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The Shure 705 A "Rocket" crystal microphone was only made for two years: 1939 and 1940. It was the first "Bullet" model by Shure, the company described it as "Rocket shaped," inspired by the spaceships, which were at the time only to be found in Science-Fiction literature and illustrated adventure stories.

Like almost all types of that time, this was an omni: it had an all-round recording pattern.

The microphones were advertised as Ultramodern in terms of shape and performance and would, thanks to their unique appearance and versatility, give extra cachet to modern PA installations.
The crystal element, which was normally particularly vulnerable to moisture, was therefore fitted with an additional seal by Shure.

Crystal microphones were relatively cheap and were therefore often used by the poor black harmonica players who played the electrically amplified Chicago Blues music. With these they could, in terms of volume, compete with the electric guitarists. Bullet microphones were especially favoured since they could rest easy in the hand, where other microphones were always fixed to a microphone stand.

The same model was also available in a dynamic version, as the Shure model 50 microphone.
Although these were only a fraction more expensive, there were probably a lot less of them sold.

An optional baffle could be used to make the pick-up pattern slightly more directive.

After 1940, the 705 A and the 50 (A, B & C) disappeared from the Shure product range: because of the War effort, the American government decided that only products that could be used for military purposes were to be made, all others were a waste of valuable materials. That is why these models are much rarer than the more common Shure microphone types.

I found my 705 A only recently and it turned out that, after more than 80 years, it still worked fine.

Last month I made recordings of the American "vintage" harmonica player Wallace Coleman (he is now 83, but still in excellent shape) and the Dutch backing band who accompanied his European tour.
Because Wallace wanted to use a bullet microphone, and I had a nice "Chicago Sound" in mind, the 705 became the microphone. In the clip you can hear that both Wallace and the 705 A still performed great.

Many more vintage microphone models feature in my book Witnesses of Words, the only book about vintage microphones. A preview and information about that can be found at

wow cover

Shure 705 A crystal microphone
Shure 705 A vintage crystal mic
Shure 1939 catalog

Listen to the sound of Wallace Coleman playing harmonica through the Shure 705 A

Top: The elegant shape of the 705 A

Middle: Side view of the 705 A & 1939 catalog listing

Below: the 705 A opened, showng the capsule type 1683- 9909 &

1942 catalog page heralding Shure's War effort

Shure 705 A openend
Shure 1942 catalog page