New York, NY (May 3, 2021)—Twenty Thousand Hertz, the Webby Award-winning podcast about the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds, partnered with Shure for its latest episode to focus on the SM7 microphone.
Like many of the world’s most popular podcasts, Twenty Thousand Hertz records every episode with the exact same microphone: Shure’s SM7. Host and general audio authority Dallas Taylor calls it the most prolific and important mic of the last two decades, with timeless technology that dates back to the 1950s.
In addition to hosting Twenty Thousand Hertz, which has been downloaded tens of millions of times, Taylor serves as creative director of Defacto Sound, the sound design source for Disney, Google, NatGeo, Netflix, Nike, Ford and more other world brands.
On the new podcast, which features interviews with official Shure historian Michael Pettersen and senior product manager John Born, Taylor explores 80 years of sonic innovation to reveal not only the SM7’s revolutionary design, but the sales spike that turned it into a staple of professional studios, bedroom streaming rigs and beyond.
Before Joe Rogan, My Favorite Murder, Twenty Thousand Hertz, WTF and other podcasts began recording with the SM7, singers like Mick Jagger, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis and Sheryl Crow used it to track vocals. Michael Jackson gave the microphone much-deserved attention when he wielded it for every song on Thriller, but the SM7 still remained far less popular than Shure’s other iconic models.
The company was founded in 1925 by 23-year-old S.N. Shure, and by 1932, the company was manufacturing their own microphones. Then, thanks to inventor Ben Bauer, they changed the way sound was recorded forever. The first Shure Unidyne microphone was popularized by Elvis, and in the late ’50s, the Unidyne Three capsule helped make modern rock concerts possible. Developed by Bauer’s successor, Ernie Steeler, the Beatles used it on their US tours. The same capsule still appears in Shure’s SM58 and SM57.
The Unidyne Three capsule also sits inside the SM7, which was originally developed as an option for voiceover work. Because the SM7 is a dynamic microphone, it’s able to isolate the desired source from its environment. The SM7 also emphasizes audio frequencies in the sibilance range of a human voice, making speech easier to understand. On the show, Taylor demonstrates the versatility of the SM7 through the two frequency response switches that the mic offers.
Although some radio stations, engineers and select musicians caught on after its release in 1972, the SM7 largely idled for 35 years, until podcasters rediscovered it. Since finally taking off in 2007-2008, and then surging again with video game streamers in 2014-2015, the SM7 has done more business than Shure reportedly could have ever imagined.
Twenty Thousand Hertz • www.20k.org
Episode #120/SM7 • https://www.20k.org/episodes/sm7