Difference Between Shure’s SM58 and the Beta58

I get asked this question a lot. Sometimes it’s singers who ask this question and sometimes it’s someone who is just a “talking head,” . Everyone gets a different explanation depending on what they’re doing. For one, the SM58 is only good for speech if the presenter has good microphone etiquette, but at $99 you get what you pay for. If the presenter can hold the microphone close to their face, bless their soul and let them use the SM58. The SM58 has a cardioid pattern so a floor monitor directly behind the microphone is appropriate.

A Beta58 is a little different. The Beta58 stretches a little further upward on the frequency scale. The Beta58 goes up to 16khz rather than the SM58 which only goes to 15khz. The EQ curve on the Beta58 is modeled a little differently to give it that zippy sound. It’s not just the higher frequency response, it’s the way the diaphragm (which is neodymium) is tuned. The Beta58 is a super-cardioid pattern. Super-cardioid is a little tighter of a pattern which is good to block out ambient noise. On the flip side, the pattern has a small nipple that comes out of the back of it. This is a good and a bad thing depending on the application. The good thing is it rejects handling noise, the bad thing is location of a floor wedge. Since you get the small pickup pattern that comes out of the back of the microphone, having a floor wedge is not preferred directly behind the microphone, you may want to go IEMs or put monitors on the sides to make avoid feedback. However, any good monitor engineer should be able to work with whatever microphone is preferred. The Beta58 also has a higher output at +4dB.

Both of the microphones are considered break resistant which I can attest to. Both have the same warranty even though outside of warranty Shure can repair these microphones at a reasonable flat rate repair cost.

You get some and you lose some. I’d use the SM58 for a high turn over show just in case it gets lifted or broken, (even though it’s break resistant) it’s less of a blow. I’d use the Beta58 more selectively and let’s be honest, some people sound better on the SM58. So it totally depends on what you’re doing. I wouldn’t use either for just a talking head. I would use them both for singers.

For talking heads, I’d use a Beta87A or a SM86. Both of them are condensers so you’ll have an easier time picking up the “belly button microphone holders”. I think all sound guys know exactly what I mean.

I’ll be doing more of these topics, if you have any suggestions please send us an email! info@atcaudio.com

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