The Shure SM7B is a legend among studio microphones, used by podcasters, vocalists, and more. You may have already heard it!
The SM7B was used by Michael Jackson to record his iconic ‘Thriller’ back in the ’80s, and it’s maintained its popularity since.
Its popularity may give the impression that the Shure SM7B is the only recording mic that’s worth your money, but this is not the case.
There are a multitude of alternatives to the Shure SM7B that offer a range of features, at different price points depending on your needs.
In this article, I’ll break down the top 7 alternative mics to the iconic Shure SM7B – all with the qualities of the SM7B in mind. Let’s get started!
Why Look for an Alternative to the Shure SM7B?
The Shure SM7B is a studio staple because of its clear and crisp vocal recording while being very forgiving on external noise.
It does however have a very low sensitivity, and thus a low output signal. This means that you may need extra equipment (such as a cloudlifter) to get the sound that you want.
It’s also expensive and requires a fair bit of extra setup, so a suitable preamplifier is often necessary.
So on top of the initial price of the mic (which at US$399 isn’t exactly cheap), you’ll probably run into extra costs of equipment that you’ll end up needing to get that iconic sound from your mic.
So why break the bank for a mic that has plenty of alternatives that will give you the specific features you want?
Top 7 Shure SM7B Alternative Microphones for 2024
The Shure SM7B is an icon in the recording studio; however, contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that it is the best recording mic or the only option for people looking to get into recording!
Let’s take a look at the 7 best Shure SM7B alternatives:
- Best for: Premium alternative all-rounder
- Price: High
- Key Features: great noise-canceling; dynamic mic; stand mount included; dual voicing; voice-tailored frequency response
This microphone is a great alternative to the Shure SM7B, providing a smooth and controlled sound that is natural and accurate! It also has great noise-canceling when used for close-up voice work.
This mic also has a wide range of tones that it captures with ease while still isolating that pesky background noise.
This makes it a great choice for a versatile microphone, whether you want to record vocals, for podcasting, music or other broadcasting, or even for recording musical instruments!
The price point is one of the more expensive ones on this list, but it earns its place as a premium all-around powerhouse for all types of recording and broadcasting requirements.
- Best for: best budget option, with great versatility
- Price: Low
- Key Features: voice-tailored frequency response; cardioid pickup pattern isolates background noise; shock-mount system to eliminate noise from handling; spherical filter eliminates wind/breath interference
Bet you didn’t expect to find another Shure on this list, did you?
Well, think again! The SM58 is a great budget alternative to the famed SM7B. It outperforms many broadcasting mics you can get for a similar price, and is a staple in many live or recording contexts.
The SM58’s popularity as a vocal microphone is thanks to its consistency, quality, and durability.
This microphone may be a good option for people just beginning to get into recording because of its affordability, but its durability will guarantee that you’ll still be using it for years.
The SM58 proves that even cheap, unassuming equipment can pack a punch in the studio. It’s durable, versatile, and proves itself as a Shure-quality microphone.
- Best for: Budget podcasting
- Price: Low
- Key features: internal pop filter; shock mount; integrated swing mount; elegant design
The newer PodMic is the cheaper, better alternative to its predecessor – the Procaster.
Specialized for podcasting, live streaming, and filming voice-overs, this mic provides a detailed sound that will elevate your vocal content!
Its production is robust, made of sturdy metal so you won’t need to worry about its lifespan.
It looks elegant wherever it’s situated. However, the design also prioritizes quality sound, with an internal pop filter, shock mount, and integrated swing mount to eliminate unwanted (but sometimes inevitable) noise from handling.
It also features a tight cardioid polar pattern for background noise rejection.
The quality of this mic and its features are highly suggestive of the type of quality you’d get from the SM7B, but specialized for podcasting and other vocal applications.
- Best for: Quality all-rounder for home use
- Price: Low
- Key features: built-in headphone jack for direct monitoring; built-in mute button; directional pickup to eliminate room noise.
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X is on this list instead of the AT2040 because of its versatility rather than being strictly a podcasting mic, as well as due to its user-friendly setup with a USB output that can be plugged directly into your home laptop!
This mic has been used for a vast range of things, from featuring in your favorite podcasts to bringing you some of the most famous contemporary home-produced music (Billie Eilish, we’re looking at you!).
Unlike many of the others on this list, the AT2020USB-X is a condenser rather than a dynamic mic. This means that it’s excellent for picking up those subtle, sensitive sounds to provide extremely detailed audio.
The AT2020USB+ has a wide range of frequencies that it can pick up for a clear and detailed product.
This is why it’s included as the best quality all-rounder; for its price and setup, you won’t find another better suited for excellent quality home audio production that’s totally beginner-friendly!
Note: For a very similar audio-technica mic, the AT2020 mic provides almost identical quality – barring the handy USB output with a standard XLR instead.
- Best for: ultimate beginner’s dynamic mic
- Price: Very Low
- Key features: cardioid pickup pattern; moisture-resistant; sturdy design; ultra-wide frequency response; integrated pop filter; includes carry case
The Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 is the ultimate choice for a great vocal dynamic budget-friendly microphone.
This may not seem an obvious choice given the price and its duration on the market, but few other dynamic mics can compete at this price range.
The Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 is specially designed for vocal use, with shock mounting to minimize handling noise.
It has a two-stage pop filter to eliminate breath and pop sounds, as well as an extremely high signal output so your voice shines through on this mic.
- Best for: studio use
- Price: Low
- Key features: integral swivel mount; dynamic broadcast mic; internal pop filter and shock mount; great noise canceling
The MXL BCD-1 is designed to make vocals stand out, specializing in warm, rich tones. It has high output capability and a tuned grill that minimizes interference.
For under a hundred dollars, this mic is a solid choice for a specialized podcast/broadcast mic with all the features you’d expect to see from a mic in this range!
The sound quality produced by this mic does not suffer from the price, still being high quality with a wide range of frequencies.
- Best for: Premium sound quality
- Price: Very High
- Key features: extended frequency range; high gain before feedback; hum-buck coil; robust
The Beyerdynamic M88 is definitely top of the range in this list of Shure SM7B alternatives, and for the price it delivers on all points without failure.
The sound quality produced is excellent, clear, and accurate, with highly defined sound capture which isolates from background noise.
This is not for the casual vocalist – but for a serious microphone option, the Beyerdynamic is all you want from a microphone and more!
Key Features of a Quality Studio Microphone
The features that make the SM7B so good (which you’ll want to look for in a studio mic) are:
- Tailored frequency response – the Shure SM7B has a flat, wide-range frequency response
- High sensitivity
- Noise isolation
- Shock resistance
This list is a comprehensive guide to the best types of alternative microphones to the Shure SM7B for 2024.
Though I hope you’ve come away with the knowledge that there is a wide range of choices out there other than the pricey SM7B, the most important thing to note when looking for a microphone is to consider your own specific needs.
What are you using the microphone for? What’s your budget? What kind of sound are you going to be recording; soft, bassy, thin?
There are microphones out there to suit every possible requirement and budget, and in this article, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best for a range of different applications in 2024.
The market is always changing and developing, but hopefully this will give you a solid reference of what to look for!
Philip had the founding vision for Audio Assemble, previously known as Pro Tools Tutorial. In 2008 Philip began recording and producing songs and had a hard time finding free and accurate information on Pro Tools software. From there the website was born. Philip currently works as a Software Engineer for Amazon and handles the editorial strategy as well as much of the technical aspects of Audio Assemble’s website.