Fake Shure Beta series Microphones - How to spot them

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I wish there was a guide like this around a couple of years ago or at least someone saying  "Hey watch out for fake Shures" I could have saved myself alot of money not to mention frustration and disappointment. So I have put this guide together based on my experiences and some research.  Read it and pass the knowledge on to others.

I have tried to edit the guide down as it is a bit wordy but there are a few things you should know in addition to knowing how to spot the fake.  Not much point in spotting the fake if you have already bought one, so there is some info on the profile of sellers of fakes to assist you to identify the potential scammers. Please read the guide in its entirity and then you will be well prepared.

Overview

The proliferation of fake Shure microphones on Ebay is now at an epidemic stage.  Here is just one example in China of how easy it is for unscrupulous sellers to source and on-sell not only wired mics but radio mics as well.  I am prevented from including the actual link here but please check this site out.

Google this site.  It is an eye opener. Trade Tang in China - Pro Audio - Microphones

I personally would not buy unless it was from someone I knew and trusted or that the seller could satisfy me that the mic. they were selling complied with the "key indicators" as listed below that the mic. is a genuine Shure..

There are of course legit sellers on Ebay who would not dream of selling conterfeit gear   Right here I have to say that Alan Chans microphones ( located in Australia ) were always 100% genuine and ticked all the boxes.

I had samples of the genuine mics. as well as fakes so I could do a direct comparison.  When you do compare them side by side the differences are obvious but in isolation it is easy to be ripped-off if you are not sure what to look for. 

Not all fakes are "new" from dodgy Asian distributors.

A number of the "used" Shure mics on Ebay are fakes. Some are trying to on-sell the mic. they have purchased and found to be a fake. Others are selling new conterfeit mics. as second hand with minimal use and in "as new" condition.  If the seller of a used Shure posts a generic picture of the mic., treat it as suspicious and start asking questions.

"But its in a brand new box with a warranty card and ......  "

Dont be fooled by the fact that the microphone you are about to buy, (new or used) comes in a very genuine looking Shure box with warranty card, user manual and a very genuine looking "leather-look" mic. case. Its all designed to make you drop your guard and make you think you are getting a great deal .

ALL the fakes I have seen have come in genuine looking boxes with warranty cards, documentation and accessories.

What is also clouding the waters currently is the fact that genuine Shure accessories with their mics such as the mic. clips and the black "leather look" zipper bags etc. are now being made in China. These accessories were always made in Mexico and were labelled as such, but some of them now bear the words "Made In China". If you see that in the box of your new Beta58A you just bought, you wont be very happy and its not very re-assuring that you have a genuine Shure mic. Thankfully the mic. itself is made in the US and assembled in Mexico.

So the only way to check if the mic. is genuine is to disregard the box and documentation and study the mic. itself .

Samples of fakes to date indicate that there is probably several manufacturers of couterfeits and so there will be some noticeable differences in the weight and appearance between the fakes made by different manufacturers - and this is why we have to be very vigilant when buying mics. from an unknown supplier 

As there are some very good copies that can, at first appearance, look and feel like the real thing, only close examination looking for the "key indicators" will verify that you are buying a Shure.  

What To Look For..............The "Key Indicators"

If the mic you are buying is brand new in the box there should be a Shure bumper sticker and velcro cable strap included with the accessories. This has been the case with every new Shure I have purchased in the past five years.  Not one fake I have seen has had these included in the box.  

The genuine Shure Beta series mics. will have gold XLR pins with the word Shure under Pin 3. but as some of the better fakes also have this, do not rely solely on this as an indicator.

Next, unscrew the screen off the mic. The Shure screen comes off easily. Some fakes may bind on the edge of the capsule and can be hard to lift off.  On the top of the capsule is a partial plastic top which should have the word "Shure" embossed in the plastic. But once again this also present on many of the fakes.  The difference with the genuine Shure is that it also has a set of initials of ( what I believe to be) the person who assembled the mic,  printed in white ink on it.  See example pics below..... 

"All genuine Shure Beta series mics. I have seen have these initials".

On the underside of the capsule leading down into the body of the mic.are two fine wires Yellow (L) & Green (R).  The fakes use Red & Black or other combinations. The wires connecting to the XLR inside the base of the mic. should be Blue and Red.

The one thing the counterfeiters dont seem to be able to copy accurately is the badge.  The real Shure badge has consistent clean lettering.  Where the text on the fake will probably have varying thicknesses and broken lines. The badge may be even appearing to lift away from the mic.

"Can you tell its a fake by the sound?"  I hear you ask....

Dont be fooled by the sound of the mic. Oddly enough, the fakes I have encountered dont sound "bad", but they do sound totally different to the genuine Shure and will not stand up to high SPL    The most obvious thing with respect to performance of the microphone, particulalry in respect to the Beta58A, is that the real Shure has a unique capsule suspension which supresses handling noise.  The fakes do not possess this quality and if the fake and genuine Shures are compared side by side the difference is instantly recognizable with the fakes handling noise being much louder and very noticeable.

So this simple test of just rubbing your hand over the case of the mic. while it is plugged into a system is good, particularly if you have a known genuine Shure to compare it with.

All these key indicators should be taken into consideration as they are all present on every genuine Shure Beta series mic I have in my collection

Check out the pics. I have added  below..........                                    

See the initials CG & EL printed in white lettering on the top of these two genuine Beta58A mics below. These initials will change from mic. to mic. They are also found on Beta57 Beta56 etc. dynamic mics.

If they are not there treat it as suspicious.

Pic. below is a fake Beta58A . No initials  and no Blue&Yellow wires on the side of capsule.

See pics of badge below - The mic. on the left is the genuine Beta58.

The fake is on the right.  Close examination of the badge  reveals uneven lettering and wriggly lines. It even looks dodgy. where the Shure is sharp and clear

 

The two mics. below are both counterfeit Shure Beta58A's

The mic. on the left has a brighter blue ring around the screen and the badge on the other mic. (R)  is very rough. Check out  the collars around the base of the screens on both mics. Totally different and obviously from two different manufacturers.

This difference is not always immediately apparent as it can be difficult to check the connections to the XLR in the base of the mic.. The two outer mics are the fakes. Both with silver XLR pins and red & black wire soldered in a very sloppy way.  The real Shure is in the centre with Gold XLP pins, Red & Blue wires professionally soldered and heat shrink fitted. See pic. below

Fake Beta87's

A fellow Ebayer has sent a me a message and disturbing pics of a Beta87A he purchased. This mic ticked all the boxes for the genuine item but has been confirmed to be a fake buy Shure and the Aussie importer, Jands.  The manufacturer of this mic has gone to alot of trouble to make it look like the real thing. All the more reason to be very vigilant and check you seller thoroughly.

Another Ebayer has sent me pics of a Beta 87A he bought on Ebay that had a "dynamic" capsule not a condenser capsule. There were other very obviously differences that sparked his suspicion as soon as he received it. 

Fortunately both were able to obtain refunds from the supposedly "unsuspecting" sellers.

I have tried to upload the pics into the guide for your info but not having any luck. I will persist but if you want a copy of the pics. email me and I will forward them to you.

I have received many requests for the pics of the Fake Beta87A's from all over the world.  Please include you email address when to contact me through Ebay as I cant send the pics through the Ebay system.

There is a great web site with lots of pics of  Beta58A & Beta87A  genuine and fake. Backs up much of what I have detailed but with heaps more pics.  EBay will not allow me to include the link but message me with your email and I will send it to you. Check it out.  Its a real eye opener

Summary

Remember it is not just Beta58A and SM58 mics. There are also fake SM57 & Beta57A's out there and recently emerging evidence that there are also conterfeit Beta87 condensor mics.

Don't set yourself up for disappointment just because something seems to be a bargain.  Ask the seller the right questions and get them to post pictures of the mic. on the auction site or email them to you.  Use the pics. above as a reference.  If the seller is not scamming, they should not mind including a couple of extra pics. and answering questions. Generic pics. lifted off the Shure website give no reassurance whatsoever.

If the mic. is used or secondhand ask them how old it is, where they bought it, how do they know it is genuine. Ask about the "Key Indicators".  You will probably get a feeling or intuition from the answers you receive as to the bona fidis of the seller.

Always check your sellers history. 

If they usually sell ladies clothing or car parts and are now selling Shure mics. (particularly in multiple lots) but have no prior history of selling mics or pro-audio, be very suspicious as this is the classic example of how conterfeit mics. are distributed.

It may also be possible that these Ebay accounts have been hijacked.    If you are suspisious, report the listing to Ebay

Feel free to print and distribute this guide as you see fit.  Email it to friends and if you have any questions or comments, Email me through the Ebay system

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