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The Shure 333 Concertline was a UNIdirectional RibbON microphone. It was Shure's highest quality ribbon, meant for Radio, Television, professional recording and movie studios.

The Company claimed that never before such quality was packed in such slender form 'A major advance in microphone development and design'.

It was specially designed for TV studios where the microphone would be seen, and would 'Reflect the dignity , prestige and quality , of the setting in which it is used'.

Extreme care was taken to produce and control the highest quality. When it was released in 1955 it cost a whopping 250 dollars, which was expensive, even compared to RCA's flagship ribbon, the 77 DX, with a price of just $ 205.

Shure was late to join the market for ribbon microphones; their first saw the light in 1952, when other companies had been manufacturing them for almost two decades.

Shure was to produce two types: a bi-directional type 300 and the directional 333 (plus the similar looking, but less, than half as, expensive 315 and 330), both were top of the line. Production ceased in 1966 for the 333 (but was continued for several years as the Shure 33), and 1982 for the 330, also late.

Part of its claim to fame is the fact that a 333 was always present on the desk of America's favourite talskshow host Johnny Carson. He was the originator of all American talkshows, today most presenters have a good looking microphone on their desk although these are seldom used (instead of lapel microphones).

The original Johnny Carson desk microphone was rescued from the trash heap in the early Eighties. 'The microphone that launched countless entertainment careers' was sold for $ 50.787,50, at auction, where the audience applauded it
for the last time.

In 2009,Shure acquired Crowley & Tripp, a new company that was producing two modern ribbon mics (El Diablo & the Naked Eye), which are now sold as Shure. Usually ribbons are made of aluminium and extremely fragile, the Crowley & Tripp ribbons were made from 'Roswellite' an almost unbreakable material. These strong ribbons are of course used in the new Shure models, but there is no directional ribbon in the company's portfolio. The 333 remains Shure's only option, and sounds great when used for recordings.

This is one of the types that feature in my book Witnesses of Words, which was recently released. More information about that can be found at

wow cover

Shure 333
Shure sales sheet 1955
Shure sales sheet b

Above: Shure 333 sales sheets from 1955 Below: Johnny Carson with a Shure 333 on his desk and a monkey on his head

Carson and Shure 333