Shure’s handheld stage microphones have reached legendary status and, while these are usually dynamic in nature, the Illinois brand offers a handful of impressive handheld condenser mics too. It’s a slightly niche market, but the small-diaphragm Beta 87A performs well in the sub-$300 condenser market. For that reason, it’s well worth a closer look!
Handheld stage microphones don’t have a lot of scope to drastically change in their appearance – at the end of the day they need to be as ergonomic as they are aesthetically pleasing. Yet the Beta 87A shows off a solid design, which is sleek and quite attractive, and immediately inspires confidence the moment you pick it up.
At just under half a pound in weight, it’s not too heavy, making it comfortable for use without a stand. The dark grey all-metal chassis feels nice in the hand and is well-built, while the steel-mesh grille has a built-in pop filter to keep unwanted noise at bay. Ultimately, you’re not going to want to throw it around, yet it feels capable of withstanding day-to-day life on stage, from accidental drops to general humidity.
In terms of features, the core of the Beta 87A’s performance lies within the capsule Shure has installed. We are looking at an internally-suspended unit, while both the small diaphragm and the capsule itself are tuned to match the needs of everyday stage use.
As you may expect from a handheld mic, it features a fixed supercardioid polar pattern, which works well for live use applications. When it comes to raw specs, you are getting a 50Hz to 20kHz frequency response range with low self-noise levels.
So far, so good. As for extras, it also comes with a low frequency roll-off switch that adds a layer of versatility on stage. It comes with standard XLRM connection, so it will require 48v phantom power to run it. Finally, this mic comes with a mic clip and a carrying pouch, which is what we’d expect at this range.
Being a handheld stage microphone, the Beta 87A pretty much dictates what kind of application it is suitable for. Live vocals are obviously the main focus and it performs exceptionally well for this purpose. It’s open, natural and detailed, with a slight boost in the mids to allows you to really cut through the mix in a live setting.
On a similar note, the low frequency roll-off switch works well to remove a lot of the boominess that usually comes with live vocal performances. When it comes to recording acoustic guitars and other instruments, there are better options in the midrange market, but considering how reliable and refined the Beta 87A is on stage, it’s hard to fault.
On a similar note, the low frequency roll-off switch really does wonders with removing a lot of the boominess usually attributed to live vocal performance. When it comes to recording acoustic guitars and other instruments, you will find that Shure BETA 87A isn’t the best choice. However, considering how reliable and refined it is on stage, we can’t really fault BETA 87A.
While it might be a bit of a one-trick pony, the Beta 87A is a truly awesome live condenser microphone. Vocals come across naturally and are strong enough to cut through the mix, all while retaining that condenser vibe we love so much. Add in the options for reducing unwanted noises and this mic is a real winner for musicians looking for a new stage partner.