Home Microphone Comparisons Shure SM86 vs. Beta 87A | A COUPLE OF KEY DIFFERENCES!


by Stuart Charles Black

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Greetings friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Shure SM86 vs. Beta 87A comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

Today I will outline the Shure SM86 and then compare it with the Beta87A towards the end. 🙂

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Who this mic benefits?
  8. What you will need?
  9. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  10. Consensus/Conclusion
  11. Similarities & Differences
  12. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Shure SM86



  • Microphone Type: Condenser.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid. What is a Cardioid Capsule?
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 18kHz.
  • Max SPL: 147dB.
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms.
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 71dB.
  • Self Noise: 23dB.
  • Color: Dark Grey.
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 0.61 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Stand Clamp, Microphone Pouch
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SM86


The Shure SM86 is a condenser microphone specifically designed for vocals. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic. The mic itself has a very crisp, sharp sound and does extremely well with live vocals, as well as in the studio. It works for a lot of different applications as well and has good off-axis sound rejection.

Overall, it’s a smoother, warmer, and more natural sound.


  • Good rejection of off-axis sound.
  • Great clarity for vocals. Very detailed.
  • Flat, but warm sound. Natural, clear, and present sounding.
  • Cuts through the mix beautifully at live shows.
  • Very rugged and durable, but not as durable as an SM58.
  • Great mid-range clarity as well.


  • Feedback with louder genres and vocals may present itself as an issue. Could also pick up unwanted sounds at very high levels.

Video Review

Currently, there are no good video reviews for this product.

Who this mic benefits?

Does well with an array of genres.

Endorsed for:

  • Drums.
  • Male and Female voices.
  • Use in auditoriums/large group settings.
  • Use in medium-sized venues.
  • Great on stage and in the studio.
  • Miking live bands.
  • Church recording/Gospel.
  • Acoustic.
  • R&B.
  • Funk.
  • Bass drum.
  • Toms.
  • Snares.
  • Spoken word.

Not as good with:

  • Metal/Hard Rock.

Artists who have used one:

  • Ben Harper
  • Jack Johnson
  • Fast Eddie from the Troublemakers.

What you will need?

Being that this mic is cardioid, it will require 48v phantom power via your audio interface, mixer, amp, etc. What does an audio interface do?

Also needed:

  • Acoustic Sound Treatment never hurt!
  • Pop-filter or windscreen if using in-studio is recommended.
  • Mic stand or desktop stand.
  • Shock-mount.

Used with:

  • Art Voice Channel

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • You won’t have to work as hard when singing into it, because it brings out the detail in your voice with such startling clarity.
  • You may have to increase the gain with it. It does have a pretty high gain before feedback.
  • Make sure the mic is parallel with the mouth for best results.
  • May not do as well in any kind of light or heavy wind situation. Reports are that even 10mph winds diminish the overall quality. Keep this in mind if you will be primarily using it outside.
  • The mic does have a bit of a spike around 8kHz. A 2dB reduction should fix this.


A crystal clear mic that may sound a tad distorted at the highest levels. Still great gain before feedback overall, and a rugged mic for the most part.

Similarities & Differences


  • Both mics sound very similar.
  • Both are condenser microphones.


  • Polar Pattern. The SM86 has a cardioid pattern vs. the super-cardioid of the Beta 87A. This means that the SM86 picks up sound from one specific area of the mic, generally right in front. That said, the 86’s pattern isn’t quite as tight as the super cardioid pattern of the Beta 87A. The supercardioid pattern has an even tighter area of pickup than the cardioid but has the added benefit of rejecting sound from the sides, as well as ambient sound better. The downside is that it’s a little bit more sensitive to sound coming from behind, and sometimes causing feedback.
  • *Treble. While both do sound similar, the Beta 87A may sound a bit too bright at the top end, or simply sound a little over-exaggerated. The SM86 by contrast is a lot smoother.
  • Mid-range. The 87A’s mid-range may be a bit too forward and excessive, while the SM86 comes across as more normal and true to life.
  • Overall sound. The 87A has an edgier sound and will cut through a mix a little better. The SM86 is more natural sounding.

Final Word

I think the SM86 is the go-to option, as it’s a lot cheaper and sounds more true to life. The 87A is a good mic but maybe a bit raw depending on what you need it for.

That said, if you prefer a warmer, more natural sound, and a great all-around vocal mic, the Shure SM86 is your boy.


If you need something that’s going to cut through a mix better and need something that will work better with metal and harder types of rock music, the Beta 87A is the way to go.


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this SM86 vs. Beta 87A comparison.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Looking for something else? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which one of these tickles YOUR pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!




Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like


Constantine December 26, 2020 - 3:52 pm

Thx for the article, I ‘ll go with sm86.

Stuart Charles Black December 27, 2020 - 2:56 pm

My pleasure Constantine! Let me know how you like it and def consider purchasing from one of the links 🙂 I had a buddy way back when I went to the Greek church named Konstantin with a K, and another with a C. Are you him? LOL. Not many of those around.


Leave a Comment