Shure SM81

Condenser Studio Microphone

The Shure SM81 is a high-quality, unidirectional condenser microphone designed for studio recording, broadcasting, and sound reinforcement. Its wide frequency response, low noise characteristics, and low RF susceptibility have made it a standard for applications involving acoustic instruments, especially guitar, piano, and cymbals. The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. The SM81 is equipped with a switchable high-pass filter and 10 dB attenuation. Foam windscreen, and case for carrying and storage are included.

  • Cardioid characteristics for maximum isolation of the signal source and reduced background noises
  • High-quality permanently polarized condenser microphone
  • Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources
  • Low noise and high output clipping level
  • Low distortion over a wide range of load impedances
  • Low RF susceptibility
  • 3-Stage selectable high-pass filter: flat, 6 or 18 dB / octave roll-off
  • Switchable 10 dB attenuation
  • Phantom powering (DIN 45 596 voltages of 12 to 48 V)
  • Rugged steel construction
  • Field-usable over wide range of temperature and humidity conditions
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Output impedance: 85 Ohm
  • Open circuit sensitivity: -45 dBV/Pa (5,62 mV)
  • THD (131 dB SPL at 250 Hz, 800 Ohm load): < 0,5%
  • Max. Sound pressure (at 1 kHz, 800 Ohm load: 136 dB SPL)
  • Incl. windscreen
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  • Bossa Dry
  • Bossa Wet
  • Strumming Dry
  • Strumming Wet
  • Block Wet
  • Block Dry
  • Ride

Further information

Battery Powered No
Directional Microphone No
Stereo Pair No
switchable lowcut Yes
switchable pad No
characteristic kidney

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21 written ratings Read all reviews
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If you want a good, neutral mic for affordable price...

Tamáás, 30.12.2017
I like recording acoustic Instruments.

I wanted to buy a pair of quality smal diaphragm cardioid condenser mic what has linear frequency response, and really wide transparency, so what can transmit well also below 100 Hz, and really brings high frequencies (15khz-20khz) without annoying colouring. So what can give a neutral and full picture of an instrument. ?And I like its sound.

I listened to a huge amount of records, I read tons of tech spec, user rewiews etc.
Finally I found this Mics: Schoeps mk-4, Neumann km-84,
Shure Sm-81. The Schoeps was the best for me. The Km-84 was the Second, Shure was the third.
I needed more money for the Schoeps? The Neumann firma doesn?t produce the Km 84 anymore? I bought the SM 81 stereo pair.
And I?m really satisfied! I have already recorded acoustic guitars, drum overhead, percussion and saxophone. All of the records were really successful!!!
Important: I have high quality audio interface ( RME FF 800)
And: This mic doesn?t have high output. If you have a silent sound source, for example a small bodied nylon string guitar, you need an appropriate quality audio interface for good result. (It?s actually an elementary thing.)

So if you want to record acoustic instruments, you like the neutral character, you have a good audio chain,
and you don?t want to sell your car for a pair of sdc, buy this mic!
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Excellent SDC for Percussion and Acoustic Guitar

13.03.2016
The SM81 is an industry standard for high hats. Extremely robust, it really can take the abuse which comes with life on the road, and even the occasional off target attack from an enthusiastic drummer's stick.

I have three of these, as in addition to micing hats, they also make excellent overheads.

On acoustic, they produce a slightly more mellow tone than the KM184, or some other SDCs in the arsenal. I personally find them a useful option for jazz guitar. If you are comparing them to SDCs of a more modern design which follow the trend for a brighter tone, you may find them a little dull on anything stringed, However, they do take EQ well.

The mic comes with a pop shield (essential if using for any vocal recording as this mic is extremely sensitive to plosives), and mic clip. All is contained in a robust, gig-proof plastic case.

All in all, an excellent SDC, which because of its wide industry acceptance and rider-friendly qualities, I enthusiastically recommend particularly as a mainstay for live work.
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€349 £305.86
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