so i just ordered a soundelux U95s, and i've heard it's heavy as hell. i'm a small time guy, and this will be my first serious tube mic. what kind of stand do i need to use to prevent any horrible tip-overs?
Your instinct is good. Yes, you will need a strong capable mic stand. Yes, you run the risk of having the mic fall. Find one used to save money.
If the mic is right side up, you could squeak once or twice with a good solid regular stand, however in the long run you want to be able to leave the mic up in any position and walk away from it. (ie: drum overhead) Sturdy is a must especially with something that's as delicate and expensive as a studio mic.
There is variety in old and new sturdy stands to choose from. It's worth repeating. In no way ever put a good mic to one of those $15 stands that are on sale at the music stores. If the mic is heavy, then the risk runs high that it will teeter.
An Atlas stand with the 5 foot boom and casters is around $250 and will hold it without a problem. You could also take the cheap way out and get a 5 pound weight and put that on a regular tripod stand. Also, make sure one foot of the stand is under the boom.
At the risk of exposing myself to great personal & profesional flamage, I wish to confess that I am developing a heavy mic stand.
This project started 22 months ago when I decided that all existing mic stands were either too light, too big, too flimsy, too tippy, and/or too loose and sloppy.
This stand will have a 25 pound base with a totally new shape. Clamps and clutches that are almost as strong as welds. Adjusting the stand height will not loosen the boom or the base. And no play anywhere.
Dan Kennedy saw a prototype and he wants one.
Public introduction should be at Winter NAMM in Anaheim. It will cost more than Atlas but the quality and utility will be well worth it. I use an RCA 44BX (7.1 lbs) for testing.
For heavy duty stands, I use both the Atlas and the On Stage products. I find that the stability is much improved (especially on thicker carpet) if you remove the wheels. In most applications you don't really need the ability to roll around anyway - they're not that heavy that they can't be lifted/slid carefully into position. With the Atlas you get a quite heavy triangular cast iron base about 15" on a side - pretty stable for all but the heaviest mics. If you don't need booms for everything, you can get a stripped down version (same base without wheels, no boom) for around $60 on the street. The On Stage product is an impressive value, with a telescoping center pole that goes up about 6' with a 6' expanding boom on top of that - plenty of height! The four fixed floor legs measure about 16" each (32" end to end). The lockdown screws have large easily manipulated circular handles, and the boom angle is controlled by interlocking gears which are very stable. Again, with the wheels removed it works very well for most situations.
Originally posted by Faeflora: I bought two of those $100 Onstage stands. Cheap, Flimsy, but you don't need to put the leg of the stand out under the boom.
How are they holding up? I needed another pair of mic stands in a pinch a few weeks ago and I was tempted to get them but they seemed really flimsy in the store. I have a few regular On Stage boom stands that aren't holding up very well compared to the K&Ms. I could us a pair of long booms but not it they're going to fall apart after a few months.
FWIW: are the Onstage stands flimsy? Undoubtably! If you run over them with your truck, or drop them out a 3rd story window they will be much worse off than a high quality solid steel stand. But are they useable, esp. considering the price? In my opinion: yes. The key is to make sure all the screws etc. are really tight, and to TAKE OFF THE WHEELS. Once the wheels are off, the stability seems to improve about 100%. Certainly I would have no hesitation about using any light to medium weight microphone with them. And with the extremely long boom arm, you can position the boom so that leverage allows even a very heavy mic to be effectively counterweighted. The only real drawback is it will be a little less resistant to toppling by a clumsy musician than a real "pro" stand.
...I decided that all existing mic stands were either too light, too big, too flimsy, too tippy, and/or too loose and sloppy.
This stand will have a 25 pound base with a totally new shape. Clamps and clutches that are almost as strong as welds....
It will cost more than Atlas but the quality and utility will be well worth it...
AFAIAC the standard for such a stand is the Keith Monks MSM/BAM stand. I wish I hadn't sold most of my collection of these things! I had about twelve and now I have two. They were small-scale studio boom stands from Britain, very very solid in their construction with large stable tripod legs and gigantic rubber boom clutches: these mic stands can hold ANYTHING in place, forever. They came in chrome plated and colored nylon hot-dip finishes: mine date from 1975 and still look like new. And it doesn't require a 25-pound base!
John Etnier says that his mid-size Keith Monks tripod stands have gigantic rubber boom clutches, large stable tripod legs, and can hold anything in place forever.
I agree with John that Keith Monks made some very good mic stands in the 70's. I bought 4 larger Keith Monks stands then myself, and I still have them. Keith Monks build quality is much better than Atlas stands.
I do disagree with John on several points though.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STABLE TRIPOD BASE.
They will tip over with a heavy microphone the second the boom is no longer over a leg. An AKG or K&M boom stand with an AKG 414 at full extension will tip with only the slightest touch if the boom isn'directly over a leg.
I lost faith in the Keith Monks "gigantic rubber boom clutches" when a particularly weighty condenser micropohone crashed into the harp of my grand piano.
Would I trust my fully restored and re-ribboned RCA44BX to any large or mid-sized Keith Monks stand? Hell no. They aren't strong enough and they are too light to hold a 7.1 pound microphone with any degree of safety.
I am sure that John Etnier is very happy with his Keith Monks stands, and that they have served him well for decades.
Such stands however, do not meet my standards. I want a stand that is REALLY strong. I can do chinups on my stand's boom without bending the boom or caving in the vertical clutch (and I weigh about 190 pounds). How's that for strong?
It is not possible to hold a really heavy microphone without a very heavy base, or a base of enormous size. In my studio world, enormous sized bases don't fit, so I went for a relatively heavy base with a special shape.
I'm sure that many people have no need for a really strong and stable mic stand that can hold super heavy mics like a 44BX. But for those who do, there will soon be one more market option.
I hope that Mr. Etnier will not view this as a flame. I am trying to clarify my specific issues with existing stands, and to point out how my design differs from the current state of the art. I am glad that John likes his stands and hope that they continue to meet his needs in the future. I thank him for his contribution to this thread.
Due to some near misses, I have posted almost all of the questions posted in this thread previously on other forums. FWIW, here are a few things that I have learned:
1. Markertek sell the SB36w for $160!!! It ain't no Starbird, but at that price its worth picking up a couple.
2. The best "deal" for a top quality stand seems to be a used RCA or Atlas SB100. YOu won't find either easily, but when you do it will be worth the effort.
3. A very serviceable stand can be put together from pro lighting and camera hardware; but it will look goofy.
4. If John can keep his HEAVY duty stand well under $400 or so, he could have a real winner. Once you get over $400 or $500, you can assemble your own mega stand from lighting hardware or find a used Starbird.
good luck to anyone willing to try to produce a better stand; I know that I ain't satisfied with what's available.
For what it's worth.. I don't like the Manley version of the Starbirds one bit. The legs need constant retightening (because of a design idea of David Manley's so that the legs could be removable) or else they don't roll properly.
I worked at a studio that had some of the Manley starbirds, and some original starbirds, and the originals were far more robust.