12.09.2011 04:59 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Wire rope suspension adds unique twist to new Shure shock mount

Shure Incorporated has unveiled an innovative new shock mount for its top-of-the-line KSM353 ribbon microphone. The new A300SM 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 convention in New York. Now shipping, the A300SM has already won praise from recording engineers, many of whom have had prized microphones damaged when they slipped out of their shock mounts.

More than 18 months in development, the mount had to provide exceptional isolation, securely mate to the microphone, and complement the elegant 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.

The biggest challenge was finding 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 Chad Wiggins, Shure’s director of wired microphones.

“Shock mounting a heavy microphone is a delicate balancing act,” Wiggins said. “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.”

To ensure stability and ease of connection, Shure redesigned the bottom connector of the KSM353 microphone to accept its established ShureLock thread design. A standard feature on other Shure KSM series studio microphones, the mount threads onto the bottom of the microphone, holding it securely regardless of orientation or stand movement.

Prototype mounts using samples of wire rope from a variety of suppliers were tested 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. The A300SM is now shipping.

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