Why Does My Shure SM7B Sound Bad? – How to Fix

why does my shure sm7b sound bad

If you’re wondering why does my Shure SM7B sound bad, this guide is made to help you!

The Shure SM7B is a high-end microphone, which is quieter than its competitors but with the right preamplifier, you can achieve outstanding results.

If you’re not satisfied with your Shure SM7B sound quality, you might be interested in some of the methods this guide has to offer.

If your Shure SM7B does not sound good, check the XLR connection to your preamp, test with different microphone positioning, and increase the Gain.

Also, test recording with the thinner windshield and stop the phantom power.

Let’s jump into troubleshooting!

Why Does Shure SM7B Sounds Bad? – Top Causes!

why does shure sm7b sounds bad

The recording quality of your Shure SM7B can sound bad due to a variety of reasons involving the microphone settings, preamplifier options, the connections, and of course, the environment.

Here’s everything proven to cause SM7B recording quality distortions:

  • An insecure or faulty XLR cable connection.
  • A bad Shure SM7B microphone positioning.
  • Incompatible low-cut filter or presence boost.
  • Insufficient gain boost from the audio interface.
  • Muffled recording due to the thick windscreen.
  • Unnecessary XLR phantom power delivery.

That’s it. So, let’s get into troubleshooting!

Why Does My Shure SM7B Sound Bad? – Quick & Easy Fixes!

Note: Shure SM7B requires a preamplifier with a good Gain boost or inline audio booster!

1. Check the XLR Cable Connection

check the xlr cable connection

The first and most important step when your Shure SM7B does not sound good is to inspect the XLR connection between the mic and your audio interface.

Your Shure SM7B connects to your preamp using an XLR cable, female on the microphone’s side and male on the amplifier’s side.

So, essentially, the XLR cable connects to the Shure SM7B and the other end goes into the “MIC INPUT” on your audio interface.

We strongly recommend unplugging the cable on both sides, inspecting the connectors and the pins within the head, and reconnecting them securely.

If you have a replacement XLR wire, you can try implementing the cable into the Shure setup to check for recording quality improvement.

Note: If you’re using an additional sound booster, the XLR cable plugs into the device’s input, and then the booster plugs into the audio interface via the TRS cable.

2. Experiment with Mic’s Positioning

experiment with mic’s positioning

The recording quality of your Shure SM7B might sound muffled, quiet, or distorted if your mic’s positioning is incorrect.

As mentioned, Shure SM7B is a quiet microphone by default and takes a lot of Gain to record your voice loudly and clearly.

So, consider speaking closer to the microphone!

  • As per user recommendation, the distance between your mouth and the Shure SM7B must be a maximum of 6 inches.

However, most users recommend taking this even further and speaking to the microphone at about 4 inches distance, to get the best possible recordings voice clarity.

If you’re speaking close to the mic, but it still sounds bad, continue reading!

3. Enable your SM7B Low-Cut Filter

enable your sm7b low-cut filter

If you look at your Shure SM7B microphone, you’ll notice two switches, one of which is the “Low-Cut Filter” also known as “high-pass”.

This filter removes unwanted background noises such as air conditioning, rumbling, and other audio-distorting sounds.

Essentially, when enabled, the low-cut filter will only allow sounds with higher frequency, which might be the perfect solution for you.

For example, any static noises with low-frequency will be removed and only high-frequency sounds, such as your voice will continue to be recorded.

Here’s how to enable the Shure SM7B low-cut filter:

  1. Locate the low-cut filter switch on your Shure SM7B.
  2. The switch is on the opposite side of the windscreen.
  3. Use a flat-head screwdriver to safely push the switch.
  4. When enabled, the switch must be pushed upwards.
Quick Tip: When ready, unplug the XLR cable from the mic and reconnect after a few seconds!

4. Adjust the Shure Presence Boost

adjust the shure presence boost

Well, right next to the “Low-Cut Filter” on your Shure SM7B, you’ll notice the “Presence Boost” switch, which enhances the mid-range frequencies.

If you enable this switch as well, even if you speak away from your microphone, your voice will be amplified, especially at about (5–7 kHz).

However, the presence boost may also boost background noises, so as per your environment, you must decide whether you enable or disable it. 

  • If you’re in a quiet room, enable the presence boost.
  • If you’re in a non-acoustic room, disable the boost.

We recommend checking the recording quality of your Shure SM7B with both states, enabled and disabled Presence Boost, to check which one works best for you.

Again, you must use a flat-head screwdriver to push the presence boost switch up (enabled) and down (disabled).

Note: The presence boost will not boost the quality if you’re recording outdoors in a windy area!

5. Boost the Gain to At Least -20 dB

boost gain to at least -20 db

If your Shure SM7B sounds bad, the primary suspect remains the Gain, which comes from your preamplifier (preamp) or audio interface.

Well, by default, the Shure SM7B settles at about -59 dB, and to start hearing audible recording you need at least -20 dB, so a +40 dB is necessary.

So, locate the “Gain” dial on your audio interface and rotate to the right to increase the gain to about +35–40 dB.

However, if you tune up the Gain too much, you may start hearing “hissing” and “rattling” noises, so we recommend finding a balanced decibel setting, for perfect clarity.

Note: Some audio boosters and interfaces have multiple “Gain” dials, according to the available inputs so verify that you’re adjusting the correct one.

6. Use the Thinner Shure Windscreen

use the thinner shure windscreen

If you’re still wondering how to make Shure SM7B sound better, you should consider equipping the thinner windscreen.

Your Shure SM7B arrives with two covers, one thinner and one thicker, which tremendously affects how your recordings sound.

If you’re using the bolder and thicker windscreen for your Shure SM7B, your recordings might sound a bit muffled or muddy, especially if there is not enough Gain.

However, to achieve the perfect balance between Gain and recording clarity, we advise equipping the thinner mic foam.

It’s straightforward to replace the windscreen foam by pulling it out!

When ready, perform a test recording to check what your Shure SM7B sounds like.

Quick Tip: You can decrease the Gain a bit when using the thinner foam to reduce static noise!

7. Stop the Preamp’s Phantom Power

stop the preamp’s phantom power

Another reason why your Shure SM7B sounds bad could be the “phantom power” delivery from your audio interface or preamplifier.

The Shure SM7B does not require phantom power, hence if your interface provides additional voltage through the XLR cable, this can impact the recording.

So, look for a switch, button, or flip on your preamp or audio interface labeled “phantom power” and verify that it’s disabled.

If you don’t see such a switch, your audio device may not have this feature, hence this can’t be the culprit.

Note: Check for other audio settings on your audio interface that may impact the quality of your Shure SM7B recordings.

Final Thoughts

Why does my Shure SM7B sound bad?

Shure SM7B sounds bad either because the Gain boost is too low or because the mic’s settings are not configured as per your environment’s acoustics.

Also, the mic’s positioning plays a vital role in your recording quality as well as your preamplifier settings.

We hope this guide was helpful so follow us for more!