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Shure SM57 vs Beta 57a - Microphone Review

Published: Wed August 27, 2014  News Feed

Shure SM57 vs Beta 57a - Microphone Review

The Shure SM57 has been used by countless musicians over the last half century or so with top results.

But what about the newer Shure Beta 57a - what are the differences and which one is better?

shure sm57 shure beta 57a instrument microphone dynamic mic recording studio live stage

Here's our Shure SM57 vs Shure Beta 57a review.


1. The Grill Head

The original SM57 design did not feature a full protective grill as this allowed the microphone to be placed closer to the sound source to allow full use of the proximity effect for better results.

The Shure Beta 57a features a uniquely designed protective grill that offers the full protection of rugged microphones such as the Shure SM58 whilst still making use of the proximity effect.

The Beta57 seems to be the more robust of the two, with the addition that Beta model microphones are more difficult to dent due to their harder construction.

shure sm57 beta57 shure beta 57a review comparison
Image Source: Shure

2. The Polar Pattern

The Shure SM57 has a cardoid pattern whereas the Beta 57a has a supercardoid pattern. This means the SM57 will reject better from the back, whereas the Beta 57a will reject better from the sides. The Beta 57a is more directional which consequently means you will run into less feedback on-stage.

cardoid polar pattern shure sm57 vocal microphone dynamic supercardoid cardoid hypercardoid shure beta 57a microphone dynamic stage live

3. Output

The Shure Beta 57a features a neodymium magnet that boosts the output level. Consequently, you end up with a better signal-to-noise ratio as it gets you the best possible signal into the desk straight away.

4. Frequency Response

As you can see from the chart below, the Shure Beta 57a provides brighter highs and more low frequencies that make it a bit more versatile. Shure have described it as having a tailored frequency response for recording drums, vocals, guitars and horns specifically.

Want more sparkle on your vocals or more of a thunderous chugg from your guitar amp? The Beta 57a edges it here for us.

Image Source: MusicPlayers.com

5. Handling Noise

Both the SM57 and Beta57a feature the Shure pneumatic shock mount system that reduces handling noise.

The Beta 57a does have an advanced version that takes out even more mechanical noise and vibrations, giving a slighly more pure input through your microphone.

The Final Verdict

Both the Shure SM57 and the Shure Beta 57a are great microphones within their own rights.

The Beta57 boasts added features that some would justify spending an extra £22 on - especially if touring - but both microphones produce different results.

The added low end and high end of the Beta57 means both mics will sound rather different, and different applications might suit the SM57 more than the Beta - despite it's advanced features.

The Beta57 does seem more rugged and hard wearing, although many people have owned an original SM57 for years and years without breaking it.

Our recommendation? Consider what you will be using the microphone for and the end results you want to achieve. From there, it is up to you to make the decision.

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