Microphone stands are not the piece of equipment we tend to dream about. Most of us simply use whatever we have or can get super cheap. We put up with however well they do or do not perform because we like to focus on the more showy items like the custom color of guitars and drums. But consider for a moment how the quality of your show is affected by a lead singers microphone stand that constantly slides down or a drum mic that cannot be adjusted to the correct position. Microphone stands are important. They hold some expensive pieces of equipment: you microphones. CLICK HERE to read about which microphones your band should purchase. The best stands are not always the most expensive because the best stands need to perform well only for their intended use. For example: recording studios need more expensive stands than local bands.
Before we get into all of that, let’s take a few minutes to learn the basics about microphone stands…
Parts of a Microphone Stand:
Base – The two standard types of bases are folding tripod:
Round bases are typically more stable but are also heavier and take up more space than folding bases. Folding tripod bases collapse down for super compact storage but when they are set up they can take up more room than round bases. Most often, round bases are used in recording studios because of their stability. Most bands use folding tripod bases for gigs because the tripod bases take up much less room when transporting. Tripod bases can be a tripping hazard on stage, especially for very active lead singers and dark stages. So, if there is room in the bands vehicle, it might be wise to consider using one or two round base stands for vocalists and tripod base stands for everything else.
Clip – At the other end of the microphone stand is the clip.
This is the piece that holds the microphone. Usually, the clip screws into the stand, so they are easily replaced when broken (this is the piece which breaks most often). In the United States the screw threads are almost always ⅝″ 27 threads per inch (tpi) Unified Straight thread. Other countries also use ¼” or 3/8” BSW.
Post – In between the base and the clip is the post. It is made up of telescoping tubes that fit inside each other.
Clutch – The clutch connects the pieces of the post. It allows for height adjustment and, ideally, can be operated with one hand. Every manufacturer has their own style of clutch, but the most common one used on a straight stand looks like this:
All these pieces can be combined to create many variations of microphone stands. Which formation you should use is based on placing the microphone in the best position to pick up the sound.
Common Types of Microphone Stands:
The straight stand is also available with a folding tripod base, like this:
A boom stand has an arm attached.
This allows the microphone to be moved horizontally. Vocalists that also play instruments like this stand because they can get the mic closer to their mouths without having the stand get in the way of their instrument Boom arms are also helpful with drums because floor space can be limited due to cymbal stands etc. Boom arms are available in both fixed and adjustable (telescoping) lengths.
Goose neck stands have a flexible tube made of a spiral-wound core of steel. Goosenecks provide the ability to make small changes in the microphone position without using the clutch. They are extremely versatile and are available in a variety of lengths and finishes.
There are many other types of microphone stands and options but typically they are used in recording studios or specialty situations.
Quality of Microphone Stands
Remember that your microphone stands are holding expensive pieces of equipment – all your bands mics! You do not want them to fall apart, slide down during the gig, or break. So, how can you tell a well made microphone stand from one that will not hold up?
Do not make a decision based on the clip. Clips break most often, but are inexpensive and easy to replace. Your band may even want to buy an extra mic clip to keep with the tools and spare parts for emergencies.
The piece to check first is the clutch. The clutch has adjustments made with it at every show, so it will eventually wear out. Clutch design varies between manufacturers, but you can watch for higher quality materials and craftsmanship.
The next piece to check is the sturdiness of the arms and posts. Boom arms and goosenecks are notorious for drooping under the weight of a heavier microphone over time. Really cheap arms are prone to snap during set up and tear down. Once again, you are looking for higher quality materials. Thicker plastic might look stronger but it may not be nearly as strong as metal.
As with every other piece of band equipment and instruments, price is always an issue. Choose the highest quality materials within your price range. Do not buy the microphone stands that are on sale at a bargain price unless they are well made – they will not last and you will have to replace them sooner rather than later. One of the more annoying problems that can occur during set up is to have to duct tape mic stands together. It may work in a pinch but looks very unprofessional on stage. Buy the best quality you can afford!
Having said all that, here are some VERY broad generalizations and recommendations to get you started:
Most expensive but highest quality mic stands: Latch Lake – this is for those of you who can afford $400 or more for each stand. They are high end professional gear that will last a lifetime. CLICK HERE to see Latch Lake products from Amazon.
Generally best accepted by professionals as good quality gear at more affordable prices: K&M stands start around $80. If you can afford it, this is where I recommend you start. CLICK HERE to see K&M products from Amazon.
Most affordable brand with reasonable quality: Quik Lok – These stands start around $30. The Quik Lok brand seems to be a little more durable, with higher recommendations, than other inexpensive brands. CLICK HERE to see Quik Lok products from Amazon.
Drum mic sets: This Tama Drum Mic Stand Kit is generally accepted as a good place to start.
But, do not depend on any one persons recommendation. Do your homework: talk to as many people as you can and get on the equipment forums before you head out to the music store or make a purchase on line. No one likes to spend money twice on microphone stands, so make the effort to buy the right stands the first time.
has a chapter called He Who Dies with the Most Equipment Dies Broke. This chapter will help your Christian band decide which equipment to purchase when and how much to spend.
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