Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B!

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Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B!

In this article, we are listing some of the best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B.

Shure SM7B is a dynamic and low sensitivity microphone. Therefore, it needs an audio interface that can amplify the audio signal coming from the mic to very high levels. The job of amplifying the audio signal is done by Mic Preamps.

If the interface has low quality preamps, a lot of unwanted noise will be generated, which will ruin your audio recordings.

Not all audio interfaces are created equal. For this reason, you need an audio interface for Shure SM7B that’ll amplify the signal and, in turn, make the least amount of noise.

The less the noise, the better are the audio recordings.

But, first lets kick off by discussing what makes an audio interface suitable for a microphone like Shure SM7B.

Quick Shopping Tips

Below are some of the features that you must ensure in an audio interface before buying one. These features will make sure that you get the best interface according to your requirements.

1) Inputs and outputs

The first thing to look up in an interface is the number of inputs and outputs.

Different types of inputs and outputs on an interface are necessary to connect and record instruments and mics in high audio quality.

You need one XLR mic input to pair a Shure SM7B to an audio interface.

In terms of outputs, there should be at least one headphone-level and two line-level outputs.

2) Dynamic Range

It is always good to have a high dynamic range. A high dynamic range makes sure that you get enough headroom to record vocals without any distortion or audio clipping.

The below table will give you dynamic ranges of different audio interfaces discussed in this article.

Ensure that you get an audio interface of a dynamic range higher than 100 dB.

3) Low noise converters and mic preamps

The Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone. Therefore, the converters and mic preamps in an audio interface need to work extra hard to amplify the audio signal.

This amplification of audio signal coming from a dynamic microphone causes a lot of stress on mic preamps, thereby producing noise.

The noise level are calculated in terms of equivalent input noise or EIN. Lower EIN values specify that the preamps generate low noise and are great for high quality recordings.

Related: Top 15 Things to know before buying an audio interface!

Best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B

Here is a quick look at some of the best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B.

Best audio interface for Shure SM7BInputs/outputsEIN(dB)Dynamic range(dB)
Focusrite Clarett 2Pre2/2-129120
SSL 22/2-130.8110.5
M-Audio AIR2/2-131103
Audient iD42/2-130113.2
MOTU M22/2-128100
Behringer UMC204HD2/4-129100
Focusrite Scarlett 2i22/2-127.8110.6

Now, let’s have a deeper look at each of the audio interface.

Related: Top 10 Best Audio Interfaces under $500 – Affordable & Powerful!

1) Focusrite Clarett 2Pre

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2 Mic / line / Hi-Z inputs,
  • 4 line level outputs,
  • MIDI I/O available,
  • Air Mode Feature,
  • Direct monitoring available,
  • Dedicated control knobs,
  • Two Phantom boosted MIC preamps(+48V),
  • One headphone o/p with dedicated control knob,
  • One optical input,
  • Mic input dynamic range – 120 dB
  • Ultra low latency,
  • Compatible with Windows / Mac,
  • 24-Bit/192 kHz audio resolution.

view the price of Focusrite Clarett 2Pre on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The Focusrite Clarett 2pre is one of the best audio interfaces under $400. It has a solid metal body and a dual-tone color scheme. The interface itself looks very good looking and matches well with the theme of most of the recording studios. In addition, the Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is lightweight and highly portable, making it fit for touring artists.

Related: Best portable audio interface fit for touring artists!

It has a high dynamic range and very low EIN levels. Both these features enable you to record high-quality audio with negligible noise levels. For a dynamic microphone like Shure SM7B, you can be sure that preamps will work effortlessly.

Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre comes equipped with two mic/line/instrument-level inputs. These inputs are capable enough to record all types of instruments. Some instruments that you can record are synths, guitars, microphones, and other studio equipment. You also get a MIDI port to connect one MIDI instrument at a time.

Furthermore, the Clarett 2Pre packs four line-level outputs and a single headphone output with a dedicated gain knob. These line-level inputs offer great versatility in terms of their use cases. You can connect upto four external studio monitors or route audio to a separate channel for input monitoring.

The Clarett 2Pre also offers you a single optical input for ADAT or Toslink connections to connect with other studio equipment.

PROS

  • A great audio interface for its price providing much significant cost to performance ratio,
  • High dynamic range provides you with enough headroom so the audio signal does not clip,
  • MIDI Port available.

CONS

  • Similarly priced Scarlett series offers way more features.

2) Solid State Logic SSL 2

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2 combo Mic/Line/Hi-Z/instrument input,
  • +48V Phantom powered,
  • 2 SSL designed mic preamps,
  • Legacy 4K for analogue colour enhancement,
  • 4 line-level/ Studio monitors outputs,
  • Instrument input dynamic Range – 110.5 dB,
  • 24-bit resolution,
  • Ultra low latency,
  • LED panel to meter input gain levels,
  • 2 Headphone output with separate gain control and capability to have separate audio mix,
  • Supported sample rates – 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz,
  • One USB-C port to connect to laptops/Desktop PCs,
  • Secondary USB-C port allowing reverse-charging
  • Upto 8 additional inputs via ADAT or SPDIF,
  • A wide range of software plugins included(more discussed below),
  • Windows/Mac/ M1 Mac compatible.

view the price of SSL 2 interface on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

Both SSL 2 and its feature-loaded variant, the SSL 2+, are two of the best budget audio interfaces. Moreover, the design of the interface is inspired by SSL’s studio-grade mixing consoles. The buttons, a dim interface color, design, input, and output placement resemble the previous generation SSL’s mixing consoles.

The thing I love about SSL 2 is its simple design and ease of use. You can control and monitor each aspect of the interface from its top panel.

Both these interfaces are superb in terms of audio quality. Using it for around two months with Shure SM7B, I am amazed by its super-quiet low noise mic preamps. The EIN is pretty low as well.

There are two mic/line/instrument-level inputs on the rear side of the interface. Both these inputs are suitable for recording mics, guitars, keyboards, and other studio gear.

Related: Best audio interfaces for home studios!

Solid State Logic SSL 2

Furthermore, the exclusive Legacy 4K inspired by SSL’s mixing consoles adds an exciting character to sound making it a bit more louder too.

In terms of outputs, you get to see two line-level and one headphone output in SSL 2. These outputs are enough for a solo producer. However, on SSL 2+, you get four line-level and two headphone outputs making it great for co-producing music.

PROS

  • Ultra clean and low noise preamps,
  • great for solo producers,
  • Remarkable build quality.

CONS

  • The design a bit outdated,
  • No MIDI port available.

3) M-Audio AIR

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2-input / 2-output,
  • Two Mic / line / Hi-Z inputs,
  • One MIDI I/O available,
  • Direct monitoring given,
  • Dedicated control knobs,
  • Two Phantom boosted MIC preamps(+48V),
  • One headphone o/p with dedicated control knob,
  • Dynamic range for mic input – 103 dB
  • Ultra low latency,
  • USB Driven,
  • Compatible with Windows / Mac,
  • 24-Bit/192 kHz audio resolution.

view the price of M-Audio Air on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The M-Audio interface is an excellent interface for guitar recordings due to its ultra-clean and high-quality mic preamps.

It has the lowest EIN levels, making it the best budget interface to connect and pair with Shure SM7B. In addition, the dynamic mic range is just enough to record expressive vocals.

Also check: Best audio interfaces for guitar recording!

Every feature can be controlled from the top of the interface. The LED clip indicators are mostly precise and do a great job of indicating when the audio is a bit too overpowering. Not to forget, the direct monitoring is in the form of a mixer knob that adjusts audio coming from DAW and the live inputs.

The M-audio interface has two mic/line combo and two instrument-level inputs. These inputs allow any solo artist to connect and record most of their studio gear and instruments. Different inputs can connect various instruments like mic, keyboards, synths, mixers, and many more.

In terms of outputs, you get two 1/4″ inch TRS inputs to connect to external speakers. Furthermore, four additional RCA outputs connect different speakers or route audio to a separate channel. However, the quality may not be great to work with.

PROS

  • Has a slight edge over most of the budget interfaces under $200,
  • Packed with stunning features,
  • Easy and simple to use.

CONS

  • Driver may cause initial issues depending on your DAW compatibility.

4) Audient iD4

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 1 x JFET Hi-Z/Instrument Input,
  • 2 combo Mic/Line inputs,
  • 1 x Audient Console Mic Preamps,
  • Advanced Monitoring Control,
  • 2 Headphone outputs,
  • +48V Phantom powered mic preamps,
  • 2 line-level/ Studio monitors outputs,
  • Mic input dynamic Range – 113.9 dB,
  • Direct Monitoring available,
  • 24-bit resolution,
  • Ultra low latency,
  • LED panel to meter input gain levels,
  • Supported sample rates – Upto 96 kHz,
  • A wide range of software plugins included,
  • Windows/Mac/ M1 Mac compatible.

view the price of Audient iD4 on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The new and improved Audient iD4 now comes in a black and grey finish. It presents you with all the necessary features for an artist or a podcaster in an easy-to-use manner.

There are two mic/line and one instrument-level input in Audient iD4. These inputs allow you to record three instruments at any given moment, meaning that you have the choice to collaborate with other artists with at most two singers and one guitarist.

Moreover, the audio quality is of pristine quality with preamps having ultra low noise even on a low sensitivity microphone like Shure SM7B.

The two headphone outputs make co-producing even better as each artist can have a separate monitoring channel.

Besides headphone outputs, you also get two line-level outputs to connect external speakers like studio monitors for a good mix of your songs.

All in all, I feel like Audient iD4 has the answer to most of the questions. It is one of the best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B and is an excellent option for recording podcasts.

PROS

  • Good dynamic and EIN levels,
  • Super compact and offers high portability,
  • Enough to meet requirements of a solo artist.

CONS

  • No MIDI port.

5) MOTU M2

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2-input / 2-output,
  • Two Mic / line / Hi-Z inputs,
  • Air Mode Feature,
  • Direct Monitoring,
  • LCD for input gain metering,
  • Dedicated control knobs,
  • Two Phantom boosted MIC preamps(+48V),
  • One headphone o/p with dedicated control knob,
  • MIDI I/O available,
  • Ultra low latency,
  • USB Driven,
  • Compatible with Windows / Mac,
  • 24-Bit/192 kHz audio resolution.

view the price of MOTU M2 Audio Interface on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The MOTU M2 houses a great build quality and low noise mic preamps with EIN of -128 dB. Such low EIN level makes MOTU M2 another great option to pair with Shure SM7B.

You get two mic/line/instrument-level combo inputs with MOTU M2. These inputs are capable enough to record and pair most of the studio gear and equipments. In addition, a MIDI port is available on the back of the interface to connect MIDI instruments.

The front of the interface also houses a LCD that shows input gain levels and output levels. It is the only interface in this price category to offer LCD for I/O metering.

The interface also has four outputs for external speakers and one headphone output. Again, enough features for a solo artist.

MOTU M2

PROS

  • Offers high cost to performance ratio,
  • MIDI port available,
  • A versatile audio interface in terms of its capabilities.

CONS

  • If you find one, tell me. I’ll put one here.

6) Behringer UMC204HD

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2 Mic/Line/ instrument inputs,
  • +48V Phantom powered,
  • 2 high class mic preamps,
  • 24-bit resolution,
  • 1 Headphone output,
  • Exclusive Smart-Gain Feature,
  • 2 line-level/ Studio monitors outputs,
  • Mic input dynamic Range – 100 dB,
  • Supported sample rates – 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz,
  • One USB-C port to connect to laptops/Desktop PCs,
  • Direct Monitoring available,
  • A wide range of softwares included,
  • Windows/Mac/ M1 mac compatible.

view the price of Behringer UMC204HD on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The Behringer UMC204HD is one of the audio interfaces that houses ultra low noise level mic preamps. I have tried and tested it with multiple mics. After extensive testing, I can tell you that this interface house high quality mic preamps which provides a clean sound with no notable noise.

Besides having good mic preamps, UMC204HD is loaded with other important features as well. In fact, it has most of the features than any other audio interface in under $200 category. It has quite a strong metal body and offers high portability.

Behringer UMC204HD

There are two mic/instrument-level combo and two line-level inputs. These inputs provide you enough versatility when recording with a small band. As a producer, you can connect most of your instruments with the UMC204HD with ease.

In terms of outputs, it comes with six outputs, out of which two are 1/4″ TRS line-level outputs. These outputs can be used to connect to external speakers or route audio to different channels. There is also one headphone output on the front panel of the interface.

All in all, I think Behringer UMC204HD will please anyone who wants to get a feature-loaded interface while staying within budget.

PROS

  • Very versatile,
  • Ultra low EIN levels leading to low noise preamps,
  • Feature loaded audio interface.

CONS

  • Low dynamic range,
  • Driver may cause issues in beginning.

7) Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • 2-input / 2-output,
  • Two Mic / line / Hi-Z inputs,
  • Air Mode Feature,
  • Direct monitoring available,
  • Dedicated control knobs,
  • Two Phantom boosted MIC preamps(+48V),
  • One headphone o/p with dedicated control knob,
  • No MIDI I/O available,
  • Mic input dynamic range – 110.6 dB
  • Ultra low latency,
  • USB Driven,
  • Compatible with Windows / Mac,
  • 24-Bit/192 kHz audio resolution.

view the price of Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 on Amazon

A DEEPER ANALYSIS

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the best audio interfaces under $200.

2i2 features an effortless and clean design with a dual-tone color scheme. The overall size of the interface is very compact. In addition, the metal body feels sturdy and of high-grade metal while still being lightweight. These features, in turn, make 2i2 portable.

The 2i2 comes equipped with two mic/line/instrument combo inputs. These inputs allow a producer to record and pair different instruments like mics, keyboards, guitars, drum machines, samplers, and many more to the interface.

The mic input has a dynamic range of 110.6 dB and EIN of -127 dB. Such EIN levels are pretty low for high quality recordings which, in turn, makes an audio interface exhibit low noise levels. For this reason, Scarlett 2i2 is a perfect budget option to connect with Shure SM7B.

In terms of outputs, there is nothing extra-ordinary. There are two line-level outputs and one headphone output to capitalize on the direct monitoring feature.

All in all, I firmly believe that the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B in the under $200 category.

Related: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Review – Is it Best in Class?

PROS

  • Elegant design and tough metal body,
  • Best selling budget audio interface,
  • Low noise preamps.

CONS

  • No MIDI port.

Conclusion

All in all, these were some of the best audio interfaces for Shure SM7B. All these interfaces are budget-friendly and still cater to high-quality recordings with low noise mic preamps.

I’ll say if you are a music producer, the Clarett 2Pre and the SSL 2+ are the best out of all other audio interfaces for a microphone like Shure SM7B. They are designed very carefully to meet the requirements of a modern producer. The Clarett 2Pre and SSL 2+ are also very portable and lightweight. Hence offering a great overall package for touring artists as well.

Also check: Best High-End Audio Interfaces, According to Professionals!

In the end, which interface you choose lies on your studio requirements and future upgrades.

Lastly, I hope this article helped you out. Do tell me in the comments which interface are you going to pick?

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