One microphone is a staple of nearly every podcast, voiceover booth, and streaming setup – the Shure SM7B. The series has been around for almost 50 years and is the industry standard for vocal recordings. Amazingly, it only continues to grow in popularity.
If you are fortunate, you can pick one up for about $400 and that is a reasonable price. Or, you can build one yourself for as little as $30. Caleb from DSLR Video Shooter did this DIY experiment himself.
He 3D printed some parts, found some other pieces, and then did a comparison between the DIY version and an original SM7B.
Looking at the two mics side-by-side shows that this clone is impressive. It looks super similar. Plus, Caleb claims it sounds nearly as good.
At its core, the DIY mic is a 3D-printed housing that holds a cheaper dynamic vocal mic. This may seem absurd, but if you break down an SM7B you’ll see that it is very similar in design.
It isn’t an exact match of course, there are some real differences in the capsule and there are additional controls on the back of the real SM7B.
The dynamic mic nestled inside is very similar to the SM58. Shure themselves even explain that the SM57, SM58, and SM7B all use a variation of the same cartridge and should have similar profiles.
The grille design is what makes a difference in how the sound is recorded. The SM7B has a larger grille and foam cover that keep the performer at an ideal distance and reduce the impact of plosives.
The SM58’s grille is very close to the capsule and makes it much more difficult to prevent that.
So, you have a $100 SM58 (or closer to $60 used) that with a few extra pieces you can potentially get looking and sounding like a $400 SM7B. I think you can see where this is going.
A custom housing to hold the SM58 gets things looking really, really good. It also keeps the capsule at the same distance from the speaker as the original SM7B.
Let’s look at what you need:
- Microphone: Shure SM58
- 3D-Printed Parts: Main Body, Grille, and Mount
- 3 x M4x16mm Metric Screws
- 5/8” to 3/8”-16 Adapter
- Foam Cover (Fits SM7B)
If you are on a tight budget, this can all be done with the $20 Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 instead.
Assembly is easy. Slide in the mic and make sure the screw hole lines up with the hole in the body. Lock the mic in with a screw. Now screw in the mount and thread in the adapter.
Pop on the foam cover, add a ball head for easier adjustment, and you are done!
Caleb does a series of quick comparisons so you can hear the differences for yourself and they all sound great. Even if you are picking up some differences I would say they are all very good. Nothing you can’t work with.
What did you think about the DIY mics vs the Shure SM7B?
[source: DSLR Video Shooter]
- Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone (B&H, Amazon)
- Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone (B&H, Amazon)
- Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 Dynamic Microphone (Amazon)
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