Hi friend and Welcome!!
Before we get into the AKG C214 vs. Shure SM7B, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Similarities & Differences
- Video Comparison
- Closing Thoughts
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
In The Box
AKG C214 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
AKG H 85 Universal Shock Mount
W214 Foam Windscreen
Metal Carrying Case
Limited 3-Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
- Impedance: 200 Ohms.
- Switches: -20dB pad.
- Microphone Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
- Max SPL: 136dB (156dB w/Pad). What is SPL?
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 81dB (A-weighted).
- Self Noise: 13dB (A-weighted).
- Low Cut Filter: 160Hz (-6dB/octave).
- Color: Matte Grey Blue
- Weight: 0.62 lbs.
- Included Accessories: H85 Shockmount, Metal Carry Case
- Manufacturer Part Number: 3185Z00010
In The Box
Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
Swivel (Yoke Mount) Stand Adapter
Shure A7WS Broadcast-Style Windscreen for SM7, SM7A, and SM7B
Shure RPM602 Switch Cover Plate for SM7A and SM7B Microphones
- Type: Dynamic.
- Frequency Response: 50 to 20,000 Hz.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
- Impedance: 150 Ohms.
- Output level: 59 dB.
- Switches: Bass roll-off and mid-range emphasis. Slotted response selector switches.
- Cartridge Shock Mount: Internal air-suspension shock and vibration isolator.
- Microphone Connector: XLR. The difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone.
- Swivel Assembly: Integrated, captive nut for ease of attachment to stand, fits 5/8 in. -27 thread.
- Polarity: Positive pressure on the diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3.
- Case: Dark gray enamel aluminum and steel case with a dark gray foam windscreen.
- Net Weight: 765.4 grams (1 lb, 11 oz).
Both of these XLR mics are extremely well respected if a bit pricey.
- Related: What is XLR?
In fact, they are two of the most sought-after pieces that I’ve come across, in their respective price ranges or otherwise.
Today we’ll o over their similarities and differences while determining if either is worth a purchase.
If not or if it’s close, we’ll discuss a couple of fantastic alternatives that won’t break the bank.
Cool, let’s take a look.
Similarities & Differences
Both are XLR microphones.
Both mics add a sort of “thickness” and warmth to your voice.
They are known to “accentuate” if you will, as opposed to being flat and neutral.
The C214 in particular has a mid-range boost and a treble boost as well.
Both of these mics are extremely versatile.
The SM7B is at its best in voice-over situations as well as vocal applications.
I would say its main draw is in vocals.
You wouldn’t believe how many famous people use(d) and love this thing, from Michael Jackson to Radiohead and countless others.
The C214 is also very popular, but its main draw is in hip-hop vocals, R&B, acoustic guitar, and drum overheads.
I would say these mics complement each other phenomenally well. They both do well in a lot of the same instances but also work well as interchangeable mics depending on what you’re doing.
- Related: What is a cardioid capsule?
The C214 needs 48v phantom power via a mixer or audio interface to function.
- Recommended: What does an audio interface do?
The SM7B does not require phantom power to function, but it does require a decent preamp as it needs more gain than a typical condenser. Preamp vs. Interface.
You could opt for the Cloudlifter/Fethead + Audio Interface route.
No worries, you will learn all about that in my review of the SM7B (below).
The SM7B has a bass roll-off switch and mid-range emphasis switch, while the C214 has a -20dB pad and a low-cut filter.
Condenser microphones like the C214 typically pick up a lot of noise, whether this is ambient, room, or background noise.
They pick up everything!
They are very sensitive and benefit greatly from Acoustic Sound Treatment.
By contrast, a dynamic mic like the SM7B is designed to reject background noise.
It’s a lot more forgiving of your less-than-ideal studio environment.
You may not need any room treatment, but it never hurts!!
Because the C214 is a condenser microphone and is very sensitive, it will articulate your voice better and its sound is more detailed overall.
The 7B does not accentuate the treble region which, depending on who you are, may or may not be bothersome.
it’s become a pretty heated debate over the years. Some folks believe that the lack of sparkle makes the voices sound too dark.
Others really enjoy the radio broadcast warmth and un-intrusive sound; one that certainly won’t result in any sibilance.
I can see both sides of it to be honest.
In the case of the C214,
the challenge is to treat your room properly enough to deter all those weird bathroom sounds and whatnot.
The SM7B rejects room noise almost completely, but the trade-off is that your sound may not be as detailed.
Still, you may like how it sounds. Most people typically do.
The solid red line indicates the 7B’s stock sound with no pads or filters. The dotted line is the presence boost function.
So, similarly to the C214, it does place some emphasis on the mid-range, but the difference is that it doesn’t boost the highs.
The SM7B comes with 2 separate windscreens.
The C214 doesn’t come with pop filters or windscreens, but generally, you are going to want to invest in a pop filter for this microphone.
These mics look radically different from each other.
The stand generally used with the SM7B is a boom arm, while the C214 is typically fitted with a desk stand or standard mic stand.
Regular sound comparison!
Both of these microphones are very highly respected and extremely well regarded; they have been for many years.
The question is one of value.
Is the SM7B worth around $400?
Is the C214 worth around the same?
Both of these mics typically retail at very similar price points.
If you asked me, I would say probably not.
That’s not to say they aren’t good!
They most certainly are.
But as another Amazon reviewer put it, he was expecting a massive upgrade from the MXL 990 (given the massive price difference) and it simply wasn’t there.
- Recommended: MXL 990 Review; Best Budget Condenser Microphone?
To me, this is simply another case of the law of diminishing returns at work.
But what about the SM7B?
A similar dilemma arises when comparing the 7B to a much cheaper mic in the SM57.
I think the MXL990 is the perfect condenser mic.
As far as a perfect dynamic, that’s most assuredly the SM57.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the AKG C214 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 suits your needs more? Do you require a mic that blocks out unwanted noise like the SM7B, or would you rather have a condenser microphone that picks up more detail? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,