Re-inventing the Dynamic Microphone: The Shure KSM8 Dualdyne
At the January 2016 NAMM Show, Shure came out with its first allnew dynamic microphone in nearly 50 years. The KSM8 Dualdyne is the end result of an advanced development project that began in 2009 under the code name Kohlrabi.
I was involved from beginning to end. Professionally, it was a rollercoaster experience. We solved a wide array of problems, from acoustical engineering and manufacturing to industrial design and environmental testing, and earned multiple patents along the way. Now that it’s over, I’d like to share a few stories about what makes the KSM8 Dualdyne so special.
Inspired By a Vegetable?
Let’s start with the original project’s code name, Kohlrabi (yes, the leafy relative to the cabbage). Its shape inspired one of the key insights for the Dualdyne capsule: using a series of tubes to reverse the airflow. So when our project team was chartered, it was naturally dubbed Project Kohlrabi.
We had to simultaneously embrace and reject everything we knew about dynamic microphones.
To re-imagine a mature technology like the dynamic microphone is a huge project. It required us to simultaneously embrace and reject everything we knew. That meant having a deep understanding of all previous designs, notably the Unidyne III capsule and shock mount system used in the SM58. At the same time, we knew we were going to break pretty much everything, which resulted in us quickly realizing we couldn’t allow ourselves to be bound by pre-existing tools, parts, and processes. We really did start from scratch.