Shure SM87A Condenser Vocal Microphone Review

Today we continue our acquaintance with the most popular product line of the Shure company – industry standard professional mics (SM). And our object of review for today is great professional condenser microphone. Meet Shure SM87A, the most expensive handheld model in a line. Sophisticated users knows that Shure prefer combine innovations with classic, but this mic is considered to be more innovative than SM58, for example. And there is no doubt that a lot of users will like it. This model provides such great sound that it is meant to be used in recording studios and broadcasting stations. So let’s get straight to specs.

Specifications

Microphone Type: Condenser
Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
Frequency Rate: from 50Hz up to 20 000Hz
Sensitivity: –52.5dBV/Pa (2.4mV)
Impedance: Rated at 150Ω Ohms
Output Clipping Level: 1000Ω Ohm Load at 1000Hz: –6 dBV (0.5V)
Max SPL: 140.5dB (0.25% THD, 1000Ω Ohm load)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 70dB at 94dB SPL
Power Requirements: 11 to 52vdc, 1.2mA
Connection: Three-pin professional audio connector (male XLR type)
Form Factor: Handheld
Housing: Aluminum construction with steel grille and satin black finish
Net Weight: 200 grams (without cable)
Size: L 192mm x W 50mm

Shure SM87A Overall Build & Features

Speaking the truth, we think that this model is almost perfect (on the same level with Shure 55SH model) if we are talking about external design. Solid fully metal matt structure looks really beautiful and elegant. No buttons, only nice looking triple level pop filter with classic chrome grill. Elegance and professionalism, nothing else.

Also with this mic you will get break resistant clip that mounts most of Shure handheld mics so you can be sure that this solid mic will used even in more safe conditions. The mount clip is standard so most of mic stands will be suitable for it. Also small transporting bag is included. As an optional accessory we recommend you to buy A85WS Windscreen, which will help you to reduce unwanted breaths and wind noise stronger than built-in pop filter.

When we write about sound performance of Shure mics it is always all about standardly excellent quality and some features which enhance it. So Shure SM87A has a lot of these:

  • As this microphone is condenser you will always have an advantage in the richness and clarity of sound, over the dynamic microphones. It also extends the usage range of this microphone, so you can easily use it for the studio recording solutions. In addition, as it’s a condenser microphone – handling noise will reduce stronger, than in dynamic mics.
  • Second awesome feature is supercardioid polar pattern which means that you will have brilliant sound which is produced by source and no unwanted noises.
  • Third one is wide frequency response from 50Hz to 20kHz with uplift on the distance from 2kHz to 9kHz, that will provide smooth and clear sound for vocals.
  • Controlled low-frequency roll-off, which equalizes the bass frequency, so your sound would not be oversaturated with bass.
  • Build in pop-filter that has three layers so sound will be crystal clear, without unwanted noises and breaths.
  • Mount system that absorbs any mechanical impact so you can touch it without being scary that you will hear handling noise.

Here you can check some audio examples recorded with Shure SM87A

Unfortunately, we found audio examples only on Japanese language, but this audio examples of very good quality.

Shure SM87A vs Shure BETA 87A / 87C

Let’s start our comparison with the two main competitors Shure SM87A Shure BETA 87A. These microphones are similar in many features. They are both condenser with supercardioid polar pattern, tailored for live vocals & studio vocal recording, with the same price. The only difference between them is frequency response (you can see on the pictures from comparison table) as Shure SM87A has RK128 cartridge / Shure BETA 87A has R193 cartridge. Frequency response has not much differences as you can see in the image, therefore character of the sound is not too different. We recommend you to go to the store and test both microphones, then to choose which one sounds better for your specific purpose. In addition, these microphones have different color scheme.

Shure SM87A and Shure BETA 87C have more differences. They are different in polar pattern and frequency response as you can see on picture from comparison table. All other features are almost identical, minor technical differences you can see in the comparison table. Shure BETA 87C is preferable for vocalists who use in-ear monitoring, as cardioid polar pattern sounds a little bit natural in the monitoring mix.

Shure SM87A Shure BETA 87A Shure BETA 87C
Type Condenser Condenser Condenser
Polar Pattern Supercardioid Supercardioid Cardioid
Frequency Response 50Hz to 20000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
20Hz to 20000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
 50Hz to 16000Hz
Frequency Response on Scheme
Sensitivity –52.5dBV/Pa (2.4mV) −52.5dBV/Pa (2mV) −51dBV/Pa (2mV)
Impedance 150Ω ohms (100Ω ohms actual ±20%) 150Ω 100Ω
Check the Price

Final Verdict

This microphone is a good example of Shure quality and for this money you will get almost fully professional microphone that can be used with professional equipment. But for an average user it is not ideal model because of price and necessity to have hardware with an option of phantom supply. If you are not scared of this facts this mic is totally good for you.

Pros

  • Perfect for live vocals as well as for studio recording
  • Advantage over dynamic microphones in sound width & clarity as it’s condenser microphone. Also reduce handling noise and mechanical vibrations stronger than dynamic mics.
  • Supercardioid polar pattern rejects unwanted noise sources
  • Built-in pop filter
  • Controlled low-frequency roll-off
  • Rugged construction of housing

Cons

  • High Price
  • There is no On/Off Switch
  • Requere phantom power supply
Lowest Price on Shure SM87A (Free Worldwide Delivery!)
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Global Shure SM87A Rating
  • Sound Recording Quality - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Overall Build & Features - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
  • Design - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
8.3/10