The Shure SM7B is a low-output dynamic microphone, producing a very small signal. This means you need a high-quality preamp that can deliver 60dB of clean gain to record a podcast, live stream, or another recording with the SM7B.
In some cases, you will need two different preamps working together to boost the signal properly. You will need the preamp on your audio interface or mixer, plus you may also require an inline XLR preamp to give it another boost.
This guide will explore these concepts and show you what preamp we recommend for the Shure SM7B.
Quick Answer: You need a preamp for the Shure SM7B. This preamp is already built in to your audio interface or audio mixer. You may also require an inline XLR preamp if your audio interface or mixer cannot supply +60dB of clean gain (without noise or hiss).
What is a preamp?
A preamp, or preamplifier, is an electronic device that amplifies a weak audio signal to a level suitable before it gets processed or recorded. A high-quality preamp will boost the signal without adding too much noise (hiss, static). Some preamps will color the tone of your microphone, and you will want to try several preamps to determine which is best for you.
You can get a standalone microphone preamp for the Shure SM7B, but most people prefer to use the preamp built into their audio interface or mixer.
On an audio interface, the volume or gain knob for the channel will control the preamp. Below is a list of our favorite audio interfaces for the Shure SM7B; all of these options have enough clean gain to power the SM7B without an inline preamp:
- Universal Audio Volt 276 – https://currentprice.io/volt276
- Solid State Logic SSL2+ – https://currentprice.io/ssl2_plus
- Elgato Wave XLR – https://currentprice.io/wave_xlr
The gain knob at the top of the channel strip on an audio mixer will control the preamp. Below is a list of our favorite audio mixers for the Shure SM7B:
- Rode Rodecaster Pro II – https://currentprice.io/rodecaster2
- Yamaha MG10XU – https://currentprice.io/mg10xu
What is an inline preamp?
The Shure SM7B requires more than 60dB of clean gain to sound its best.
Most audio mixers or interfaces cannot provide 60dB of clean gain.
You can add an inline preamp between the Shure SM7B and your audio interface/mixer to add more clean gain.
This will bring the Shure SM7B up to an appropriate recording level and make the SM7B sound better.
What is the best inline preamp for the Shure SM7B?
When it comes to the Shure SM7B, we recommend these inline preamps as the best inline preamps for the Shure SM7B (in order):
- sE Electronics Dynamite DM-1 – https://currentprice.io/dynamite
- Triton Audio FetHead – https://currentprice.io/fethead
- Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 – https://currentprice.io/cloudlifter
For more information, you read our complete guide: Best Inline Microphone Preamps
Shure SM7B Preamp FAQs
Yes, the Shure SM7B needs a preamp. The good news is that this is included with your audio interface or mixer. Make sure the preamp can supply more than 60dB of gain if you want to use the Shure SM7B.
If the preamp built in to your mixer or interface can’t supply 60dB of gain, you should use an inline preamp (Cloudlifter, Dynamite DM-1, Fethead, etc.) with the Shure SM7B.
The Rode Rodecaster Pro II is the best audio mixer for the Shure SM7B. It can supply enough clean gain for the SM7B and is the audio mixer we highly recommend for you!