Microphone Man-16

Part 16

Shure Models SM-5 and SM-7

There are still a few more high quality broadcast microphones that we have yet to cover in this series of articles on the Modesto Radio Museum website.   Shure had a couple of popular mikes with radio broadcasters…the Models SM-5 and SM-7.  
The Shure SM-5 [photos 1,2,3] was originally developed in 1966 as a motion picture and TV overhead boom mike.  It had a huge foam windscreen and a swivel-yoke bracket that were particularly adapted for this type of use.
But soon radio broadcasters discovered this mike was an excellent model for radio control rooms that gave an announcers voice a full-bodied tone.  The big windscreen was also a big advantage in preventing “P” popping and other breath noises when used closeup like most announcers seem to want to do!  
The SM-5 was a dynamic cardioid unit with a relatively flat frequency response.   With the large foam windscreen removed the mike unit itself is relatively small…and looks similar to the famous Shure SM-57.  A later updated version was the SM-5B.  I dare say that this mike got far more use in radio than it ever did as a movie or TV boom mike!
Shure ended production of the SM-5 in 1986…but many are still in use in radio stations around the country…and are still in demand on the used equipment market…but they are a rare find!  Many radio announcers and engineers wonder why Shure ever decided to discontinue this popular model.
One reason may be that Shure had come out with another mike especially for voice, narration and radio sometime in the 1970s.  This mike is the SM7…and it’s later version, the SM-7B. [photos 4,5,6]  This mike looks somewhat different from the SM-5 but also has a swivel-yoke type mount and the overall size is somewhat smaller than the SM-5.  
The SM-7 has a choice of two foam windscreens, a large one or smaller size, that slip onto the front of the mike.   Another feature of this mike is a built-in “graphic” equalizer.  Directly on the rear of the mike are two switches one controls the bass or lower frequencies and the other the high frequencies.   These can be adjusted to select a bass rolloff or high boost or totally flat response depending on the use.
The SM-7 is also a cardioid dynamic unit that is still being manufactured to this day…and is widely used by many broadcast stations and voice-over artists. 
Again we refer you to the excellent microphone website by Dr. Stan Coutant for further details on both these Shure broadcast dynamics.   Photos on this page are courtesy of the Coutant website.