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  • Writer's pictureCj Bertram

Shure SM7B VS. Electro-Voice RE20 Microphone: Which is Better for Your Recording Needs?

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

When it comes to choosing the right microphone for your recording or broadcasting needs, there are many options on the market. Two of the most popular microphones are the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20. Both of these dynamic microphones have their own unique features and benefits, making it difficult to choose between them.

Shure SM7B VS. Electro-Voice RE20 Microphone

At first glance, the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 may seem similar. Both microphones are commonly used for broadcasting, recording, and podcasting. However, upon closer inspection, there are some key differences between the two. For example, the Shure SM7B has a built-in yoke mount that allows for easy adjustment of the microphone position, while the Electro-Voice RE20 comes with a microphone clip mount that can make the microphone front heavy.


Another important factor to consider when choosing between the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 is sound quality. While both microphones are known for their excellent sound reproduction, there are some differences in the way they capture sound. Some users find that the Shure SM7B has a tendency to sound a little muffled and flat, while the Electro-Voice RE20 does a great job of separating sounds in close proximity and irregularities. Ultimately, the choice between these two microphones will depend on your specific needs and preferences.


Picture of Shure SM7B


Picture of Electro-Voice RE20 Microphone


Shure SM7B vs. Electro-Voice RE20: Overview


When it comes to choosing the right microphone for your podcast, radio show, or voiceover work, these are two of the most popular options on the market. In this section, we will compare the the Shure SM7B VS. Electro-Voice RE20 microphone in terms of their build quality, features, and testing.


Build Quality


Both the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 are dynamic microphones that are built to last. The SM7B has a rugged construction with a steel frame and a black foam windscreen that helps to reduce plosives and wind noise. The RE20, on the other hand, has a classic design with a durable metal housing and an internal pop filter that minimizes plosives and breath noise.


Features


The Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 have several features that make them stand out from other microphones. The SM7B has a bass roll-off and mid-range boost switch that allows you to tailor the microphone's response to different recording situations. It also has a switchable presence boost that adds clarity and definition to vocals. The RE20, on the other hand, has a variable-D technology that reduces proximity effect and a bass roll-off switch that helps to eliminate low-frequency rumble.


Testing


In terms of testing, both the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 have been praised by professionals for their sound quality and versatility. The SM7B is known for its warm, smooth sound that works well for vocals, guitars, and drums. The RE20, on the other hand, has a more neutral sound that is ideal for broadcast and voiceover work. Both microphones have a tight polar pattern that helps to reject off-axis noise and room reflections.


Overall, both the Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 are excellent microphones that offer high-quality sound and durability. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your recording setup.

Sound Quality


When it comes to sound quality, both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 are top-notch microphones that are widely used in the broadcasting and podcasting industry. Let's take a closer look at their sound quality in different aspects.


Clarity


Both the SM7B and the RE20 deliver exceptional clarity in their sound. They are able to capture every detail of the audio with great accuracy, making them ideal for recording vocals, instruments, and other sounds. The clarity of the SM7B is especially impressive, as it allows for a very natural and transparent sound.


Vocal Clarity


When it comes to vocal clarity, both microphones perform exceptionally well. They are able to capture the nuances of the human voice with great accuracy, making them ideal for recording vocals for music, podcasts, and other audio projects.


Ambient Sound


One of the strengths of the SM7B is its ability to reject ambient sound and background noise. This makes it ideal for recording in noisy environments, as it allows for a cleaner and more focused sound. The RE20 also performs well in this regard, although it may not be as effective as the SM7B in rejecting ambient sound.


Proximity Effect


Both the SM7B and the RE20 have a proximity effect, which means that the closer you get to the microphone, the more bass response you will get. This can be a useful tool for adding warmth and depth to your recordings, but it can also be a challenge to manage if you're not careful.


Low End


Both microphones have a strong low-end response, which can add warmth and depth to your recordings. However, the SM7B has a slightly stronger low-end response than the RE20, which can make it ideal for recording bass-heavy instruments or vocals.


High Pass Filter


Both microphones come with a high pass filter, which can be useful for removing low-frequency rumble and other unwanted noise from your recordings. However, the SM7B has a more effective high pass filter than the RE20, which can make it ideal for recording in noisy environments.


Bass Roll-Off


The SM7B has a switch that allows you to roll off the low-end response of the microphone, which can be useful for recording vocals or instruments that don't require a lot of low-end response. The RE20 does not have this feature.


Presence Boost


The SM7B also has a switch that allows you to boost the presence of the microphone, which can be useful for adding clarity and definition to your recordings. The RE20 does not have this feature.


In terms of polar patterns, both the SM7B and the RE20 have cardioid polar patterns, which means that they pick up sound best from the front and reject sound from the rear. Overall, both microphones deliver exceptional sound quality, and the choice between them will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Polar Patterns


When it comes to microphones, one of the most important factors to consider is the polar pattern. The polar pattern of a microphone refers to the directionality of the microphone and how it picks up sound. In this section, we will discuss the polar patterns of the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20.


Cardioid Polar Patterns


Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 have cardioid polar patterns. This means that the microphones pick up sound best from the front and reject sound from the rear. Cardioid polar patterns are ideal for recording vocals or instruments in a studio setting because they help to isolate the sound source and reduce background noise.


Polar Patterns


While both microphones have cardioid polar patterns, they do differ in some ways. The Shure SM7B has a wider frequency response range than the Electro-Voice RE20, which means that it can capture a wider range of frequencies. The SM7B also has a switchable bass roll-off and mid-range boost, which can be useful for adjusting the sound to fit different recording environments.


On the other hand, the Electro-Voice RE20 has a more directional polar pattern than the Shure SM7B. This means that it is better at rejecting sound from the sides and rear, making it ideal for recording in noisy environments or for live performances. The RE20 also has a built-in pop filter, which helps to reduce plosives and other unwanted sounds.


Both microphones have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to polar patterns, and the choice between the two will ultimately depend on the specific needs of the user. However, it is clear that both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 are high-quality microphones that are capable of producing excellent sound in a variety of recording situations.

Mounting and Accessories


When it comes to mounting and accessories, both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 come with some useful features. Let's take a closer look at some of the most important accessories and mounting options for these two microphones.


Shockmount


The Shure SM7B comes with an integrated shock mount, which means you don't need to purchase one separately. This shock mount is designed to reduce unwanted vibrations and handling noise, which can be especially useful if you're recording in a noisy environment.


The Electro-Voice RE20, on the other hand, does not come with a shock mount. However, you can purchase a shock mount separately if you need one. Keep in mind that shock mounts can be quite large and bulky, so you'll need to make sure you have enough space in your recording setup to accommodate one.


Windscreen


Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 come with a foam windscreen to help reduce plosives and wind noise. However, if you need additional wind protection, you may want to consider purchasing a pop filter.


Pop Filter


A pop filter is a useful accessory that can help reduce plosives and other unwanted noises when recording vocals. Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 can benefit from a pop filter, especially if you're recording vocals up close.


Mic Stand


A sturdy mic stand is essential for any recording setup, and both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 can be mounted on a standard mic stand. Keep in mind that the weight of these microphones may require a heavy-duty stand to prevent them from tipping over.


XLR Cable


Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 require an XLR cable to connect to your audio interface or mixer. Make sure you choose a high-quality cable to ensure the best possible sound quality.


Cloudlifter


If you're using the Shure SM7B or the Electro-Voice RE20 with a low-gain preamp or audio interface, you may want to consider using a Cloudlifter. This device can boost the signal of your microphone, allowing you to achieve a cleaner and more robust sound.


Overall, both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 come with some useful mounting and accessory options. Whether you need a shock mount, windscreen, pop filter, mic stand, XLR cable, or Cloudlifter, there are plenty of options available to help you get the best possible sound from your microphone.

Preamp and Audio Interface


When it comes to using the Shure SM7B or Electro-Voice RE20, having a good preamp and audio interface is crucial. In fact, many people find that the quality of their recordings improves significantly when they upgrade their preamp and audio interface.


Preamp


The Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 are both dynamic microphones, which means they have a low output level compared to condenser microphones. This also means they require a preamp with a high gain to get the best results. A preamp is a device that amplifies the microphone signal before it reaches the audio interface or recording device.


There are many preamps on the market that work well with these microphones. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Cloudlifter CL-1

  • Triton Audio FetHead

  • DBX 286s

  • Focusrite ISA One

Audio Interface


An audio interface is a device that connects your microphone to your computer or recording device. It converts the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal that can be recorded and edited on your computer.


When choosing an audio interface, it's important to consider the following factors:

  • Number of inputs: If you plan on recording multiple microphones at once, you'll need an audio interface with multiple inputs.

  • Sample rate and bit depth: The sample rate and bit depth determine the quality of your recordings. Higher sample rates and bit depths result in better quality recordings, but also take up more storage space on your computer.

  • Connectivity: Make sure the audio interface you choose is compatible with your computer and recording software.

Some popular audio interfaces for recording with the Shure SM7B or Electro-Voice RE20 include:

  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

  • Universal Audio Apollo Twin

  • MOTU M2

  • Audient iD4

Impedance


Impedance is a measure of the resistance in an electrical circuit. It's important to match the impedance of your microphone to the impedance of your preamp and audio interface. If the impedance is mismatched, it can result in a loss of signal and poor sound quality.


The Shure SM7B has a low impedance of 150 ohms, while the Electro-Voice RE20 has a higher impedance of 150 ohms. Most preamps and audio interfaces are designed to work with both types of microphones, but it's still important to check the impedance specifications before making a purchase.

Final Thoughts


After comparing the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 microphones, we have come to a few conclusions.


Firstly, both microphones are excellent choices for broadcasting, podcasting, voiceover, and live streaming. They are both dynamic microphones that offer exceptional sound quality and clarity.


However, we found that the Electro-Voice RE20 provides more clarity while also providing a strong presence with the frequency response on the low end compared to the Shure SM7B. The SM7B, on the other hand, has a slight edge over the RE20 in terms of precision and warm tones.


When it comes to build quality, both microphones are sturdy and well-built. The SM7B has a built-in yoke mount, which allows users to easily adjust the microphone position. The RE20 comes with a microphone clip mount, which tends to make the microphone front-heavy.


In terms of pricing, the SM7B is slightly more expensive than the RE20. However, both microphones are worth their price tags, considering the exceptional sound quality they offer.


Overall, both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 are excellent microphones that offer exceptional sound quality. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the user. We hope this review has helped you make an informed decision on which microphone to choose for your broadcasting, podcasting, voiceover, or live streaming needs.

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