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Shure to Exit Phonograph Cartridge Market

By Clive Young. After 85 years, Shure will stop producing phonograph cartridges.

New York, NY (May 1, 2018)—Shure has announced it will stop producing phonograph cartridges by this summer, quietly ending its 85-year presence in the phono category.

In a statement, the company acknowledged it was a “difficult decision” to make the move, citing issues in maintaining “consistency in materials, processes, and testing, as well the capacity to react to fluctuations in demand.” As a result, the company came to the conclusion “that the proud legacy of Shure Phono is best served by exiting the category rather than continuing production under increasingly challenging circumstances.”

Lines Blur Between Consumer and Pro Audio

While best known today for its microphones and various IEM/headphone products, Shure began manufacturing replacement pickups in 1933 and is said to have produced as many as 28,000 cartridges a day during the heyday of vinyl records. Some of Shure’s more notable achievements in the field included creating the first needle able to play both 33 1/3 and 78 RPM records and the first stereo moving magnet cartridge.

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Shure’s most revered cartridge was the V15, which debuted in 1964; the company continued developing it with periodic updates, releasing seven models in total over the years until its final edition, the V-15VxMR, was discontinued in 2004 “due to scarcity of exotic materials essential in the manufacturing” of the stylus. So highly regarded was the line that the Library of Congress is said to have purchased all remaining stock of the V15 line in 2009.

The company’s statement noted that Shure would continue to move “into new markets and product categories for audiophiles,” and it would appear that’s no platitude, as just two days earlier, the company introduced its new KSE1200 Electrostatic Earphone System. Similar to its KSE1500 system which provides DSP and an amplifier, the KSE1200 skips the DSP—a move that brings its price down to $1,999 MAP. The KSE1200 will ship later this month.

Shure •