Shure make microphones, Shure make very good microphones and generally Shure make microphones that are virtually indestructible. This has been Shure's reputation for many years, and the Beta 58A is not going to detract from that in any way. As an on stage piece of equipment the 58A is a reliable solid piece of equipment, as a field microphone its something that can cope with the adverse conditions that field recording will often place on precision gear.
I have had a 58A for ages and never really used it. I always thought of it as a vocal microphone and as such never really thought I had need for it. More recently I discovered this was a poor assumption made at my own expense. I have recently found that the short pickup range of the 58A makes very good at picking up close range sounds without the risk of capturing unwanted background noise. This is a very different approach to using a shotgun mic, but can be just as valid. A shotgun attempts to capture only what you point it at and as such block out unwanted sounds that are “off target” The 58A has a wider response pattern, but a much shorter range, so while it may capture off target sounds, it will only capture sounds that are very close.
The Beta 58A also has the trade mark Shure build quality which means you could quite literally drop it off the back of a moving car and still use it afterwards. While risky recording situations are probably better suited for its cheaper cousins the SM57 and SM58, the Beta 58A can be used confident in the knowledge that its going to cope with what you throw at it.
From a vocals aspect the 58A is excellent. I use mine mainly for vocal effects, screams and creating monster sounds and I’ve found I can use it almost anywhere to capture voice beautifully cleanly with almost no background noise. This includes standing on top of an office building surrounded by noisy machinery and still capturing only the desired vocal effects.
As a dynamic mic the 58A requires no extra power source
As with the MKH 60 I have had the Beta58A for quite a few years. Unlike the MKH 60 I have not used the 58A nearly as much. I can certainly atest to the fact that as a Shure mic it is practically indestructable. As far as sound quality is concerned I have found it excellent for recording human and animal sounds at close range. At the time of writing this it was becoming one of my favourite mics until it was missplaced on a location recording trip. I have not replaced it as yet but plan to at my earliest convineinece as I am more impressed with this microphone the more I use it.
In the Real World
The Beta58A has the typical Shure build quality as one of tis standout features. This combined with good sound qulaity make it an excellent mic to use in situations where you might fear risking other equipment.
The Beta 58A does not have the extreme SPL capabilities of more specialist microphones, but it is still capable of capturing high signal levels. This and its durability make is a natural choice when one has the opportunity to record a 100 year old Howitzer.
Good quality sound capture with surprisingly low background noise for the response pattern
Not quite cheap enough for me to own ten of them