Please explain why the SM98 was discontinued, and is the Beta version as good, a better version of the old SM, or just a different design/application? Would there be any truth in assuming the SM was/is more suited to vocal application rather than the Beta?
The SM98 was discontinued because the mic element was difficult to manufacture. The Beta 98 employs a completely new mic element.
The SM98 and Beta 98 were both designed for high-SPL instrument usage. The Beta 98 directly replaces the SM98. Many customers prefer the sound of the Beta 98 over the SM98. Neither model was more suited to vocal applications.