It seems like just six months ago the feeling in the pro audio and MI industry was that the microphone (along with most segments) were all about building cheaper or higher margin products in Asia. Shure one of the oldest and strongest brands in the industry is expanding their microphone franchise by acquiring a US based maker of high-end condenser microphones:
You can see their products at: Crowley & Trip
Most executives at the larger pro audio companies I have spoken with over the past few years all felt that the microphone market was simply a race to the bottom. 10 years ago a low priced large diaphragm condenser mic sold for $1,500 and now Asian made large diaphragm condenser mics regularly selling in the retail channel for under $100.
Is this move on Shure part a unique phenomenon based on Shure independence and uniquely strong brand? Yes, but I think it is more than that, it is a move away from mass sales and low quality to a different set of values.
These new values are taking root in our industry and the US / European markets as a whole across a broad set of segments (the financial crisis did not create it but it is excelerating the trend) and they are built on: Sustainability, local support, lifetime value (not low purchase price).
These are the watch words of the market moving forward.