When it comes to radio, television talk shows, and serious podcasting, the Shure SM7B has reigned supreme for quite a long time. Its combination of fidelity and hyper-cardioid pickup has made it one of those no-brainer choices that we don’t often get in audio. Many manufacturers have tried to make a better version and none have yet succeeded, but Earthworks Audio‘s new ETHOS model might be just the one to finally knock the 7B off its throne.
The Difference Are Many
Unlike the SM7B, which uses a dynamic element (it’s really just a SM57 on steroids), the ETHOS is a condenser microphone. That means that it’s able to pick up the transients in a way that dynamics never can, as evidenced by the mic’s ultra-fast 11.67 microsecond rise time. It has a supercardioid pickup pattern with a wide frequency response of 20Hz to 30kHz and an impressive SPL handling capability of 145dB.
One of the cool things about ETHOS is that a Triad-Orbit M2-R ball joint mic adapter comes attached, allowing you to make precise placement adjustments (always a pain with most other mic stand adapters). If an additional shock mount is desired, ETHOS can be used with the USM universal shock mount from Rycote. That said, ETHOS is naturally resistant to handling noise and thumps thanks to internal dampening and robust stainless-steel construction.
The mic comes with a user-replaceable foam windscreen that’s easy to clean or to replace, and the foam, mesh, and steel combination makes it unlikely to require additional additional screen even for a big blaster vocal personality. And yes, it has a built-in XLR connector – no dainty USB connectors here.
More Than Broadcast
While the mic is aimed at the broadcast market, early users have reported that it works extremely well in most other areas of recording as well. Try using it anywhere that you might use a condenser mic, but also where some dynamics are used as well, thanks to its highSPL handling.
The Earthworks ETHOS is priced at $699 and is available now in either stainless steel or matte black. Yes, it’s true that it’s almost twice the cost of an SM7B, but this is a different audio animal here. Besides that, because of the low output of the 7B, you’ll either need a mic pre with a lot of clean gain or buy a Cloudlifter or Royer dBooster, which costs at least a hundred bucks more. You won’t have that problem with ETHOS, as it has a much higher output thanks to being a condenser-type microphone.
Something to note, because Earthworks fabricates as many components as possible in house, and since they are a US-based manufacturer turning raw stainless steel into microphones, they have remained largely un-impacted by many of the global supply chain challenges facing most manufacturers.
You can find out more here.