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Shure Microphones, Headphones & Phonograph Needles

Updated on February 17, 2013

Shure Incorporated

Shure Incorporated is a consumer and professional audio electronics corporation. Shure Incorporated mainly produces microphones and other audio electronics, but also produces in-ear monitors (earphones) for a variety of audio applications including on-stage use and MP3 players.

The History of Shure

Shure was founded in 1924 as The Shure Radio Company by an audio magnate named Sidney Shure. The company is based in the United States, and has been a Chicago-area company since its founding, when Sidney Shure worked out of an office in downtown Chicago. The company moved to Evanston, Illinois in 1956. In 2002, Shure Incorporated relocated to an award-winning office building in Niles, Illinois. The building was designed by renowned architect Helmut Jahn, and was originally the headquarters of HALO Industries. At 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) the Technology Annex houses the Shure's Performance Listening Center opened in 2005.

The company's products, including their wireless systems and microphones, are commonplace in music venues and events. In particular, Shure microphones can often be seen at the Grammys, on live late-night television, and at historic events such as Woodstock.

Up until 1933, The Shure Radio Company strictly made radio systems. Since then, the company has expanded its audio horizons to microphones, wireless systems, personal monitor systems, phonograph cartridges, discussion systems, mixers and digital signal processing. Recently the company has produced listening products including headphones and high-end earbuds.

Phonograph cartridges

In 1958, Shure introduced one of the first phono cartridges designed to play stereophonic discs. Shure produced numerous cartridge series as well as replacement styli and in many cases continued to offer dedicated 78 rpm styli as an option. Perhaps the most common cartridge to be found in 1970s and 1980s Hi-Fi setups was the M75ED type 2 which at the time was a moving magnet variety. The high end V15 was around in various guises for many years and was regarded as a benchmark against which other cartridges were compared. The V15 was often used in conjunction with an SME 3009 Tonearm in which the two items were considered to be synergistic.

Shure continues to produce cartridges, but the highly-acclaimed V15 Type V-MR has been discontinued


Shure has produced a vast array of microphones for decades, among which are the well-known SM and Beta series of dynamic and condenser microphones. The series includes the SM58 (perhaps the most-used microphone for live vocals), SM48, SM86, SM87A, SM57, SM94 and SM81. The Beta 52A and Beta 91 are two of the most commonly used microphones used for kick drums. The SM57 and SM58 are some of the most widely used microphones in the world, particularly for live sound reproduction. The SM7B is a popular microphone for broadcast and voice-over work as well as low frequency instruments. Shure's dynamic mics are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and are extremely durable.

The high-end line of Shure microphones is the KSM series. These mics are primarily used in studio recording but do have some applications in live sound. The KSM series includes the KSM9, KSM27, KSM32, KSM44, KSM137 and the KSM144.

Other Shure microphone series include: Performance Gear (PG) introductory professional, Specialty Consumer Microphones, Microflex and Easyflex (which are conferencing systems for commercial installed applications).

Shure's 55SH Series II microphone is a fifties-era iconic mic which is still popular today among musicians. It is sometimes referred to as the "Elvis mic" due to its frequent use by Elvis Presley.

Shure manufactures a line of wireless microphones, most of them versions of their wired models. They range in scope from entry-level to high-end systems used for touring and large-scale event applications.

In April, 2009 Shure acquired Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones from Soundwave Research Laboratories of Ashland, Massachusetts.

Shure Microphones on eBay

For decades now Shure microphones have been the standard both on stage and in the recording studio.

The two leading Microphones Shure manufactures are the SM58 and the SM57.

The SM58 is considered the workhorse of vocal microphones crisp clear vocal reproduction encased in a virtually indestructible casing.

I have personally used the same Shure SM58 as my main on stage vocal microphone for over 10 years now. It has been dropped, thrown, kicked, stomped and even pounded nails in a wooden stage once. After all that abuse over 10 years it still performs as perfect as it did the day I first bought it.

The Shure SM57 is often recommended for backing vocals and for instrument mics , since it has a slightly more directional design.

I have had several Sm57's over the years, while not quite as bullet proof as my SM58 they are still my first choice of microphone for use on my guitar cabinet.


Originally included as an accessory in the company's personal monitor systems, Shure's earphones became an independent product with the rising popularity of portable audio devices such as the iPod and MP3 players.

Shure introduced two versions of their "E Series" earphones to the pro audio and consumer audio channel in which these earphones were first released for independent purchase. Later on, Shure expanded their consumer earphone line with dedicated earsets for use with cellular telephones, but opted to combine its cell phone earsets with premium audio components found on the E2, E3, and E4 to form the "I" series; a band of two-purpose earphones that can be used with both music and cellular devices (with a trim for the Treo smartphone available).

Shure sought to simplify its earphone lineup for the consumer channel by introducing a three-armature earphone called the E500 (later renamed SE530, earphone design was unchanged and differentiates only with newly designed black foam tips) with a unique "Push-to-Hear" accessory also introduced and later released as a separate purchasable accessory. A few months after the E500 was first released, Shure simplified its consumer earphones with the SE earphone series, in which each of these earphones have collapsable cables, and in some cases, problems from the E series addressed (i.e. SE420 earphones use pre-emptive crossovers instead of cooperative crossovers).

When Shure released the SE110 earphones, the company finally reserved the E series for the professional audio channel (renaming them the SCL line) with the SE earphones now assuming Shure's consumer earphone line.

All of Shure's earphones and/or earsets use a unique closed-canal noise isolation technology — blocking outside noise from interfering with the audio without active noise cancellation (which would require batteries). This makes the earphones lighter and more portable while its canal-blocking technology is capable of keeping unwanted noise away from the listener without the use of battery power as opposed to noise-cancelling headphones. In addition to its canal-blocking sound isolation technology, Shure earphones utilize a variety of foam and plastic sleeves to ensure a good fit on all ears. Getting the proper fit when inserting these is critical to getting the best sound and blocking out the most noise. The drivers used in these earphones are contingent within different price points, and can utilize a small neodymium magnet or between 1-3 small-mass, high-bandwidth balanced armatures with or without internal vents inside the armatures or crossovers which divide frequencies by the armature.

The SE earphones, according to, has been hit with a lot of concerns regarding the cables breaking and straining due to skin oil interaction. Later versions of the SE line utilized different cable builds that is said to have better resistance against those skin oils, according to Shure Customer Support, yet the cables suffered from strain albeit Shure recommends the cables to be cleaned after use to avoid skin oils from interacting with the cables.. The SE315, SE425, and SE535 earphone models recently released feature detachable earphone pieces to address such cable straining and skin oil interaction problems plaguing the inaugural SE Earphones. In addition to the new "as-needed" self-cable replacement feature, these earphones feature a memory fit cable shared with the discontinued E5/E5C. In addition, later Personal Monitor versions currently sold by Shure offer these updated SE earphones included as a part of the package as a customer relations measure.

Shure Sm57
Shure Sm57

List of Shure Products

Phono cartridge series

M44 series introduced in the early 1960s

M91 series introduced in the early 1970s

M95 series introduced in the mid 1970s

M97 series introduced in 1978

V15 series introduced in 1964

V15 (1964-1966)

V15 Type II (1966-1970)

V15 Type II Improved (1970-1973)

V15 Type III (1973-1978)

V15 Type IV (1978-1982)

V15 Type V (1982-1983)

V15 Type V-MR (1983-1993)

V15 Type VxMR (1996-2005 )

Whitelabel Spin/Mix

M44-7 Turntablist

M44-G Club/Spin

M35X House/Techno

M25c general use


Performance Gear Series

SM series, starting in the 1960s

Beta series, starting in the 1980s

KSM series condenser studio microphones

KSM9 cardioid/supercardioid live performance microphones

Home recording microphones that occupy various SKUs across the PG, SM, and Beta lines.

Wireless microphones

VHF Technology

T Series

LX Series

UHF Technology

UT Series

PG Series

PGX Series

SLX Series

ULX Professional Series

UHF Series

UHF-R Series

Public address systems

Shure Vocal Master PA mixer & speaker columns (1960s - 70s)


E Series













I Series




SCL Series





SE Series











SRH Series





Personal monitors

Shure introduced their personal monitoring systems in 1997. These systems enable musicians and professional audio producers to fine-tune all music and its related background notes with minimal distortion and clear frequency. Shure's personal monitor library are tailored differently to fit different budgets and recording needs of many musicians and professional audio producers.

A pair of Shure's sound-isolating earphones (called in-ear monitors in the professional audio channel) can be included as a part of a personal monitor system; prior to its earphones being available through consumer channels, Shure's sound-isolating earphones were only available as part of a personal monitoring system package.


In May 2009, Shure entered the on-ear headphone market with 4 models. The entry level model SRH240, a studio SRH440, a professional monitoring SRH840 and finally the SRH750DJ. All of which are closed-back designs and do not offer noise cancellation. However, many sources have proved the tight bond between earpad and ear have eliminated vast amounts of background noise. All headphones excluding the SRH240 have detachable gold plated cords which can easily be interchanged if they are damaged.


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