The Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 are two of the most popular microphones used for radio, podcasting, and voiceover.
This post will help you determine which of these microphones is right for you.
In this post, you’ll hear audio samples to compare basic sound quality, polar pattern testing, proximity testing, and plosive (p-pop) testing. You’ll also be introduced to some other things to consider when deciding between the Shure SM7B and the Electro-voice RE20, such as mounting, gain requirements, and visual aesthetic.
|Microphone||Pros||Cons||Where to Buy|
|Shure SM7B||Provides natural vocal recordings|
Easily adjustable built-in yoke mount
Sleek visual aesthetic
|No additional mounting options|
Requires more gain than most microphones
|Electro-Voice RE20||Slightly enhanced vocal clarity and intelligibility|
Option for suspension shock mount
|Front-heavy with included microphone clip|
Requires more gain than most microphones
The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone that has been a staple in the recording industry for many years. It has become extremely popular in the world of video podcasting.
It costs about $400, making it the less expensive option in this comparison.
The Electro-Voice RE20 is a dynamic microphone that has been an industry standard in the recording industry for many years, but particularly in the broadcast and radio industry.
It costs about $450, making it slightly more expensive than the SM7B.
Testing & Technical Specifications
Both the Shure SM7B and the EV RE20 are excellent microphones for recording voice.
Let’s take a quick look at the technical specifications of each microphone.
Frequency response describes how effectively a device passes signals from input to output.
Watch this video to quickly learn how to interpret the frequency response graphs for each microphone.
The Shure SM7B has a frequency response with a dip in the low-mid range and a slight boost around 5 kHz. This microphone sounds great on spoken word, vocals, and a variety of instruments. It also features a built-in high pass filter switch and presence boost switch, each indicated by the dotted lines on this frequency response graph.
The EV RE20 has a frequency response with dips at 2 kHz and 4 kHz and a slight boost around 8 kHz. The RE20 also provides excellent sound for recording voice. Though the RE20 is primarily used for spoken word, it is also widely used for vocals and other instruments. It features a switch to engage a high pass filter, which is indicated by the dotted line on the following frequency response graph.
Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 have cardioid polar patterns. This means that the microphones pick up sound best from the front and reject sound from the rear.
Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 provide a relatively uniform tone within the normal range of the microphone.
This will ensure that the podcast or radio guests will not sound distant when shifting positions throughout the recording.
Plosive Test (P-Pops)
When recording voice, it is important to consider the potential for p-pops created by plosive sounds, such as “B”, “P”, and “T”.
Plosives are nearly impossible to remove after the fact without time-consuming, skillful editing. The best way to prevent p-pops from plosives is to use a pop filter. You can read this article by Audio University to learn more about pop filters.
Each microphone also has a windscreen which can help with wind noise and plosives. Read this article by Audio University to learn about windscreens.
The Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20 include built-in windscreens to prevent this type of noise. The SM7B has an external windscreen that seems to be a more effective defense against plosives compared to the internal windscreen built into the RE20.
Both the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE20 have excellent build quality and sound great for recording voice.
Let’s take a look at some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing between the two.
Both of these microphones require a lot of gain, so you will need a preamp capable of supplying that gain.
In these tests, I used a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. This is a very common interface, because it is one of the best options in the $200 price range.
For my voice, the preamps in this interface were sufficient. However, if you’re recording a voice any quieter than mine, you might need a more powerful interface or an inline signal booster, such as the Cloudlifter or the Royer DBooster. These devices will provide more gain without the need to replace your microphone preamp.
While it doesn’t matter for audio-only work, many doing video podcasting might prefer the sleeker visual aesthetic of the Shure SM7B over the bulkier design of the Electro-Voice RE20.
This is one reason the SM7B has become so popular in the age of video podcasting and streaming.
Finally, it is important to provide podcast guests with an easily adjustable mounting option so that they can quickly adjust microphone positioning to accommodate their needs.
The only option when using the Shure SM7B is the built-in yoke mount, and it allows users to easily adjust the microphone position.
The Electro-Voice RE20 comes with a microphone clip mount. This tends to make the microphone front heavy. Additionally, the clip tends to get loose unless you occasionally tighten it with a screwdriver.
There is a suspension shock mount for the RE20 for about $100. If you go with the RE20, I recommend spending the extra money for the shock mount.
Top Choice: Shure SM7B vs Electro-Voice RE20
Both of these microphones are excellent choices for podcasting, radio, and voiceover applications. You really cannot go wrong with either of them.
If you add up the cost of the RE20 and the shock mount, the combined price becomes $550! Not only does the shock mount cost an extra $100, but it is much larger than the simple yoke mount included with the SM7B.
With that said, my advice is to save the extra money and go with the Shure SM7B.