Why is My Shure SM7B So Quiet? (Don’t Panic, Easy Fix!)

why is my shure sm7b so quiet

If you’re wondering why is my Shure SM7B so quiet, then this guide will help you solve this!

Shure SM7B is widely known as one of the best microphones for streaming and podcasting, but the main problem is the quietness.

Put simply, it takes a lot of Gain for the mic to sound loud, so in this guide, we will show you all the methods you can attempt to make the Shure SM7B louder.

If your Shure SM7B is too quiet, boost the Gain from your audio interface, position the mic close to your mouth, and equip the thinner foam.

You can also enable the Presence Boost, or install an inline preamp (microphone booster).

Why is My Shure SM7B Too Quiet?

why shure sm7b too quiet

It’s well-known to many users that the Shure SM7B is a quiet microphone and takes a lot of gain to start sounding louder.

However, before rushing into purchasing preamplifiers, we recommend checking some of the reasons for the quietness and trying a few steps to make your mic louder.

Here’s why your Shure SM7B is too quiet:

  • Your audio interface’s gain boost is not enough.
  • The XLR connection is not securely connected.
  • The thick windshield is muffling the input audio.
  • Your SM7B is positioned away from your mouth.
  • The SM7B Presence Boost switch is not enabled.

Well, let’s get into resolving these factors, shall we?

Why is My Shure SM7B So Quiet? – 7 Working Solutions!

Your Shure SM7B is just a quiet microphone by default.

However, there are a bunch of steps and methods you can do to boost the input audibility and make your recordings sound louder.

So, let’s get started…

1. Boost Audio Interface’s Gain

boost audio interface’s gain

If your Shure SM7B is very quiet you may need to boost the Gain from your audio interface or mixer to increase the output volume.

Well, an audible output volume level you need to achieve is about -20 dB, at which your voice input would be loud and clear and will no longer be quiet.

So, go ahead and locate the Gain dial on your mixer or audio interface and rotate it right to boost the Gain.

We recommend opening the software on your computer, which could be any streaming/broadcasting program in which you can monitor the decibels of your Shure SM7B.

Warning: Static Noise!

If you boost the Gain from your mixer or audio interface too much, you may start hearing a weird static noise from your Shure SM7B.

So, while observing the decibels of your microphone, adjust the Gain so that when you speak with a normal voice, the dB won’t go beyond -5 dB up to 0 dB.

Tip: On most audio-interface devices, the Gain dial will blink when you speak as an indication!

2. Secure your XLR Connection

secure your xlr connection

Your SM7B microphone connects to the mixer or audio interface via a standard XLR cable that must be securely connected to the port.

There is a female and male end, which respectively connect to the output port of your Shure SM7B and into the input port on the audio interface.

If you’ve increased the Gain, but your Shure SM7B is still very quiet, reconnect the XLR cable on both sides and secure the connection.

3. Use a Thinner Mic Windshield

Your Shure SM7B comes with two different windshields, one of which is thicker and the other is thinner.

Therefore, unless you’re recording outdoors, in a very windy area, we recommend you use the thinner windshield (foam), for your voice to be more audible and sound more clearer.

use a thinner mic windshield

It’s very easy to replace the windshield as you only need to pull out the thinker one and equip the thinner foam.

When you do so, perform a test recording and check your SM7B audibility.

Note: The thinner windshield will not be compatible when there is too much background noise!

4. Use your Shure SM7B Correctly

We understand that when streaming or podcasting you don’t want your big microphone to take up half your screen.

Most users tend to position the SM7B microphone away from their head, thinking that a high-end microphone wouldn’t have an issue picking their voice clean and loud.

use your shure sm7b correctly

Well, that’s quite wrong, considering that Shure SM7B is very quiet!

Your Shure SM7B must be positioned close to your mouth. The general recommendation is no more than 6 inches.

However, to get the perfect results many users recommend using the Shure SM7B at about 3-inches away from your mouth.

Quick Tip: To set up the mic without measuring the distance, this is about 4 fingers away!

5. Adjust the Microphone Switches

So, the Shure SM7B microphone has two switches on the back side, which can help you make your voice much more audible.

Those switches involve the Low-Cut Filter and Presence Boost, which are used to enhance the recording quality in different ways so let’s have an in-depth look.

About the Low-Cut Filter:

about the low-cut filter

The Low-Cut Filter is used to increase/decrease the low end of your records.

When you use the microphone very close to your mouth, you may start getting the proximity effect and added bass, which makes the recording sound a little bit too muddy.

When you enable the Low-Cut Filter, you need to use the microphone close to your mouth as some of the noises will be reduced and make your voice sound clearer.

To enable the low-cut filter you’ll need a flathead screwdriver to push the switch downwards located on the rare side.

About the Presence Boost:

The Presence Boost is used to increase/decrease the high end of the recording.

By enabling this switch you can add more liveliness to your voice and amplify the overall audibility.

Hence, this filter comes into play when your voice sounds too dull, especially if you use thick foam.

Again, to enable the Presence Boost, you’ll need to use a flathead screwdriver and push the switch upwards.

When you do so, test how the voice sounds now and whether it’s still quiet.

If yes, continue reading…

6. Set up a 40+ dB Gain Preamp

set up a 40+ db gain preamp

Your Shure SM7B is very quiet because the microphone works at about -59 Gain by default, a good mixer or audio interface is necessary.

So if you use some kind of mixer with a built-in audio interface, this may not be enough to get a desirable level of Gain, causing the SM7B quietness.

So what you need is a standalone audio mixer/interface with at least 40+ dB boost availability, which will allow you to achieve at least -20 dB while recording.

That’s how to make Shure SM7B louder, so let’s get to learn more about the preamplifiers.

About Preamplifier:

A preamplifier or “preamp” is an electronic amplifier that converts a weak electrical signal into a strong output.

The conversion is tolerant to noise and is the perfect solution for the quietness of your Shure SM7B, which is guaranteed to work.

Tip: You can explore preamplifiers online!

7. Implement Inline XLR Preamp

implement inline xlr preamp

Another and cheaper alternative to a full-scale preamplifier is an inline XLR preamp which is a small device also known as a “mic booster.”

So if you’re using a mixer or audio interface with an inbuilt preamp that can’t increase the gain enough, an XLR preamp will be the perfect solution.

The setup is simple, you connect your Shure SM7B mic to the XLR port on the inline preamp, which then connects to your mixer.

The most popular brand for such a preamp is “Cloud” which will instantly give you 20–30dB of gain to your recordings.

That’s it. When we put together all solutions from this guide, you should be able to get a good audibility of your Shure SM7B very quickly. 

Quick Recap

Why is my Shure SM7B so quiet? Your Shure SM7B is silent because by default the microphone works at about -57dB, and you need to get at least -20 dB.

The solution is to position the mic closer to your mouth, install the thinner windshield, and enable the Presence Boost.

The most efficient way to boost the Shure SM7B, however, remains to install a preamp!

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