What’s the difference between the SM58 and the Beta58A?

SM58vsBETA58

The Shure SM58 and the Beta 58A, are both well-known and frequently used microphones worldwide. Both microphones have outstanding sound quality and reliable performance; however there are some fundamental differences between these two mics. These differences make each microphone suitable to different applications.

Polar pattern
The polar pattern is the most obvious difference. The SM58 has a cardioid polar pickup pattern, the Beta 58A is supercardioid. The pickup pattern describes the microphone’s sensitivity to sounds arriving from different directions. This affects how the microphone should be used and in which situation it would be most appropriate.
As seen in the picture below, a cardioid microphone will reject best from the back. While a supercardioid microphone will reject better from the sides. The best sound pickup is from the front of these microphones, but a supercardioid polar pattern has the advantage of being more directional. This results in less feedback if the monitors are positioned correctly.

cardioid

cardioid

 supercardioid

supercardioid

 
Frequency response
Compared to the SM58, the low end and high end of the Beta58 is more extensive. It depends to the style and tonal characteristics of your voice if this frequency response benefits your performance.

Output level
The Beta58A has a neodymium magnet and is therefore more sensitive. Because of this the output is 4dB higher than that from the SM58.

Handling noise
Thanks to its pneumatic shock mount system, the Beta58A is quieter than the SM58.

Grill
The grill of the Beta58A is hardened, this makes it more difficult to bend.

Summary
The Beta58A is no doubt an upgrade for many applications, but in some scenarios, these upgrades can also be unnecessary. For example, if you’re performing in a heavy-metal band, and you typically shout or scream into your mic – you may not want the extra sensitivity and detail of the Beta58. It’s all a matter of application and taste – which do you prefer?

For more information about choosing the right microphone, read more on the websites:
How to find the right microphone (Dutch)
How to find the right microphone (Belgium Dutch)
How to find the right microphone (Belgium French)

 

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