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Shure SM81 Microphone

The Shure SM81 is a high-quality, unidirectional condenser microphone designed for studio recording, broadcasting, and sound reinforcement. Its wide frequency response, low noise characteristics, and low RF susceptibility have made it a standard for applications involving acoustic instruments, especially guitar, piano, and cymbals.

The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. It is furnished with a swivel adapter, attenuator-switch lock, foam windscreen, and case for carrying and storage. Other accessories are available.

Applications: Acoustic Instruments, guitar, piano,cymbals.


  • Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 KHz
  • Cardioid polar pattern, uniform with frequency and symmetric about axis.
  • Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources.
  • Extremely low hum, noise, and RF pickup.
  • Selectable low-frequency response: flat, 6 or 18 dB/octave rolloff.
  • 0 dB/10 dB lockable attenuator switch.
  • Low distortion over a wide range of load impedances.
  • Phantom powering (DIN 45 596 voltages of 12 to 48 Vdc).
  • Field-usable over wide range of temperature and humidity conditions.
  • Rugged steel construction for durability.

Response Charts

Shure SM81 Frequency and Polar Response Charts

Technical Specifications

lnsert TypeCondenser (electret bias)
Polar Pattern Cardioid (Unidirectional) response uniform with frequency and symmetrical about axis.
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
Low-Cut Filter Flat,
Switch Positions -6 dB/octave below 100 Hz,
  -18 dB/octave below 80 Hz.
Attenuator Switch0 or -10 dB (Switch is lockable)
Output ImpedanceRated at 150 ohms (85 ohms actual)
Output Level-45 dBV/Pascal (5.6 mV), 1 Pa = 94 db SPL
Output Clipping Level 800 ohm Load: -4 dBV (0.63 V)
  150 ohm Load: -15 dBV (0.18 V)
Maximum SPL 1KHz 128 dB (attenuator at 0)
150 Ohm Load 138 dB (attenuator at -10)
Maximum SPL 1KHz 136 dB (attenuator at 0)
800 Ohm Load 146 dB (attenuator at -10) 
Dynamic Range111 dB
Signal to Noise Ratio78 dB (IEC 651) at 94 dB SPL
Self Noise 16 dB typical, A-weighted
 19 dB typical, weighted per DIN 45 405
Power Phantom 11 to 52 Vdc
Current Drain1.2 mA
Weight230 g
ConstructionSteel construction with vinyl metallic paint finish and stainless steel screens.

Ordering Information

DescriptionOrder Code
Shure SM81 Instrument MicrophoneSHU-SM81
The information presented on this page is provided by courtesy of Shure Inc.
Revised: 23-Dec-2010 Copyright (C) 2010 Adena Limited