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Shure MV51 Review - Digital Condenser Microphone

January 4, 2024

One of the biggest audio product brands Shure released an outstanding microphone line MOTIV which is perfect for iOS, Android, and all kinds of USB Devices. MOTIV line contains seven types of microphones and consists only of one digital audio interface. In this review, we will talk about the Shure MV51 Digital Condenser microphone with striking DSP presets.

At first glance, we can see an amazing vintage look that they have brought from the 70's, some cool features such as a removable built-in stand, a touch panel with five DSP presets, input gain control, headphone volume, and more. This unit will be good for those looking for a mid-range all-in-one microphone, and it's a perfect solution for getting nice sound quality and enhanced functionality with a unique design. Let's start our Shure MV51 review with the technical specifications, overall design, and features.

Best Price on Shure MV51 Digital Condenser Microphone

The Shure MV51 immediately catches the eye with its vintage design, reminiscent of classic studio microphones, but possesses modern technical features.

Shure MV51 Package Classic Package

Shure MV51 Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Form Factor: Retro-style housing, Desktop microphone
  • Capsule: 1″ (25mm) Electret Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
  • DSP Modes (Presets): Speech/Singing/Acoustic/Loud/Flat
  • Microphone Mute Option: Yes
  • A/D Converter: up to 24-bit/48kHz
  • Frequency Response: from 20Hz up to 20KHz
  • Sensitivity (at Minimum Gain, Flat Mode): -39 dBFS/Pa at 1 kHz (1Pa=94SPL)
  • Maximum SPL (at Minimum Gain, Flat Mode): 130dB SPL
  • Maximum Output Level: 0 to +36dB
  • Headphone Output: 3.5 mm (1/8")
  • Power Options: powered through USB or Lightning connector/cable (already included in box)
  • Stand Adapter: build-in kickstand and 5/8"-27-thread (standard mic stand mount)
  • Dimensions: H 128mm × W 86mm × D 70mm
  • Net Weight (without cable): 574.7 grams (20.27 oz.)
  • Set Includes: MicroB-to-USB cable, MicroB-to-Lightning cable (additional MicroB-to-USB-C cable included in GEN-2 version marked as MV51-dig, both versions GEN-1 & GEN-2 come with 5/8" to 3/8" thread adapter)

Overall Build, Design & Features

All microphones of the brand Shure are made of high-quality materials, especially the whole line MOTIV. Looking at the Shure MV51 you may think that it is made of plastic, but that is not true. All the mic casing is made of metal, which gives the microphone a significant weight, moreover, you will not find cheap plastic in the structure. The kick stand presented in solid quality as well, although it isn’t a rugged titanium piece of metal, but quite reliable. The touch panel operates very responsive and does not slip while used.

Clever built-in kickstand: you can use this stand not only to put it on the table in the classic form, it’s possible to attach this microphone to any studio mic stand, making it easy to choose a position for recording. In addition, the 3/8" female To 5/8" male threaded screw adapter is included in a kit, so it means you'll have no problem finding microphone stands, the Shure MV51 will fit any of them.

Shure MV51 from different sides

A few words about the appearance: our editorial team loves that Shure pays homage to the classic retro microphones produced in the 50s - 80s. It's nice to see a beautiful retro housing get a modern technical makeover. Almost all the devices from Shure's MOTIV and Classic line are dedicated to this retro transformation. We give a big shout-out to the company's designers!

Before writing our Shure MV51 review, we've picked out some convenient accessories with this mic/kickstand for you to choose from: Rode PSA1 Boom Arm, which is easy to cope with a heavyweight. We have a great article on the best boom arms available on the market and you can easily find a tabletop microphone stand to fit your budget. (Note, don’t buy a scissor-stand/boom arm cheaper than 20$, because they can’t cope with the weight of the Shure MV51 microphone and will be slowly lowered down, we have already checked this). You can also keep an eye on classic mic stands made in vintage chrome retro look, which you can find in our article on the best classic floor microphone stands, they will perfectly match the design of the Shure MV51.

Let’s look at the features of Shure MV51 in detail:

  • This microphone is certified for IOS devices (Apple MFi - made for iPhone / iPad), it’ll work without any issues with your iPhone / iPad via Lightning cable and with all devices running from IOS 7 to the current version. This device is also designed to work as a USB mic with your personal computer running on Windows or Mac OSX from 10.7 to the current, at the same time it will work perfectly with Android devices that support USB Audio Class 2.0 and Micro-B OTG connectivity. Also, the package includes a one-meter Lightning cable and one-meter USB cable + MicroB-to-USB-C cable in the GEN-2 version (you can see the link to the gen2 version above, at the beginning of our review). But not everything is so clear-cut on connectivity. Before compiling the Shure MV51 review we came across an unpleasant moment (read the blockquote below).

Is the Shure MV51 compatible with Type-C devices from Apple? -not at the moment. Check the official Shure website for compatibility information. MV51 microphone is not compatible with some new devices, but Shure updates its application and device compatibility frequently. You can read some compatibility explanations from Shure at this link to the official source. Always check this information when purchasing and read reviews on marketplaces for clarification from users who are using this microphone with the same device as yours.

As for connecting to Android devices! The Shure MV51 is compatible with Android devices that support USB Audio Class 2.0 and USB On-The-Go (OTG) connectivity (recording mode only). Not all Android devices are compatible. Again, check compatibility on the official Shure's website at the link above. In fact, for connecting to Android devices - Shure recommends its MV88+ microphone from the MOTIV line more.

  • Here's another important feature of the microphone, it has a 3.5mm jack output for headphones, so you can monitor your recording in real time. This function is useful to adjust the input signal of your voice or instrument at a convenient sensitivity, and volume levels.
  • The most essential feature of Shure MV51, which distinguishes it from almost all the mics is related to the front touch panel. There are five DSP Preset Modes that you can select, based on your recording preferences: Singing mode, Speech mode, Acoustic Instrument mode, Loud and Flat. Every selected mode has an LED indication. When you select one, the gain, equalization, compression, and limiting automatically adjust to the specifics of the mode, making your recording better. Other buttons on the touch panel allow you to control headphone volume, set up gain parameter, and mute the microphone.
  • Also, let’s look at the ShurePlus MOTIV App which is available in Apple Store for free. This application is designed to work with all microphones of the MOTIV line and provides some awesome features for Apple devices. First of all, this app records uncompressed audio files at studio quality (the built-in Apple voice recorder doesn’t), so you can change the quality from 16bit/44.1 KHz to 24bit/48 KHz. Then you can change the settings of gain, compressor, limiter, and 5 band equalizer in more detail than the settings of 5 DSP Preset modes. Finally, it’s easy to share all recorded files via Email, AirDrop, Dropbox, iTunes.
ShurePlus App

Sound Quality

Let's dive right to the main section of our Shure MV51 review - "Sound Quality" and let's see what our "Retro-Vintage Friend" is capable of in terms of sound.

Shure MV51 condenser microphone has impressive sound recording quality and we give this mic honored 8/10 points (in "Sound Recording Quality" position), because demonstrated sound can’t compete with $500+ studio mics, but it is not as bad as you might think. This microphone works on studio sample rates of 24bit / 48kHz, which means sound output will be pretty raw, close to the studio quality sound.

Flat mode performs good sensitivity characteristics (min gain is -39dBFS / Pa at 1kHz & max SPL is 130dB), which allows sustaining the loud sound sources. Shure MV51 has one of the best recording quality from whole condenser USB mics, nowadays it’s one of the TOP microphones for Apple devices and also it will be a great addition to your workstation, or studio.

Here you can check out some audio samples recorded with Shure MV51

Shure MV51 - Acoustic Guitar Recording (audio example)
Shure MV51 - Vocal Recording (audio example)
Shure MV51 - Voice, Speech Recording (audio example)
Shure MV51 - Full Song Recording (audio example)

Shure MV51 vs Shure MV88+ vs Blue Yeti

The Shure MV51 is most often compared to the Shure MV88+, Shure MV7, and Blue Yeti, as all of these microphones can be categorized as portable desktop microphones. Well, let's find out what are the differences between these microphones and look at their advantages over each other.

Shure MV51 vs Shure MV88+

Firstly, let's compare the Shure MV51 with the Shure MV88+. The functionality of MV88+ is quite similar thanks to ShurePlus MOTIV apps, compared to MV51. But at the same time, the Shure MV51 has controls on its body, while the Shure MV88+ is only adjustable via the app.

Another big difference is that the Shure MV88+ has selectable polar patterns, while the Shure MV51 has only cardioid (unidirectional) directivity. Every microphone has various polar patterns & capsules, which are reflected in the structure and purpose of the microphones. Shure MV88 is more mobile and easy to take with, for recording live performances or interviews, as it’s too light and small, while Shure MV51 has a great advantage in studio work, podcast recording and it’s comfortable to use this mic just as a desktop one. The sound quality of the Shure MV51 is slightly better. You can check out our review of the Shure MV88+ and compare the sound of both mics.

For the price, the microphones cost the same. But we want to note that Shure MV88+ is a fresh device and it has no problems with connecting to iOS, Android devices - it connects to almost everything that has a USB, USB-C, or Lightning connector.

Shure MV51 vs Blue Yeti

Now, let’s compare the Shure MV51 with the Blue Yeti. Both mics belong to USB desktop class devices and have the same specifications but with some differences. Shure MV51 has a higher bitrate of 24bit / 48kHz and 5 DSP Presets for different types of sound recording, while Blue Yeti records audio only in 16bit / 48kHz. But Blue Yeti also has a distinctive feature, it has 4 Polar Pattern Selectors: Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional. Unfortunately, MV51 has only a Unidirectional (Cardioid) Polar Pattern. Another disadvantage of Blue Yeti is the lack of connection with the IOS platform. But both mics show excellent results in an audio recording they are on the same performance level. It's only a matter of taste & preferences.

The Blue Yeti costs significantly less compared to the Shure MV51. It's worth noting that the Blue Yeti is a fairly old microphone and is a key device from Blue (now Logitech). The Blue Yeti is probably the best-selling microphone in the world and its lineup has continued with the Yeti Nano, Yeti X, Yeti GX, and Yeti ORB all of which are significantly cheaper than the Shure MV51. If you are looking for a desktop microphone for your PC, we recommend you to take a closer look at Yeti GX (it still wins over Shure MV51 in some parameters and novelty).

Five Reasons to Buy Shure MV51

  1. Great design from 70-ties combined with modern trends
  2. Good sound recording performance for the ratio quality/price.
  3. The ability to use a microphone with IOS devices
  4. Build-in 5 DSP modes that help you to set up a compressor, equalizer, gain, and limiter suitable for your type of recording, just only with one touch on the front panel.
  5. A good option to take with you on a long trip, it is quite simple to move and quick to set up.

Final Verdict

Combining a sleek, retro-inspired design with modern technology, the MV51 stands out as a USB and Lightning microphone that delivers studio-quality sound in a user-friendly package. To be honest Shure makes great stuff!

What can we say at the end of our Shure MV51 review? - we really liked this microphone and how it sounds. There are of course a few issues with the connection to Apple's new Type-C devices, but it's good that Shure updates compatibility in a timely manner and explanations for the connection. Someone notes that "built-in kickstand is too low for ideal desktop mic height" well, come on, that's the problem with most mics without an adjustable stand. We don't see a problem with buying an adjustable stand, and to be honest, if you're using a standard tabletop, you'll have enough height and positioning with a regular kickstand. The sensitivity of the MV51 is sufficient for good voice capture at arm's length.

We set a well-deserved overall 8.8/10 points for this mic. The only thing we didn’t like in MV51 is its weight of 574.7 grams (Blue Yeti also the same weight), and the fact that there is no carrying case or windscreen included. This device is a solid solution for recording vocal or instrument compositions in your home studio, or podcasts/interviews, to use in-game voice chat, videoconferences, as this microphone has a large diaphragm and will capture every word. So to conclude just take a listen to the microphone samples and make your own decision.

Hope you’ll like our Shure MV51 review.  Don’t forget to leave questions in the comment section, we’ll be glad to answer them.

  • Impressive sound quality
  • 5-DSP presets
  • Retro-style design
  • Durable. Die-cast metal housing
  • Apple & Android devices connectivity with ShurePlus App
  • Front panel touch controls (Mute option)
  • Headphone real-time monitoring
  • The microphone is quite heavy (575 grams), for some this is a disadvantage, but the weight of the microphone is a sacrifice for the ultimate durability
  • The price of the microphone. There are so many Chinese microphones giving the same sound quality for a better price, but they don't have DSP presets, iOS app and unique design with durability. In general, the price of the microphone is justified in a sense.
  • Not compatible with new Apple devices. Check the official Shure website for compatibility information.
  • Still using mini-USB connector, hopefully in future generations there will be a change to Type-C
Our Score

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