Product Details


The Shure BETA 181 is an ultra-compact, small-diaphragm side-address condenser microphone, designed for discreet 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.


  • Interchangeable polar pattern capsules attach to a compact preamplifier with integrated XLR connections for the ultimate in low-profile application flexibility (Each Beta 181 ships with one polar pattern capsule and one XLR preamplifier. Capsules available separately for custom flexibility.)
  • Precision-engineered, compact side-address design features innovative locking ring to provide secure connection between capsule and preamplifier
  • 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)

Application recommendations:

  • 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)

Available Options

BETA 181/C Cardioid Polar Pattern Capsule
BETA 181/S Supercardioid Polar Pattern Capsule
BETA 181/O Omnidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule
BETA 181/BI Bidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule
Beta 181/Kit (1) each Cardioid, Supercardioid, Omnidirectional and Bidirectional Polar Pattern Capsules
Type Condenser (Electret)
Frequency Response 20 to 20,000 Hz
Polar Pattern Cardioid, Supercardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional
Phantom power required? 11–52 V DC phantom power (IEC-61938) 2.4 mA, maximum

Additional specifications are available in the user guide.


    A181C Zippered Carrying Case

    Works with Beta 181.

    from $30

    A181WS Windscreen

    Replacement foam windscreen for use with Beta 181.

    from $12

    A57F Microphone Clip

    Works with Beta 181, KSM137, KSM141, SM63, SM63L, SM63LB, SM81, VP64A, VP64AL, MX412, MX418, MX412S, MX418S, MX412SE, and the MX418SE microphones and standard microphone stands.

    from $8

    RPM181/BI Bidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule

    Bidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule. Works with Beta 181.

    from $249

    RPM181/C Cardioid Polar Pattern Capsule

    Cardioid Polar Pattern Capsule. Works with Beta 181.

    from $249

    RPM181/O Omnidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule

    Omnidirectional Polar Pattern Capsule. Works with Beta 181.

    from $249

    RPM181/PRE Replacement XLR Preamplifier

    Replacement XLR Preamplifier. Works with Beta 181.

    from $249

    RPM181/S Supercardioid Polar Pattern Capsule

    Supercardioid Polar Pattern Capsule. Works with Beta 181.

    from $249

Product Reviews

BETA 181 Reviews

Read what people think about the Beta 181.

Shure’s truly unique Beta 181 ultra-compact, side-address, condenser microphone is an eye catcher. It attracted more than a few glances upon its debut at last year’s AES Convention in San Francisco, ultimately enough to win a 2010 PAR Excellence Award...

Read full text in ProAudio Review

"The captured stereo image was true, with really nice top-end sheen."
–Butch Jones, Modern Drummer Magazine

Software & Downloads


File Language Type File Size
BETA Microphones Brochure English PDF 1.51 mb

Specification Sheets

File Language Type File Size
Beta 181 Specification Sheet English PDF 321 kb

User Guides

File Language Type File Size
Beta 181 User Guide

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