What microphones did the Beatles use for live performance during the 1960s?
The Beatles used a variety of microphones for live PA sound. Photos in the Shure archives show the Beatles using the Shure 545, the Shure 546, and the Shure 565. The same Shure models are also in photos from recording sessions. Note that the ubiquitous Shure SM58 was introduced in 1966; the Beatles ceased live performance in August 1966.
August 20, 1964: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Sahara Hotel Convention Center Concert; Vocal mics are Model 55S.
September 12, 1964: Boston, Massachusetts; Madison Hotel Press Conference; Four Model 55S mics.
September 17, 1964: Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Press Conference; Two Model 545 mics.
August 15, 1965: Shea Stadium, New York City, New York, USA: AKG D24 mics.
August 20, 1965: Chicago, Illinois, USA; Comiskey Park Concert; Vocal mics are Model 545; A25B metal stand adapters; A45 quick disconnect isolation mounts; foam windscreens secured with rubber bands. These mics were on loan from Shure and were to be returned to Shure after the tour. The mics arrived at Shure Service in a plain cardboard box with no indication they were from Beatles management. Not knowing the provenance of these microphones, Shure Service disassembled the mics and used the pieces as spare parts.
December 10, 1965: London, England; Hammersmith Odeon Concert; Vocal mics are Model 556S.
July 8, 1966: London, England; Heathrow Airport Press Conference; Model 545S
August 12, 1966: Chicago, Illinois, USA; International Amphitheatre Concert; Vocal mics are Model 546.
For the some of the dates above, the sources are photographic books: "The Beatles - 365 Days"; ISBN 0-8109-5911-9; "The Beatles Forever", ISBN 0-517-35771-2
When the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, they sang into AKG mics. The exact model is not known, but we believe it to be the AKG D24B, or the AKG C60 with the W60 egg-shaped metal grill. We believe that the Beatles also used the AKG D120E on other TV shows.
Throughout Paul McCartney's solo career, he has preferred the Shure Beta 58 or SM58 as his live vocal microphone.