Shure SM57 VS Beta 57A

We all know that the microphone plays a role in deciding your audio quality and this is why we need to shop wisely depending on which seems to fit in your application or preference the most. For those who are going to mic their instruments, Shure SM57 Vs Beta 57A are two promising options to consider for how they are designed for this purpose. However, they are not identical so let’s see what they can offer and which of them will be your better choice.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • What Affects Your Recording
  • What are Shure SM57 and Beta 57A
  • How are the Design of Shure SM57 and Beta 57A
  • How are the Setup of Shure SM57 and Beta 57A
  • How are the Sound Quality of Shure SM57 and Beta 57A
  • How are the Experience with Shure SM57 and Beta 57A
  • Shure SM57 Vs Beta 57A

Recording Quality and Factors that Affect It

Audio quality can be extremely confusing because there are so many factors that affect how your sound will be recorded or how it turns out. For the basic tool we need to use a type of microphone to capture the sound whether it is your voice or instruments and this tool also affects how good your recording will sound later. Other than the microphone, there are also other factors that can affect the result so it is wise to consider what they are.

  1. The first factor is environment or space because unless you are close miking, the sound will be reflected in the room so it will also be heard or captured by the microphone. Lot of engineers usually like to use both close and ambient mics to record separate tracks and balance them during mixing. If you are familiar with the room already, we can design it more effectively, and this type of concern will be even more important for the type of recording such as in a church and similar events.
  2. The performer or instrument is important as well because even though they are placed in a perfect room and perfect place, it is never a guarantee that the sound captured will be good too. Tuning is extremely important for instruments including the age of reeds, skins, strings etc. We also need the performer to produce the sound we have chosen them for.
  3. Now comes the microphone since the design and models are not going to suit every performer or instruments. For example HyperX SoloCast Vs Razer Seiren X will be ideal for speech but something like Shure SM57 will be good for instruments. Besides what they are made for, their polar pattern, frequency response, as well as recording depth will be important factors to consider as well.
  4. Most microphones will need some type of amplification which determines the dynamic, timbre, and frequency response of the sound. Its function is to amplify the tiny signal to line level so in general it will affect the character of the sound as well. For example there are transparent designs which simply amplify what’s produced by the mic with as little distortion as possible, preserving the real sound of the mic.
  5. Microphones need to be placed ideally too and this is even more important than the choice of pre-amp. For example, the microphone placed directly just a few inches from your mouth to those mounted a bit further will produce different sound, the same as miking towards the fretboard compared to directly from the sound hole of an acoustic guitar.
 Shure SM57 Shure Beta 57A
Product Dimensions10.3 x 4.9 x 3.4 inches
10.1 x 5 x 3.4 inches
Shipping Weight15.1 ounces 9.6 ounces
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About Shure SM57 and Beta 57A

There are so many factors that can affect your audio quality and how the sound will turn out in your recording so it is wise to consider what factors to fix first or what’s most important in your type of application. Some people may only need to get a decent microphone while some will have to do something about their recording room. If you are here then we assume that you are currently looking for a microphone meant for recording instruments.

Unlike microphones for vocals or speech, usually you can tell the microphone is made for an instrument pretty easily as they are more specified. Shure is one of the most popular options that you can choose out there and personally we love this brand for their overall quality and if you have used some of their popular mics, we are sure you are also familiar with how rigid they are made. Just like most companies, there are plenty to choose from based on your own application.

For those who are going to mic their instruments, Shure also has some of the most interesting and common options to rely on such as the Shure SM57 and Beta 57A. These microphones are very popular because they are sounding really good with the fact that Shure microphones are some of the best in terms of build quality. These microphones are very similar too, if you are aiming for good sound quality, ideal for instruments such as electric guitars.

In comparison they are not the same however both on the sound and some important specs that may affect your buying decision but when it comes to sound character they are almost the same or you can go amazing with any of them, based on which seems to fit in your personal taste better. Some people prefer the Beta 57A because this mic is more sensitive meaning we don’t need the same amount of gain while also more natural but it is also more expensive compared to the SM57.

Shure SM57 and Beta 57A Design

Just like most Shure’s microphones, Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are incredibly well-built with full-metal construction. We have heard some people broke their SM57 so this microphone may not be as sturdy and if you get one make sure to properly care for it. The Beta 57A is full-metal too, including the grill but as you can see, they are slightly different on the head and it seems more rigid as well. There is nothing in the box however, only the mount and minimally-padded pouch.

On the unit itself we don’t find any feature like switch or buttons to access any other function but the XLR port at the bottom. From the overall construction these microphones are great for your home studio or for live application but they are not indestructible so we do think it is still wise to treat them properly while storing or mounting them, especially in live applications where there will be a lot of people moving inside the stage.

Shure SM57 and Beta 57A Setup

As most already know, the Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are cardioid and super cardioid microphones respectively so they will be capturing the sound from right in front of it as well as some on the sides for SM57 and rejecting those coming from behind. Typically they are mounted directly at the front of the instruments or at the front of your amp, depending on how you want the sound to turn out or the type of instrument. They need you to set the gain at a different level since SM57 is pretty low in sensitivity.

Shure SM57 and Beta 57A Sound Quality

Now for the most important part, let’s talk about how Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are going to sound like and in general they are quite similar to each other. From the specs alone the frequency range is from 40Hz to 15kHz and from 50Hz to 16kHz which makes the latter slightly cutting the low-end as well as extending the upper range a little bit. The difference in sound is that somehow Beta 57A sounds more natural too, especially on the highs as it is less sharp on certain frequencies.

Most of the frequencies from both microphones are flat so they will sound true to the instrument but we do think the difference is not as noticeable except for how Beta 57A sounds cleaner in general. The latter will also make your instruments brighter overall and make it better if you want to capture the sound from some instruments that deliver this type of experience such as acoustic guitar. But then again, whether it sounds better to you can be subjective too.

Shure SM57 and Beta 57A Experience

Lastly for the experience, since Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are slightly different on polar pattern, the placement can be different as well and we do think that while being a supercardioid the Beta 57A is still forgiving. What makes this quite different is the fact that SM57 also sounds good for speech based on how it trim some of the highs. It makes the microphone overall more versatile if you are the type who doesn’t have a dedicated mic for every application/source.

The only drawback in our opinion is that it doesn’t sound as attractive for acoustic guitar and it is very low in sensitivity so it can be quite annoying to use for some. Both are typically similar in application or directly placed in front of the sound source.

Shure SM57 Vs Beta 57A

There are lots of good microphones out there based on which seems to work better in your application but Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are some of the best for miking instruments with SM57 being the staple of many. In comparison, the Beta 57A is overall brighter and sounds cleaner with better build quality as well as supercardioid polar pattern. It is not as good for streaming or for speech however so the usage is mostly only for instruments.

- Dynamic (moving coil)
- Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3.
- Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male.
- Dark gray, enamel-painted, die-cast steel with a polycarbonate grille and a stainless steel screen.
- Tailored frequency response provides drums, guitars, vocals, and horns with studio quality sound.
- Uniform super cardioid pattern for high gain before feedback and superior rejection off axis sound
- Three-pin professional audio (XLR), male.
- Hardened steel mesh grille that facilitates use of proximity effect and resist wear and abuse

Conclusion 

Both Shure SM57 and Beta 57A are good and ideal options for instruments but we will recommend SM57 if you don’t want the brightness while if you will be miking instruments only, the Beta 57A is capturing a more attractive sound.