BETA Series Ultra-Compact Side-Address Instrument Microphone (Cardioid)
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BETA 181/C
Shure Incorporated
Mac & Win
In Stock: YES Total on hand: 2 As of 05/19/2022
Availability: In stock

The Shure Beta 181 is an ultra-compact, small-diaphragm side-address condenser microphone, designed for discrete placement and control in live and studio environments. Featuring interchangeable cardioid, supercardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional capsule options for superior versatility, the small diaphragm design provides superior audio with consistent, textbook polar responses in a form factor small enough to get close to the source in the tightest conditions.


BETA 181/C (cardioid) for drum overhead, piano, acoustic instrument applications, M/S stereo technique (paired with Beta 181/BI)


BETA 181/S (supercardioid) for snare drum, acoustic instrument, close-miking applications


BETA 181/O (omnidirectional) for ambient/room, instrument ensemble applications


BETA 181/BI (bidirectional) for mono drum overhead, dual instrument sound source applications, Blumlein stereo technique (pair of Beta 181/BI)


·        Interchangeable polar pattern capsules attach to a compact preamplifier with integrated XLR connections for the ultimate in low-profile application flexibility

·        Frequency response tailored for wide dynamic range applications for use in high SPL environments

·        Furnished with stand adapter, windscreen and carrying case (carrying case will securely protect up to four polar pattern capsules)

·        Precision-engineered, compact side-address design features innovative locking ring to provide secure connection between capsule and preamplifier

·        Each Beta 181 ships with one polar pattern capsule and one XLR preamplifier. Capsules available separately for custom flexibility.

Cartridge Type

Electret Condenser

Polar Pattern


Frequency Response

20 to 20,000 Hz

Output Impedance



open circuit voltage, @ 1 kHz, typical

Cardioid46.5 dBV/Pa[1] (4.7 mV)
Supercardioid49.5 dBV/Pa[1] (3.4 mV)
Omnidirectional52.0 dBV/Pa[1] (2.5 mV)
Bidirectional51.0 dBV/Pa[1] (2.8 mV)

Maximum SPL

1 kHz at 1% THD[2]

2500 loadCardioid151.5 dB SPL
Supercardioid154.5 dB SPL
Omnidirectional157.0 dB SPL
Bidirectional156.0 dB SPL
1000 loadCardioid149.0 dB SPL
Supercardioid152.0 dB SPL
Omnidirectional154.0 dB SPL
Bidirectional153.5 dB SPL

Signal-to-Noise Ratio[3]

Cardioid73.5 dB
Supercardioid71.5 dB
Omnidirectional70.5 dB
Bidirectional71.0 dB

Dynamic Range

2500 loadCardioid131.0 dB
Supercardioid132.0 dB
Omnidirectional133.5 dB
Bidirectional133.0 dB
1000 loadCardioid128.5 dB
Supercardioid129.5 dB
Omnidirectional130.5 dB
Bidirectional130.5 dB

Clipping Level

@ 1 kHz, 1% THD

2500 load10.5 dBV
1000 load7.5 dBV

Self Noise

equivalent SPL, A-weighted, typical

Cardioid20.5 dB SPL-A
Supercardioid22.5 dB SPL-A
Omnidirectional23.5 dB SPL-A
Bidirectional23.0 dB SPL-A

Common Mode Rejection

20 to 20,000 kHz

55 dB


Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 with respect to pin 3

Power Requirements

1152 V DC[4] phantom power (IEC-61938) 2.4 mA, maximum

Net Weight

145 g (5.1  oz.)

[1] 1 Pa=94 dB SPL

[2]THD of microphone preamplifier when applied input signal level is equivalent to cartridge output at specified SPL

[3]S/N ratio is the difference between 94 dB SPL and equivalent SPL of self noise, A-weighted

[4]All specifications measured with a 48 Vdc phantom power supply. The microphone operates at lower voltages, but with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity.

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