Shure MV5 Review – Portable USB microphone

This device reminds us of legendary ‘Elvis Microphone’ except it is digital… and, it is packed with new features! Shure MV5 is a solid USB mic that boasts very decent quality at reasonable price (probably the best in up to $100 category). It is portable and highly compatible with Windows, Mac, iPad, iOS, iPhone and Android. Although it may lack the clarity of more expensive mics, the difference is not that huge. On a positive note, it delivers good noise levels and produces no audible hiss. The unique feature of MV5 is that it has 3 DSP presets to enhance the sound, switchable on the fly.

Sound quality

Shure MV5 is surely capable of producing quality sound. It boasts to have good dynamic range and it can easily handle high SPL without clipping, at the same time producing low amounts of noise. The hiss you will often hear on cheap or in-built mics is nowhere to be found. Despite the small size, MV5 offers quite sophisticated electronics on board that are responsible for signal processing. The way it is processed can be adjusted through 3 different DSP presets as well as through a downloadable app, which is nevertheless optional. I will try to describe in detail what it does and why it is important.

Back in time USB mics didn’t have any signal processing and whatever they captured would be immediately sent to PC only converted to digital format. This was producing horrible results and users were eventually figuring out that getting an XLR mic with a decent preamp (where they could at least set up some compression) would be a much more viable solution. Today things are starting to change. With those DSP presets of MV5, not only do you get the benefits of well set up EQ and compression – there is an actual de-esser for vocals!

shure-mv5Aside from a vocal mode, the other options are ‘acoustic’ and ‘flat’. The acoustic preset offers lower ratio compression plus a touch of EQ that seems to add some brightness and reduce the mud. I have not tested this much but it did work beautifully for a 6-string acoustic guitar. For those who want raw or unprocessed output there is a ‘flat’ preset. It is hardly useful by itself but it gives you an idea for comparison. I like very much how they implemented those modes and they do bring a noticeable improvement but this still does not compensate the lack of clarity in the high-end.

Design and accessories

Shure MV5 has a ball-like design, about 2.6 inches in diameter, weighting only 90 gram. Both the mic’s body and grilles are made of plastic, which look stylish but just don’t feel substantial nor very durable. The stand is actually made of duralumin and it does a good job of suspending the mic. By adjusting the nut, it is also possible to tilt the mic upwards or downwards. MV5 comes equipped with USB and Lightning Cable, both 1-meter long. Last but not least is the User Guide – it is well written and in fact gives you some useful instructions for achieving a better sound.

At the back panel, you will find micro USB output and 3.5mm port for realtime monitoring. Also a knob allows you to control the headphone volume but it does not have gain control. The gain can be adjusted through the mic settings or a downloadable app. Good news; you don’t actually have to adjust it as it works well by default; the built-in compressor helps to balance the output and prevents clipping. Finally, there are two more buttons for switching the DSP profiles and muting the mic. When activated you will see the corresponding LED indicators at the top.

Three major advantages

1. MV5 is supported by virtually any device, whereas few mics will work on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android at the same time. Considering its portability you can take it anywhere with you and make some quality audio on the go. 2. It is probably the best choice if you want to get maximum of your mic but not willing to spend over one hundred bucks. Keep in mind though; it’s not on a par with more expensive Rode NT-USB or Apogee 96k. 3. The internal signal processing makes it sound good right out of the box with little to no adjustments. If all you want is the job done fast and easy, then look no further.

Pros

  • Great quality for the price
  • Very useful DSP presets
  • Decent noise levels
  • Good sound out of the box
  • Provides realtime monitoring
  • High compatibility
  • Helpful user guide

Cons

  • Plastic body does not feel very durable
  • Lacks some clarity compared to more expensive mics

Review score
  • Excellent! - 9/10
    9/10

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