At AES in San Francisco, Shure unveiled new versions of its Beta 98 miniature instrument mic and Beta 91 boundary microphone. In their original forms as part of the SM line, these mics were revered by live sound engineers in the ’90s but lost favor when they were re-engineered and upgraded to the premium Beta line. In response to this reaction, Shure has brought back the original sound with the latest iteration of these mics and upgraded their form factors at the same time.
The Beta 98AMP, most commonly used on toms, snare and percussion, sports a new cartridge at the end of a sturdy, compact gooseneck mounted atop an integrated preamp. It ships with Shure’s new A75M universal mic mount for mounting directly on the drum, providing increased control and fast, easy setup. The mic is also appropriate for use on brass, strings and reeds.
“While trying the new Beta 98A prototypes on the last Pretenders U.S. tour,” said Roger Lindsay, renowned front of house engineer, “I was delighted to discover that Shure has managed to retain the essential character of the original SM98, which became a benchmark for all drum mics, while also using the latest advances in design and technology to further improve a much-loved model.”
The new Beta 91A is a semicardioid boundary microphone often used inside pianos and kick drums. Like the Beta 98AMP, it benefits from a new “back to the future” capsule along with a retooled, one-piece case that houses an integrated preamp and sports an all-rubber base to ensure stable placement. The mic also now has a low-mid EQ switch to further extend its tonal flexibility.
“We had three goals in mind when we set out to design these new Beta mics: to improve sound quality, to improve reliability and durability in the field, and to offer simple, secure mounting and placement,” said Chad Wiggins, Shure's category director for wired products. “We’ve accomplished all of those goals with these microphones. Engineers will love the functional advantage you get with these mics versus their predecessors.”