When I’m deciding on my next studio gear purchase I find that I’m more inclined to spend my hard earned on cash on fun and interesting items such as instruments or outboard processes. I’ve always had a list in my head of what I refer to as unsexy purchases with items like headphone amps, cables and power conditioners ranking fairly high up. However, for years the top spot of my unsexy studio buys list has been the humble microphone stand. Over the years mic stands for me have been one of those items I chuck in on the back of another order as an after though because in my experience mic stands never last that long. I do after all give them a fairly hard life.
My position on this has somewhat changed recently as I decided to dive my hand a little deeper into my wallet to find out if a microphone stand costing substantially more than my previous mic stands were worth the extra outlay.
The most common type of work I undertake in my studio is vocal recording. I never felt I needed a stand with a million bells and whistles until recently when I took delivery of a K&M 21430. This is by far the most expensive mic stand I’ve ever purchased costing around £180.
K&M 21430 Specs:
Made of steel
For studio and stage
10 kg weighing cast metal base, low centre of gravity for high stability
3 Swivel castors with brakes
2 Meter extension tube with with additional locking mechanism
Extendable arm with a 3 kg counterweight and 5/8" thread
Mini boom arm with 5/8" - 3/8" thread connection
Mini boom arm is inclinable regardless of the position of the boom arm - e.g. for studio microphones
Weight: 17.0 kg
Height: 1340 mm to 2200 mm
Length of the extendable arm: 1100 to 2000 mm
Length of the mini arm: 245 mm
Base diameter: 660 mm
The most I’ve ever spent on a microphone stand in the past was also by K&M for £35. It’s a fairly bog standard 3 legged affair with telescopic arm, not a bad stand at all, still in regular service today.
I purchased this big K&M as I’ve got a Townsend Sphere L22 mic floating around the studio. This is a chunky mic that needs to be handled with care. Somehow the L22 didn’t feel stable enough on any of the mic stands I had lying around so I thought, for piece of mind’s sake, and as an insurance policy, to compliment this amazing mic with a stand that could easily take the weight of the L22 in a variety of positions.
The most precarious position I placed the Townsend in was over my drum kit on a standard boom stand. There was flex in the arm and a slight wobble which put the living s***s in me when I was attempted a drum take. Watching the mic sway above my head proved to be too much of a distraction for me in that session so I decided to bite the bullet and get a “heavy duty” stand that could take the weight of heavier mics positioned in any angle or height.
The K&M 21430 has exceeded my expectations. I can loosely hold a microphone in its cradle and clamp down the stand’s arm and hinges quickly without the microphone moving a millimetre. With cheap stands this isn’t always the case as the microphone can move down and out of position a fraction after being tightened down. Not only can this thing hold some serious weight with confidence it has wheels in the base which makes it super simple to position in my studio. Say the microphone isn’t quite in the right position over the drums, easy, unlock the wheels and move the entire rig around until the sweet spot is found. For £180 I don’t know why I was so stubborn in my old ways of thinking.
How about you? What’s your typically budget when buying microphone stands?