Shure plays key role in Elvis’ return to the big screen
Thursday, 21 July 2022
elvisElvis is now playing in theatres nationwide (© 2021 Warner Bros, Entertainment Inc)
USA/UK - The new Baz Luhrmann film, Elvis brings the story of Elvis Presley to the big screen. Warner Brothers was committed to ensuring as much historical accuracy as possible, and asked Shure to consult on the microphone models Elvis used. The company was provided photos of Elvis performing, then identified the vintage mics, and offered suggestions on alternative models when appropriate. For decades, Shure has assisted film production companies in identifying and locating historically accurate microphones.
While there are a variety of Shure microphones used in the movie, there are three (or four) different types of Shure microphones Elvis used throughout his career:
The Shure Unidyne I Model 556 – This variation of the Unidyne I is one of the more recognisable microphones that Elvis used in the prime of his career. According to the 1947 Shure Product Data Sheet, “The Model 556 is a Super-Cardioid type unidirectional moving-coil dynamic microphone providing wide-range high-quality reproduction of sound.
“The true unidirectional characteristic of the ’Unidyne‘, obtained by the ’Uniphase‘ principle provides highly satisfactory operation under adverse acoustic conditions where a conventional microphone would be practically useless.”
The Unidyne microphone was featured on the special edition Elvis stamps issued in 1993.
The Shure Model 525 omnidirectional moving coil dynamic – The 1954 Product Data Sheet describes this microphone as “a slender, moving-coil dynamic microphone, custom-built to provide high-fidelity reproduction of voice and music as well as features an omnidirectional pattern.
“The microphone is versatile and reliable for both indoor and outdoor use. The extended, smooth frequency response and the attending faithful reproduction are largely due to a newly designed diaphragm attached to a sensitive coil suspended in a magnetic structure.”
Shure SM53 and SM54 – The SM53 and SM54 were internally the same, with the SM54 having a larger grille. According to the 1970 Product Data Sheet, “the reliable performance, outstanding features, and handsome appearance of the SM53 and SM54 make them extremely versatile and ideally suited for many demanding applications in television, radio, recording, motion pictures, and sound reinforcement. The performance and appearance of the two models are very similar; however, the SM54 is specifically designed for use in very difficult close-talking and hand-held situations because of its immunity to "pop" and breath blasts.”
Elvis used these microphones in the 1970s, primarily because they had little bass build-up from the proximity effect. The deep voice of Elvis did not require “more bass”.

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