So, you’ve got a brand new microphone of your dreams, but now what? You may or may not have received or purchased a stand to go with it. Having a decent microphone stand with your new audio setup is the most important part of the experience. Not only does it make recording more comfortable for you, it will improve your sound quality significantly. If you don’t feel like buying one, you may consider creating one for yourself.
Do yourself a favor and do not let the internet fool you into thinking that duct taping a mic to your household broom will achieve the same effect. Even though there are millions of ways of doing it (including the old wire hanger trick) I have gathered a small guide for you. In this article, I am going to walk you through making your own microphone stand or simply how to set one up, while explaining the different facets of what goes into creating an awesome recording experience.
Making microphone stand
With our first tutorial, the items you will need to create this specific microphone stand are super affordable can be found at most hardware stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Continue reading to get this list and to see how we will use them to make our stand and what each piece will do to help you dupe a professional boom microphone arm and stand.
- A wooden base. Any flat slab of wood will work.
- (2) 0.5 inch threaded union tees
- (2) lengths 1.5 inch PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe, with one measuring 2’ and the other measuring 1’
- (2) 1.5 inch slip-threaded adapters
- (1) 1.5 inch slip-snap PVC joint – threaded
- (1) 0.5 inch elbow joint
- (1) 0.5 inch threaded pipe
- (1) 0.5 inch threaded pipe flange
First, let’s talk about the boom microphone. To put it simply, a boom microphone is a microphone connected to a boom arm. The arm is an extendable and adjustable piece of equipment that your mic can be mounted from. Even though these microphones are widely used for film purposes, they are also used for personal audio recording. The arm improves the balance of the audio quality and keeps audio sources out of the frame of a shot.
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- Weight: 3.84lbs
- 360 degrees of rotation
The hardest part about crafting a boom mic stand is that a professional one comes with a lot of pivot joints, allowing you to adjust the microphone’s angle in millions of ways. It is extremely difficult to find these joints in hardware stores, so we will be using the union tees to get a similar effect.
1. The Boom Arm
First, you will want to take off the rubber ring from one end of each union tee. In doing this, you will only need to tighten and loosen one of the caps to make any changes. Once you remove the ring at one end, loosen the other, you will want to then slide your PVC pieces into each of the union tees.
2. The Boom Arm Continued
Great! Now we have two of the adjustable tees assembled. Now it’s time to connect the longer 2’ tee to the shorter 1’ one, using one of our 0.5 inch threaded adapters. The threaded end will screw seamlessly into the base of the tee. The slip end will fit snugly over the end of the shortest PVC pipe. For extra security, feel free to use a heavy duty glue to keep the adapter and the pipe together.
3. The Clip
Onto the next one—-the microphone clip! Sure, you could make your own microphone clip but why not make your own masterpiece entirely? This clip in turns brings us to our slip-snap joint. It is similar to the threaded tee joint but with an entirely open top. This is a miracle worker for your microphone. If you cannot find the slip snap in your local hardware store or Home Depot, you can try using a simple 0.5 inch tee fitting. Your microphone will not “snap” in but it should glide in easily. Something to remember would be to make sure that your mic clip assembly is connected to your boom arm with the 0.5 inch elbow joint.
4. The Base
Last but not least, our most tricky part, so saddle up and prepare to ride this one to the finish line. With the PVC boom arm being so lightweight, your mic is probably way heavier. With this, we have to make a base that is solid, sturdy and holds weight properly. We have to make sure the stand does not tip in any way. With the threaded tee joint on the boom arm as well as the threaded pipe, it will not quiver or bend, providing enough weight so it will not tip over.
Now, let’s make it stand! Screw in the 0.5 inch threaded adapter plate to your wooden base. The pipe will fit perfectly into the adapter plate and the boom arm assembly screws into the top of the pipe.
Ensuring the base’s solid foundation is something that I cannot stress enough with this technique. Using a PVC pipe for the base may be cheaper, but it is sure to bend and tip your microphones weight. Keep the diameter of your fittings in mind at all times and even consider taking your mic to the store with you to make sure they will fit. Pipes and connectors should be larger in size.
Voila! You have a functional microphone stand. Though there can be tweaks and improvements made to this do-it-yourself design, it is practical and will serve its purpose for you. Typically, mic stands cost at the least $30, so do not spend more on making your own than you would buying a brand new piece.
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Set up a microphone stand
Maybe you’re the other half of this audience and want to know how to set up your microphone with an existing microphone stand. Maybe you’ve just bought one or have had it sitting in the box without the knowledge of how to put it together. Fear not, for there is a tutorial for that as well coming right up.
Make sure you have your package/kit in front of you and ready to go. Ensure that the instructions are in the setup, just as a reference guide to make sure you aren’t missing any of the necessary pieces required.
Standard microphone stand packages include but are not limited to:
- A shock mount holder
- The suspension boom
- Table clamp
Kits providing these items are not ideal for professional radio use or for those who podcast full-time. This is your run of the mill, basic solution that will hold a microphone in a fixed position.
1. Desk Clamp
The first step in this setup is to grab your table clamp and mount it to the side of your desk or chosen surface. Choose where you want your boom arm to go. Some clamps may require tightening or screws.
2. Suspension Arm
After the clamp is tightened and secured, it’s time to insert your suspension arm. The arm will give you around three to four feet of horizontal play and travel.
3. Mic Holder
Last you will use the shock mount holder, placing it on top and most of the time, screwing it by hand on to the stand. If you are using a shotgun style microphone, you may want to use the holder that comes with it. As long as you are using the condenser microphone, the shock mount will do the trick.
In the spirit of discussing shotgun style microphones, let’s take a look at how those different in set-up than a condenser mic. The brand RODE is one of the leading creators in this type of microphone. A shotgun microphone comes equipped to move in any direction, but must be pointed directly to its target source of sound. These types of microphones pick up sound extremely well when it is directly in front of them, but sound quality can decrease if the source of sound is moved around. A shotgun gets its name from its unique shape and body that resembles the barrel of a shotgun. To keep these in a fixed position, simply make sure that your table clamps are secure with everything is properly in place, including you! So, if you have a chair to sit in while you record (which I highly recommend) be sure to utilize your lifts and levers to ensure that you’re directly in front of the microphone. This will give you the ultimate audio experience.
Some kits do not come with add-ons known to improve overall microphone audio quality such as a pop filter. A pop filter is a small to medium sized accessory that slips over your suspension arm, enhancing your audio by eliminating popping sounds caused by mechanical, fast moving air. It is the go to accessory for improving audio and reducing background noise. If you haven’t heard of a windscreen, they generally serve the same purpose as a pop filter except that it is created to focus more on keeping dirt and moisture out of your microphone while helping to remove unwanted sounds like air moving or breathing.
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- Pop filter included
Another handy item is an XLR (External Line Return) mixer. With this, it’s an easy as simply plugging in your microphone to the XLR inputs on your mixer. Suspension arms are often built with an XLR cable integrated inside of them, so you don’t even need to have your own cable. How cool is that?
If you really want to reduce noise, check out Soundproofing Tiles that come very affordable and tack easily on the walls of your recording space! No more cars passing by or rain storms in the background of your audio ever again, unless you enjoy that.
Great quality sound provides you with a better source of entertainment for your audience or viewers, not to mention making an effective and comfortable space for you to do your best work. Whether it is recording music, voice overs, whispering videos for insomnia, tutorials, vlogs, podcasts, etc., you always need to put your audio first. If you’re just starting out and cannot invest a lot financially, do not worry and keep in mind the do-it-yourself microphone stand tutorial. If you’re an existing creator and you simply cannot find that boost that you need to really make your content pop, consider reassessing your equipment and how you have it set up.
In this new time where content creation is taking over and people enjoy podcasts more than the actual radio, microphones are bigger now than they’ve ever been. Being able to create in home recording studios and set up successful live streams for chatting or video gaming truly make creative success attainable. As a fellow live streamer, my microphone setup and audio quality are of the utmost importance to my experience. When first starting out, I didn’t have much but with tutorials like these, I felt much more inclined to amplify my sound setup and to get the most from my recordings. Being able to utilize a microphone stand, add-on accessories and of course, finding the right microphone for me not only made streaming more comfortable, but my viewers were returning and enjoying my content, simply because of the new and improved sound quality.
So, did I answer all of your questions? It is my hope that after our lovely time spent together in this article that you feel more comfortable with taking that leap to improve your sound! We have went over some of the basics and a little in depth that way you feel like you know what you’re doing when you’re setting up. Don’t we all want to feel well versed in what we are doing? It was my intention to provide comfort, ease and knowledge to better help you figure out how to manage the basics of setting up your microphone stand and even making your own from scratch, which is a super cool thing to try!
Did you enjoy this tutorial? Did you try out the homemade stand? If so, I would love to hear about your experience in making this stand! And of course, please do not hesitate to ask questions that you may have regarding the above information.
Sound off in the comments below to let me know what you thought and if you liked it! Feel free to share this article with your online community or any fellow friends who may need a crash course in microphone stands and recording basics.
Thank you for allowing me to share my knowledge with you and happy recording!