Shure Beta 57A by edva
The Shure Beta 57A "Instrument Microphone" (as they call it) is an inexpensive unidirectional (supercardioid) dynamic mic, intended mostly for mic'ing instruments and amplifiers on stage. The mic resembles the iconic SM57 in shape, but is "stubbier", and grey instead of bronze, with a silver metal headbasket. There are no switches on the mic. It ships with a plastic clip and a zippered vinyl bag. The mic seems well built, except for the blue rubber ring around the grille, which is too easily dislodged.
The mic sounds noticeably different from a regular 57, while retaining some of the latter's signature tone. I tested the beta 57A on a variety of sources through a neutral/clean pre-amp (ULN2), and found it to be a brash, "up-front" sounding microphone, with an almost "jangly" tone - very lively and "in your face", but at the same time somewhat "2-dimensional" and lacking in depth, nuance, and weight. Of course, it is possible to generate a lot of "whump" using proximity effect, by placing the mic very close to the source, but although the bass tones thus captured are indeed thick, they are a bit ragged and unruly.
The high end is nothing special either, although not unpleasant or overly peaky. It's bright but without shimmer or air. It's a sound that can work inside a dense mix, but not a sound to build a mix around.
An affordable tool for the live sound toolbox.