Shure Beta 58A by Tube World
The SM58 came out in 1966 when rock music took off when they needed a mic for stage use that pushed the vocalist out front of the mix. It was a great mic, very durable and is one that has been used more than almost any other mic. As time went by and other company's came out with dynamic mic's with improved frequency response, Shure decided to come out with an updated version of their beloved SM58.
The Beta series hypercardioid mics were originally launched in 1989, but Shure updated them in 1996 by making minor alterations to the design and now called Beta 57a and 58a. A pneumatic shockmount is used to minimise handling noise, and the frequency response is designed to suit close-miked vocals. With a useful frequency range extending from 50Hz to 16kHz, the mic has a falling bass response below 500Hz to compensate for the proximity bass boost that results when the mic is used up close. The top end features a dual peak presence rise at around 4kHz and 10kHz which helps to produce a sound capable of cutting through a loud backing track.
Tests like this one Dynamic Microphone Comparison Test SM58,BETA57A and AKG D5 - YouTube and here Vocal Microphones Comparison: PG58 / SM58 / Beta 58A - YouTube clearly allow you even on computer speakers allow you to hear the difference between the SM58 and Beta 58a. The 58a clearly pickup up more of a vocalist (or guitar amp) higher frequencys which allows you to capture a more accurate representaiton of the original source. If you find you want to adjust the tope end, you can of course adjust it with the mixer EQ to tailor it's sound to your taste. But it is always better to capture a more accurate represenation first then to try to add more high end that was not originally captured. +
Though I showed the youtube videos as only examples, I have used SM58 and Beta 58a's for years. Some think that the high end is harsh while I do not. There are other things that could attribute to the harshness like the pre, connections, amp, monitors, EQ settings etc. This review forum is not a place to convince someone their wrong with what they like, but to point out your experience with them. I have found more people prefer the Beta over the original, but there will always be those who like the original better which is fine.
The good news is the new Beta 58a is just as tough and durable as the original SM58. The purpose of the mic also just as broad as well. I found the original to have more of a muffled top end, and the new Beta series allows singers to have a more natural sound. Mic a guitar cab and you will also hear more of the guitar freq's being heard, and not just the mid push that the original offers you. However I preferred a Blue Encore 100 on a guitar cab as it was not so mid punchy and a little more even. Though many will still like the sound of a SM58, as an engineer, I prefer capturing more of the frequency's of the source. The 58a still offers you a classic Shure mid freq. punch and offers you a nice full sound making it a great option for vocals when you need them to to push through a mix. Though microphones choice is factored in a lot on your personal preference, I found the Beta 58a and Beta 57a to sound more natural and pleasant over the beloved original. I personally though prefer the Beta 87a over the Beta 58a when wanting to hear more fidelity on vocals. But for punchy mid vocals, or capturing guitar amps nicely, it is highly recommened.