NILES, Ill., Dec., 2011— Shure Incorporated unveiled an innovative new shock mount for its KSM353 ribbon microphone that uses advanced materials and design to deliver excellent isolation with a refreshing dose of style. The accessory was shown at the recent Audio Engineering Society conference in New York.
More than 18 months in development, the mount had to provide exceptional isolation, securely mate to the microphone, and complement the simple metallic styling of the KSM353 ribbon microphone. The KSM353’s 1.5-pound weight and lack of a secure attachment point posed distinct challenges to achieving these goals.
“Shock mounting a heavy microphone is a delicate balancing act,” said Chad Wiggins, Director of Wired Microphones at Shure. “If the support straps are too compliant, the mount is floppy and bottoms out. If they’re too tight, the mount won’t isolate well. And, for a ribbon microphone, you want the movement of the mount to be perpendicular to the movement of the ribbon, which complicates the design.”
The first step was to redesign the bottom connector of the microphone to accept the successful ShureLock® thread design. A standard feature on the mounts for Shure KSM-series microphones, the mount threads onto the bottom of the microphone, holding it securely regardless of orientation or stand movement.
A particular challenge was the choice of material that would actually provide the isolation. In place of the traditional elastic bands or rubber o-rings found in most shock mounts, the A300SM employs wire rope.
“Our director of mechanical engineering had previous experience shock mounting delicate military equipment using wire rope, but we had no idea if it would work well with a microphone,” said Wiggins.
Prototype mounts using samples of wire rope from a variety of suppliers were tested extensively, until one with the right flex characteristics, finish, and durability was found. The new A300SM mount meets all of Shure’s quality standards, including surviving multiple drops and maintaining finish quality after exposure to humidity and corrosive environments.
So far, the finished product has won praise from recording engineers, many of whom have had prized microphones damaged when they slipped out of unsecure mounting hardware.