How to remove the windscreen from a SM7B
The SM7B studio microphone is a large diaphragm, cardoid dynamic mic, and a must have for the project studio. The SM7B is a legendary microphone. It was used by Recording Engineer Bruce Swedien on Michael Jackson’s Thriller Album, as well as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on every album they’ve done.
I acquired one this spring for tracking vocals, and I love it. It has a smooth tone, and pairs really well with loud, sibilant singers. You can see this microphone in action in our video “Greedy – Acoustic” on youtube. A problem that I have had with using large diaphragm condenser mics in the past, is that they are a bit brighter in the high frequencies, thereby making the ‘Esss’ sounds stand out too much. The SM7B is much smoother in this frequency range.
The SM7B also features two frequency response switches which are important for tracking vocals; a bass roll-off, and a mid-range emphasis (presence boost). The bass roll off helps counter the proximity effect. This is where the closer your are to the microphone, the more bass your voice has. Have you ever listened to radio where the announcer has a rich, bassy voice? This is probably because is their mouth is right up on the microphone. The presence boost raises the high-mids (2k-4k Hz) adding clarity to the speech recognition sounds like ‘m’, ‘b’ and ‘v’.
One small downside of using this microphone, is that it requires A LOT of gain. This means that many lower level home studio preamps will not have enough power to boost the level of this microphone adequately. If you are looking at renting or buying this microphone, make sure to get a pre-amp, so that you can get the most out of this mic.
A pro-tip for using this microphone, as provided by Brad Smith of One More Mile Productions, is to remove both of the windscreens before using this microphone. When you pair this with a gooseneck style pop-filter, you can keep the added clarity while removing plosives.
To remove the windscreen, first trace your fingers down the length of microphone until you reach a metal ring connecting the foam filter to the metal base. Although it looks like one solid piece, you can actually pry apart the metal ring from the base using your fingernails or a screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch the microphone, or to pull to hard on the foam, as it might damage the windscreen.
The windscreen does have it’s benefits! It will come in handy if you are recording outside, or you don’t have a pop-filter handy.
Until next Wednesday!