamic. Our direct and simplest answer to this question would be that condenser microphones give better sound quality at all frequencies, while dynamic microphones are more durable and better for cutting background noise. Having said that, these two models are among the best microphones for vocals you can get for a good price. I’ll give you my thoughts on them both and let you decide.

Shure SM7B Review

This microphones is popular for recording vocals by both amateurs and professional users. You will often see them in studios, more often in the radio station and podcast studios. Microphones in the Shure SM series have in common, a magnetic “shield”, a bass roll-off and the presence of boost controls, an internal shock and a pop filter. It has some nice additional feature, ideal for any studio work.

Compared with many, more expensive condenser mics, the SM7B can give equally good and in some situations even better results. Having its pros and cons, it generates the old question of condenser vs dynamic mics. In any case, the sound quality of the SM7B cardioid dynamic mic is outstanding.

This dynamic Shure has a totally natural, neutral yet very rich sound. Compared to the regular consumer microphone you won’t be able to hear any distortions in audio recording. Its low-frequency recording capabilities can capture deep and pure bass. For this reason it could be a great mic for recording the male voice.

You will not hear any distortion or thundering of the typical consumer microphone; it’s just pure, deep and balanced bass. One of the main reasons why people love this mic is that you’ll no longer be boomy, bassy nor shallow, weak. It will provide you with a perfectly balanced sound while keeping all frequencies in the right place.

To get the latest price for the SM7b on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.


The mid-range is totally neutral, but the high end is a real jewel. The upper frequencie are extremely smooth and very transparent. It has to do with it being a microphone that has a dynamic capsule but also with overall quality. The Shure SM7B cardoid microphone is completely smooth compared to some condenser mics which can be pretty sharp.

This could be a disadvantage for some users. Since it is not that sharp as condensers it doesn’t offer extended response up to 20 kHz, and it can’t deliver you that amount of clarity. But since this is a regular dynamic mic, that is not unusual. It works more than enough for any voice recordings with its flat response up to 12 kHz. Not that you will miss frequencies above that range from your most voice recording, but I think that you won’t notice any lack of quality at all. But this vocal microphone also has a presence boost feature that could be helpful in some situations.

On the other side, usually, condenser mics pick up everything. If you want to record environmental sounds outside, it’s cool. But if you want to record a speaker then dynamic mic which is has a more directional polar pattern will be a perfect choice. There are tons of examples where it would be better to use dynamic instead of a condenser type.

Like, if you plan to record a podcast with several guests, the Shure SM7B would be no.1 choice in this situation. It will help you achieve awesome sound while keeping the noise, that your guest may produce, away from your mic. So because of that there are smaller chances for someone to mess up recording while other one is speaking.

The Shure SM7B has an internal shock mount that offers more than enough noise absorption, and it replaces those bulky exterior shock mounts. Furthermore, there is an inbuilt pop filter, and combined with a mic’s foam above its head eliminates the need for an external pop filter. Of course, if you plan to record vocals in your studio you can easily remove the foam and replace with a regular pop filter. You should do this because the mic with the foam filter can reduce high frequencies in your recording.

To get the latest price for the SM7b on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

In addition, it has a presence enhancement feature that provides more brightness. A low cut feature is a common thing on new mics, and this model has it too.

The only possible downside of this amazing microphone can be its need for additional gain. So if you are regular user, you might need a preamp or you may end up with a lot of noise in your recording, or just too low an output volume.

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-20kHz
  • Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Max SPL: 180 dB SPL
  • Connector: XLR
  • Weight: 0.764 kg
  • Switchable bass rolloff
  • Presence boost

Do you need a Cloudlifter or Fethead for the Shure SM7b?

Technically no, you wouldn’t need a Cloudlifter, but there are some USB audio interfaces that perhaps might not give you enough gain. In that situation you might need one of these devices to help boost the signal and would need a 48V phantom power supply too. I personally use a Fethead when recording from some dynamic mics and works well for me.

Is the Shure SM7b worth it?

In my own opinion in this Shure SM7b review, this is a great microphone and then fact it is so widely used in studios for singing and speech is testimony to it’s quality. Shure has such a great reputation in professional audio, I don’t think you would go too wrong if you bought this microphone. To get the latest price for the SM7b on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.


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Rode NT1-a Review

If you ask me, this may be the best buy high end studio microphone on the market. Amazing value for money product. Great recording quality allows it to meet the demands of picky users. I assure you that it will provide you with a truly exceptional audio. The sound is clear, warm, purer and very natural. As a large diaphragm mic, it also has a very neutral response, which is a privilege of more expensive professional models.

Thanks to the capsule that uses 1-inch (large) diaphragm, Rode can be proud on its sound quality. Large diaphragms simply produce a stronger signal, which requires less amplification and leads to a higher signal-to-noise ratio. The capsule of the Rode NT1a sounds completely neutral and very stable even in the higher range specter. They made it that everything sounds with maximum clarity and precision.

To check the latest price for the Rode NT1-a on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

Technically, it is very challenging to build a large diaphragm mic with a crispy, extended response that would yet remain neutral and natural. This Rode model, changes the game rules in term of price and defined a new quality standard. At the same time, they made it unbelievably affordable.

Another amazing technical characteristic is that the Rode NT1-A has outstanding quality electronic components that offer a remarkably low level of noise. The capsule is more resistant to impacts due to its suspension system. That system acts as another defense line against accidental drops, vibrations, and similar unwanted shocks.

The Rode NT1 is one of the microphones that can sound awesome on just about anything you want to record. But, as with any other mic, you should pay attention to its placement. It plays a big role in the overall sound quality. It has a bright, clear tone that helps emphasize the presence of the human voice or instrument. The Rode NT1 has a reputation for being a bit harsh on some vocals. With a decent sound card/audio interface, you’ll be able to capture great quality audio. On the other hand, its recommended that you have vocal booth or at least a mic shield.

Some users report that the Rode NT1-A sounds extraordinary on most vocals and instruments, but on others it may sound awesome. This is normal because microphones sound different on different instruments and voices. This model generally has clear mids that seem to have a good amount of detail. There’s 1 or 2 db boost around 120 hz to 200 hz frequency range that seems to work on male vocals and female vocals with a nice warm tone.

If you think of using the Rode mics as drum overheads be aware that their max spl is 132dB SPL at 1 kHz so you have to carefully decide what you use them on and how. But they do make a pretty good pair for drum room mics. For any singer who doesn’t have that much “s” in his/her voice, this mic can be a good choice.

You can use it on guitar amps, but it won’t work that well like a regular dynamic mic such as sm57 or sm7b. With proper position, it can work great with acoustic guitars, yet you’ll certanly need to play with an EQ in post. At least you’ll for sure get a really clean sound. Originally released back in 1997, now with plenty of the trust among the studios it has gained for all these years, you can be sure this is a good purchase.

To check the latest price for the Rode NT1-a on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Diaphragm Size: 1″ (25.4mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB SPL
  • Output Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Self Noise: 5 dB
  • Connector: XLR
  • Power Source: 48V phantom power
  • Dimensions: 7.48″ x 1.96″
  • Weight: 0. 326 kg

Does the Rode NT1-A mic need phantom power?

Yes, because the Rode NT1 is a condenser mic, you will need 48V phantom power for it to work properly. You can route this from a mixing desk or from a separate power supply. Click here to get a phantom power supplyOpens in a new tab. on Amazon

How good is the Rode NT1-A?

Rode generally make very high quality microphones and the NT1 is no different. In my opinion in this Rode NT1a review, I think it really is an excellent choice for recording vocals. To check the latest price for the Rode NT1-a on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

Taking care of the microphone

Once you’ve invested in a good mic, you should take care of it, as it will become a significant component of your recording process. Microphones also differ in build quality and susceptibility to damage. Many parts are quite delicate and can be damaged very easily if you don’t take care of it. If you succeed in it by following our tips, your mic can last and be of use to you for a very long time.

If your equipment is primarily for studio use and you are not planning to gig with it, then it is best to handle them as infrequently as frequent handling can lead to accidental falls. The best way to prevent drops is to try to find the perfect place and keep the microphone on its stand all the time. Doing so will save you time, effort and worry about dropping it.

Your home studio, like any room, can get very dusty. Keeping the dust from getting into the microphone would be a great idea. It can accumulate on the diaphragm and cause the microphone to lose sensitivity or change the frequency response. To prevent this, you can simply cover the microphone with something, such as cloth.

On the other hand, humidity can be a big problem for your microphone also. Because of that, you need to pay attention and protect it from moisture as much as possible. For example, if you are in an area with high humidity, you can put the microphone in a box and put silica gel in it. Silica gel will help prevent moisture from getting out of the microphone.

Check out other related posts on this website –

How to choose a vocal microphone for singing

Frank

Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church. About Frank Edwards

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