Back in the 1960s, Shure built its legacy primarily through the advent of the iconic SM57 and SM58, among many others. These microphones set the standard for modern day recording, and have not seen all too many updates since their initial inception.
However, this time around, Shure has looked towards the future of iOS compatibility in their MVi interface. Let’s take a closer look.
Our verdict on the Shure MVi
Listen, we understand that there are many people who want to record but yet aren’t willing to put in the time and energy it takes to make something sound even moderately professional. We get it, we do.
However, with that being said, there is no place for something like the MVi in a serious discussion about audio recording. Christ, when we started the review, we were actually surprised to find out that this was an audio interface and not an old digital alarm clock.
Anyway, maybe it would make a decent Christmas gift for your niece or something.Available at: SweetwaterAmazon
I/O and controls
While the average interface comes equipped with buttons, knobs, and perhaps even a fader or two, the MVi has done away with these barbaric conventions. The front panel features no buttons or knobs, but touchpads.
At the bottom of the front panel is a touch slider which controls your microphone’s input gain and headphone level. Directly above the slider is a step LED meter to indicate signal and clipping.
This slider adjusts XLR input gain by default, although pressing on the headphone touchpad above it on the right will allow you to control your headphone’s output.
Above the LED meter, is a mic mute touchpad, a mode selector, and the headphone touchpad we already mentioned.
The rear panel looks barren, featuring only a XLR/TRS combo input, an 1/8″ headphone output, and a USB connector.
Where are the monitor outputs? In the future, there are no more outputs. Only iOS compatibility.
A/D resolution here is 16-bit/24-bit and 44.1 kHz/48 kHz. The MVi features a Class-A microphone preamp which performs well enough, delivering a futuristic sound.
Recording quality is good enough, but this device is meant more for convenience and portability. There are better options in terms of frequency response or EIN, but we live in a society.
In the name of convenience and simplicity, Shure has granted this interface with five different recording modes. The first mode is Flat, which when selected, will do nothing. It is called Flat, because the signal will be unaffected and… flat.
The next mode is for Speech, which involves some DSP and adds some EQ to deliver the best setting for every voice. As long as you sound just like everybody else, this setting for Speech will sound good.
Next, is the Singing mode, which is fairly similar to Speech, although the amount of EQ and compression added is slightly different.
The last two modes are the Acoustic and Loud modes. The Acoustic mode may be handy for acoustic instruments, like say, a guitar. In turn, Loud mode is best for louder sound sources, like a live band, or a war.
The preamp provides 48 V phantom power for a condenser microphone, but only when it’s connected to a computer via USB. If you are using an iOS device such as an iPad, the preamp is only capable of 12 V. So, you’re probably better off using a dynamic microphone rather than a condenser.
To activate phantom power, simply hold the microphone pad for three seconds. If you hold the pad for four seconds, the unit will self-destruct.
We read somewhere that the Beatles commissioned Rupert Neve to build a time machine so that they could travel to 2020 and buy one of these to use while recording Abbey Road. If that were true, this is probably a great addition to any studio.
Due to its compatibility with iOS, this is a decent interface for mobile recording. Plus, it’s small and lightweight. So, it’s easy to carry around with you.
When Shure was designing the MVi, their reference points were HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Ex-Machina, Tamagotchi, and the M4 Sherman tanks deployed during WWII. Yeah, we guess you could say that it’s pretty well built.
The MVi doesn’t come with much of a software bundle, although you do get the free ShurePlus MOTIV app. The application offers a mobile recording DAW for your iOS device along with a few effects, such as EQ and compression. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
Compared to other audio interfaces
Here are a few alternatives to compare against the Shure MVi.
Shure MVi vs. Focusrite Scarlett Solo
While the Scarlett Solo is a bit more expensive (and less futuristic), it’s a better interface overall. It has better A/D resolution, and preamps.
Check out our Focusrite Scarlett Solo review
Shure MVi vs. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
Again, the PreSonus is a much better interface than the Shure MVi. It offers far more connectivity, usability, MIDI I/O, and it also has a higher recording quality.
Check out our PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 review
Shure MVi vs. M-Audio M-Track Solo
Honestly, we would still recommend the M-Track Solo over the Shure MVi even if the recording quality is a little lackluster.
Check out our M-Audio M-Track Solo review
You can also check out our picks of the best budget audio interfaces and the best units under $100 and $50.
Who is the Shure MVi best suited for?
The Shure MVi is best suited for people who don’t really give a hoot about serious recording. It’s also moderately cheap, so that’s a plus as well.
- Decent build quality.
- Not meant for professional recording.