When speaking about the Shure Beta 51a or Shure SM58 microphones, both deliver exceptional performance and sound. However, there are fundamental differences making them suitable for differing applications.
The Beta57A is a supercardioid and rejects best from the sides, while the SM58 is a cardioid microphone that rejects better from the back.
Although both types of microphones pick the sound up the best from the front, the supercardioid polar pattern is more directional, creating less feedback in conjunction with properly positioned stage monitors.
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Shure Beta 57A
The Shure Beta 57A has a supercardioid pattern across its range of frequency, which ensures optimal isolation from additional sound sources, minimal off-axis tone coloration, and high gain prior to feedback. It has a frequency response tailored to provide vocals, drums, guitars, and horns with studio-grade sound quality and a neodymium magnet for a superb signal to noise-ratio output.
Thanks to a new advanced pneumatic shock mounting system, vibration, and mechanical noise transmissions are kept at a minimum. The Beta 57A has a frequency response of 50 to 16kHz and weighs only 0.6 lbs. Equipped with a hardened steel mesh grill that promotes proximity effect usage, the Beta 57A stands up to wear and tear. It only has minimal effects on fluctuating load impedance, making it highly versatile for a wide range of uses.
The Shure SM58 cardioid pickup pattern expertly isolates the primary source of sound, providing high gain prior to feedback, and minimizing annoying background noises. Handling noise is minimized thanks to the internal pneumatic shock mounting system and the spherical pop and wind filter; an additional built-in feature reduces plosives and breath noises.
The SM58 has a presence peak which helps add clarity and warmth to the vocals, eliminating low-frequency rumble that is a common occurrence from all instruments. Thanks to the impeccably tuned frequency response range of 50 Hz to 15kHz on the Sm58, there is a distinct rise in the upper-mid frequencies, which is why vocals come out clear and warm. This frequency response is also why this microphone is so effective for many sources, including brass, guitar cabinets, and other instruments.
It’s an excellent choice for studio use or live performances, thanks to its unmatched durability, which boasts an almost unbreakable design known to last for years with even the most intense use.
If this is the best option for you, you can check out our article about the need of a shock mount for your Shure SM58.
Beta 57A Vs. SM58 Comparison Overview
The Beta 57A begins at $120, while the SM58 starts slightly lower at $89. When it comes to looks, there are slight and noticeable differences right off the bat. The Beta 57A is silver and blue with a slimmer, more squared-off appearance, while the SM58 is gold, black, and rounder.
The Beta 57A uses an XLR connector, while the SM58 has more flexibility, utilizing the XLR along with USB and Mini-jack connections. The main difference, aside from their directionality, is that the Beta 57A is a condenser microphone while the SM58 is dynamic. Both microphones offer the option of wired or wireless, which is a huge advantage, especially for stage performances, and both use analog signals.
For those who need a more robust and accident-proof option, the SM58 is known for its superior construction that can stand up against even the most brutal abuse.
The impedance on the Beta 57A is 290 Ohms, while the SM58 is slightly higher at 300 Ohms. When you purchase the Beta 57A, you receive an included A25D Adjustable adapter stand, storage bag, and 5/8″ to 3/8″ Euro thread adapter. The SM58 includes an A25D swivel stand adapter and storage bag.
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Is the Beta57A or the SM58 better for audio recordings?
Both the Beta57A and the SM58 are excellent for audio recordings; it comes down to personal preference regarding which one you should choose.
Many people choose the Beta 57A for its polar pattern, but because it’s a supercardioid, it will pick out more sound. If having good rear rejection is the main concern, the SM58 may be the better choice. Overall, both microphones are very similar and will provide excellent results.
Which microphone is the best for high-impact performances?
The SM58 is the best option for high-impact performances, thanks to its virtually indestructible design. It’s known throughout the industry as one of the most durable options available and will last for years even with daily abuse.
Choosing the best microphone to fit your needs can be confusing; with so many options, you want to ensure you pick the right one.
When deciding between the Beta 57A and the SM58, there are many similarities but a few noticeable differences. While the Beta 57A rejects sound better from the sides, the SM58 rejects it best from the back. The Beta 57A is also slightly more expensive, but the SM58 is more durable.
Regardless of which one you choose, both are excellent, high-quality options that are sure to give you exceptional sound quality for all your recording needs.