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Shure MV88+ Review - Stereo USB Microphone

January 6, 2024

One more time widely known brand "Shure" pleased us by releasing MV88+, a microphone for devices with Lightning or Type-C USB connectors. MV88+ belongs to a fresh line called "MOTIV Digital Mics" and this is not the first version of this microphone. The first version MV88/A (discontinued) was produced exclusively for iOS devices with lightning connectors and by the way achieved the award at the 31st NAMM show in nomination Peripherals for Smartphones & Tablets. But today's review is exclusively on the updated Shure MV88+ and it is worth noting that the device has become more versatile and has a wider range of functionality.

An emerging trend of releasing microphones for smartphones doesn't surprise us due to their increasing popularity (there's probably not a person in the developed world who doesn't have a smartphone). Fortunately, the quality of the Shure MV88+'s performance gives us hope that, in time, microphones for portable devices will offer a quality that can compete with studio microphones. So, as always, let's start our Shure MV88+ review with the specs and get right to the point.

Best Price on Shure MV88+ Stereo USB Microphone

The Shure MV88+ Stereo USB Microphone is a compact and versatile solution that brings professional-level audio recording capabilities to your fingertips.

Shure MV88+ package in the box Classic Package

Shure MV88+ Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Form Factor: Universal, portable, digital stereo mic for content creators
  • Capsules: Cardioid & Bidirectional Electret Capsules (Ø 1cm)
  • Polar Patterns (selectable): Stereo Mode (with adjustable width) / Mono-Bidirectional / Mono-Cardioid / Stereo-Mid-Side
  • DSP Modes (presets): Speech / Singing / Acoustic / Loud / Flat
  • A/D Converter: up to 24-bit / 48kHz
  • Frequency Response: from 20Hz up to 20KHz
  • Adjustable Gain Range: 0 to +36 dB
  • Sensitivity (at minimum gain, flat mode): -37 dBFS/Pa at 1 kHz (1Pa=94SPL)
  • Maximum SPL (at minimum gain, flat mode): 120dB SPL
  • Customizable: Five-Band EQ, Compression, and Limiting (in free ShurePlus MOTIV mobile and desktop apps)
  • Headphone Output: 3.5 mm (1/8")
  • Housing: All-Metal Construction
  • Dimensions (without windscreen): H 27mm × W 27mm × D 77mm
  • Net Weight (without windscreen): 79.0 grams (2.78 oz)
Shure MV88+ polar patterns
Shure MV88+ Polar Patterns (from left to right): Stereo Mode (with adjustable width) / Mono-Bidirectional / Mono-Cardioid / Stereo-Mid-Side

Set Includes (in the box):

Shure MV88+ Classic Package: MV88+ mic, foam windscreen, 5/8" swivel mic clip, Micro-B to USB-C cable (3 meters / 10ft), Micro-B to USB-A cable (3 meters / 10ft), 5/8" to 3/8" thread adapter, zipper carry case.

Shure MV88+ Video Kit: MV88+ mic, Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod, phone clamp, cold shoe mount with mic holder, roll-up bag, foam windscreen, USB-C & Lightning cables 15in./38cm each.

Shure MV88+ Portable Videography Kit: everything included in Shure MV88+ Video Kit + AMV88-Fur Windjammer and SE215 PRO Sound Isolating Earbuds.

Two variants of the kits can be found on the market: MV88+ Video Kit New Package & Old Package. Both kits are identical, differing only in box and price. Old Package is sold cheaper. But is it worth buying the MV88+ Old Package in this case, provided that the package is the same and the price is lower? - We don't recommend it, and here's why. Since the MV88+ has an electret capsule, the electret capsule membrane tends to degrade and self-destruct over time, and the MV88+ was launched 4 years ago. It's not as durable as the gold-plated diaphragm of a classic condenser microphone. So when you buy the MV88+ Video Kit New Package you get a fresh device with plenty of capsule durability.

Overall Build & Features

Another step in our Shure MV88+ review - "Overall Build & Features". First, let's take a look at how the Shure MV88+ has changed from the previously released Shure MV88 Lightning cable model.

Shure MV88+ old and new version
On the left is the old version of the Shure MV88 / On the right is the new version of the Shure MV88+

Originally, the old Shure MV88 version connected directly to your iOS device via a Lightning connector, without the need for a cable. This solution severely limited the number of devices that could use the Shure MV88 microphone, and our editorial team felt it was the right decision to redesign the Shure MV88 into a brand-new microphone. Now the Shure MV88+ can be connected to iOS, Android, iPad (USB-C), MAC and Windows devices. There is one nuance when connecting to Android devices - only recording mode via Shure MOTIV Audio and Video apps is available and not all Android devices are supported (you can see the list of supported devices on the official Shure website by clicking here). The Shure MV88+ is currently the most versatile connectivity device in the Shure MOTIV line!

To connect to iOS Lightning-equipped devices, you will need to purchase an additional Micro B to Lightning cable (AMV-LTG15, AMV-LTG) or just buy Shure MV88+ Video Kit which includes Micro B to Lightning cable. Also, not all apps on iOS devices are able to work with the Shure MV88+ microphone, make sure the third-party app has an external microphone selection option. The MV88+ is not compatible with phone calls!

Good News Update: Shure MV88+ is now compatible with iPhone 15 (15 Pro, 15 Pro Max) via USB-C cable!

Appearance and overall build have also changed a lot compared to the previous version and also for the better. The body remains as miniaturized and completely made of metal. Our soundgale.com editorial team (as a generation of millennials) loved the minimalistic design and restraint of lines and shapes. We are sure that this new case modification will be to everyone's taste.

The microphone now attaches directly to a standard microphone holder (comes from the box), which is definitely an advantage as it allows the Shure MV88+ mic to be attached to all microphone desktop & floor stands and other threaded mounts via threaded adapters. Yes, the previous version is attached directly to your smartphone, but if you aim to use the mic specifically in conjunction with your iOS or Android smartphone, then we recommend taking a closer look at the MV88+ VIDEO KIT, which doesn't cost much more than the standard kit and will allow you to use the mic more conveniently with your smartphone.

Let’s look at the main technical features of this mic:

Shure MV88+ uses Mid-Side recording technology (two capsules working at the same time Cardioid & Bidirectional) - an advanced recording technology, that gives you much more control over the width of the stereo field than others, and allows you to make changes at any time after entry. But the most fantastic feature of this microphone is adjustable polar patterns: Stereo Mid-Side, Mono Cardioid, Mono Bidirectional, Stereo Mode (with adjustable width), which you can change in ShurePlus MOTIV Audio and ShurePlus MOTIV Desktop App (ShurePlus MOTIV Video app doesn't support polar pattern selection).

ShurePlus MOTIV app

Before writing our Shure MV88+ review we have fully explored the interface and features of ShurePlus MOTIV Audio and Video apps, you will have no difficulty in using them, and the whole interface is user-friendly.

The ShurePlus MOTIV Audio app & ShurePlus MOTIV Desktop app make this mic even more useful because they give you advanced controls of your Shure right on your iPhone, Android, or PC / Laptop. MOTIV app includes customizable settings such as bit depth, sample rate, stereo width selection, gain control, 5-band equalizer, limiter, compressor, mix monitoring, 5 DSP mode presets (Speech / Singing / Acoustic / Loud / Flat), and the opportunity to share your recorded track via email, Dropbox, iTunes, Airdrop. And other advanced audio settings, so you can be sure that the Shure app will stretch out all the abilities of your mic.

Real-time sound monitoring technology through 3.5mm headphone jack input. A handy feature for quickly setting up your volume level and all FX parameters in the application. 

Ability to record audio via the ShurePlus MOTIV Video app, which will allow you to get high-quality audio on your video. Also, this mic allows you to record audio with other iOS video apps (that allow external microphone selection). You can hear the difference between built-in Apple microphones & Shure MOTIV MV88+ in our examples below.

We like Shure's line of MOTIV microphones. In addition to the Shure MV88+, we also have a review of the Shure MV51 from the same line. We recommend you to read the review at the link, the microphones have some similarities. Spoiler - the Shure MV88+ is more versatile, but the sound quality is slightly better than the Shure MV51.

Sound Quality

Now we turn to the main section of our Shure MV88+ review. The mechanism is based on a condenser technology so it will be the best choice for recording anything you want; this little guy will snatch all the tiny noises. On the other hand, we realize that despite all the mentioned features this mic cannot be considered a studio one, but c’mon, recording quality studio tracks using iPhone? Real life is not a fairy tale, so be happy with this engineering masterpiece (although on the other hand, in some moments, the Shure MV88+ sound quality gives us hope that "life is a fairy tale.").

Shure MV88+ frequency response
Shure MV88+ frequency response at cardioid polar pattern

So let’s dive a bit deeper into sound quality features. This mic gives Bit Depth / Sample Rate Up to 24 Bit / 48 kHz, Sensitivity -37 dBFS, and Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz sound quality thus it is so small (77 × 27 × 27 mm), it is kinda unreasonable to expect more from the microphone for portable devices (it is better even than some USB only mics!). Despite its small size, the recording quality is close enough to studio quality + we want to note the wide frequency response as in studio microphones and add to this small monster flexible adjustment of all parameters via the ShurePlus MOTIV Audio app, and at the end, we get another masterpiece from Shure engineers.

Here you can check out some audio samples recorded with Shure MV88+

Shure MV88+ Acoustic Guitar (Blues) Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Live Instrumental Song Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Live Show Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Piano Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Tenor Sax Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Voice, Speech #1 Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ Voice, Speech #2 Recording (audio example)
Shure MV88+ vs iPhone 15 Microphone (Shure MV88+ SOUNDS FIRST)

Shure MV88+ vs Rode VideoMic Me-C (Me-L) vs RODE iXY vs Zoom iQ7 (AM7)

We would like to point out that we don't see any point in comparing the Shure MV88+ with the above-mentioned microphone models. At the moment, while writing the Shure MV88+ review we concluded that the MV88+ mic model is a more versatile and higher-class device. If you have to choose a portable microphone for an iOS or Android device (among the mics listed above) - immediately choose Shure MV88+ without a second thought, you won't regret it. Most portable microphones such as the Zoom iQ7 (AM7) are obsolete. Some of them become irrelevant due to Apple's transition to USB-C connector and not all microphone manufacturers have time to adapt microphones to the fast-growing smartphone market.

Shure MV88+ vs Rode VideoMic Me-C (ME-L)

Shure MV88+ vs Rode VideoMic Me-C (ME-L)

Rode VideoMic Me-C is suitable for Android devices, Rode VideoMic Me-L is designed for Apple devices with a Lightning connector. The microphone from Rode turned out to be extremely good but has a meager functionality compared to the Shure MV88+.

Rode VideoMic Me has only one cardioid electret capsule, but at the same time the ability to monitor through a 3.5mm headphone jack, 24-bit depth, 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rates, wide frequency response 20Hz - 20kHz. Rode VideoMic Me-C (Me-L) is much cheaper than Shure MV88+ and it is quite justified by less scarce functionality. In summary, we can only say that the sound quality of Rode VideoMic Me will be slightly better than your built-in smartphone microphone and Shure MV88+ wins absolutely on all parameters.

Don't forget to check the compatibility with your smartphone beforehand if your choice is Rode VideoMic Me.

Shure MV88+ vs Rode iXY

Shure MV88+ vs Rode iXY

First, let's compare two microphones Shure MV88+ and RODE iXY. Both microphones have identical sets - in the box, you will see a zip case and windshield for outdoor recording. The main difference between the microphones - is their build, for example, RODE i-XY is a matched pair of ½" cardioid condenser capsules, fixed in a perfect 90-degree coincident alignment, and thus a microphone writes sound in stereo mode, while in microphone Shure MV88+, you can change the polar pattern in the iOS App (you can choose Stereo Mode (with adjustable width), Mono-Bidirectional, Mono-Cardioid, Stereo-Mid-Side), the following differences of microphones - a sampling frequency, 24bit / 48kHz for Shure MV88+; 24bit / 96kHz for Rode iXY. Frankly, the difference between 48kHz and 96kHz is almost impossible to hear, it's just a marketing ploy. The sound difference between the two models of RODE & Shure is not essential. The only thing that we noticed is that the RODE sounds a little richer than the Shure MV88+, although it is a matter of taste (We've attached a recorded audio sample of Rode iXY. Shure MV88+ audio samples you can find in our review above, so you can compare the sound).

RODE iXY - Speech Recording 96kHz
RODE iXY - Piano Recording
RODE iXY - Acoustic Guitar Recording

Further, each microphone has its free software for setting up and recording audio “ShurePlus” & “RODE Reporter”, which you can find in the App Store for free. The main difference is the application operating approach. In ShurePlus you can immediately put the equalizer limiter, compressor or use 5 built-in DSP presets, while the RODE Reporter app provides you with features of a small audio sequencer. After recording you are working directly with the soundtrack and the app gives you the ability to distort a certain period of track (do it quieter or hang compressor, or FX).

The choice here is clearly in favor of the Shure MV88+. Rode iXY is suitable only for Apple devices with lightning connector, which will soon become obsolete due to the transition to Type-C.

Shure MV88+ vs Zoom iQ7 (AM7)

We don't see the point in comparing these two microphones. Zoom iQ7 and Zoom AM7 are obsolete. Zoom iQ7 (AM7) supports a small number of devices and the list of supported devices leaves much to be desired (supported smartphones are very old and have gone to the dustbin of history). Don't waste your money on this microphone, even though it was quite good 7 years ago. The list of supported devices can be found on the official Zoom website.

So, Shure MV88+ is an ideal solution for:

  • High-quality live performance capture. 
  • Easy to do sound sketches and demo recordings (you came up with the melody or the words to the song, you can capture it all with no problems).
  • One of the best options for video bloggers, and live streamers who record videos on iPhone and want to get the highest quality sound. 
  • Recording Vocal & Instruments.
  • It’s suitable for Meetings & Lectures. Easily record lectures, business meetings, or any dialogue at the touch of a button.
  • A great choice for Interviews & Reporting Shure MV88 is the perfect recording solution for field reporters, giving you broadcast-quality audio at a moment's notice.
  • In addition to all of the above, the Shure MV88+ is a great desktop microphone for your MAC or PC. Thanks to its small size, it's discreet and won't take up much space on your desk. Great for video conferencing or discord.

Final Verdict

We think that it is wasting of time repeating all these great features of Shure microphones, let us just write another time that they make really good stuff especially when it is about mics for portable devices. The quality of sound that provides this tiny piece of equipment is incredible for its size. We should also mention that the price is not that high (especially when we compare this price with other iPhone devices). If you still have any doubts just look at this elegant metal masterpiece and think about all the possibilities it provides and you will make the right choice.

We hope you enjoyed our Shure MV88+ review. Feel free to leave your comments or suggestions in the section below. We will be happy to answer all your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Pros
  • Good Sound Quality
  • Captures Impressive Stereo Sound
  • ShurePlus MOTIV app
  • Minimalistic Design & Small Size
  • Durable. Metal Housing
  • Video Kit Option
  • Versatility in Recording Options & Connections
  • Compact, Portable, User-Friendly
  • Accessories Included
  • Headphone Real-Time Monitoring
Cons
  • Smartphone Dependency: The MV88+ relies on the processing power of your mobile device
9
/10
Our Score

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