SHURE BETA 58A SUPERCARDIOID DYNAMIC VOCAL MICROPHONE
Recommend this product?
There is certainly no shortage of microphones to choose from in the $300.00 and under price range. I dare say, that there must literally be thousands of microphones to choose from in the under $300.00 price range. Obviously, with that many microphones to choose from, there will be some that are not so good, some that are very good, and a few that will do an outstanding job at what they are designed to do. With so many microphones to choose from in the price range of under $300, picking the right one can be a very daunting and confusing task. A microphone that I have worked with in the past and have been pleased with is the Shure Beta 58A Supercardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone. Read on and see if the information provided in this review describes the type of microphone that you might be interested in auditioning the next time you are visiting your local musical instrument or electronics store.
The Shure Beta 58A is part of the Beta series of microphones manufactured by the Shure, which is arguably the most popular and recognized name in the world of microphones. The Shure Beta 58A Supercardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone retails for $300.40, but it can be had at a discount from most musical instrument national chain stores and reputable Internet dealers for as little as $159.00. The engineers at Shure have been making solid, reliable, road worthy microphones for many years, and they have built a reputation as being a manufacturer of excellent electronic equipment. Shure microphones are built to last, and the Shure SM58, which is the small cousin to the Beta 58A, is possibly the most popular vocal microphone among young performers today. Shure products are built to last, as I can attest to, as I have a 30 year old Shure SM58 that still works quite well, even though it has been dropped a few times, and looks a little worn. I have used Shure microphones for years for various applications, and I have confidence in the name Shure.
The Shure Beta 58A is a dynamic microphone. A dynamic microphone is based on a very simple and rugged design. There is a diaphragm, a voice coil, and a magnet. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates. The voice coil, which is attached to the back of the diaphragm, is surrounded in a magnetic field which comes from being in proximity to a small permanent magnet. The vibrations of the diaphragm cause the voice coil to vibrate as well, and the movement of the voice coil within the magnetic field generates a very small electrical current, which carries all of the information about the sounds, which caused the diaphragm and then the voice coil to vibrate in the first place. This electrical information travels along the cable that the microphone is attached to, and is retranslated into something that duplicates the acoustical properties of the original sound that started the whole process in the first place. In short, acoustic or sonic energy is transferred into electrical energy, and then back into acoustical energy or sound which can then be amplified and heard over a speaker system. Another important feature of the design of this microphone is that it has Humbucking coil design, which as guitar pickup affectionado's well know, is a design that reduces unwanted noise and hum.
The Shure Beta 58A is a dynamic microphone with a supercardioid pickup pattern. A cardioid microphone suppresses picking up sounds that emanate from the sides and rear of the microphone, and thus it is termed as being a directional microphone. A microphone with a supercardioid polar pattern does an even better job of rejecting or suppressing sounds that originate from the sides of the microphone than a microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. Thus a supercardioid microphone is very good at picking up sounds that are coming from directly in front of the microphone, and it is also good at rejecting or not picking up sounds that come from the sides of the microphone. This is why many live performers are attracted to using a microphone with a supercardioid pickup pattern, as there is less likelihood of sounds from the rest of the band or other performers on the same stage being picked up and amplified by the microphone that they are using. This is a very important feature to have in a microphone that is being used for live performances, as the Shure Beta 58A is better able to isolate the singer's voice from the musical instruments, and this makes controlling or shaping of the singer's voice an easier choir for a soundman working the mixing board.
Another important feature of a microphone with a supercardioid pickup pattern is that is more resistant to feedback, even when it is being used at a high gain setting.
The Shure Beta 58A has a frequency response of 50 Hz. to 16,000 Hz., and it has been specifically designed to be tailored to accentuate vocals. It has a bright midrange, which means that it helps vocals to cut through the mix without necessarily having to turn up the volume in the mix. This is something that is both useful in live as well as in studio situations. The Shure Beta 58A also has an advanced pneumatic built-in shock mount, which means that it is ideal for handheld use on stage, as it will reject handling noise, and it will also be less sensitive to vibrations and related sounds that might travel up the microphone stand during a live stage performance. Because this microphone has been designed specifically for vocal use, it is also important for the reader to know that the Shure Beta 58A weighs in at a mere 9.92 ounces, and being light in weight, it won't as easily fatigue a singer who prefers to use it as a handheld microphone while performing.
Because the Shure Beta 58A is a unidirectional dynamic microphone, it profits from the proximity effect. The proximity effect is the phenomenon of low end frequencies being accentuated the closer one is to the sound source. In the case of the Shure Beta 58A, the maximum bass response attributable to the proximity effect is achieved by placing the microphone about a quarter of an inch away from the sound source. Thus a singer can use the proximity effect to their benefit by simply moving the microphone closer or further away from their lips while singing. Moving the microphone closer to the singer's lips will give a very warm, full, rich, deep sound, with an accentuation of the lower frequencies. Normal bass response is achieved when the microphone is about two feet away from the sound source. As most of you know, when a singer gets too close to a microphone, there is always an increased risk of low end distortion and muddiness. However, because the frequency response of the Shure Beta 58A has been specifically tailored for close up vocal techniques, the low end muddiness that frequently accompanies close vocal techniques when other microphones are used is dramatically reduced.
The Shure Beta 58 A also is available with a wireless set up, but I'll save that discussion for another review. As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Shure Beta 58A is a dynamic microphone with a supercardioid polar pattern. As you might imagine, having a supercardioid polar pattern also makes the Shure Beta 58A a good microphone to use in a studio setting, as much less unwanted sound is able to leak into the pickup pattern of the microphone. This makes the Shure Beta 58A a microphone that is ideally suited for a drummer who also is expected to handle vocal chores in a live setting. Because of its supercardioid pickup pattern, the Shure Beta 58A is able to reject sounds coming from the drums and cymbals better than a traditional microphone with a cardioid pattern. Of course, this makes it important for a singer to sing into the front of the microphone, and not off to the side, as off axis sounds are even more likely to be rejected than with a more conventional microphone with a more typical cardioid pickup pattern.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.