As a utility communicator, you likely have a number of projects on your calendar that call for quality audio.
With constraints in budget and time (not to mention the expertise needed to master advanced production techniques), how can you create professional-grade audio for event or program promotions and other content you produce in house?
I’m not talking about capturing audio in the field — that’s a separate beast with a different set of challenges and solutions. But if you plan to add more video to your content mix, the right equipment can solve many of the challenges you face when capturing audio.
Whether you’re recording voice over for promos, launching a podcast for consumers or laying down a narration track for explainer videos, your newest best friend is the Shure MV7.
Listen to the Shure MV7 at work during my interview with “Rural Broadband Today.”
There are many reasons we love the MV7. Topping the list is the professional sound quality you’ll get from this relatively inexpensive ($249) microphone. The little brother of the SM7B, the MV7 takes the quality of this legendary studio and broadcast mic and wraps it in features that meet the needs of today’s content creators.
Chief among these is the MV7’s Voice Isolation Technology. While Shure calls this “acoustic innovation,” a more apt description would be “magic.”
Room noise all but vanishes with this mic, greatly reducing the need for sound treatment in your recording space.
Of course, you will never get studio-quality sound from a room with tile floors, harsh corners and a window next to a busy street, but plug in this mic and you’ll never again record voice-overs with your head underneath a blanket or crouched inside a coat closet.
Ease of use
Before connecting your MV7 to your computer’s USB port, download the ShurePlus MOTIV desktop app. The magic continues when you engage the power of Auto Level Mode. You’ll want to experiment with the proximity settings of Near and Far, depending on where you comfortably distance yourself from the mic, as well as the tonal settings within each that offer you Natural, Dark and Bright options.
Find the setting combination that gives you the sound you’re looking for and all your work moving forward will be consistent and high quality.
If your audio skills are more advanced, the app offers Manual Mode. You’ll have control over mic gain, EQ, compressor and more. These are powerful tools, but frankly the technology behind Auto Level Mode will render superior results (with much less time and effort) for all but the most discerning of creators.
The MV7 would be a great mic on the sole merits of its USB functionality. But Shure went a step further and gave us an XLR connection as well. This means you can run the mic into an interface or mixing board of your current recording setup.
You can also connect it to your favorite SD-card recording device, if that’s your preferred method of capturing audio. I use a short XLR cable to connect my MV7 to the Zoom PodTrak P4. Not only do I benefit from the exceptionally clean preamps that Zoom is known for (Zoom the audio equipment manufacturer, not Zoom the videoconferencing app), but with the right cables I can connect one caller over a mobile phone and another caller over a tablet for a three-way conversation.
After years of searching for “the best audio setup,” I admit that such a holy grail does not exist. Maybe you’re like me and prefer the capabilities of the PodTrak I mentioned above, knowing you’ll have to transfer files from the SD card to your computer for editing. Maybe you’d rather record directly to your computer via a USB mic. And what software should you use to edit your files? Audacity? GarageBand? Adobe Audition? Pro Tools? There are more solutions than there are challenges.
Whether you have an audio production setup now or you’re researching equipment to build out one, I couldn’t recommend the Shure MV7 more highly. After ordering one and discovering its sound quality, ease of use and versatility, we’ve ordered one for every person on our team who is involved with audio production. It’s the single most game-changing addition you can make to your studio.
What is your audio workflow?
Do you have a favorite mic or other piece of gear you couldn’t live without? We love connecting #UtilityPioneers with the right tools for any challenge.
Share your comments, along with a link to a recent project.
To hear the MV7 at work on our team, listen to recent episodes from our family of podcasters:
- Stephen V. Smith on “Rural Broadband Today”
- Andy Johns on “StoryConnect: The Podcast”
- Chasity Anderson on “The Heart of Community“
Stay connected to broadband trends and community-owned utility storytelling by following our podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.