Who measures audio that doesn’t use a mic stand or two?
In the process of doing research, I realized that mic stands might warrant their own page. I’m not going to list the off brand stuff that I personally don’t use and certainly will never buy if given a choice. I will also recommend the stands that I use, love and prefer when having stands provided by others. Note that a stand that doesn’t tighten down, is broken, has parts that are missing (rubber feet, thumb screws), or has any sort of tape (duck, gaffe, electrical, scotch, painters) involved is ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE in my book unless it’s the only option I have and even then I’m not going to like it!
So here we go.
These are the main players in the market (in alphabetical order):
Atlas Sound – mic stands
K&M – mic stands
Ultimate Support – mic stands
With mic stands you get a choice of either a cast metal base or a tripod base.
In general I like tripod bases. They’re inherently more stable than cast metal base stands. Especially if one or more of the rubber feet on the cast metal base is missing. Tripod stands also more stable when a boom is involved because you can arrange one of the 3 legs to counteract the boom weight (with a leg extended in line with the boom). In the old days, mic stands used counterweights to offset the weight of the mic and boom extension. Somewhere between 1969 and 1996 we lost that idea for the most part with regards to smaller mic stands. Larger studio type stands still use hefty counterweights. Probably because they have to.
My favorite booms are made by K&M. Ultimate Support makes some nice heavy duty mic stands and booms but as came to the market late in the game, I only own (1) Ultimate stand. The rest are a mixture of K&M or Atlas.
The majority of my stands are K&M tripod with 3 tier booms. (MODEL TO COME) I love this stand because it can act as a low, medium or high stand with a boom that can be short, medium or long. If I had only one choice of brand and model, it would be this one.
There ARE times when a round base is just necessary (like when space is limited or a certain look is wanted). I worked on a musical that was set in the 40s. The director wanted all the stands to look chrome and old school. A bunch of Atlas stands with chrome hardware and round bases fit the bill. Even when I use a round base stands with a boom, I like the combination of the Atlas straight stand with a K&M boom.
One of the developments over the last 20 years has been the stackable straight stand. Both Atlas and Ultimate offer this type.
Atlas SMS5B – stackable base stand
K&M Pro-SB – stackable base stand
K&M Live-SB – stackable base stand
K&M makes some base type stands and I like those.
When I record classical music I use some tall lighting stands to get up above the action. To use a lighting stand requires using some stand adapters. In my case I need (2) different adapters.
A bit about mic stand base / tube connections.
There are 3 thread specs for attaching a mic to mic stands.
On the other end of the stand where it attaches to a non tripod base there are quite a few thread options. This basically means that if you mix your stands together from all of these manufacturers, you’ll have to pay attention to which stands go with which base. I’d advise against it. If you do have different types, segregate them so you don’t have to work so hard.
Here is the key to who uses what threads:
Atlas has two thread specs.
The smaller base stands use a 7/8″-27 thread
The larger base stands use a 1 1/8″-27 thread
K&M has two thread specs.
5/8-27 for their US market
3/8-16 for the non US market
Ultimate Support has one thread spec
Two companies new to the mic stand market (in comparison to Atlas, K&M and US) are making stands that I will link to but to be clear, I haven’t used these stands. They may be good but they may be of poor quality. Buyer beware.