Shure MV88 iOS Digital Microphone Review

One more time widely known brand “Shure” pleased us by releasing MV88, microphone for devices with lightning or USB connector. MV 88 belongs to fresh line called “MOTIV Digital Mics”. An emerging trend of releasing microphones for IOS devices does not surprise us due to increasing of their popularity. Fortunately, the quality of MV88 performance gives us hope that in some time mics for portable devices will provide quality that we will be able to liken to the studio ones. We also want to note that the Shure MV88 achieved the award at the 31st NAMM show in nomination Peripherals for Smartphones & Tablets. So let’s get right to the point.

Shure MV88 Specifications

Adjustable Polar Pattern: Width Stereo / Mono Bidirectional / Mono Cardioid / Mid-Side
Capsule: Cardioid (1cm) / Bidirectional Condenser Cartridge (1cm)
Bit Depth / Sample Rate: up to 24-bit 48kHz quality
Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz
Adjustable gain: 0 to +36dB
Sensitivity: -37 dBFS / Pa at 1kHz
Maximum SPL: 120dB
Power requirements & Output: Lightning connection
Housing: fully metal construction
Dimensions: 67mm × 25mm × 35mm (41gram / 1.43oz)

Overall Build & Features

The construction and styling were engineered smartly because when you just look at MV88 attached straight to an IPhone (without cables) it seems that Apple design director himself made it. This fully metal construction looks expensive and elegant. Another positive feature is hinge that can rotate up to 90 degrees, so you will be able to point mic directly to the source of sound even while you are recording video at the same time, super handy.

This microphone is equipped with quite a nice carrying case, pop-shield and headphone monitor adapting cable. The only optional accessory that you can purchase for this microphone – AMV88-FUR Rycote Windjammer for MV88. This accessory is perfect solution for recording outdoors in windy weather. 

Shure MV88 ShurePlusSo, let’s look at main technical features of this mic:

Shure MV88 use Mid-Side recording technology – an advanced recording technology, which gives you much more control over the width of the stereo field than others, and allows to make changes at any time after entry. But the most fantastic feature of this microphone is adjustable polar patterns: Mid-Side, Mono Cardioid, Mono Bidirectional, Width Stereo, which you can change in ShurePlus App.

ShurePlus MOTIV app for iOS devices makes this mic even more useful, because it gives you advanced controls of your Shure right on your iPhone. MOTIV app includes such sets as: Bit depth, Sample rate, Stereo width, Metering, 5-band equalizer, Limiter, Compressor, 5 DSP mode presets and opportunity to share your recorded track via email, Dropbox, iTunes, Airdrop. And other advanced audio settings, so you can be sure that Shure app will stretch out all the abilities of your mic.

Real time sound monitoring technology trough headphone adapter (comes in the box). Handy feature for quickly setting up your volume level and all FX parameters in application. 

Ability to work with build-in iOS camera, that will give you opportunity to get high quality audio on your video. Also this mic allows you to record audio with other iOS video apps. You can hear the difference between build-in Apple microphones & Shure MOTIV MV88 in our examples below.

Sound Recording Quality

The mechanism is based on a condenser technology so is will be the best choice for recording anything you want; this little guy will snatch all the tiny noises. On the other hand, we realize that in spite of all mentioned features this mic cannot be considered as studio one, but c’mon, recording quality studio track using IPhone? Real life is not a fairy tale, so be happy with this engineering masterpiece. So let’s dive a bit deeper in sound quality features. This mic gives Bit Depth / Sample Rate Up to 24Bit / 48kHz, Sensitivity -37dBFS and Frequency Response 20Hz to 20,000Hz sound quality thus it is so small (67 × 25 × 35 mm), it is kinda unreasonable to expect more from microphone for portable devices (it is better even than some USB only mics!).

You can check some Shure MV88 recording examples

Shure MV88 vs RODE iXY vs Zoom iQ7 

First, let’s compare two microphones Shure MV88 and RODE iXY. Both microphones have identical set – in the box you will see reinforce protective zip case and wind shield for outdoor recording. The main difference between the microphones – it is their build, for example: RODE i-XY is a matched pair of ½ “cardioid condenser capsules, fixed in a perfect 90 degree coincident alignment and thus a microphone writes sound in stereo mode, while in microphone Shure MV88, you can change the polar pattern in the iOS App (you can choose Stereo, Mono-Cardioid, Mono-Bidirectional, Raw Mid-Side), the following differences of microphones – a sampling frequency Shure MV88 24bit / 48kHz; Rode iXY 24bit / 96kHz. Frankly, the difference between 48kHz and 96kHz is almost impossible to hear, it’s just a marketing ploy to record sound difference between the two models of RODE & Shure is not essential, the only thing that we noticed that the RODE sounds a little richer than the Shure MV88, although it is a matter of taste rights (We have attached two audio microphones so that you can compare the sound!). Further, each microphone has its own free software for setting up and recording audio “ShurePlus” & “RODE Rec”, which you can find in the App Store for free. The main difference is application operating approach. In ShurePlus you can immediately put the equalizer limiter, compressor or use 5 built-in DSP presets, while in RODE Rec provides you features of a small audio sequencer. After recording you are working directly with the sound track and the app gives you the ability to distort a certain period of track (do it quieter or hang compressor, or FX). The difference in price is 40-60$. RODE iXY is more expensive than Shure MV88. If you want to know more about RODE iXY you can read our review and find out more about the features in comparison table. 

Now let’s compare Shure MV88 with Zoom iQ7. Both microphones are used Mid-Side recording technology. Unfortunately, the Bit Depth & Sample Rate at Zoom iQ7 an order of magnitude lower at 16bit / 48kHz, while at Shure records audio up to 24bit / 48kHz, listening recorded sound a little more closely, you can hear the difference in sound quality, but believe, for the average user it will be hard to distinguish the quality of the recording. Options in Zoom iQ7 more scarce, in the package is only a windshield. These microphones have similar functionality in iOS applications, but the interface is much nicer in ShurePlus. It is necessary to highlight some features of the Zoom iQ7. For example, Zoom microphone has 3.5mm jack connector for direct monitoring of the sound recording, which makes it convenient to work with the application effects, at the microphone Shure, this function is carried out through adapting cable, which comes in the box with microphone bundle. Unfortunately, Shure MV88 is a winner in this fight. In defense of Zoom iQ7 we want to say that it justifying the price of its cost, bringing the microphone is a worthy solution segment digital iOS microphones. If you want to know more about iQ7 you can read our review on this microphone. 

I hope you have got the right idea about these microphones, and you can make the right choices for themselves, also check our comparison table for more details:

Shure Motiv MV88 Rode iXY Zoom iQ7
Polar Pattern Width Stereo / Mono Bidirectional /
Mono Cardioid / Mid-Side
Paired Cardioid Capsules Mid-Side
Recording Quality 24bit / 48kHz 24bit / 96kHz 16bit / 48kHz
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
20Hz to 20kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
Not Mentioned
Transducer Type Bidirectional Condenser Pair of Condenser Capsules Two Condenser Capsules
Pros High Quality Sound
5 DSP Presets
4 Adjustable Polar Patterns
Price / Quality
Design
Free iOS App
Best Sound Quality
High Bit-Depth / Sample Rate
Overall Build & Design
Number#1 iOS mic on the Market
Best iOS App (Not Free)
Good Sound Quality
Mid-Side Recording Technology
Free iOS App
Low Price
Cons High Price
Extended iOS App is not Free
Low Bit-Depth
Plastic Construction
Poor Package Bundle
Check the Price

So, Shure MV88 is ideal solution for: 

  1. High-quality live performance capture. 
  2. Easy to do sound sketches (you came up with the melody or the words to the song, you can capture it all with no problems).
  3. Current option for video bloggers that record your videos on your iPhone and want to get the highest quality sound. 
  4. Recording Vocal & Instruments.
  5. It’s suitable for Meetings & Lectures. Easily record lectures, business meetings or any dialogue at the touch of a button.
  6. Great choice for Interviews & Reporting Shure MV88 is the perfect recording solution for field reporters, giving you broadcast-quality audio at a moment’s notice.

Final verdict

We think that it is wasting of time repeating all these great features of Shure microphones, let us just write another time that they make really good stuff especially when it is about mics for portable devices. The quality of sound that provides this tiny equipment is incredible for its’ size. We should also mention that the price is not that high (especially when we compare this price with other IPhone devices ones). If you still have any doubts just look at this elegant metal masterpiece and think about all the possibilities it provides and you will make the right choice.

Best Price on Shure MV88 iOS Microphone!
$149.00 View customer reviews on Amazon  
Global Shure MV88 Rating
  • Sound Recording Quality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall Build & Features - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
8.4/10