7 Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2022)
Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B

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Over the years, the Shure SM7B has established itself as the industry standard. It is the weapon of choice for many musicians, podcasters, and artists worldwide. And to get the best sound quality out of the SM7B, you’ll need an audio interface that pairs well with it. Today we’re going to look at seven great audio interfaces, all of which you can use with your Shure SM7B.

All seven of our top picks today are premium audio interfaces made by reputable companies renowned for their superior audio quality. Each one has powerful, impressive preamps that will drive your Shure SM7B and enable it to demonstrate its powerful and clear sound.

It should come as no surprise that our number one pick is a Universal Audio audio interface. A pioneer in Thunderbolt audio interfaces, UAD is an American company that produces audio hardware and software. It is one of the top companies in the audio industry, and chances are good that you have used or seen one or more of their audio interfaces in recording and home studios. They manufacture excellent drivers and provide superior sound quality that you may not find elsewhere.

That is why the Volt 2 by UAD tops our list and is one of the best matches for your Shure SM7B and an excellent upgrade to your sound system.

7 Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B

1. Universal Audio Volt 2

The Volt 2 from Universal Audio is the second of seven audio interfaces in UAD’s Volt Series. It is a powerful audio interface that works exceptionally well with the Shure SM7B. It features impressive preamps, offers zero latency and distortion, and is one of the best audio interfaces on the market in this price range. Although the Volt Series is mainly dedicated to beginner and intermediate musicians, don’t underestimate what this beast of a machine can do. You will be more than pleased with the results of using the SM7B with this beauty.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • Two preamps.
  • Tube emulation circuitry that offers a full, rich sound.
  • Vintage Mic Preamp Mode.
  • Nearly zero latency and distortion.
  • USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac, PC, iPad, and iOS.
  • MIDI I/O for your controllers and synths.
  • 1 Stereo headphone output to privately enjoy your music.
  • 2 x 2 I/O.
  • 48V of phantom power. (Selectable On/Off.)
  • Free 30-day trial to UAD Spark.
  • Software bundle for Mac and PC, including Melodyne Essential, Virtual Drummer DEEP, Virtual Bassist DANDY, and many more.
  • An all-metal body that protects the interface from damage.
  • Measurements: 1.96” x 6.88” x 5.11″. Weight: 1.43 lb.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Great build quality.
  • Industrial, vintage design.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Exclusive software bundle.
  • Easy to use.
  • Nearly zero latency.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support ADAT and S/PDIF.
  • Not compatible with UAD’S DAW “LUNA.” If you want to use LUNA you’d have to upgrade to the Apollo.

Because of its compact size and lightweight, the Volt 2 is the ideal audio interface for both home and travel use. It’s ruggedly built, so you won’t need to worry about replacing it anytime soon. And is remarkably versatile, given the low price tag it comes with. And these are just a few of the reasons why the Volt 2 is at the top of our list today.

2. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen has been dominating the world of audio interfaces for years now, especially among beginner and intermediate musicians and music producers. It delivers crystal clear sound, it’s powerful, affordable, and highly versatile, offering a bright and rich sound that is perfect to pair with the Shure SM7B.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • Two award-winning, upgraded 3rd-generation Focusrite preamps with “Air mode”, which simulates the company’s legendary ISA console transformer.
  • The interface’s inputs and outputs are equipped with analog protection circuitry to protect it from power surges.
  • Super-low latency that lets you instantaneously monitor effects from native plug-ins.
  • USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac or PC.
  • 1 Stereo headphone output to quietly enjoy your music.
  • 2 x 2 I/O.
  • Exclusive software bundle including Antares Auto-Tune, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2, Focusrite Plug-in Collective, and many more.
  • Measurements: 1.87” x 6.89” x 3.89″. Weight: 1.0 lb.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Great build quality.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Exclusive software bundle.
  • Easy to use.
  • Super low latency.
  • Focusrite AIR mode.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • No MIDI I/O.
  • Doesn’t support ADAT and S/PDIF.

It is evident why the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen has been the company’s best-selling product. This audio interface offers superior sound quality and several useful features that many more expensive interfaces lack. It’s incredibly simple to set up and use and guarantees a rich and full sound. However, if you feel like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen doesn’t provide enough inputs/outputs for you, feel free to check out the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen.

3. Audient iD4 MKII

The Audient iD4 MKII, an updated version of the Audient iD4, is an excellent choice for bedroom producers and content creators. Although it’s a little basic, it does a great job giving the Shure SM7B the boosts it needs to produce the transparent, rich, and full sound you’re looking for. You can use the Audient iD4 MKII for various things, including podcasts, gaming sessions, live streaming, and making music.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/96 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • 1 Audient Class-A console preamp.
  • Ultra-low noise and distortion
  • USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac, PC, and iOS.
  • 1 Stereo headphone output to privately enjoy your music.
  • 1 JFET Instrument Input.
  • 2 x 2 I/O.
  • Loopback function.
  • 48V of phantom power. (Selectable On/Off.)
  • Exclusive software bundle including ARC software suite, Cubase LE, Cubasis LE for iOS, and many more.
  • An all-metal body that protects the interface from damage.
  • Measurements: 2.36” x 5.23” x 4.72″. Weight: 2.20 lb.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Great build quality.
  • Loopback function.
  • Compact.
  • Exclusive software bundle.
  • Easy to use.
  • Super low latency.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • No MIDI I/O.
  • Doesn’t support ADAT and S/PDIF.
  • Could be too basic for some.

The Audient iD4 MKII delivers high-quality sound, is built like a tank, is very simple to operate, has minimal to zero latency, and is highly affordable. The Audient iD4 MKII will undoubtedly exceed your expectations in terms of sound quality and durability.

4. Focusrite Clarett 2Pre

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is another top-tier audio interface that produces the highest-quality sound. It is built by one of the most well-known brands of audio equipment currently available and produces high-quality, transparent, and detailed sound. You won’t run into compatibility or delay issues using your Shure SM7B with this impressive audio interface, and it guarantees a very smooth workflow.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • Two Clarett⁺ preamps with “Air mode,” which simulates the company’s legendary ISA console transformer.
  • 2 Analog inputs and 4 outputs, and 8 digital outputs.
  • Super-low latency that lets you instantaneously monitor effects from native plug-ins.
  • Low noise and high SPL capability of 119dB preventing distortion.
  • USB and USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac or PC.
  • MIDI I/O for your controllers and synths.
  • 1 TOSLINK Optical (ADAT) in.
  • 1 powerful Stereo headphone output with level control to privately enjoy your music.
  • JFET instrument inputs a vast audio bandwidth that preserves guitars’ true tone and character.
  • Halo indicators that help you avoid clipping.
  • 48V of phantom power. (Selectable On/Off)
  • Exclusive software bundle from Focusrite, XLN Audio, and Antares.
  • Measurements: 8.27” x 6.34” x 2.17″. Weight: 3.0 lb.

Pros:

  • Acceptable price.
  • Great build quality.
  • High SPL capability.
  • Exclusive software bundle including Ableton Live Lite.
  • Easy to use.
  • Super low latency and distortion.
  • Focusrite AIR mode.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • 1 x Optical (ADAT) in, but no out.

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is an incredibly versatile audio interface. It has a ton of features, is free of latency and noise issues, and is built with Focusrite’s renowned sturdiness. You will be more than happy using this impressive interface to record your Shure SM7B.

5. MOTU M2

MOTU is a great American company that specializes in music technology. One of their bestsellers, the MOTU M2, is the first of two audio interfaces from MOTU’S M-Series. It is another excellent audio interface with a great price that produces excellent analog sound and works perfectly well with the Shure SM7B.

Considering that it is a budget interface, you will be surprised by this audio interface’s speed and the high quality of the preamps, which ensure crystal-clear sound and a very low noise floor.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/96 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • Two preamps.
  • 2 Analog inputs and 2 outputs.
  • Very low latency for fast monitoring and processing.
  • ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC Technology with 120dB of dynamic range.
  • Loopback functionality.
  • USB and USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your PC and MAC.
  • MIDI I/O for your controllers and synths.
  • 1 Stereo headphone output to privately enjoy your music.
  • 48V of phantom power. (Selectable On/Off)
  • Full-color LCD screen.
  • 6 GB of loops from Loopmasters, Big Fish Audio, and Lucidsamples. As well as MOTU Performer Lite production software, and Ableton Live Lite.
  • Measurements: 1.75” x 7.5” x 4.25″. Weight: 1.35 lb.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Great build quality.
  • High dynamic range.
  • Highly versatile.
  • Easy to use.
  • Very low latency.
  • Powerful and fast and high-quality sound.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support ADAT and S/PDIF.

The MOTU M2 is undoubtedly one of the best small interfaces on the market. It delivers incredibly clear audio, amplifies your microphone and headphones well, and is very cost-effective. The MOTU M2 will work well with your Shure SM7B, but if you need a more versatile interface, you can always choose the MOTU M4.

6. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2

Native Instruments is another prominent German company that has been one of the leading audio production hardware and software manufacturers. It provides high-end audio equipment like the second of Native Instruments’ three audio interfaces, the Komplete Audio 2 audio interface. It is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate artists who want to maximize the potential of their Shure SM7B.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/ 192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac or PC.
  • Two high-quality preamps.
  • Nearly zero latency and distortion.
  • 1 Stereo headphone output to privately enjoy your music.
  • 2 x 2 Simultaneous I/O.
  • 48V of phantom power.
  • Direct Monitoring.
  • LED VU-meters on the top panel for all two analog inputs and the main stereo output.
  • Included software package. (MONARK, REPLIKA, MASCHINE Essentials, Ableton Live 11 lite, and many more.)
  • Measurements: 2.04″ x 4.41″ x 5.51″. Weight: 0.79 lbs.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Great build quality.
  • Lightweight.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound with high-quality preamps.
  • Super low latency and distortion.
  • Easy to use.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support ADAT and SPDIF.
  • No MIDI ports.

If you’re just starting out and looking for an excellent audio interface to use with your tracks or podcasts, the Komplete Audio 2 is a fantastic choice, and we highly recommend it.

7. Solid State Logic 2+

Solid State Logic has been one of the world’s leading audio gear manufacturers since 1969. Which is why we can guarantee the power and superior sound quality of the SSL 2+ audio interface that has helped many artists create music and record award-winning tracks.

Main features/specifications:

  • Elite 24-bit/192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion for maximum performance and pristine sound.
  • 2 x SSL-designed microphone preamps made of low-noise transistors in combination with ICs for great gain range. (62 dB gain range, 130.5 dBu ON.)
  • A “Legacy 4K” button that utilizes the characteristic of the SSL 4000 mixing console to spice up your sound with some high-frequency EQ boost and subtle harmonic distortion.
  • USB-C connectivity for easy plug-and-play on your Mac or PC.
  • 48V of phantom power.
  • MIDI I/O for your controllers and synths.
  • 2 Stereo headphone outputs to privately enjoy your music.
  • High-quality Neutrik connectors for clean sound.
  • SSL Production Pack software bundle (Vocalstrip 2 & Drumstrip), Loopcloud Samples & Hybrid Keys/Komplete Start, Ableton Live Lite.
  • Measurements: 2.75” x 9.21” x 6.18″. Weight: 1.98 lb.

 Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Easy to use.
  • The “Legacy 4K” button adds character to the sound.
  • Nearly zero latency.
  • Powerful and fast and delivers pristine sound.
  • Easy connectivity.

Cons:

  • Not enough monitoring controls.
  • Build quality is ok.

The SSL 2+ is a great, affordable audio interface that offers superior sound quality with very minimal latency. It has plenty of powerful features that can elevate your sound, making it a fantastic interface for bedroom and home studio producers.

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Buying Guide

Best Audio Interfaces for Shure SM7B buying guide

If you’re looking for an audio interface to pair with the Shure SM7B, you must look for one with excellent preamps that deliver high-quality sound and high gain with the least amount of latency and distortion. Here are some prominent factors to consider before investing your hard-earned money in a new interface.

Preamp Maximum Gain

Because microphone signal levels are very quiet (generally between -30 to -60dB), we need to increase that signal level. We achieve that by buying a preamp. A microphone preamp’s main job is to boost the mic’s signal level up to roughly 0-1 dBV – or line level. Most preamps will offer a minimum of 60dB of gain, which is sufficient in most cases.

Condenser microphones may occasionally need a gain boost of up to 70dB. It all depends on the microphones, instruments, etc., you intend to use with your preamp.

In the case of the Shure SM7B, a dynamic mic with a lower output level than a typical condenser mic, you will need a preamp with a minimum of 60 dB of gain.

Preamp Quality and Character

Although a preamp won’t enhance audio quality, it could make for cleaner recordings. A preamp will only affect audio quality as it applies gain and boosts the signal level.

Most audio interfaces’ built-in preamps usually deliver a clear, uncolored sound. However, many audio interfaces will include a special “mode” that lets you spice up your sound. (For example, the Focusrite Scarlett’s “Air Mode” or the Volt 2’s “Vintage Mode.”) These additional modes will let you add more character to your sound. It could give it a cozier or more airy feel, etc.

So if you’re looking for an audio interface that offers more than just a transparent sound, look for one with additional built-in modes.

Noise Floor

The microphone preamps, analog-to-digital (ADC) conversion process, and the natural noise produced by electronic circuitry cause what is known as “noise floor.” Noise floor is the minimal level of noise that may be heard through an audio system when no signal is present, and it is what influences the dynamic range. A high dynamic range translates to a low noise floor and better sound quality. So when shopping for a new audio interface, aim for one with the lowest noise floor.

Latency

The little delay you occasionally experience when recording audio with your interface is known as latency and is often measured in milliseconds. This delay is usually caused by the time your computer takes to process that data and send it back to you. If the latency is a little high, it can often be pretty irritating. Imagine plucking a note on your guitar, then hearing it half a second later on your speakers. To avoid that, you need to look for an audio interface that has extremely low latency. This is a crucial feature to consider.

Number of Inputs and Outputs

How many instruments, microphones, controllers, and monitors you want to use will determine how many inputs you need. If you plan to record a band, you will typically require a minimum of 8 inputs to accommodate the guitarists, singers, drummer, etc. If you’re a bedroom producer who wants to use their audio interface to create EDM or anything electronic, two inputs may be more than enough.

Your outputs depend entirely on how you intend to listen to your music. Is it via headphones? A pair of speakers? More than a pair? The more speakers you want to use, the more outputs you’ll need.

FAQs

How do I get the best audio from Shure SM7B?

If you want to get studio-quality sound out of your Shure SM7B, you'll need a high-quality audio interface with enough gain to drive the SM7B. A preamp with at least 60 dB of gain should suffice.

Does the Shure SM7B need a Cloudlifter?

Suppose you already own an audio interface that doesn’t provide enough gain to power up the Shure SM7B and not looking to purchase a new one. In that case, you will need a Cloudlifter (an inline preamp that provides a +25dB gain boost) to use in conjunction with your interface. The audio interface and the Cloudlifter CL-1 should work together to give your Shure SM7B the gain boost it needs.

Why do I need a preamp for my Shure SM7B microphone? How will it sound without amplification?

The purpose of a preamp is to boost low-level signals to line level. And, because the Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone with a very weak signal, it requires a preamp to provide the necessary gain boost and allow it to function correctly.

Without amplification, you will hardly be able to hear anything.

Conclusion

We hope we have eased your shopping experience and sped up your decision-making process since hundreds of audio interfaces are available. The Shure SM7B is a truly impressive microphone, but it can only shine with the right equipment. The seven audio interfaces we chose, offer excellent value for money and are among the best we could find to work alongside the SM7B.

Additionally, almost every audio interface we highlighted has an equivalent upgraded model that you can choose if you think the model we chose for that interface is too basic. So feel free to opt for the more expensive and versatile model if budget is no issue.

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