Not quite sure what the Shure SM7B‘s switches do? In this article, we’ll explain how to adjust these controls, what they do, when we would recommend using them, and most importantly, when you should leave them alone.
Quick Answer: The Shure SM7B offers a built-in low cut / high pass filter and a mid-level boost. We recommend leaving these features turned off unless you have a specific need to process vocal audio without computer software. It’s much better to record the whole signal and process it non-destructively.
How To Change The Shure SM7B Switches
We recommend using a small flathead screwdriver to make any changes to the switches on the back of the Shure SM7B. Simply place the screwdriver on the switch’s small while line and then toggle it up or down.
As you toggle the switch, you’ll notice the line in the window above changes. This gives you a rough indication of how the microphone’s frequencies have changed in reaction to your adjustment. A flat line in each window indicates you’re using the factory default settings.
Shure SM7B High Pass Filter / Low Cut Switch
Looking at the back of the Shure SM7B, the switch on the left toggles the high pass filter. Also known as a low cut, this feature rolls off frequencies on the low end.
On the SM7B, this roll-off starts at 300 Hz with a more rapid drop-off after 100 Hz. This is quite aggressive for a high pass filter; typically, we would start the roll-off somewhere between 80 – 100 Hz.
This feature is typically used to clean up the sound of a microphone. It takes mic audio out of the listener’s subwoofer, creating a more pleasant listening experience by removing unintelligible rumbling. The SM7B does this too aggressively for our tastes, but some people like how it sounds.
Shure SM7B Mid Frequency Boost Switch
The second switch on the back of the SM7B toggles a mid-frequency boost. In the case of the SM7B, this boost affects the 900 – 7000 Hz range on top of the typical EQ frequency response of the microphone.
This is designed to improve clarity in the microphone’s vocal range. In a live performance, it can help the lead singer stand out over everything else. For podcasts, it can help to add punch and personality to a host’s voice. The SM7B is one of our recommended podcasting microphones, but not for this reason.
It’s not suited to everyone’s voice, so again, it’s a matter of personal taste. If we had control over the boosted frequencies, we’d tighten the window down to the 1500 Hz – 3500 Hz range.
When To Avoid Using The SM7B’s Switches
We would avoid using the switches on the back of the SM7B as a general rule. Why? Here are the 2 main reasons we recommend you stick with the factory settings.
The frequency ranges that Shure has selected are too broad and don’t reflect settings that we would actually choose. As we mentioned in the previous sections, the low cut starts much higher than we would like, and the mid boost range is overly broad.
- Destructive Changes.
If you use the SM7B’s high pass filter when recording to a computer, you will never be able to recover those frequencies. They get cut at the mic and never make it to your computer. We’d much rather record the whole microphone signal and make any changes using non-destructive software filters.
When To Use The SM7B Switches
If you read the previous section, you might think we’d warn you off ever using the SM7B’s built-in switches. However, there are some scenarios where they could be helpful.
- A No Edit Workflow.
If you have no plans, time, or budget to edit your audio after the fact, you may still want to have a low cut or mid boost applied to your vocal audio. We would select the appropriate settings on the SM7B, record to a portable recorder, and upload the file in those circumstances.
- The Settings Are Perfect.
If the SM7B’s predefined frequency ranges work for you or the person you’re recording, the switches are an easy way to maintain a consistent sound. We find it very hard to believe that you wouldn’t need to fine-tune things further, but it may be true for some users.
If you’d like to hear how each setting affects the sound of a voice, click here to jump to the demo segment of the accompanying video.
Shure SM7B & Featured Equipment Pricing & Specs
- Shure SM7B: https://currentprice.io/shure_sm7b
- Elgato Wave XLR: https://currentprice.io/wave_xlr
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones: https://currentprice.io/beyer_dt_990
- XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
- TRS Cable: https://currentprice.io/trs_cable
- Mic Stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand
- Rode PSA1 Boom Arm: https://currentprice.io/boom_arm