Shure’s $249 MV7 is a USB/XLR microphone built for podcasters

Shure representatives were quick to point out that the MV7 isn’t really meant to replace the SM7B. And there’s no reason to think it would — it has a smaller cartridge than its classic sibling, so it could never reach the same range. But its small size makes it an ideal travel companion for existing SM7B owners. And when it comes to sound quality, it’s a considerable step up from entry-level condenser microphones like the popular Blue Yeti. (Condensers are great at capturing sound in studios and noise-isolated rooms, but typically they also record much of the background racket you don’t want.)

While I’m not anything close to an audio expert, I’ve had plenty of experience with USB microphones as a podcaster for the past 12 years. Based on a few weeks of testing, the MV7 is something I think many budding hosts may want to consider. Over both USB and XLR (connected to a FocusRite Scarlett 2i2), it captured rich recordings that sounded almost as good as my trusty Rode Procaster, a well-reviewed dynamic XLR mic. There wasn’t much of the delicious low bass notes you’d hear from the SM7B, but recordings still sounded crisp and clear, with plenty of mid-range detail.

In the comparison above, it’s hard to tell much of a difference between the MV7 in USB or XLR modes, a testament to Shure’s built-in DAC. There’s a clearer gap with the Procaster, though — its recording sounds more open and detailed than either Shure connection. I also had a hard time finding a comfortable spot to use the MV7 without producing plosives, the thumps of air you hear when saying words that begin with “p.” Even when I was recording off-axis with the MV7, with my mouth aiming away from its center, I’d still get more plosives than I’d like (as you can also hear in the demo). That’s not a deal-breaker, it just means I can’t really trust the MV7’s foam pop filter.