Friday 4 May 2018

Shure cartridge production ending

Reloop RMP-4 - Top View
At one time, it would have been alarming to find a stalwart manufacturer abandoning the market for record-playing essentials. Now, however, I struggle to recall the last time I dug out my vinyl discs with the thought of playing them. Occasionally I refer to the labels for the information they hold, but most tracks that I need or want are easily available as high-quality digital files. It would be a rare request indeed that would lead me to connect up my turntable and actually spin a disc. So perhaps it's no surprise that Shure have announced they are ceasing production of cartridges.

The death of vinyl as a medium for audio has often been proclaimed, but in some circles it is undergoing yet another revival. It seems that folk like to handle, see and hear vinyl in preference to CD or digital audio files. Not me. I disliked the finicky nature of vinyl discs even when they were the only alternative to the rather inconvenient magnetic tape. CDs seemed wonderful creations when they first appeared. Now they are surpassed by high-quality lossless digital files, which can be played along with CDs in quality equipment like the Reloop RMP-4 pictured. (Vinyl addicts will like the large jogwheel which, although it doesn't spin like a turntable, does provide the ability to manipulate playback in a similar manner.) Other digital audio players are available. :-)

Shure cites difficulties with their suppliers of parts for cartridges as key to their decision, saying that suppliers are "struggling to keep up with demand and maintain the quality standards Shure requires." Most likely, the difficulties arise from the fact that the overall cartridge market is shrinking, even if Shure's own sales have remained steady over the last decade or so.