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Good Microphone Stands ??

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by JD, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    This is such a simple topic, but it's driving me nuts!
    We use a bunch of light weight collapsible mic stands with the ensemble I am working with. I've had it with them all and am about to chuck them all in the dumpster! Now, I have no desire to go back to the old "Atlas" stands, where you had a heavy base and had to carry a special threading die with you for every time the pipe snapped off and you had to re-thread the stand until, like a used pencil, it just got too short. Still, we use these collapsible stands with booms pretty much fully extended and they need to be tight, so, after a few months either the grip strips or the locking screw for the legs strip. At their best, they are unstable.
    So, rather than order in a bunch of stands until I find some that actually work, I figured I'd pose the question here:
    What is a good, lightweight, stable, collapsible stand that will actually hold up?
    I should add, most of the mics are Shure SM-81, so we are not talking a heavy mic.
     
  2. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    I like K&M stands myself.

    For stability of the "lock" on the boom, anything that has "teeth" is generally a better hold than the rubber on rubber, but if you have people trying to move the stand height (angle) without loosening the turn, the non-teeth ones are better for protecting your gear.

    EDIT: edited original post for relevance of OP.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  3. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    K&M is the way to go. I never have had cause to complain about them. Though I can’t get rid of the round base atlas as they keep popping up on riders.

    Long ago when M-tv was just getting started, and actually showed music videos. there was one that had the lead singer standing on the base at a 45* angle, suddenly the heavy duty stands I had were found snapped at the base.
     
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  4. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Every time this comes up in the audio forums elsewhere, K & M is always at the top of the list. Second place is usually Atlas. K & M especially for boom stands, but there are several grades of that brand. The boom arms with the little knob aren't well liked, the better units with the bar-bell handle seem to be preferred since you can really tighten them. The Atlas are frequently preferred for straight stands. Ultimate and OnStage get mixed reviews but both companies seem to offer good support, some gizmo breaks, they will usually send you a replacement free. Some people like the OnStage because they are lighter and easier to carry and prefer the profile of the tripods.
     
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  5. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    The K&M 20800 looks like a good stand for the rear overheads, but on the smaller stands I see that base hub and center choke grip that look an awful lot like the type that is stripping out on me. Still, I will have to take another look at the ones we have as they may be inferior knock-offs that just look like the K&M.
     
  6. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    I'm going to buck the trend here and tout the dirt cheap stands I got from MusiciansFriend and/or Guitar Center ... tripods were 10 for $100, and the round base straight stands were $14 each. I bought 9 round base and 12 tripods ... about 9 years ago ... and not a single problem with them.

    I don't use them heavily -- twice a year for a two-night middle school music concert, and occasionally in between -- and they don't feel like they will hold up to a lot of rough manhandling ... but I bought them with the intent of them being "disposable" and have spares on hand ... just that none of them have broken!

    That plus they are relatively light to carry around ... I have OnStage carry bags for all of them.
     
  7. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    The stands you are chucking to the bin are cheesy copies of the K&M. Cheesy. Copies.
     
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  8. Joel - Studio 52

    Joel - Studio 52 Member

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    After 30 years of using cheap mic stands and having them not hold up, I decided to spend some serious money and purchased some Hercules boom stands with the EZ clutch system. I got the MS531B model. So far I'm pretty happy. Clients love the ease of the EZ clutch and I like the fact that they are heavy duty and seem to be holding up well to constant use and abuse on the road. I may look at K & M, but if these Hercules continue as they have, I'll be getting more of them as I need to replace the rest of my cheapies.

    Now I just need to figure out a better way of transporting mic stands!
     
  9. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Transport? Eh... there is no "good" way, only a series of compromises you consider based on your individual needs and situation. What are your priorities - footprint area, packing density (stands per PSF), tripod or round bases, assembled/disassembled?

    In the audio shop I manage we are almost 100% Atlas round base stands with K&M booms. We can pack 30 stands (24 with booms), 12 compact tripod stands, some Z-bars and misc in a 22.5x24x45 inch case by removing the bases. Yeah, threading them back on is slow but in our situation we need the truck space. If you need to move assembled stands within a PAC or other facility there are other options that would give you faster deployment.
     
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  10. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, it looks like some of the failed stands are K&M, specifically, the choke grip. The bases on the K&M stands are holding up well. Other stands are "Jamessound" (spelling) and those apparently use a plastic threaded fitting to set the the base. Those all stripped out. The K&Ms are the oldest ones we have, so after 8 years, I'll cut them a break.
    As for the Atlas "round base" stands, It was a long time ago that I had that threading die and I have no idea where to get one these days. I remember it was an unusually fine thread for a shaft that big and that the die saved us a fortune by allowing us to re-thread the tube, which always snapped off at the base.
    Regarding transport talked about above. This is a choral group and we use many 2 x 4 riser boxes, which double as road cases in the truck, so we have never lost a stand due to transport damage. Kind of love the system as the lids have wheels on the bottom. Flip the lid upside down and you have your built in wheels, but when on top the wheels are hidden. (Also allows us to keep all of our supplies close at hand, right under our feet during the show.)
    The failures usually occur during setup as the booms and bases are set.
     
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  11. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Choke grip? I'm not familiar with that term. Is this the clutch assembly that keeps the center stand tube in position? If so, K&M has replacement parts for about $5. In fact K&M has parts for every stand or boom they've made in the last 40 years.

    The little plastic balls for the boom stand adjustment lever? Yep. Rubberized clutch disks for booms? Check. Counterweights for booms? Of course! Feet for stand bases? Indeed. Adjustment knobs? Of course!

    Atlas has spare parts, too.

    Your 7/8" by 27 TPI die was probably from Black Audio Devices who closed up shop 15 years ago. IIRC you can still get them from McMaster-Carr for 2x the price.
     
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  12. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    You are right, I call it the choke. And that probably is the best idea, just order a bunch of spare parts from FullCompass. I think I am going to go with the K&M 20800's for the rears. Unfortunately, elder choral members don't make good roadies, and I usually end up running around like a chicken with my head chopped off correcting them during setups, but a full complement of spares would help (as compared to a case full of non-functioning spares)
     
  13. Lextech

    Lextech Active Member

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    I have used all sorts of mic stands and at this point will only buy Atlas and K&M. Hercules ez clutch, I have some that died rather quickly. Musician's Gear ones are so light weight that they never come out. One of my coworkers just bought some Iron Works stands from Tama, seem nice, we will seee how they hold up.
     
  14. BCAP

    BCAP Member

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    K&M is (my opinion) the best stand out there if you are looking for stands that last, look good, and will hold heavier microphones under reasonable conditions. In general it's all I use now, though I have a few Atlas stands I like to use when the vintage chrome look is desired.

    For years I've used a K&M 20811 for orchestra and large ensemble recording (with a 21231 boom). The 20811 is quite heavy, and the 20800 weighs less which is appealing.

    If you run into issues with visual sight lines you might want to have a look at Manfrotto aluminum lighting stands (Alu master line). They make a number of different height stands that use 3/8" thread - these can be easily adapted but most importantly the stands are visually lower profile. Sandbags can be used on these if need be.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...to_1004BAC_3_1004BAC_3_QSS_Air_Cushioned.html

    If you need a fairly tall stand that is very solid but don't want to buy such a tall stand as the 20800, check out the 21021. Very heavy base, non adjustable length boom.


    One way to transport lots of mic stands is with a road trunk, with 4" PVC drain pipe bolted or riveted together into a matrix. No matter what you do, they get heavy quickly, 16 stands is probably gonna be the limit of what one could reasonably lift. If you have the luxury of a situation where you don't have to take your stands on the road and they can stay in one facility, then a similar case like the 2nd link below might do.

    http://www.spider-engineering.co.uk...6-way-microphone-stands-flight-case-8345-6634

    http://www.rrcases.com/soundmicstand.htm

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  15. mbrown3039

    mbrown3039 Member

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    I can't recall the last time I sold any kind of mic stand that wasn't either an Atlas (favored by most of the showrooms here in Vegas) or K&M....mike
     
  16. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Active Member

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    I strongly prefer K&M for touring/portable and fixed ... Atlas also good for studio or fixed venue if you have storage room. Some I believe Atlases have neato notched bases which allow better stacking.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I spent a lot of time at NAMM looking for the best Mic Stand. I came away with a tie between K&M.and an Italian company called Bespeco http://www.bespeco.it

    Both are expensive but really well made.
     
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  18. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @gafftaper @TimMc Here we go: Does Bespeco make Bespoken mic stands, or is that only on that other forum?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  19. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Mic stands with spectacles... :doh:
     
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  20. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @TimMc Shatter resistant, Mafia approved, self-darkening safety lenses of course.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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