The Importance of Owning Quality Microphone Stands
There can be few more simple links in the recording chain than humble microphone stands, but few that are so sadly overlooked.
The principle is simple – a mic stand does exactly what it claims to do… it holds a microphone in place. What is should also do, however, is a little more crucial.
Firstly, the ubiquitous stand should allow precise positioning without slippage. This means that the base should be relatively compact to allow nearfield placement for drum kits, amp cabs etc, as well as being sufficiently weighty and solid to ensure stability. Any adjustment mechanisms should ensure rigidity when positioned. After all, there is nothing more annoying than ‘stand droop’, that infuriating slippage mid-session that renders a perfect take useless.
Secondly, mic stands should be sturdy and stable. Our repair department is inundated with damaged microphones resulting from flimsy stands collapsing. It never ceases to amaze us how many musicians will gladly pay thousands of pounds for a vintage microphone and then plonk it on a wobbly stand, risking everything for the sake of saving a few bucks on that most essential piece of equipment, a professional stand. As an aside, please, please, please never leave your mics set up overnight unless you absolutely have to because you’re mid-session. The majority of accidents happen in between sessions when a mic lead gets accidentally tugged or tripped over, or when an exhausted tape-op or cleaner knocks over a stand while clearing up. Keep your mics safely locked away when not in use.
Once upon a time, companies such as Keith Monks manufactured excellent, sturdy, heavy duty mic stands that were perfect for general use. The influx of cheap Chinese stands destroyed the mass market, driving most quality manufacturers out of business. Although the better stands from German manufacturer K+M have partially filled the gap, it is only recently that new companies such as Latchlake have addressed the need for fully professional stands, offering a combination of sturdy construction, solid counterweights and a range of accessories, such as clamps to enable several mics to be positioned on a single stand.
If you use professional microphones, please protect your investment with a professional mic stand. Quite apart from anything else, you may be surprised to find that your mics sound better. They will certainly live longer.
And a few extra bucks spent on a decent stand could save a fortune in repair bills.