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Shure SM7B vs Rode NT1A (2022): Which XLR Microphone Should You Buy?

The Shure SM7B is an iteration of the highly popular and top-rated Shure SM7. With this microphone, you will get excellent performance with premium build quality. However, it’s not the most budget-friendly XLR mic out there. If you are looking to build a home studio with professional level equipment, but you’d rather not spend too much money, the Rode NT1A is a worthy consideration. It’s cheaper, while also providing excellent performance, albeit with some features missing. So which of these mics should you go for? Here is our comparison of the two.

Shure SM7B vs Rode NT1A Comparison Chart

ModelShure SM7BRode NT1A
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
Dimensions7.47 x 2.5 inches7.48 x 1.97 inches
Weight1.69lbs0.72lbs
TypeDynamicCondenser
Frequency Response50Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz
Polar PatternCardioidCardioid
ConnectionsXLRXLR
Included AccessoriesSwitch cover plate, windscreenShock mount, pop filter, mic cable, dust cover

Design

Both the Shure SM7B and Rode NT1A have a solid construction, but the former feels more like a premium product.

They are about the same size, but the Shure SM7B (left) is heavier than the Rode NT1A (right).

The Shure SM7B features a solid construction that Shure microphones are known for. It’s made with a combination of steel and aluminum for durability and premium feel. Measuring 7.47 x 2.5 inches, the microphone is neither too big nor too small. It does feel heavy at 1.69lbs, but this heft also contributes to its overall premium feel.

At the bottom of the mic are two toggles that give you the option to adjust its response (presence boost, flat and bass roll-off). At the side is the standard mounting mechanism with just the right amount of resistance that allows you to attach the microphone to any stand that you like. There’s also a pre-installed pop filter so you don’t need an external one with this microphone.

As for the Rode NT1A, it has a stainless steel construction that also feels very solid. It measures 7.48 x 1.97 inches so it’s about the same length as the SM7B, but a bit thinner. It’s also more lightweight, weighing only 0.72lbs, which is more than half that of the SM7B.

This condenser mic has a gold plated capsule protected by a metal grille. Included accessories are the following: pop filter, shock mount, XLR cable and a carrying case.

Features and Connectivity

The Shure SM7B comes with on-board high-pass filter.

The Shure SM7B (left) comes with a pre-installed pop filter while the Rode NT1A (right) comes with an external one.

Both of these mics have XLR connectors, so these aren’t as easy to set up as USB microphones with their plug and play process. You’ll need to have a mixer or an audio interface to get these mics to work. That said, the process is not that complicated and it’s made easier if you already have experience with an audio interface or a mixer.

When it comes to features, the Shure SM7B comes with on-board controls that allow you to tweak the mic’s response. There are three settings—flat, presence boost and bass roll-off. Flat is used if you want a natural reproduction of your recording. Presence boost attenuates the low frequency sounds while also boosting the mids and highs. Bass roll-off is similar to presence boost, but without amplifying the highs and mids. With these, you can control your recording before you even hit the record button, and this can lessen postprocessing workload.

As for the Rode NT1A, there really is no sort of on-board controls. It will rely on your audio interface or mixer for sound enhancements.

Performance

The Shure SM7B is less sensitive to loud noises than the Rode NT1A.

Both the Shure SM7B (left) and Rode NT1A (right) have a cardioid polar pattern.

As a dynamic microphone, the Shure SM7B is less sensitive to loud noises than condenser microphones. Audio clipping is almost a non-issue even when it pick ups explosive sounds. Distortion is also minimized from sudden bursts of loud sound.

With its cardioid pattern, the Shure SM7B is designed for vocals, podcasting and you can even use it with instruments as long as you place it in the right location. Sound is captured from the front and off-axis sounds are minimized.

The Rode NT1A is a condenser microphone, so it’s more sensitive to picking up sounds—from almost silent whispers to full-volume speech. This is great since you can record with ease, however, it also means that you need to use it in a treated room. The mic is intended for use in a professional home or studio environment.

One issue with the Rode NT1A is with plosives and sibilants, but getting a decent pop filter will negate this. It has a cardioid pickup pattern, so similar to the Shure SM7B, it’s geared towards speech and vocals.

Verdict

The Shure SM7B is better than the Rode NT1A across the board.

Shure SM7B

Better overall microphone

Rode NT1A

Cheaper alternative

If you are looking to get a professional-grade microphone and budget is not a concern, the Shure SM7B is definitely the better pick. It has a richer and more full-bodied sound that you can tweak on the fly, it has a much more premium and sturdy build, and, since it’s a dynamic microphone, it’s so much easier to use. The Rode NT1A is also a very good microphone, and it’s attractive price is definitely a plus. While it’s not as good as the SM7B in terms of sound and ease of use, it’s still a decent option. It’s a worthy consideration if budget is a major concern.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Shure SM7B worth it?

Yes, while it’s a bit pricey, it’s worth it since it has a premium construction, excellent sound and it’s very easy to use.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Rode NT1A a good mic for vocals?

Yes, it’s a microphone designed specifically for vocals.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Shure SM7B good for singing?

Yes, as a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, the Shure SM7B excels when it comes to singing.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do I need a shock mount for SM7B?

No, it already has an internal shock mount.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.