Shure Vocal Master pa

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jared Houseman, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I'm interested in picking up a Shure Vocal Master pa that has popped up on Facebook marketplace and wanted hear some thoughts on it. I know it's probably terrible for today's standards, but it looks awesome. Something out the design just really does it for me.

    If the power section isn't terrible, I'd be interested into turning it into a versatile guitar amp. I think placing some amp in a box style circuits if front of each channel to give me several flavors of guitar amp would be great. That along with the in built spring reverb and effects loop would satisfied my very limited guitar amp needs

    For those that have experience with the vocal masters, is it even worth fooling with? If the power section sounds bad and the insides are to hard to mess with, I'd probably be better off starting from scratch
    Buster Brown likes this.
  2. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    First question is, how much are they asking? It shouldn't be much, which makes me say, "why the heck not?"
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  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    It’s the best the 1960’s had to offer. Pretty dreadful by today’s standards, though if you are into the aesthetics and can live with the performance it’s cool.
    Porkchop2, Ric Vice, Joebone and 13 others like this.
  4. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    They're asking $80 for the head and speakers which look to be in good condition. I'd be more interested in it around $50
    Lowbrow and EatS1stBassist like this.
  5. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    It'd probably just live in my bedroom for the times I want to pretend to be a guitarist. I'm okay with lackluster performance
    Aqualung60 and agedhorse like this.
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    With persistence you can maybe find an old Fender 100 watt Tube PA that would be a great mod platform, have a similar aesthetic, and with a few tweaks could actually sound world class for both guitar and bass. But for 50-80 bucks you might have a nice ride with the Shure, just realize that those speakers will not love distorted guitar much at all. ;)
    westrock and DJ Bebop like this.
  7. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    It was the first real PA that my band had in the 60’s. There were two columns that fit in a car trunk. It’s possible that the paper cones might be in pretty rough shape due to time. Some of those old cones would turn to dust. These amps stayed in production into the 70’s as I recall.

    I used a Shure model 55 Unidyne studio mic with it which I still have.

  8. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    I bet if you offered $60 they'd take it gleefully. I promise you there won't be any bidding wars for that thing. (VMs were great in their day but that day is long long gone.)
  9. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I think you're wasting your time and money and will be unhappy with the results. You're starting with 60 year old technology that wasn't even meant for guitar to begin with. It will be really cool for about 5 minutes; then you'll wonder what the hell you were thinking and how the hell you'll get rid of that albatross.
    BadJazz, ihixulu, SLO Surfer and 8 others like this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The power amp for the Shure Vocal Master is a current feedback design - paired with the speakers that it came with, the system performance is "greater than the sum of its parts" (more hi-fi) in some respects. It's not at all a standard amplifier topology - it's clever, it works very well (in 1960's terms) as a system for what it was designed for (vocals especially). It's just not...normal.

    Repurposing that amplifier with random speakers, in a completely different application, what you've got is a crapshoot. It'll try (and succeed) in creating a very different EQ though those speakers than what you'd hear with a standard power amp - the places where the speaker has higher impedance will be emphasized, and the mids won't - it'll be an interesting version of "scooped".

    I don't know if you'll like the result or not. I'm just letting you know it'll be an experiment, with some variables you didn't (until now) expect. I'm all for experimentation, assuming you can afford to blow the cash if you don't like the result. Just be aware that you're on the "cutting edge" if you decide to do this.
    badinage and DJ Bebop like this.
  12. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    Country Road band I was with waaaaay back when (mid 70's) carried 6 of the tall columns for FOH and 6 of the half columns for monitors.

    Can't remember what they were powered with, it was Shure somethings and some Sunn (?) power amps.

    Sounded pretty good to my young ears and never gave us any problems, sonically covered alot of ground too, (we miked the backline back then, no DI's available.)

    The Vocal Master's sounded "MUCH" better than other column style cabinets that came along (PV's, Fender's, ect.)

    Not shure how they'd do as a guitar amp/cab.
    EatS1stBassist and DJ Bebop like this.
  13. Our band had that setup years ago. Wouldn't take it even for free.
  14. 295c5d5a7a23f425cde0c639642a790f.jpg
    First time I saw floor monitors, Sly and the Family Stone would use them as monitors :)
  15. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    My band had the Vocal Master in 1972. At some point we replaced the column speakers with JBL scoops and horns and used one of the columns as a monitor. Big improvement in volume and sound quality.
    Ric Vice, EatS1stBassist and DJ Bebop like this.
  16. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    If I brought something like that home my wife would ask me what was I was thinking... It would probably be one of those painful times I'd have to admit she was right.

    My bet is if you buy it... you'd never be able to sell it again, and you'd have to bust it up to get rid of it.

    Admittedly I've got a pile of old Ramsa speakers to quench my thirst for retro gear. (8 of em') So I may be just about as senile.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  17. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I remember seeing the Buddy Rich band using one in the 70’s.
    My friend had one around 1975.
    Our “state of the art” Sunn, sounded much better. Even back then, 10 years in advancement of gear made a difference.
    If you buy it, don’t expect much.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  18. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    Had one in a dive band in the '70s. Good for that but the Mitchell cabs and Biamp board in the next band were way more robust.....
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  19. 6b12a79c98246a995b7d0112dfff19dd.jpg
    Shure and Peavey :)
  20. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Dec 16, 2013
    My band, back in 73, had a VM rig, but strictly for vocals. It worked okay, but once we got into some big clubs, we acquired a couple of Aztec Voice of the Theater speakers (A5?) and powered those with the VM head to one, and a Shure Power Master slave amp, also 100W, as I recall. The Shure columns just went away.
    AGCurry and DJ Bebop like this.