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Just getting started but trying not to waste any money.

I'm looking at K&M mic stands. Should I be going for a fixed or telescopic boom? Shorter stand and longer boom or the other way round?

I will generally be recording either a standing singer or a seated speaker.

The specifications of the models I'm considering are as follows:

Stand: 900-1605mm
Boom: 840mm
Weight: 3.2kg

Stand: 900-1605mm
Boom: 460-770mm
Weight: 3.2kg

Stand: 925-1630mm
Boom: 805mm
Weight: 3.0kg

Stand: 925-1630mm
Boom: 425-725mm
Weight: 3.0kg

Any advice on the pros and cons would be welcome.

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StevenColbert Mon, 05/15/2006 - 14:13

From my exp. All mic stands are pretty cheaply made. And NONE are really that much better than the next one. There is some real junk out there to be had, but no name(s) comes to mind. But for the most part all mic stands are fairly decent. And they all will have problems after years of tighening and losening.
FWIW try to get all the same type of mic stands. That way when a part breaks, or is no longer any good, then at least you can use it for parts to make the others work, as the others will have some problems down the road as well.
I've seen mic stands work great for 5 or 6 years. And I've also seen brand new mic stands that were complete junk, right out of the box.
I don't know of any "brand name" to suggest. Me, myself...I use the $19.99 at the local music store. I have no idea what the name on them is. But they are cheap (@ $20 and under) and seem to work fine.

moonbaby Mon, 05/15/2006 - 14:33

The answer to this relies on where you live. By the information that you passed on, I suspect you are European? K&M are popular there, but more expensive here in the States. My personal experience with K&M was not good, but mainly due to the availability of repair parts. Maybe where you live they are better represented. Here in the States, it's gotta be ATLAS!
They provide excellent service on their products so that if something breaks, it can be fixed fairly cheaply and quickly. Their quality is also very good, better than the K&M stands that I HAD. I would recommend the Atlas MS25, which is a heavy-duty stand. Its larger base will help keep rumble noises out of the mic better than the others, too.
Mr Colbert does have a valid point in that many of the "music store" variety of stands out there are crappy quality. Don't waste your money on them. And remember this: if you're using this with "amateurs", a cheap quality stand will not last for even a 1/10th of the time that a good one will. Amateurs will tear up a cheap stand fast!

anonymous Mon, 05/15/2006 - 14:50

I'm having some equipment sent from Germany to the UK and have to make a decision on the mic stands by tomorrow. The choice is between the four K&M models I listed.

Above all I need to decide whether to go for a fixed or telescopic boom and would very much appreciate a recommendation one way or the other.

Boswell Mon, 05/15/2006 - 15:08

I have about a dozen K&M stands. They're not great, but at least they're cheap. Go for the telescopic booms - I find I am always using those in preference to the fixed booms. Get some of the short stands as well if you will be miking seated instrumentalists such as guitar players. For seated vocalists (and therefore probably seated speakers as well), I use the full-size type.

The fold out legs on the base are amazingly stiff and secured with special security bolts so you can't adjust the tightness, but are otherwise OK.

The only problem I have is that they get unstable at full stretch when using heavy microphones, but that's just geometry and weight. If I mistakenly put about 10 K&M stands in one bag I can't lift it, and other, heavier, stands are worse.

As for model numbers, I've just had a look and I can't find any model numbers on mine. Some say "Koenig & Meyer Proline" and some just "K & M".

JoeH Mon, 05/15/2006 - 21:22

Geeze guys, I don't know planet some of you are from, but there's a HUGE difference between mic stands, esp the no -names and knock offs. I've been burned over the years with rushed/emergency purchases of low-end stuff at GC and SA; you really do get what you pay for. A $19 mic stand is a $19 mic stand, and there's a world of difference between those and the real deal.

Some have plastic bases and parts where they should be solid metal; some are simply stamp-molded collars and grips that fall apart after just a little bit of use/abuse. The cheap ones are built to LOOK like the better ones, but it's a sham, and it's no savings in the long run. (Do you REALLY want to risk your mic collection falling on the floor with mic stands that can't hold them? What about damaging a client's instrument - or worse - their person? We're around a lot of priceless instruments on many concerts and sessions, and the last thing I want is a damaged violin or cello that costs more than my house. it's really lame trying to blame a cheap microphone stand after the damage is done.

Atlas and K&M (which makes the AKG line and several others) are the best out there, depending on your needs and usage. I throw mic stands in and out of the back of vans and cars week in and week out. Let me tell you; the cheap stuff falls apart reallll fast. The K&Ms have been robust and resistant to falling apart. The GC and SA stuff fell apart long ago, and hasn't been asked back to the party.

There are some good ones among the bad. Quicklok (not nec. my favorite, either) makes a great tripod stand with wheels (they're currently backordered all over the world - the QL-A50), if you're looking for something tall and robust enough to give you range and fairly strong support.

As for single arm boom vs telescoping, I usually get the two-part telescoping versions of the K&Ms. For my usage, having a single one-piece boom is sometimes counterproductive.

Atlas has always made some great stuff; but they've got a couple of stinkers in their line just like any other brand.

Buyer beware.

TeddyG Sat, 07/15/2006 - 08:01

My K&M(8 years old and still lovely!) has a model #(Only found on the box it came in, not anywhere on the stand itself(?):


Under that # is another #(?)


I believe it's called a "standard height" stand, with adjustable boom.

If you need to use it for a heavy mic(Something it's NOT intended for) put a "sandbag" around it's base, made of a piece of car tire innertube(Good luck finding that!), loosely filled with sand and tied at each end with heavy nylon cable ties -- or just buy one at the "sound reinforcement" store. Remember though, the stand may "fail" anyway(Bend and break) as very heavy mics are not "it's thing".

I'd have to call the quality of the K&M stand I have "semi-pro" or "pro-sumer". And like all "pro-sumer" things, they are just that -- pro features with consumer quality - they break more easily and parts are hard to find and harder to replace - the stuff, to keep the price low, is just not meant to be fixed - at least not by the user and often not at all. A "real" service/parts department with inventory(Especially to have one in every large town) is very expensive to operate, so, one of the results is that to have service/parts available, you just have to pay more, initially, for your stuff(Sometimes LOTS more). That's just fine when you ARE a "pro", who is relatively unconcerned with "price", but for someone into things in a part-time or hobbyist, or "starter" way, whether to "go pro" or stick with "semi-pro" is a tough choice. I'd have to recommend starting with fewer, better things and working up...

Biggest thing with this "semi-pro" stuff is to not let anyone else but YOU, the owner, the one who put out the coin to buy the stuff, touch it! Hard to do in a normal studio situation - especially a "semi-pro" situation - which generally means that almost everyone involved is also "semi-pro" to rank amateur. So, when someone wants to move or change a mic stand they just "grab it and do it", often without regard or knowledge to first loosening then moving then re-tightening(Not too much, not too little). The same is true of every piece of semi-pro gear(And alot of "pro" stuff!)! It does everything well and it does it for cheap but it doesn't take abuse and can't be repaired conveniently. Just keep this in mind.

Strangely(?) the more pro you go, the more those involved in every way KNOW to "let stuff alone"! I would normally not dream of adjusting my own mic/stand for instance or moving something(Anything!) in a "real" studio, as that's what the engineers do. And this on top of the fact that the gear IS ordinarilly MUCH tougher, makes for "happier gear".

Just keep in mind that when you buy the "semi-pro" gear that you take v-e-r-y good care of it and then, when it breaks, be prepared to often just go out and buy a new one.


anonymous Sat, 07/15/2006 - 21:39

Okay, this could be a lengthy debate, here's my opinion. Get a couple decent booms and the rest buy cheap. The rationale for me is that if you can get 6 cheapo stands for $100-120, it's more cost-effective to just replace those if they break than to outfit your entire studio with expensive stands. I have 12 stands that cost me less than $300 in total. When they don't hold anymore I toss them, no big loss. On top of this, you'd be surprised how long they DO last. I used most of mine at 100+ live shows before I brought them into my studio!

zemlin Sun, 07/16/2006 - 13:35

All my boom stands are AKG - made by K&M. For most stuff, I prefer the non-telescoping booms simply because they are more rigid - better for heavy mics. I have a couple of telescoping booms and telescoping bases that I usually use for smaller instrument mics.

I've used ON-STAGE tripod booms - they are total crap - plastic bases, flimsy legs - worthless clutches. I've also bought some Quick-Lok tripod booms - the clutches on those stands suck - can't even hold an SM58 far enough out for VOX on a piano without cranking the bloody crap out of the handle.

My AKG stands are sturdy, heavy enough to stay upright under most conditions, and they have clutches I can count on.

I do like the QuickLok A85 boom stands when you need something with a good reach. A good, stable base and a long boom. Good for room mics high over the audience or a stereo pair in front of a choir. For $90 they are a bargain. Sure, there are better big booms, but if you're on a budget, the A85s are a good start.