The standard made better!
Sometimes, an item creates the standard that other such items are measured against. The item becomes such the norm in use that it is considered the base for reference, even though it is not truly reference or flat in its own response. Such is the Shure SM58 microphone. It has been so good for so long that it has become what people are referring to when they say "stage microphone."
The Beta 58A mic has managed a very dangerous course with a deft touch. Often great products are ruined when they are improved, and become a caricature of themselves. Not so with the Beta series. The basic sound of a standard Shure SM58 is clearly there. And that's a good description, as it is the SM58 *clearer* in every range. And a bit louder as well. So the sound is there, as more of a good thing.
I have been using one for years on stage, and I can say they have been as reliable as the many SM58s I have used. I haven't put in decades with the Beta 58A, as I have with the SM58, but so far they appear to be as rugged as their predecessor.
Using on stage, one place I can say the Beta 58A clearly bests the SM58 is in feedback and bleed through rejection. The microphone is a supercardioid configuration, and it is truly awesome at rejecting sound from the sides and back. That means less garbage in your vocal mix, and less feedback for the performer on a loud stage, even with multiple monitors.
The 5 Star rating is earned because this microphone, for a reasonable cost, makes the vocalist AND the sound man look good. The Beta series has been a great add to the stage microphone offerings at Sweetwater, and has become a sort of new standard in itself. The recognition is well deserved. I can recommend this mic without reservation.