Microphone Makeovers: The Many Looks of Shure Mics
Since the Super 55 hit the market decades ago, Shure has been creating custom mics for artists from Linda Lopez to Talib Kweli. Here are some of our favorites.
Coming into all of this, I knew nothing of microphones. I knew singers and bands used them to create sound, but that was about it. Already I've learned a lot about microphones and all the little things that make each Shure microphone unique; however I know there are still many people out there like me pre-Mic 101 with Rich and Nelson that don't have a clue about the intricacies of microphones.
Early last Wednesday I saw a custom hot pink Beta 58 that Shure is made for Linda Lopez. This sparked my interest in other custom microphones Shure has made for endorsers. So I did a little research and I came up with some pretty sweet custom microphones to share with you guys. No microphone knowledge needed, only a love for killer customized mics!
To start, some of you may have seen Fun.'s performance on SNL in December where lead singer Nate Ruess used a customized SM58 to belt out their hit "Some Nights."
Here you can see the UHF-R SM58 with metallic gold body and grill. I like this twist, it makes the microphone a little more unique and gives it some flavor. I've always been one for originality and simplicity and this mic hits both those. It's more than just the original, but it's not over the top.
Next, comes perhaps some of the most known and recognized custom Shure microphones, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def)'s classic Super 55 red and black customized mics. Red and black are bold colors by themselves, but when put together they really pop to the human eye.
Here are Bey's two microphones. I personally am a fan of the black matte finish with the red foam more so than the glossy red metal with black foam, although I really love both. The color combination makes for a striking look. There were rumors that Mos Def loved this mic so much that he carried it in his pocket at all times. Cory here at Shure confirmed this rumor when he saw Mos Def live at the Congress Theater a few years ago and before he could ask about it, Mos Def pulled the custom mic out from his coat pocket!
For those of you who don't know, Mos Def is also part of a duo called Black Star with friend and fellow Shure endorser Talib Kweli. These two are THE duo for custom Shure mics. While, Mos Def rocks the red mics, Talib works the green.
I tend to be a fan of the glossy metal on the Super 55 because for some reason that just works with the retro shape and style of the mic in my eyes, but I have to admit that the matte finish on these Super 55's looks sharp as well. These are two awesome mics that I'm jealous Talib Kweli gets to use, but neither one is my favorite Talib Kweli custom mic.
Here are two of Talib Kweli's custom mics. The orange and green kind of reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a combo I never would have thought of myself, but definitely catches the eye. Then on the left we see a black and forest green combination that looks representative of military colors.
Drum roll please…
Meet the white and red Shure Super 55 microphone:
I love it. Talib Kweli has style with this guy. It's simple, rockin' the white powder coating with a little pizzaz added with the red foam. It's by far my favorite Talib mic!
One of the guys behind the scenes of Talib Kweli and Mos Def's mics is Project Manager Andy Henninger. "The favorite custom mics that I worked on were the custom painted Super 55s for Talib Kweli and Mos Def, said Henninger."
So I had to ask him: If you could customize a mic specificically for you, what would it be?
"For my own custom mic I would go all chrome on a classic mic such as a wired SM58. I like the classic look, feel, and sound of the SM58 microphone and a bright chrome finish to me makes the mic stand out without being gaudy like some other finishes," Henninger said.
After seeing all these incredible custom Shure microphones and hearing about Andy's dream custom mic, it made me wonder how I would customize mine if I had one. First, I think I'd definitely have to go with the Super 55. I love the retro style and shape of the microphone and I love how it allows for a little more variation with the metal and foam color. I think I would rock white foam with a bright yellow glossy covering.
So what about you? If you could have any Shure microphone custom made for you, what would it be and why?