2014 marks 75 years since the launch of the iconic Shure 55 Unidyne dynamic microphone, a timeless design and favourite of celebrated figures throughout the second half of the 20th century, including Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and John F. Kennedy. To celebrate the anniversary, Shure is launching the 5575LE – a limited edition "with a few carefully chosen 21st-century upgrades to improve durability and sound quality".
Introduced in 1939, the 55 Unidyne was internationally adopted as a workhorse microphone for broadcast, PA, recording and two-way radio applications. By the 1950s, it was so well known that it was marketed as 'the microphone that needs no name'. This was recognised by the international Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in January 2014 when it honoured Shure with its Milestone Award. Previous winners include Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, Michael Faraday, and Benjamin Franklin.
The 5575LE features the current Unidyne III cardioid element, instantly identifiable large outer grill from the original 55, vintage badging, zinc die-cast finish and silver-finish desk stand. The microphone is supplied in an aluminium flightcase with a 75th anniversary logo, including a certificate of authenticity.
Available in a numbered manufacturing run of just 5575 pieces, Shure says the 5575LE "pays homage to the original 55 Unidyne, packaging together vintage aesthetic and performance features for performers and collectors alike".
A gold-painted 55 is well known as the trophy for the Music Producers Guild Awards. The 2015 MPG Awards will take place on 12 February and see Dave Stewart take home the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award.
In November, Neumann similarly reissued its classic U 47 fet microphone as a collectors' edition (see Neumann reissues legendary U 47 fet mic).