Shure SM81

Small-diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone with 20Hz-20kHz Frequency Range and 136dB SPL
Shure SM81 image 1
Shure SM81 image 1
$349.00
Sweetwater Savings: $87.00 MSRP: $436.00
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Shure SM81
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Universal Cardioid Condenser Mic!

If you've been looking for precise, detailed sound reproduction, you've found it in this fantastic mic from Shure. The SM81 is a world-standard for choir and overhead cymbal applications. Its ruler-flat frequency response can be modified via a bass roll-off switch. A unidirectional design captures all the sound you could want and more.

Shure SM81 Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone Features at a Glance:
  • Small-diaphragm design with a uniform cardioid pickup pattern
  • Flat, 20-20,000Hz frequency response
  • Switchable onboard -10dB pad
  • Low RF susceptibility
  • Selectable low-frequency response — flat, 6/octave, or 18dB/octave rolloff
  • Rugged steel construction for durability
  • Requires +48V phantom power
The Shure SM81 is a pro choice for acoustic instrument miking!

Additional Media

SM81 Spec Sheet
SM81 User Manual
Studio Microphone Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Max SPL 136dB (146dB w/Pad)
Output Impedance 150 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 78dB
Self Noise 16dB (A weighted)
Low Cut Filter 80Hz (-18dB/octave), 100Hz (-6dB/octave)
Pads -10dB
Connector XLR
Weight 1.63 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number SM81-LC

Customer Reviews

5/5
Based on 34 reviews
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5/5

Great Recommendation

Was ready for a better mic to track my acoustic guitars but did not want to spend thousands, I read Sweetwater's guide to condenser mics and it was spot on. I use this and a Mojave MA200 set up in different locations to get a stereo recording.I quickly learned how to place this one in different locations in different rooms and how to aim depending on what kind of acoustic I'm using (D-28, SJ200 or Guild 12 string). This is an extremely versatile mic. Now I'm starting to go back and re-record the past 2 years' worth of songs that have acoustics, it makes that big a difference.
5/5

Great Workhorse Mic

I am the house sound engineer at a very large church. Each week we run a different set up for our worship teams, and run many special events during the year. I have found that these mics always perform and do what I need them to. I LOVE to have a pair of them on the top and bottom of my snare drums, I have also found them to be great overhead drum mics, and great mics for flutes and violins. For harder/metal music where you have two guitar cabs in a stack I like to pair one of these with another mic and then run them together as a matched pair on my PM5D
Music background: Live Sound Engineer, Recording Engineer, Hobbyist Keyboard Player
5/5

Vocal Bass microphone

Over the years singing in Southern Gospel Quartet's I have used all kinds of Mic's. To get that rich full low bass in a studio is very easy, but on stage doing a live concert, we all strive to have that same studio quality sound. After useing The Shure SM81 it gave me the very clean and full bottem double low C note That why The Crownsmen put there trust in Shure Microphones the other members use Shure Beta 87A. All of our road equiptment was purchased at Sweetwater Sound,Thru Dan Vanamerongen.
Music background: Sang bass in Gospel Quartet's for 26 years, now with The Crownsmen Quartet
5/5

What a snare mic!

I purchased my first SM81 in the mid 80's and I'm about to purchase my 3rd. I was never quite happy with my snare sound and I had an arsenal of drum mics to choose from. A fellow engineer at the studio suggested trying the SM81 on the snare drum. It's not quite as indestructible as an SM57 so you need to pay attention to placement (top mic). The SM81 is awesome, very transparent and the low cut position comes in handy with the snare. Its polar pattern is also very nice for the snare position. You cant go wrong with this mic because you can use elsewhere with great success.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Drummer
5/5

A Swiss Army Mic...

We have four SM81's, having just bought two new ones. I've found them great when paired on a Steinway and of course perfect for overhead drums. Tonight, I have all four out on stage working under a variety of high energy Indian drums but just last week we used one with wonderful results on a delicate Flamenco guitar performance; just a truly excellent mic. In my opinion, if you are putting together a mic inventory, make sure to include some SM81's. You will quickly learn to rely on their versatility and great sound.
Music background: T.D. in performance venue
See also: Condenser Mics, Shure, Shure Condenser Microphones, Shure Condenser Microphones