Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by AG
When we discuss the process of recording, the conversation often gravitates toward instruments, microphones, or audio interfaces. However, one component that usually gets overlooked is the humble mic stand. The critical role it plays cannot be overstated. Choosing the best mic stands for your microphones is as important factor crucial as any other equipment in your recording arsenal, and this article aims to shed some light on this often-underappreciated gear.
Years ago, I was recording a vocal track for a project. The take was going smoothly. Just as we were nearing the end, the microphone stand we were using, an old and somewhat rickety stand, gave way, causing the expensive condenser microphone to drop.
Luckily, no one was hurt, and the mic suffered minimal damage. But the incident caused a disruption, and we lost the momentum of that session.
The importance of a sturdy, reliable, best mic stand for studio recording, was never clearer to me than after that incident.
Understanding the Role of Microphone Stands in Recording
Microphone stands serve as the backbone of the recording setup, often going unnoticed while providing a crucial service. They hold the microphones, our primary tool for capturing sound, securely in place, freeing the artists to focus on their performance.
One primary attribute to consider when it comes to microphone stands is stability. A sturdy and well-balanced stand will protect your valuable microphones from falls or mishaps. Moreover, a stable and solid stand also minimizes unnecessary vibrations, ensuring cleaner and more accurate sound capture.
Adjustability is another critical factor. Recording music is a creative process that often requires flexibility and experimentation. An adjustable stand can be positioned according to the specific requirements of each session, be it vocals, acoustic guitar, or drums. It gives you the freedom to angle and position the microphone to find the best sound.
Versatility also plays a significant role. versatile mic stands can accommodate a variety of microphones and mounting options. This versatility can come in handy in a busy recording studio with diverse needs.
So, mic stands might seem like a simple accessory, but they are a pillar of the recording process. A great stand ensures a smooth and efficient session while safeguarding your expensive equipment, which is invaluable.
Types of Microphone Stands
When it comes to the best microphone stands, there are several varieties to choose from, each with its unique features, advantages, and potential drawbacks. Let’s delve into some of the common types.
These solid base stands are the quintessential microphone stands that you often see on stages. Straight stands are simple and reliable, providing excellent stability and holding your microphone securely. Their straightforward design makes them easy to use and set up. However, they lack the adjustability of boom stands and might not be ideal for intricate recording setups.
Boom stands are the most flexible type of mic stands. They have an adjustable arm, or ‘boom,’ which allows you to position the mic at various angles and distances. This versatility makes boom stands perfect for complex recording scenarios, such as miking a drum kit or an acoustic guitar. On the downside, the extra moving parts can make them slightly less stable than straight mic stands.
Desk stands are compact and designed to be placed on a table or desk. They are ideal for podcasting, broadcasting, or any recording scenario where the artist is seated. While desk stands provide convenience and ease of use, their limited range and stability can be a drawback for more dynamic recording situations.
Round-base stands combine the simplicity of straight stands with enhanced stability. Their heavy, round base makes them extremely stable and ideal for live performance scenarios where there’s a lot of movement. However, their weight can make them less portable compared to other types.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mic Stands
When choosing mic stands, several technical factors play into the decision. Here are a few key considerations:
Weight Handling Capacity
The weight handling capacity of a stand is a crucial factor to consider, especially if you plan to use heavy microphones or add attachments like pop filters or shock mounts. A stand with rubber feet and a high weight capacity ensures stability and prevents tipping.
Depending on your recording needs, you’ll need a stand that can adjust to different heights. For example, if you’re recording vocals, a stand that extends to mouth level is ideal. Conversely, for low instruments like kick drums, you’ll need a stand that can go quite low.
Mic stands are an investment, and you’d want them to last. Stands made from high-quality materials like steel or aluminum offer durability and longevity.
If you’re frequently on the move, a lightweight, collapsible stand that can easily fit into a carry bag can be a lifesaver.
Ease of Use
A stand with easy-to-use adjustment mechanisms will make your recording sessions smoother and more efficient.
In summary, the choice of a mic stand depends on your specific recording needs, the types of microphones you plan to use, and the recording environment. As mentioned earlier, a well-chosen stand can significantly enhance your recording experience and the overall sound quality.
The Best Microphone Stand for Studio Recording
Let’s now delve into a few different microphone stands available in the market. The following reviews will consider the best mic stands for a variety of budgets and use cases.
Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom
Heil Sound PL-2T is a high-quality, overhead stand-alone broadcast boom that’s perfect for broadcasting or podcasting. It has an internal spring system that keeps cables tucked away neatly and can handle heavier microphones.
Built with a robust steel frame, the Heil Sound PL-2T is designed to last. Its smooth, silent movement and internal cable management system keep the setup clean and efficient.
Its strong arm can securely hold heavier microphones without sagging or tipping over, making it a stable choice for various recording scenarios.
Strong and durable
Excellent cable management
Suitable for heavier microphones
Not the cheapest option on the market
Might be overkill for simple setups
If you need a sturdy and reliable stand for heavier microphones or professional broadcasting, the Heil Sound PL-2T is worth the investment.
On-Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand
The On-Stage Stands MS7701B is a versatile tripod boom stand that’s lightweight and easy to use.
It’s constructed with a solid metal base, and its telescoping boom arm can be adjusted for the perfect mic placement.
The MS7701B provides excellent stability thanks to its tripod design. It’s adjustable and versatile enough for a variety of recording situations.
Versatile and adjustable
Sturdy tripod base
Not as durable as more premium stands
The boom arm could be smoother to adjust
For those seeking an affordable, versatile mic stand, the On-Stage Stands MS7701B offers excellent value for the money.
Heil Sound HB-1 Steel Microphone Boom
The Heil Sound HB-1 is a steel mic boom stand, that offers durability and flexibility for recording situations that require extended reach.
Constructed with a sturdy steel frame, this stand is built to last. It also features a fully adjustable boom arm for convenient mic placement.
The HB-1 performs admirably, offering a sturdy base and a reliable reach, making it perfect for tricky recording situations.
Sturdy steel construction
May be too large for compact setups
The base could be weightier for additional stability
For those who need a studio mic stand with excellent reach and durability, the Heil Sound HB-1 is a worthy consideration.
K&M 210/2 Microphone Stand
The K&M 210/2 is a popular best mic stand choice among professionals and amateurs alike. Known for their robustness, these mic stands offer excellent durability and functionality.
Constructed with Swiss-made steel tubing and featuring a long, two-piece telescopic boom, this stand is built for longevity. The stand features a tubular design, adjustable height, and a comfortable clutch for easy adjustments.
The K&M 210/2 performs reliably and provides excellent stability. Its long boom arm allows for precise microphone placement, and its sturdy tripod base ensures that it stays put, even with heavier microphones.
Excellent build quality
Great stability, even with heavier microphones
Long, two-piece telescopic boom
Higher price point
Might be too bulky for some
The K&M 210/2 is a premium choice for those seeking a robust, reliable mic stand for any recording scenario. Its quality and durability make it well worth the investment.
K&M 259 Low-Level Tripod Microphone Stand
The K&M 259 is a low-level tripod mic stand, designed specifically for capturing lower-frequency sources like kick drums or guitar amplifiers.
Built with a sturdy steel base, the K&M 259 is made to withstand heavy use. It features an extendable boom arm and a low-profile design, perfect for those hard-to-reach places.
Its low center of gravity ensures excellent stability, even when fully extended. Its reliable and sturdy performance makes it a favorite for studios and stages alike.
Designed for low-frequency sources
Not suitable for standing vocals or tall instruments
Might not be versatile enough for some
For those seeking a reliable, low-profile stand for capturing lower-frequency sources, the K&M 259 stands as a solid option. Its specialized design ensures you capture the best possible sound from your lower-frequency sources.
K&M 210/9 Microphone Stand
The K&M 210/9 Microphone Stand is a high-quality, professional-grade stand known for its impressive stability and robust construction. This stand is ideal for studio recording or live performances.
The K&M 210/9 features a solid, zinc die-cast base and a hard-wearing, powder-coated finish. It includes a telescopic boom arm that offers a wide range of adjustability, ensuring the perfect positioning of your microphone.
The standout feature of the K&M 210/9 is its incredible stability. The solid base provides excellent balance, even with heavy mics.
Robust and durable construction
High stability for heavier microphones
Good height and boom arm adjustability
May be heavier than other models
A bit more expensive than comparable models
If you’re looking for a sturdy, reliable stand that can handle heavy-duty use, the K&M 210/9 is a top-tier option worth considering.
K&M 25950 Low-Profile Microphone Stand
The K&M 25950 is a low-profile mic stand, designed specifically for miking up kick drums or guitar amplifiers in a recording or live performance setting.
This stand is solidly built with a heavy, cast-iron base. Its compact size makes it perfect for situations where space is at a premium, not too light, and its height and angle can be easily adjusted.
Despite its smaller size, the 25950 doesn’t compromise on stability. Its cast-iron base keeps it grounded, even when fully extended.
Sturdy and reliable
Perfect for low-profile miking situations
Adjustable height and angle
Not suitable for conventional recording or vocal use
Heavier due to its cast-iron base
For low-profile recording situations, the K&M 25950 provides a high level of stability and adjustability. This is an excellent choice if you need a stand for recording drums or amplifiers.
K&M 21430 Overhead Microphone Stand
The K&M 21430 Overhead Mic Stands are robust, professional-grade studio mic stands. It’s intended for applications where height, stability, and a wide reach are essential, such as overhead drum miking or choir recording.
The 21430 features a large, weighted base with additional bracing for added stability. Its adjustable telescopic boom arm allows for a substantial reach, and the height can be modified to accommodate a wide range of applications.
Despite its impressive height and reach, the K&M 21430 is well-balanced and stable. The robust base ensures that it remains upright, even with a heavy mic or at full extension.
Exceptional reach and height adjustment
Sturdy and stable, even with heavier mics
Ideal for overhead miking
Can be bulky and heavy to move
More expensive than other models
The K&M 21430 Overhead Mic Stands offer unmatched stability and versatility. This stand is worth the investment if your recording situations often require overhead miking.
K&M 27105 Microphone Stand
The K&M 27105 is a versatile, sturdy mic stand, perfect for home studios or live performances. It offers an excellent blend of affordability, durability, and practicality.
This stand comes with a tripod base which offers good stability and takes up less floor space than some alternatives. The 27105 tripod stands features an extendable boom arm and height adjustment, providing flexibility in positioning the mic attached.
The 27105 performs reliably and offers stable support for a range of microphones. It can be easily adjusted to fit your recording setup in a studio or on stage.
Affordable and versatile
Suitable for various mics and setups
Compact and easy to transport
May not handle very heavy microphones as well as other models
Plastic components may wear out with heavy use
The K&M 27105 is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable, versatile, and reliable mic stand for a variety of recording situations.
Mic Stand Maintenance and Care
Proper care and maintenance can significantly extend the life of your microphone stand, ensuring its continued performance and reliability. Here are a few key tips:
Regularly inspect your stand for signs of wear and tear. Make sure the adjustment mechanisms operate smoothly and are not stripped or overtightened.
Keep all moving parts, including boom arm hinges and height adjustment screws, well-lubricated. A few drops of a silicone-based lubricant can help keep these parts moving smoothly and prevent rust.
Avoid over-tightening. Excessive force can strip the threads and make the stand unstable.
When not in use, store your stand in a dry, clean place to avoid dust buildup and moisture exposure.
Troubleshooting common issues is part of the mic stand ownership journey. If your stand wobbles or seems unstable, check the tightness of the screws and ensure the base is fully spread and on a level surface.
Choosing the best mic stands can profoundly impact your recording experience, lending stability, adaptability, and convenience to your setup. The right stand will hold your mic securely and seamlessly blend with your recording ecosystem, facilitating your work rather than hindering it.
As with any recording equipment, investing in a good-quality mic stand is an investment in your craft—providing the reliable foundation your performance deserves. It’s worth investing time and research into finding the one that fits your needs perfectly.
Can I use a camera tripod as a mic stand?
While a camera tripod stand may seem like a viable stand-in, it isn’t recommended. Microphone stands are designed to support the weight and structure of microphones, whereas camera tripods are not.
How do I stop my microphone stand from tipping over?
If your stand tips over, it might be top-heavy or on an uneven surface. You can counterbalance it with a heavier base or ensure that the tripod boom stands arm isn’t extended too far without counterweight. Also, make sure the tripod legs of the stand are fully extended and the stand is on a level surface.