Microphone shock mounts are simple little devices that serve a handful of important purposes such as decoupling microphones from stands and providing a safety net if the worst should happen in the event of a stand toppling over. There are some great shock mounts out there, some bad. What shock mounts do you use and why? What makes a good shock mount and what make a bad one?
Also known as cradles, microphone shock mounts serve three main purposes:
- To hold and secure microphones
- To decouple microphones from stands. This stops vibrations, such as toe-tapping, transmitting from microphone stands into microphone diaphragms
- To help protect a microphone if the stand falls over
AKG H85 Shockmount
Microphone shock mounts are fairly simple devices, why then is the H85 shock mount by AKG so rubbish when the mic is so iconic?
The H85 comes bundled in with a range of AKG microphones, including the mighty C414 microphone, of which I own three.
Unlike my colleague James Ivey, I absolutely adore the C414. Each of my 414s came with an H85 cradle, sadly I only have one H85 left out of the three as the other two have snapped in half over the years.
I've always felt a little hard done by with the H85 cradles as, let's be honest, AKG C414 microphones are not what I consider to be cheap mics. The entry-level C414 starts at around £600. These days microphones that cost considerably less usually come with much better shock mounts built from better materials and are weightier and stronger.
The H85 is plastic fantastic and is flimsy at best. The arm (the section between the cradle and the hinge) is a sacrificial plastic S shape which snaps with little persuasion if the shock mount so much as comes in contact with any hard surface at low impact. If you did decide to replace a broken H85 cradle with a new one you will need to spend another £45 each time it breaks. I can't recommend you do that.
sE Electronics Isolation Pack
A far better microphone shock mount, that costs a little less money than the AKG H85, is by sE Electronics called the sE Electronics Isolation Pack.
If you shop around online you will find these for under £40, which is great value for money considering it also comes with a metal pop filter that slides into the front of the cradle.
I own two of these SE shock mounts, they are strong, rugged and have not let me down so far.
Microphone Guru James Ivey has also chipped in with a couple of good alternatives...
Some More Of The Better Shock Mounts
To go to the other extreme I would like to add some of the better microphone shock mounts I have discovered in my reviews and travels across the length and breadth of the microphone world as some companies are really getting it right.
Below you can see the Audio Technica shock mount for the 50 series studio microphones. In my opinion, this is a thing of beauty both to use and to look at. The action of fitting the mic into the shock mount and the final click at the mic is sat in place is just gorgeous. I would trust a mic of value (as the 50 series are) to this shock mount.
You can check out my full review of the Audio Technica AT5047 which features the 50 series shock mount in the video below.
So Audio Technica are one of the "big boys" they can afford to get it right, right? But, the little guys can also get it right.
The team (both of them) at Vanguard Audio Labs have done a cracking job on the shock mount for their V13 and V44S mics and you can check out the video for the V13 below. Having spoken to Vanguard at events like NAMM I know they take every aspect of their design and construction very seriously and this shows in their completely original shock mount.
What microphone shock mounts do you use and recommend?