This is our very comprehensive review of the Shure MV51 Microphone. Designed to work out of the box on your Mac or PC, or lightning iPhone, iPad or iPod. We have also tested it on an android phone, and it is possible to connect it to a newer iPad with the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. You can check out full compatibility here on the Shure site.
You can watch our detailed video review and listen to an original unedited audio recording made with the Shure MV51 Microphone. This is a solid, robust, iconic looking microphone. We were very excited to try it out. And we liked what we heard! Read on for more details ….
The Shure Motiv MV51 Digital Microphone is just one of the USB mics we tested for our Ultimate Guide to USB Mics. Refer to the complete article if you want to compare the MV51 Mic with other best sellers.
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Shure MV51 Features
Mic: Shure MV51 Digital Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad
Type: Large-Diaphragm Condenser
Pickup Pattern: Cardioid
Dual Format: No
Headphone Port: Yes with volume control
Accessories: Built-in Stand
Recording Resolution: 24 bit, 44.1/48kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Additional Features: Mic Mute Feature; Recording modes for different recording scenarios
Pros: Exceptional recording quality; Very Low Noise; Multi-Platform (comes with USB and Lightning Cables); Iconic Design; Solid and Robust
Cons: A little more expensive than most of the competition
Buy: Buy Shure MV51
Shure MV51 Video Review – See What It Looks Like
Shure MV51 Original Audio Recording – Hear How It Sounds
The Shure MV51 Microphone In More Detail
The Shure MV51 USB / Lightning Microphone is crafted to resemble the iconic Shure Model 51 Sonodyne. Back in the 50’s that was one of Shure’s most popular all-round microphones, and is now seen as a design classic. The MV51 is modelled on that mic, and is a weighty object, with a robust metal frame. It has a very distinctive grill and profile. It looks and feels great and it’s made by an iconic brand – so far so good.
Out of the box you get the microphone, a USB cable and a lightning cable. Compatibility wise it connects directly to Mac or PC via USB, and to any iOS device with a lightning port.
Many USB mics are USB only, so the addition of the lightning cable is excellent if you want to use it with your iPad or iPhone.
It plugs and plays on your computer. On your iOS device you install the Shure MOTIV App. You can then use that app to record, and to control the mic, but it will also work in Garageband, your video apps etc. We have also tested it on an android phone using an OTG adapter. Success depends on your phone and app being able to use an external microphone. We found it worked well with Open Camera (as you can see in the video review)
Note the included cables are 1m in length, which you might consider quite short. We successfully tested the mic with a USB extension lead.
On the back you have the connection port, and also a headphone port for real-time monitoring. This will allow you to record yourself along with backing tracks and hear yourself at the same time.
On the front of the MV51, below the grille you have this touch-sensitive panel of controls, backlit with LEDs. It’s really nice and intuitive. You can adjust the level of the headphone (orange LEDs) and mic gain (green) right here on the mic.
A nice touch is you can mute the mic input. When you connect this mic, you will want to use it as your sound input and output device, so it is really good you can turn the mic off when you are not recording, and just use the headphones for listening to your computer sounds and music.
This is the thing that makes the Shure MV51 almost unique, apart from it’s iconic look. It is designed to be an all-rounder microphone with 5 recording pre-sets: Speech; Singing; Acoustic Instruments such as guitar, Loud sounds such as a Band or electric guitar amp, and the Flat.
These different pre-sets are using DSP (digital signal processing) within the mic to adjust EQ and compression. The idea is you can use the mic out of the box with ‘oven ready’ recording settings for various setups. So whatever it is you want to record, by changing the mode and mic position you should be able to get a really good result.
Now if you are a recording beginner, these different modes are going to be excellent – the idea is you should be able to get a good recording result without having to adjust the recording too much in your recording software. They would also be good if you want to use the mic for live streaming. You will get a good sound whether you podcast, play guitar, or sing.
The flat mode is good if you want to set your DAW up to process the sound yourself.
Just to clear up potential confusion, the recording modes on this mic do not change the pickup pattern or polar pattern. The polar pattern is fixed. The MV51 has a cardioid pattern which is ‘directional’ so the front of the mic is picking up the sound, not the rear of the mic.
Some USB microphones allow you to adjust the pickup pattern – for example the Blue Yeti allows you to switch between Cardioid, figure-8, omni and stereo.
Technical Specs In Detail
Moving on to the Technical spec: This is a large diaphragm condenser mic, so it is nice and sensitive with a wide frequency response.
You have a choice between 2 sampling rates and you also have the option to record at either 16-bit or 24-bit. The ability to record at 24-bit is excellent – It gives you much more headroom when you are recording. Many USB mics are only 16-bit devices, so that is a feature that elevates this microphone above some of the competition.
It we go back to the design, on the back of the MV51 there is a short leg with a rubberised foot, which very sturdily props the mic body at an angle. It is very solid, and very adjustable.
ISome people moan about it being too low to use on your desk. Well you can angle it up – but as it is low you will at the very least probably want to raise it up on something to get it to a suitable height.
Alternatively, you can unscrew the foot component and fasten it to any mic stand desktop or boom.
We would certainly recommend using this mic with a microphone stand. The issue with having it on your desk, especially if you are doing voice overs and maybe using your mouse and keyboard at the same time – is it will pick up the sound every time you bump the desk or use anything on it.
We would also recommend using a pop filter with any large diaphragm condenser mic to filter out the plosives and sibilants.
We think the recording results using the MV51 are excellent. It’s a high quality microphone, and there is very little background noise. Some USB mics are quite noisy with a constant background hiss – the Shure MV51 is among the best we have tested from that point of view.
• Solid and Robust
• Iconic Design
• Different Recording Modes
• Multi-platform out of the box
• 24-bit recording
• Low noise
• High Quality Recording.
• Mic Mute feature
• Nice control panel
• Newer USB-C iPads require an adapter and the app does not have so much functionality
• The cables are a bit short
• You may have a recording situation where you would prefer a different polar pattern
• A little Pricy – you pay a premium for the Shure brand and build quality. We think it is worth the money but you may decide there are cheaper alternatives that will do the job for you
You can directly compare the MV51 to every USB microphone we have tested in one place. Refer to our ultimate guide to the best USB microphones.