When we think about microphones there are so many to consider - handheld condensers, "tourable" ribbons, and some of the baddest dynamic mics we've ever seen. But I think it safe to say that we all might all feel a little lost without the likes of a SM57 or 58 in out kits.
Before I start, I must pause and watch a four year old dance to the opening credits of Hannah Montana...Now that I'm back, we will focus on our test piece for the evening, the Shure Beta 27. This coming off the heels of the discontinued KSM27. I'm shure, pun intended, that we've all at one time or another used a KSM27. I still use KSM27s as my overhead mics at the church I work at. I won't spend too much time on the KSM, all I want to do is lay the groundwork with a piece that we are all very familiar with and a piece that a great many of us enjoy.
Recently, Shure has said out with the KSM and in with the Beta. Before you start to cast judgment and ponder at why they would just toss out such a tool as the KSM, let me explain a few things. There are a lot of similarities between the two. Shure has left such staples as the gold plated diaphragm, pad and filter controls, and the same input sensitivity. This should start to make you feel warm and a little bit fuzzy knowing that they haven't changed some of the best parts of the mic. There are a few places that they've upped the ante, making an already-great piece of gear even greater.
They've upped the signal to noise ratio from 80 to 85dB, increased the max SPL by 2dB to a whopping 154dB (with pad on), smoothed out the top end bite above 5k, tightened the pattern up by changing it from cardioid to supercardioid, and given it the sexy Beta color scheme. I find each of these improvements great, but my favorite changes are the pattern and the response.
As far as the response goes, I'm always a fan of the flattest response possible. I can certainly add whatever I want with simple EQ adjustments. As far as pattern goes, anything that offers me more rejection and less bleed, the better. All of these things add up to make it an even more potent and affordable package.
The first time we used this mic, we put it on a show as a guitar amp mic. For this review, we only had one, so it would have been hard to use in an application that required a pair. This was on a rock show miking a vintage Mesa Boogie Mark IIB. The first audible thing I noticed was how smooth the range was from 4k and above. A great many condenser mics have an over abundance of top end. Not so in the case of the Beta 27. It had all the presence that I wanted without having a harsh feel to the high end.
The next place it was used was in a church. While there, it got the usual treatment, being used on everything from an acoustic guitar to a conga. Every time, the same rang true - incredible high end without the harshness. The new pattern also helped substantially. Moving it from a cardioid to a supercardioid really cut down on the amount of bleed that we got from things that were going on around that which we were trying to amplify. I was also blown away at the extreme SPL that the Beta handles. 154dB is nothing to joke about.
After everything we did, I found the Beta 27 to be a very worthy successor to the KSM. I've used large diaphragms that cost up to the four figure range that I would gladly leave on the shelf in favor of the Beta. At just shy of $400, it is quite a lot of product for the money.
A great many thanks to Shure for giving us yet another rugged, versatile and great product. No matter what it is that you need to amplify, the flat response, tight pattern, and wicked high SPL levels of the Beta 27 should get it done for you. And hey, it comes with zippered pouch!!
Shure Beta 27
What It Is: Condenser Mic
Who It's For: Anyone
Pros: Improved pattern and response, sexy new casing.
Cons: The only con that I can find is the fact that you may not have purchased a few of these yet.
How Much: MSRP: $499; Retail price: $399.
|< Prev Article||Next Article >|