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Shure Sm7B microphone: is it possible to get close to its quality by using good post production ?

thesteelydane

Senior Member
The Aston Origin is about $300, so not a huge price difference from the SM7B. I wonder if thats gain hungry & needs a Cloudlifter too ? One or two Amazon reviews seem to suggest so.
No it's a normal condenser, you don't need a cloud lifter, but of course phantom power is a must. All my audio engineer friends are raving about it as the ultimate workhorse mic at an unbelievable price. I have a ton of cheap mics, and have learned the hard way that it's just not worth it - it's a waste of money in the long run, just save up and buy something decent from the start. If you want a sm7b wait till you can afford it - you will get one some day anyway and then that cheap mic was just a waste of money. Better to put that money into an sm7b from the start, and you will get there sooner. Take it from someone who's learned this the hard way!
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Take it from someone who's learned this the hard way!
I agree with and follow that philosophy in general, and like all good analog equipment, good mics are a good investment. They won't lose their value, either in money or in utility.

But there are some exceptions. It actually is possible to find some cheap mics that sound as good as expensive ones. Part of that is luck, part of it is that there are some good cheap mics. They may or may not last as long, but that doesn't mean they're all useless.

Example: my Oktava MK019 pair. I forget what I paid - it was a very long time ago - but they were cheap. I've also heard Shanghai U87-alikes that are surprisingly good.
 

thesteelydane

Senior Member
I agree with and follow that philosophy in general, and like all good analog equipment, good mics are a good investment. They won't lose their value, either in money or in utility.

But there are some exceptions. It actually is possible to find some cheap mics that sound as good as expensive ones. Part of that is luck, part of it is that there are some good cheap mics. They may or may not last as long, but that doesn't mean they're all useless.

Example: my Oktava MK019 pair. I forget what I paid - it was a very long time ago - but they were cheap. I've also heard Shanghai U87-alikes that are surprisingly good.
For sure. My personal cheap gem is the R1 active Mk III from Golden Age Project. Luscious creamy ribbon sound for around 200 bucks (at least when I bought mine). And the Aston Origin looks to be of a quality that shouldn't be possible at its price point - and it will be more versatile than a passive mic in my opinion.
 
OP
ManicMiner

ManicMiner

in the Skylab landing bay
I've been looking at some video reviews of the Aston Origin. Most seem very positive. This guy though, seemed to be getting a ton of plosives getting into proximity range, even though the mic has a plosive lessening feature built in, and he was using a pop filter.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
I've been looking at some video reviews of the Aston Origin. Most seem very positive. This guy though, seemed to be getting a ton of plosives getting into proximity range, even though the mic has a plosive lessening feature built in, and he was using a pop filter.
Well, the reason ribbon mics became popular again, after being all but gone, is that they're so sensitive. The ribbon is very light.

So it's not a surprise that it's easy to pop that mic. (To be fair, I don't know that mic, so of course it's possible that it does have weaknesses; I'm just speaking generically.)

Royer's first mic, the R121 (I think that's the one), is an exception - it's designed to be durable.
 

thesteelydane

Senior Member
Well, the reason ribbon mics became popular again, after being all but gone, is that they're so sensitive. The ribbon is very light.

So it's not a surprise that it's easy to pop that mic. (To be fair, I don't know that mic, so of course it's possible that it does have weaknesses; I'm just speaking generically.)

Royer's first mic, the R121 (I think that's the one), is an exception - it's designed to be durable.
Ah, misunderstanding...the Aston Origin is a condenser. I just mentioned the Golden Age as an example of an excellent cheap mic. Another one that's a steal is the Line Audio CM3, a small diaphragm condenser that sounds very close to a Schoeps - very quiet though, and a bit noisy, so again, I should probably have put that money towards saving for a couple of Schoeps.
 
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ManicMiner

ManicMiner

in the Skylab landing bay
Anyone got a comment on this. Fascinating.

"SM57 combined with A81WS, sounds like the SM7B"
the SM57 combined with the enormous A81WSwindscreen from Shure sonically transforms the SM57 and makes it sound virtually the same as the much more costly SM7B, at a fraction of the cost, and without demanding a preamplifier...
...part of the sonic transformation is due to the sound waves being affected by the A81WS’s unique material, and that the other detail is —like the cage in the SM7B—, the extremely thick material in the A81WS forces the person speaking to maintain an ideal minimum distance...

halfway down:
https://www.provideocoalition.com/shures-545-palindromic-mic-beats-sm57-nowadays/
 
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Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
I think the reason the SM57 with a windscreen sounds like an SM7B is the answer to the original question.

People seemed to say no, you can't make one mic sound like another.

I think you can in many ways. What are the differences between mics? Mostly frequency response!

Now, you can't change the off-axis coloration, capture more detail, duplicate nonlinear response (i.e. if the mic sounds different at different dynamics). But EQ can do a lot.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
As to the video link, I'd like to see the SM57 transformer mod Paul Stamler wrote about in Recording (he's a really sharp and knowledgeable guy - used to write for me when I was there). Unfortunately the page isn't on the site anymore. Will ask him.

The problem with that video is that the guy panned the mics in different directions. Oops. For A/B comparisons you want to do everything the same to both sources.

Well, I also think he's too close to the mics, but that's just my aesthetic judgement.
 

S.M Hassani

CodeUltra Sounds
I was recently helping a friend with a similar need, so I came prepared: :grin:

The SHURE SM7B is an excellent microphone with a wide spectrum of uses, especially when given enough gain and used properly as I explain below. Andrew Huang here used it to record a song in the middle of a frozen lake! You tell me how good this sounds: (Mixed song in the end)


For VO work, the Sm7B will sound better when the larger A7WS windscreen is applied. For the best sound: take it off and use an external pop filter solution (metal mesh is better at preserving those highs)


Big vs Small wind covers:


I like the SM7B for Streaming and VO tasks, especially in the summer when you must keep the AC on. :grin:

The Triton Fethead paired with an SM7B will sound as good as the Cloudlifer, yet it is cheaper and more practical in many ways. TIP: You can also connect the Fethead on the Preamp side.

Another great industry VO mike (which has been mentioned here) is the Sennheiser MKH-416 P48 Shotgun Microphone. It's nicknamed the Hollywood mic among VO circles for its extensive use by legendary artists like George DelHoyo and Joe Cipriano. You can buy it for about $1k USD.

But I'm here to tell you there's a great alternative for a lot less: RODE's NTG3 Shotgun Microphone. It's usually listed at $699 USD. But if you do some digging you can grab it even cheaper. I got mine new for $465 USD!

Here's a video demonstrating its sound against the Sennheiser MKH-416 and even more expensive mics like the $2,200 USD Schoeps CMIT-5U:


Take a look at these Podcastage videos and compare the sound: (same dude, setup and testing method)

SHURE Sm7b:


Sennheiser MKH-416:

https://youtu.be/hI3YW7DjOk8

RODE NTG-3:

https://youtu.be/dTCCqnCYID8

And here's the newest player in town: Aston's Stealth Active Dynamic mic which doesn't need the external gain booster:

https://youtu.be/0J3wfPFTB98

I don't own this one, but I love my Aston Spirit.

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions let me know.

Good Luck!

S.M
 
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KMA

member
The SM7 is the best (imo) dynamic mic in its price range.
The Origin is the best (imo) large-diaphragm condenser in its price range.

I recently bought an Origin, but the SM7 was a close second for what I needed. I'll probably wind up getting one of those too :)
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Great post, especially the comparison of shotgun mics (ignoring that the "host" voice recording sounds like shit :) ).

And yeah, good pop filters are absolutely going to be more transparent than windscreens, plus they're better at preventing pops rather than wind noise.

The Triton Fethead paired with an SM7B will sound as good as the Cloudlifer, yet it is cheaper and more practical in many ways. TIP: You can also connect the Fethead on the Preamp side.
Unless you're recording in the field - literally - I still say I'd put the money in a piggybank toward a great mic preamp that doesn't need extra gain.
 

Kaufmanmoon

Matthew Kilford
I had the cloudlifter and sent it back straight away. Ordered the Fethead and does the job for less money.
A lot of variables on why you'd want a fethead and if you've the money, a nicer external preamp is probably the better option. For my budget at that time, it made sense using a fethead with my current interface. Over the past year or so i've fallen out of love with the SM7B on my voice and went back to condenser. Just my thoughts obviously.
 

S.M Hassani

CodeUltra Sounds
Unless you're recording in the field - literally - I still say I'd put the money in a piggybank toward a great mic preamp that doesn't need extra gain.
Indeed a great pre will deliver, for a premium. But here's another solution which is fairly accessible, mobile and comes with amazing preamps: The MixPre series from Sound Devices. You can get the MixPre-3M for about $550USD and enjoy the Kashmir preamps which can fully power an SM7B even without a booster.


Another one I'm looking forward to is the upcoming Zoom F6 which promises to reinvent the audio capture process as we know it:


Good times!
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Another one I'm looking forward to is the upcoming Zoom F6 which promises to reinvent the audio capture process as we know it
What's its advantage? I didn't watch much of the video, just as I try and escape those pitches live at trade shows. :)

If it's just the automatic level control, I would *never* use one of those - I'm *way* too manly... except that the one on the Blue Mikey Digital is outstanding for its purpose (recording interviews). They really got it right.

Actually, they really got that mic right. It's a stereo mic with a very narrow pickup pattern, so it's just a little more than mono. Perfect for recording interviews.
 
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