I've been looking for a quality live vocal mic and have narrowed it down to either the Shure SM58 or the Shure Beta 58A. My only question is, is the Beta worth the extra $60? I will be using the mic mainly in a pop/rock band. Thanks!
The Beta 58 is by far worth the extra money. I have used the Beta 58 for my own live vocals for the past 5 years, and it just sounds great. I was in a band with a female singer and it sounded even better on her voice. She later bought a regular 58 to save some cash, and the difference was very noticeable...
I would highly reccommend the Beta 58. I use it everyday.
Beta has a much stronger high-mid lift, which makes it brighter and allows it to cut through the mix more. Whether this is a good thing depends on the singer- it works well for most female singers and some smoother male singers, but also can have the effect of making some singers sound very harsh and thin.
The other major difference from the regular 58 is a tighter polar pattern. I'm not sure I'd say this always makes the mic more resistant to feedback, because I've actually had the opposite experience a few times when the channel EQ has been doctored enough to overcome the Beta's inherent "personality."