In this setup guide, we will show you how to set up your Shure SM7B dynamic microphone properly with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio interface.
We will also test whether an inline preamp like the Cloudlifter CL-1 is required.
We also demonstrate how this combination sounds (3:43) by demonstrating the Scarlett 2i2 Air Button.
Quick Answer: For best results you will need a Cloudlifter (or other inline preamp as well. Connect the Shure SM7B to your Cloudlifter using an XLR cable. Connect the Cloudlifter to the Scarlett 2i2 using another XLR cable. Turn on 48v of phantom power. Increase the input gain until you see that you are getting close to -12db on your computer.
Shure SM7B Dynamic Microphone
The Shure SM7B is a versatile, dynamic microphone known for its smooth, natural sound quality. It is widely used for various applications, such as podcasting, voiceover work, and recording vocals for music.
It is one of the most popular microphones in the world for podcasting and live streaming.
When you buy the Shure SM7B, you will notice that you only get the SM7B Microphone. It does not come with any stand, cables, or way to connect it to your computer.
Mic Stand (or Boom Arm)
First, you will need some type of microphone stand. If you’re using the Shure SM7B at a desk or table, you have two options:
- Table Stand: Inexpensive, easy to use, portable
- Boom Arm: Flexible, permanent mount, easier to use.
You can compare the pricing of both options below:
Next, you will need a high-quality XLR cable to connect your Shure SM7B to your Scarlett 2i2. There are a lot of things that you need to consider, but we recommend using an XLR cable with the following:
- At least 10′ (3M) long
- Star quad cable design (rejects noise better)
- Black XLR Connectors (look better)
- Neutrik XLR Connectors are the best
You can also check out our XLR Cable Buyer’s Guide.
We recommend the two cables below:
- Mogami Studio Gold: https://currentprice.io/mogami_xlr
- Canare XLR Cables: https://currentprice.io/canare_xlr
Does The SM7B Need A Cloudlifter?
The Shure SM7B is a very quiet microphone, and the preamps on the Scarlett 2i2 aren’t quite powerful enough to properly power this microphone.
For that reason, you need to use some in-line preamp, Cloudlifters are the most popular but aren’t the only option. An in-line preamp takes 48v of phantom power from the audio interface and converts that into ~25dB of clean gain for your Shure SM7B.
This will give you more volume with less noise (hiss).
The Cloudlifter has a lot of competition. Check out our inline preamp / mic booster buyer’s guide.
Cloudlifter CL-1: https://currentprice.io/cloudlifter
How to Connect Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to Shure SM7B
How to set up the Shure SM7B with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
Connect Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 To Computer
Connect Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to the Computer using USB C Cable or using USB C to USB A Cable
Connect Shure SM7B to Inline Preamp (Cloudlifter CL1)
Connect Shure SM7B to Inline Preamp (Cloudlifter CL1) Using XLR Cable
Connect Inline Preamp (Cloudlifter CL1) to Scarlett 2i2
Connect Inline Preamp (Cloudlifter CL1) to Scarlett 2i2 Using XLR Cable
Turn on Phantom Power (48v)
Turn on Phantom Power (48v) to activate the inline preamp (Cloudlifter CL1)
Turn up gain as necessary
Turn up gain as necessary: aim for -18dB to -12dB for recordings, aim for -6dB for live streaming/video conferencing
Can the Scarlett 2i2 Power the Shure SM7B?
The most common question with the Scarlett 2i2 and Shure SM7B combo is whether or not the interface can power the gain-hungry Shure SM7B. In our experience, the Scarlett 2i2 falls short of powering the Shure SM7B effectively.
Without assistance from an inline preamp, you will have to run the Scarlett at full gain, adding noticeable noise.
In our test, the Scarlett 2i2 had to be turned all the way up to get -15db out of the microphone. When we turn the Scarlett 2i2 up past 90%, we notice that it introduces a significant amount of noise, so we recommend using an external in-line pre-amp like the Cloudlifter or FetHead.
Scarlett Air Mode with Shure SM7B
The Air Mode will boost the upper frequencies and simulate the preamps on the famous Focusrite microphone preamps.
Generally, we find the Air Mode on the Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface complementary with the Shure SM7B Dynamic Microphone. It brightens the SM7B and makes it easier to listen to.
Related: Scarlett 2i2 vs Scarlett Solo
Scarlett 2i2 & SM7B FAQ
Does the SM7B Work With Scarlett 2i2?
Yes, the Shure SM7B can be used with the Scarlett 2i2. You may need a Cloudlifter (or another in-line preamp) to get the desired volume.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 & Shure SM7B Pricing
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface: https://currentprice.io/scarlett_2i2
- Shure SM7B Dynamic Microphone: https://currentprice.io/shure_sm7b
- Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator: https://currentprice.io/cloudlifter
- XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
- Mic Stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand