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Mic stands are all the same, right?
Well, not exactly.
Some are made for use in a home studio or at a radio station. Some are meant to attach to a desk, or sit atop it. Others are great for live performance and rehearsal use. Some have a boom, and others do not.
Quality can vary quite a bit from one stand to another. Generally, you get what you pay for, and that’s a good thing to keep in mind.
Plainly, you can’t even buy a microphone stand that isn’t made of sturdy material. But that still doesn’t mean a cheaper stand will stand the test of time.
So, there are a few things to look out for when it comes to buying a mic stand. We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but first, here are the best stands for gigging and live performance.
1. K & M Microphone Stand With Telescopic Boom Arm
Tripod mic stands with boom arms are popular options, particularly for guitarists who tend to have a collection of pedals or a pedalboard to set in front of themselves at gigs. The telescopic boom can help you get your microphone where you need it without the stand getting in the way of your pedals.
The K & M mic stand is both an affordable and reliable option for gigging or otherwise.
König & Meyer even offers a five-year warranty, and most customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Other K & M stands are also worth a look.
2. Atlas Sound MS-10C Round Base All-Purpose Mic Stand
Now, let's look at the MS-10C.
Round base mic stands tend to have a lot of weight to them. So, even if you accidentally bump into one, it probably isn’t going anywhere.
Guitarists tend not to love these types of stands (again, because of pedals or pedalboards), but for most other applications they are great.
The MS-10C stand is priced reasonably, and again, customer reviews are quite positive. Atlas Sound also develops other types of stands.
3. Hercules MS533B Hideaway Boom Stand
Hercules creates quality, heavy-duty stands for a variety of applications like the top rated MS533B stand.
The MS533B comes with the Quick-N-EZ Adaptor which can be used to set up mics quickly.
The boom length and angle is easy to adjust, and it can also be detached with ease.
Reviews for the Hercules are mostly positive.
For very specific uses, it might not suit your needs. But for most uses, it will do the trick.
4. DR Pro Tripod Mic Stand With Telescoping Boom
Another great option in the mid-range tripod mic stand category is the DR Pro.
Are there better stands available?
But the DR Pro is comparable to the previously mentioned K & M stand.
There’s not much else to say about the DR Pro. It’s a reliable mic stand in its class.
5. Ultimate Support PRO-T-T Pro Series Microphone Stand
This Ultimate Support tripod stand is good value.
It features solid, durable construction, a universal mic attachment, and replaceable parts.
That’s good news for touring musicians who may end up finding themselves needing to replace worn-out parts.
Most customer reviews for this product are positive, so you know you’re getting a solid product.
You may also be interested in other stands UltimateSupport has to offer. Scan their offerings to find something that’s right for you.
What Should I Look For In A Mic Stand?
You’re probably starting to get an idea of what to look for in a mic stand.
First and foremost, it should allow you to perform comfortably.
Second, it shouldn’t break down easily.
Third, it shouldn’t be too heavy or take up too much space.
Fourth, it shouldn’t break the bank.
If it fits these criteria, you’re off to a great start. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what to look for in a mic stand.
If you know you’re going to be using the same mic stand night after night, you better like it. You would think something as simple as a mic stand would be the same across the board, but that’s just not the case.
Some work a little differently than others. The process for extending and adjusting the stand can be quite different depending on the brand and type. And, some might allow you to attach a mic without a clip, where most stands will likely require a mic clip to properly mount a mic.
You must also consider the weight that’s going to be on the stand. This is rarely an issue with a stand that boasts solid construction. Another matter entirely with cheap stands.
Another factor could be whether you’re going to be playing outdoor gigs. Wind can sometimes knock a stand out of position, or over completely. Talk about uncomfortable.
So, find a stand that doesn’t restrict you. It should be easy in theory, but it’s always best to work with something you know and are familiar with.
Durability is something to look out for with most types of gear. I’d say it’s probably one of the bigger considerations when it comes to buying a mic stand though.
You don’t want to spend good money on a stand only to have it break on you after a few uses. If it’s going to go with you on tour, you want it to stand up to the abuse for the duration of your itinerary, and maybe even multiple tours.
Mic stands vary in price, and they aren’t the most expensive pieces of gear available. As such, replacing them isn’t always a big deal. But for most artists, every penny counts, so you should buy something you can rely on.
Keep in mind that you’re probably not going to feel like carefully placing your gear in the back of the van after a long night at a dive bar you didn’t want to play in the first place. Gear is going to get tossed in so you can leave as soon as possible. That’s where durability counts too.
There are a couple of important factors here.
Obviously, round base stands are generally designed to be heavier than tripod stands. That’s good news when you need a stand to stay put.
But that isn’t necessarily the best thing when you’re loading your car or van with your gear. For one thing, it can make load-in and load-out tougher. For another, it could end up being a lot of weight to put on a vehicle (combined with large amps, a PA, a sub and the like).
There’s a good chance you’ll be using a mix of stands. I don’t know too many bands that choose to use round base stands exclusively. So, more than anything, it’s just being aware of who needs what to give their best every performance.
Overall, weight should not be a major factor, but it’s worth at least a surface level look.
The size of the stand is important for a couple of reasons.
For one, it needs to adjust to your height. Most stands are designed to be flexible in this regard, but always something to look out for if you happen to be on the taller size.
Second, the stands need to fit in your vehicle. If they fold up nicely, this shouldn’t be a problem. A band’s load-in process is often like playing Tetris anyway, but it’s good to ensure you have stands that fit into your car without any problems.
The stands featured in this guide would be considered midrange stands. Most of the brands mentioned here also offer better quality products, which could cost you several hundred dollars.
My recommendation would be to at least get midrange stands. You don’t want to go too cheap, because then you might end up with a subpar product.
You don’t necessarily need to buy a higher end stand. For one, it’s probably going to get beaten up on the road. For another, it would likely be better suited for studio or occasional live use.
Stay within your budget unless you absolutely need a higher quality stand.
Do I Absolutely Need Mic Stands?
In some cases, you may not.
Many music venues have PAs, mics, and stands of their own that you can use. You may still want to use your own stand, especially if you’re more comfortable with it, but you also wouldn’t need to lug around extra gear if the venue has got you covered. Depending on how you organized your shows or tours, you may not need mic stands on the road at all.
Another option might be to borrow from a local church or community center, especially if you happen to have connections in that capacity.
But most bands have mic stands, even if just for rehearsal use.
Are There Any Accessories I Can Buy For Mic Stands?
Perhaps one of the most common accessories is a mic clip. When you purchase a mic, it usually comes with its own clip, so you won’t have to buy it separately, but if you ever lose it or need to replace it, you can always buy another.
Another popular accessory is a pickholder. Guitarists sometimes have a loose grip and lose their picks easily. Some shred their picks and need an immediate replacement. Others just like to throw picks out into the audience. Whatever the case, this is a great way to keep spare picks at the ready.
You can also find a music stand attachment for your mic stand. I’ve used one of these before, and it’s not bad. The one issue was that it wasn’t as adjustable as I wished it was.
Drinking and music sometimes go together. I’m not one to judge. If you want a drink holder attachment, you can find one of those too. If you need to keep water at the ready, this might be a good way to keep your vocal cords lubricated too.
A headphone holder is another accessory that can be useful. You might not need it for gigging, but if you have a nice pair of headphones in the studio, it’s nice to have.
There are many other accessories available, such as: Pencil holders, trays, phone holders, universal boom attachment, and so on. There is no need to accessorize if you don’t think you’ll need it. Use what you need.
Is There A Difference Between Studio Mic Stands And Live Mic Stands?
To some extent, there is.
This isn’t to suggest that you wouldn’t use live stands in the studio or studio stands in live situations, as you certainly can.
But as you can imagine, stands in the studio are often designed to capture sound at a variety of heights. Shorter stands can be great for kick drums, amplifiers, djembes, and so forth. Longer stands are great for overhead mics or for picking up room sound. Scissor arm stands are usually used for radio broadcasts and podcasting or talkback. Some stands are also designed to sit on top of a desk, usually for podcasting or talkback use.
For live use, you mostly need stands for vocalists. There isn’t always a need for stands that go lower or higher, or stands that are designed to come in at certain angles. Sometimes, instruments are also mic’d up live, but in that instance, you probably have a sound guy doing the work for you. And even then, a standard vocalist mic stand can often work as a makeshift solution.
Again, just use what’s right for you. You probably don’t have need for scissor arm or desktop stands, or even shorter stands if you’re primarily focused on live performance.
Keep in mind that great gear is no substitute for a great performance. It can only make you sound good or look cool to a certain extent. The rest is up to you. You must hone your live show to make it a great experience for your fans.
Mic stands tend to be an essential part of every band’s gear list. It’s worth having your own, even if it’s just for performing in your backyard or at a party, because you never know where you might be invited to perform.