General Description

The Shure Model SM87A is a professional-quality, handheld condenser microphone for use in sound reinforcement, broadcasting, and studio recording installations. Its super-cardioid polar pattern provides greater rejection of unwanted sound sources, making it ideal for miking individual instruments in a multi-microphone setting or for miking single sources in a reverberant or noisy environment.

The SM87A features a controlled low-frequency roll-off tailored for optimum peformance when close-miking sound sources. An integral three-stage wind and pop filter protects against wind and breath noise. Its built-in shock mount reduces stand and handling noise. The SM87A operates on phantom power.

Features

  • Uniform supercardioid pick-up pattern for maximum gain before feedback and superior rejection of off-axis sound
  • Smooth, wide frequency response with gradual presence rise and controlled proximity effect tailored for vocals
  • Steel mesh grille and satin finished aluminum construction resist wear and abuse
  • Very low susceptibility to RF and electromagnetic hum
  • Minimally affected be varying load impedances
  • Phantom powered
  • Performs over a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions
  • Cartridge shock mount system absorbs mechanical shock and minimizes handling noise
  • Built-in pop filter reduces undesirable wind and breath noise
  • Shure quality, ruggedness, and reliability

Power Requirements

This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc supply (IEC-61938). However, it will operate with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity with supplies as low as 11 Vdc.

Most modern mixers provide phantom power. You must use a balanced microphone cable: XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-TRS.

General Rules for Use

  • Do not cover any part of the microphone grille with your hand, as this will adversely affect microphone performance.
  • Aim the microphone toward the desired sound source (such as the talker, singer, or instrument) and away from unwanted sources.
  • Place the microphone as close as practical to the desired sound source.
  • Work close to the microphone for extra bass response.
  • Use only one microphone to pick up a single sound source.
  • For better gain before feedback, use fewer microphones.
  • Keep the distance between microphones at least three times the distance from each microphone to its source (“three to one rule”).
  • Place microphones as far as possible from reflective surfaces.
  • Add a windscreen when using the microphone outdoors.
  • Avoid excessive handling to minimize pickup of mechanical noise and vibration.

Applications And Placement

The following table lists the most common applications and placement techniques. Keep in mind that microphone technique is largely a matter of personal taste; there is no one “correct” microphone position.

Application Suggested Microphone Placement Tone Quality
Vocals Lips less than 15 cm (6 in.) away or touching the windscreen, on axis to microphone. Robust sound, emphasized bass, maximum isolation from other sources.
15 to 60 cm (6 in. to 2 ft.) away from mouth, just above nose height. Natural sound, reduced bass.
20 to 60 cm (8 in. to 2 ft.) away from mouth, slightly off to one side. Natural sound, reduced bass and minimal “s” sounds.
90 cm to 1.8 m (3 to 6 ft.) away. Thinner, distant sound; noticeable levels of ambient noise.

Proximity Effect

Unidirectional (cardioid) microphones progressively boost bass frequencies by 6 to 10 dB below 100 Hz when the microphone is at a distance of about 6 mm (1/4 in.) from the sound source. This phenomenon, known as proximity effect, can be used to create a warmer, more powerful sound. To prevent explosive low frequency sound during close-up use, the bass response gradually rolls off. This provides greater control and helps the user take advantage of proximity effect.

Avoiding Pickup of Unwanted Sound Sources

A supercardioid microphone has the greatest sound rejection at points 120° toward the rear of the microphone. Place the microphone so that unwanted sound sources, such as monitors and loudspeakers, are at these angles, not directly behind it. To minimize feedback and ensure optimum rejection of unwanted sound, always test microphone placement before a performance.

Recommended Loudspeaker Locations for Supercardioid Microphones

Specifications

Type

Electret Condenser

Frequency Response

50 to 20,000 Hz

Polar Pattern

Supercardioid

Output Impedance

EIA rated at 150  Ω (100  Ωactual)

Sensitivity

at 1 kHz, open circuit voltage

-52 dBV/Pa (2.4  mV)[1]

Maximum SPL

1 kHz at 1% THD, 1 kΩ load

140 dB

Signal-To-Noise Ratio

Ref. 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz

70 dB[2]

Dynamic Range

at 1 kHz, 1 kΩ load

116.5 dB

Clipping Level

1 kHz at 0.25% THD, 1 kΩ load

-6  dBV (0.5  V)

Self Noise

typical, equivalent SPL, A-weighted

24 dB

Polarity

Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Net Weight

0.20 kg (0.44 lbs)

Connector

Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male

Housing

Aluminum construction with steel grille and satin black finish

Power Requirements

11 to 52 V DC (1.2  mA) phantom power

[1] 1 Pa=94 dB SPL

[2] S/N ratio is difference between 94 dB SPL and equivalent SPL of self noise, A-weighted

Typical Polar Pattern

Typical Frequency Response

Overall Dimensions

Accessories

Furnished Accessories

Microphone Clip for SM58, SM57, SM87A, Beta 87A, Beta 87C, PGA57, PGA58, PGA48, PGA81

A25D

Carrying/Storage Bag

95A2313

Optional Accessories

Phantom Power Supply

PS1A

Shock Stopper® Isolation Mount

A55M

Shock Stopper Isolation Mount

A55HM

Black Foam Windscreen for KSM8, SM85, SM86, SM87A, Beta 87A, and Beta 87C

A85WS

25 foot (7.5m) Triple-Flex® Microphone XLR Cable with chrome connectors

C25F

Replacement Parts

Black Grille for Wired and Wireless SM87 and SM87A

RK214G

Cartridge for SM87 and SM87A

R128

Certifications

This product meets the Essential Requirements of all relevant European directives and is eligible for CE marking.

The CE Declaration of Conformity can be obtained from: www.shure.com/europe/compliance

Authorized European representative:

Shure Europe GmbH

Headquarters Europe, Middle East & Africa

Department: EMEA Approval

Jakob-Dieffenbacher-Str. 12

75031 Eppingen, Germany

Phone: 49-7262-92 49 0

Fax: 49-7262-92 49 11 4

Email: info@shure.de