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Shure: A Classic Pro Audio Success Story

Shure's history exemplifies the much-documented American success story we never get tired of hearing: one person with a dream, overcoming considerable odds with little more than courage and moxie to create a thriving empire that's touched many of our lives through the decades.

Certain things in “Americana” are indelibly classic: Coca-Cola, the ’57 Chevy, John Wayne, Route 66, Drive-In Movies, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

And, it can be persuasively argued, Shure also belongs on that list.

The company’s history exemplifies the much-documented American success story we never get tired of hearing: one person with a dream, overcoming considerable odds with little more than courage and moxie to create a thriving empire that’s touched many of our lives through the decades.

Fortunately, like Coca-Cola and the Golden Gate Bridge, Shure is still thriving, bigger and better than ever.

The company and its people have followed Mr. S.N. Shure’s example, changing and adapting with the times while resisting the temptation to sell out or rely on the flashy, opting instead to independently produce products of quality and value meeting the needs of a highly selective marketplace.

The story of Shure is fascinating, especially to those of us with a love and appreciation for the pioneers of the professional audio industry.

Early on, there were microphones, and to this day, they still comprise the majority of the company’s business. Yet the decades have seen a number of changes and forays into a number of related markets.

Two icons of Americana, both still thriving today.

Interestingly, Shure has often found itself ahead of the times in introducing concepts, technologies and products, only to bow out just before the demand that they arguably helped create came to fruition.

But always, there have been microphones, prominently in service at many of the events that shaped the 20th Century, and now joined by an ever-growing line of professional tools proving largely right for the times.

Perhaps the too-early forays produced a subsequent reticence; for example, Shure was actually a bit later than many in re-entering the wireless system market after producing the first wireless system to be used in pro applications way back in 1953.

Yet no one can argue that once they jumped back in, they did it exactly right, and now, Shure is one of the world’s leading seller of professional caliber wireless microphone systems.

And the pioneering spirit continues, best exemplified by taking the in-ear monitoring concept and developing a quality solution at a price-point accessible to the mass of the market.

In preparing the story of Shure, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Michael Pettersen, who, for 25-plus years, has helped take the company in new and productive directions. He offered a wide range of interesting views and opinions as well as sharing some personal experiences with some of the giants forming the bedrock of the company, and the industry, all the while pushing attention away from his own accomplishments.

Folks in the Midwestern U.S., a group to which I’m proud to belong, aren’t real big on singing their own praises, preferring to let actions speak louder. Perhaps owing in part to its thoroughly Midwest roots, Shure and its people, as directly evidenced by my conversation with Michael, have done much the same over more than 75 years of shaping audio history.

In no way does this diminish the company’s contributions; rather it’s simply indicative of a commitment to service and doing the job right while others do the “big talking”. We hope you enjoy this look at the people, products and history of pro audio’s own slice of Americana.

Read More
The Glory Days Of Muscle Shoals: Part II

Link to related articles:
History of Shure
Timeline of Notable Achievements
Interview With Michael Pettersen

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Celebrating over 50 years of audio excellence worldwide, Audio-Technica is a leading innovator in transducer technology, renowned for the design and manufacture of microphones, wireless microphones, headphones, mixers, and electronics for the audio industry.

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