The only difference between these two microphones is that they have distinct polar patterns (SM58 is a cardioid and Beta 58A is a supercardioid).
Both have identical model numbers and appearances, and neither has a significant price differential to imply that one is far superior than the other.
Nevertheless, there are still differences that can either make it or break it when being used for live shows, podcasts, and more.
For those looking for the best microphone out of the two to fit your needs, keep reading.
Shure SM58 Overview
Simply put, the Shure SM58 has dominated the market for vocal applications like speaking, singing, beatboxing, and anything else that involves breath being emitted from the lips since 1966.
It is a straightforward dynamic microphone that shares many qualities with its younger sister, the Shure SM57 (also see, ‘What Is The Best Dynamic Microphone For Vocals‘).
The SM58 is a pure voice mic, but the ’57 does really well at capturing instruments due to its flatter grille and smaller size.
Even after six decades, the Shure SM58 is still the first name on many vocalists’ and performers’ team sheets. And for good reason: it’s extremely durable, sounds fantastic, and can be relied on to produce show after performance.
Beta 58A Overview
The Shure Beta 58A is a superb supercardioid polar pattern microphone with excellent performance that won’t break the bank.
It clarifies vocals without overdoing the higher register and is somewhat bright yet unobtrusive in nature. It offers a linear response over the whole vocal range, which versatile vocalists particularly value.
Overall, this microphone is incredibly simple to use for both sound engineers and singers.
Shure SM58 vs Beta 58A
Build And Design
Overall, Shure microphones are known for being extremely durable, withstanding decades of use.
Because Shure SM58, Beta 58A, or Beta 87A dynamic microphones are so dependable and ruggedly made, chances are they’ll be used at any gig, open mic night, or public speaking event you attend.
The Shure Beta 58 has the same dimensions and total weight as the Shure SM58, however key differences include the 87A is somewhat larger and lighter, with a thinner grip – which may be more appealing to singers and speakers who use the mic for extended periods of time.
The blue band around the grill of the Beta microphones makes them immediately recognized in terms of both aesthetics and design. This is not just a pretty face, but a work of engineering brilliance.
The band is constructed of rubber, which increases friction and makes it less likely to roll off and harm the microphone when placed on a flat surface.
We can only infer that this little but crucial function was implemented in response to requests from vocalists all around the world.
The SM85 is quite durable, and the grill can withstand a pounding, while the Beta mics feature hardened steel grills that are more difficult to damage.
The cardioid polar pickup pattern of the SM58 is different from the supercardioid pattern of the Beta. Both microphones are intended to take up sound from the front, while the Beta 58A ignores background noise from the sides the best.
This is vital if your band makes a lot of mechanical noise or if you have to stand near to another noisy bandmate.
In this case, the Beta 58A is the superior bet since unlike a condenser microphone, it will take up less of the unwanted sound and will be less vulnerable to feedback when properly placed on stage.
In terms of feedback, avoid aiming your microphone at a monitor or speaker when singing (also see, ‘How To Make Your Mic Sound Better‘).
In comparison to the SM58, the magnet in the Beta 58A offers greater sensitivity at 4 dBs and will provide more output. Nevertheless, it’s not always best to be louder.
The SM58 can be a better option than the Beta 58A if you sing, growl, or shout the lyrics in a metal band. The sound engineer may find it simpler to control your level through the mains if you use an SM58.
The low- and high-end responsiveness of the SM58 is poorer than that of the Beta 58A. Because that difference may not be significant to certain vocalists, gauging the need for an extended frequency response is a difficult one.
You must consider the attributes of your own voice as well as how you sing.
However, most individuals are adequately served by either mic, or you may not be able to detect a difference in how your voice is conveyed.
The output volume between the two microphones is one thing you’ll undoubtedly notice (also see, ‘How To Make Your Mic Louder‘).
Since the Shure Beta58 uses a Neodymium magnet, it has higher output volume and sensitivity, and has a better signal-to-noise ratio.
Your speech will sound cleaner and more accurate overall because of the enhanced sensitivity and wider frequency range. One of the key factors influencing solo vocalists’ choice of mic is this.
Due to its innovative internal pneumatic shock mount system, which minimizes vibrations when you’re holding it, the Beta 58 also has less handling noise (also see, ‘Best Mic Shock Mount‘).
Once more, this makes it more appropriate for vocalists who grip the microphone.
As you may have observed, these microphones are very similar in certain ways.
When you open their boxes, you’ll discover comparable stuff, with the sole variation being the microphones themselves.
Because these microphones are meant to be handled, and because live singers are not expected to have external pop filters on stage, Shure has included pop filters behind the mesh grille to prevent some of the plosive noises from severely influencing the vocal.
With all of these enhancements and fine-tuning, it’s natural that the Beta 58A costs a bit more.
Major differences such as the shock mount mechanism to the blue rubber band that prevents the microphone from sliding away raises the price.
However, if you want more detail, loudness, and off-axis rejection, the Beta 58A beta is well worth the extra money.
If you still want fantastic detail and a tough-as-nails industry-standard mic that will never let you down for less than $100, the SM58 is an excellent choice.
Overall, it boils down to how you use it and how much money you are willing to spend.
If you perform load, fast music, the extra dB and detail on the Beta 58A may bring out certain nuances you don’t need.
Alternatively, the increased volume and bass roll-off may be just what you need to elevate your performances to the next level, allowing you to be heard with live sound on stage.
If you are a newbie, it is best to go for the SM58 to get the most out of your money.
However, if you’re seeking for a recorded sound that you can utilize with other instruments, Beta 58A is the way to go.