Microphone Stands and Holders

desktop mic stand
Table Top Mic Stand

Microphone stands come in a variety of sizes and styles. Their function is two fold, to place the microphone exactly where you want it and to stop mechanical noise being picked up by the microphone e.g. handling noise. Most stands have rubber feet added to the legs to help avoid mechanical noise from wooden stage floors in particular, but if this is still a problem it's best to employ some form of elastic suspension microphone clips.

The screw thread that the microphone clip attaches to comes in two sizes 1/4" (Europe) and 5/8" USA. An adaptor is usually supplied with the microphone clip and they're not expensive if you have to buy one, but it's something to be aware of.

Collapsible table top stand (right)

This is used on a table top or lectern to support and angle a microphone towards the person that's speaking. If it's used on a table it's best if the person speaking remains seated, otherwise it would be best to use a banquet stand to get the microphone closer to the person, especially if the sound is being amplified through a public address (PA) system. It's advantage is that it folds away to take up very little space.

tall mic stand
Tall Mic Stand
boom mic stand
Boom Microphone Stand

Tall Stand (left)

This usually consists of a two section tubular pole of about 2 metres when fully extended (that the microphone clip screws onto) with three or four collapsible legs. Earlier examples had a heavy moulded base but their weight and the extra storage space they required meant they were less practical and they went out of fashion.

Boom Stand (right)

This consists of a tall stand with a pivoted arm attachment of about 1 metre in length. This for example helps a singer to get close to the microphone and avoid kicking the legs of the stand, it also allows a microphone to be positioned in amongst the drum kit while avoiding any mechanical contact.

Take care with very heavy microphones such as valve mic's and some ribbon mic's to avoid over extending the reach of the boom arm. You don't want an expensive microphone to topple over, make sure that one of the legs is in line with the arm and even consider adding a counter-weight to the other end of the boom arm if you have to have the arm well extended; for extra insurance you can put a sand bag over the leg opposite the boom arm.

short boom mic
Short Boom Stand
Banquet Boom Stand

Short Boom Stand (left)

This is a smaller version of the Boom stand, about 1 metre tall, it sometimes has a two section arm. It is typically used to put a bass, snare or hi-hat microphone in position.

Particularly with vocal recording there are no absolute rights or wrongs in microphone choice. Different microphones should be auditioned for each singer to achieve the sound you want.

Banquet Stand (right)

Banquet stands are usually used on a table, principally for after dinner speeches, it usually consist of a one or two section tubular pole about 1 metre in height connected to a heavy weighted circular base. The banquet stand shown here has a Goose Neck (flexible pole) attached instead of the tubular pole.

orchestral mic stand
Orchestral Mic Stand

Orchestral stand

This is a very large version of a boom stand, it has a tripod style base on lockable wheels and an adjustable counterweight. The arm itself is capable of extending about 5 metres this allows the microphone to be positioned high above the orchestra for a more general pickup of all the sections. It is an expensive and specialised piece of equipment and wont usually be available in your local music gear shop, but if you're doing orchestral recordings in a large hall then you should consider hiring them.

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