Shure SM7B vs Rode NT1 Review

  • By: Frank Edwards
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.

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.

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Shure SM7B Review

This microphone 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.

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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 here #ad

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 here

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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 here #ad

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 here #ad

  • 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 supply on Amazon #ad

Which Mic 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.