Hi friend and Welcome!!
Before we jump head first into the Heil PR40 vs. Shure SM7B comparison review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
For this comparison, I will outline the Heil PR40, compare it to the SM7B, and then provide a link to that official review.
- Comparison Video
- Who this mic benefits?
- What you will need?
- Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Frequency Response: 28Hz – 18kHz.
- Polar Pattern: Supercardioid. What is a cardioid capsule?
- Impedance: 600 Ohms balanced.
- Max SPL: 145 dB.
- Weight: 383g (2 lbs.)
- Length: 170mm.
- Max Diameter: 52mm.
- Interface: 3-pin XLR male.
- Output Level: -53.9dB @ 1000 Hz.
The Heil PR40 is a broadcast ready mic that excels in primarily voice-over situations. Called the Gold Standard for pod-casting, this dynamic mic is ruggedly built and superbly flat and neutral. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. You won’t have to do much EQ’ing, and a setting of “flat” will do the trick in most cases. It doesn’t need phantom power, but a good mic preamp with around 55-60 dB of clean gain is a must. Preamp vs. Interface.
- Broadcast ready sound, with an extended low frequency response.
- Extremely warm, intimate sound. Clear and articulate representation of your voice.
- Superbly flat frequency response.
- Easy to EQ with.
- Bright and rich like a condenser, but controlled and soft like a dynamic.
- End fire pattern rejects side and rear noise. Excellent noise reduction overall.
- Nice foam/plush/leather case.
- Built rugged, with a beautiful and flawless finish. It’s heavy, with everything being metal.
- Comes with clamp that has an adapter that screws in to allow the clamp to be used on different sized stands and boom arms.
- Amazing timbre. What is Timbre?
- XLR jack on the mic is a bit tight. What is XLR?
- Does not come with an XLR cable.
- No gain control.
- No headphone jack for zero latency monitoring. What is latency?
What you will need?
- Preamp with 58 dB of gain, or a cloudlifter + interface. More on that in a bit. What does an audio interface do?
- Good compression (either a hardware compressor or a software plugin).
- Heil broadcast boom and mounting piece, suspended shock-mount, and a pop-filter (Popless VAC-PR40). The Electrovoice 309a Shockmount & OC White desk-mounted boom are also solid, and should be considered.
- Acoustic Sound Treatment. It is important to note that this mic does a great job of rejecting room noise, but Acoustic Sound Treatment never hurts!
What people are using?
- Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP.
- Great match with the Steinberg UR22.
- Focusrite Solo.
- Symetrix 528E Processor.
- The Shure X2U XLR to USB adapter works well, and provides a a mic control and headphone jack.
- Alesis Mictube solo with 65dB of gain & +5dB drive with XLR to XLR
What do I recommend?
As with the SM7B, I would go with a cloud-lifter because it’s more affordable, and you can bypass having to buy an expensive Preamp.
So in a nutshell:
Steinberg UR22 + Cloudlifter + PR40. This ensures that you get that extra 25dB of gain (provided by the lifter) in order to effectively and properly amplify the mic.
Note: In my SM7B review, I also recommend the Cloudlifter. Which mike you go with entirely depends on your intended use. More on that in my Final Word.
Who this mic benefits?
Endorsed for all of the following:
- Ham Radio
- VOIP applications
- Screen recordings
- Kick Drums due to that deeper low end response.
- Female voices
- Live vocals
Not as good for:
- Recording music.
- All around recording.
There were a sprinkling of reviews that did mention it’s prowess with some instruments; namely Bass, Didgeridoo, and Kick Drums. Please don’t buy it solely for these purposes however.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- True dynamic mic. Does not need phantom power.
- End fire pattern that rejects off axis noise. This makes it perfect for podcasting and broadcasting.
- Use the low frequency gain knob and the HF knob as well. The mic may become a tad bright but both of these methods should do the trick in taming it down.
- Sounds great with EQ set to flat
- The PR40 has a slightly “scooped” mid-range that may take the nasal “honk” and stuffiness out of your voice.
- The Proximity effect is good. Anything more than 6 inches away from the mouth starts to sound thin. The sweet-spot here is around 2-4 inches. You can also put your lips right on the grill and the proximity effect is still controlled. It never becomes too thick or muddy.
- You may want to mess around with an expander/compressor/limiter/gate to go with the mic, in order to fine tune the sound.
- The main draw of this microphone is that it is designed to record only the sound that its closest to it, while rejecting everything else. This makes it great for less than perfect recording environments.
A ruggedly built microphone that is perfect for voice-over situations, with a broadcast ready tone. Doesn’t do as well with instrumentation, but remains a Gold Standard with it’s primary intended use. Remember that a good mic preamp is a must for this mic to truly shine!
Similarities & Differences
- Both the SM7B & PR40 benefit from the Cloud-lifter, and require about 55-60 dB of clean gain.
- Both mics do well on a flat EQ setting.
- Both reject room noise really well, and are more forgiving of less than ideal studio conditions.
- The SM7B is a more versatile mic that does best with vocalists, while the PR4o is best suited for voice-over applications.
- The SM7B has some color and warmth to it, while the PR40 is a very flat and neutral piece.
- The SM7B may become a tad muddy in the lower registers, while the PR40 retains that deep low end presence without becoming over zealous to the point of distortion.
- The Heil PR4o has no additional features, while the SM7B has a bass rolloff and a presence boost.
- The SM7B also comes with 2 windscreens while the PR40 has none.
I would give the slight edge to the SM7B, as it’s more versatile, comes with added features, and has been called the Gold Standard of dynamic mics overall. If you need a mic that’s better suited for vocals, voice-over, AND would like something that excels with instruments, the SM7B is your boy.
LEARN MORE IN MY OFFICIAL SHURE SM7B DYNAMIC MICROPHONE REVIEW!!
The PR40 (along with the RE20) have both been called the Gold Standard of voice-over (RE20 is more popular), and if you needed the best strictly from that standpoint, I would say go for either.
Interested in finding out more about the RE20? Electrovoice RE20 vs. RE27.
The Bottom Line?
The SM7B and PR40 are extremely similar, and it really does come down to personal taste, as the lad in the video so eloquently pointed out 🙂
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Heil PR40 vs. Shure SM7B.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles your pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,