Small-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone
Item # 183SM81 | MFR # SM81-LC
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Our take on the Shure SM81 by Crutchfield's Ken Nail
Setting the standard
It's no exaggeration when you refer to Shure's SM Series microphones as the industry standard. SM microphones have been carrying the torch for great sound for decades, at legendary performances both live and in the studio. When you want to know you've purchased a microphone that will stand the test of time — whether in durability or in sound quality — look no further than Shure's SM Series.
The SM81 boasts a flat frequency response with a choice of three low-pass cuts.
Rugged build for the field, smooth sound for the studio
Shure designed the SM81 condenser microphone to cover all the bases. This versatile mic excels at reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments like guitar, piano, and cymbals. The low noise and high output combine with a wide, flat frequency response to ensure accurate sound, while you can tailor the output with selectable low-frequency rolloffs and a switchable attenuator. The SM81 is no prima donna — it's built with rugged steel construction and is designed to weather a wide range of humidity and temperatures.
- designed for acoustic strings and wind instruments, vocal and instrumental ensembles
- condenser microphone
- cardioid pattern for noise rejection and feedback suppression
- 3-position switchable low-frequency filter
- -10 dB switchable attenuator
- steel construction
- suitable for studio and live sound applications
- frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- sensitivity: -45 dBV/Pasca
- output impedance: 150 ohms
- maximum SPL: 136 dB
- requires phantom power (11 to 52V) on your mixer or audio interface
- weight: 8 oz
- male XLR connector
- stand adapter
- storage bag
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- SM81-LC microphone
- Swivel stand adapter
- Foam windscreen
- Hard plastic storage case
- User Guide
- Online registration card
- Safety Precautions card
- Limited Warranty sheet
As expected, great sound reproduction, well built
Vince, Cape Cod Massachusetts
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Features and Specs
|Application||For live & studio use|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Overview: The Shure SM81-LC is a high-quality, unidirectional condenser microphone that is ideal for use for recording or amplifying brass/woodwind instruments, drums and percussion, acoustic string instruments, piano/organ, or a choir. The SM81-LC has a rugged steel construction, and comes with a swivel stand adapter, foam windscreen, and a padded hard plastic storage case.
Condenser Microphone: The SM81-LC is an Electret Condenser microphone, and requires 11-52 VDC 1.2mA Phantom Power from a mixer, preamplifier, or console.
Pickup Pattern: The SM81-LC has a uniform cardioid polar pattern for maximum gain before feedback, and excellent rejection of off-axis sound.
Low Cut Filter: The microphone has a Low-Cut Filter with a three-position switch that allows you reduce the effect of wind noise, room noise, or the proximity effect. You can choose the following low-frequency responses:
- Flat: A flat response provides the most natural sound in most applications.
- 6dB Rolloff: A low-frequency rolloff of 6dB per octave below 100Hz compensates for the proximity effect or reduces low frequencies that could make an instrument sound dull or muddy.
- 18dB Cutoff: An 18dB per octave cutoff below 80 Hz helps to eliminate floor rumble and low-frequency room noise from heating and air-conditioning systems.
Lockable Attenuation: The SM81-LC features an attenuator switch that reduces the signal level from the cartridge by 10dB without altering the frequency response. The attenuator can prevent extremely high SPLs from guitar cabinets or close-miked drums from overloading the microphone. The attenuator switch is incorporated into a ring below the microphone's grille. To select the attenuator, you simply rotate the ring to the "-10" position. You can turn off the attenuator by rotating the ring to the "0" position. You can lock the attenuator to prevent adjustment by inserting a small plastic ring lock behind the ring.
Connector: The SM81-LC has a 3-pin male XLR connector. No microphone cable is included in this package.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Output Impedance: Rated at 150 ohms (85 ohms actual)
- Recommended Minimum Load Impedance: 800 ohms
- Sensitivity: -45 dBV/Pa (5.6 mV)
- Maximum SPL:
- 150 Ohm load: 128dB (attenuator at 0); 138dB (attenuator at -10)
- 800 Ohm load: 136dB (attenuator at 0); 146dB (attenuator at -10)
- Output Clipping Level: -15 dBV (150 ohm load); -4 dBV (800 ohm load)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 78dB
- Dimensions: Diameter 0.927" Length 8.33"
- Weight: 8 ounces