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Microphone Stands

Subject: Microphone Stands
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 17:58:18 -0400
From: "Mike Eccles" <>

> Walt,
> Apologies if this has been covered before, but I did some searches of
> the messages and found nothing of interest...
> I have been studying your website with interest and noticed that you
> have a very tall tripod stand in a couple of the photos (your SASS is
> atop it in one of the pictures). I'm looking for something similar
> for my SASS and wonder if you could let us know something about this
> particular stand. I notice that there is no sandbag/weight at the
> bottom so I asume it was  not windy when you took those pictures
> Is it easy to setup/ raise/ lower and have you any tips for
> selecting/ using such stands?

I've mentioned using high stands and their advantages before, with only
minimal interest from the group. So, little discussion would be found.

There are some mic stands that are as high, but the stands I use are
light stands. Light stands are designed to carry a bit of weight, and
the ones I have are air damped when you release the clamps so they don't
just crash down. The combo makes them pretty sturdy. They are also heavy
enough to be stable in a fair breeze with the SASS, by the time you need
sandbags, the wind noise is probably too great anyway. (though you are
right, the photo was taken in calm conditions) I have two of these
stands, came as a pair off ebay, they are about 15', with the height of
the SASS handle I come close to 16' at the mics. They have no brand name
on them. They are fairly easy to find on ebay. Their only disadvantage
is that they assume a level floor, no adjustment on them for uneven
ground. On the trip in good weather I was setting the stand/SASS every
night in case something came up. I've not yet got around to processing
my trip recordings. I got a little interesting stuff.

I also have a Bogen light stand that's 17', the 3076, but I consider it
a bit light, the top section is only 1/2" or so tubing. I also have a
old Shure mic stand in the same sort of height class, also light for
something like a SASS. Both flex alarmingly with a SASS at full height.

Note a light stand has a special coupling on the top, I machined a clamp
on adapter to that which fits the 3/8" threads on the bottom of my
SASS's handle.

I don't normally cart these stands very far from the truck, though at
Mono Lake I used all the cable I had, about 250'. I do have a packing
strap for tripods that would carry the big tripods fine for longer

I also have a 4.5' stainless steel tubing mast I made to fit the bogen
clamps from their light stand equipment. That clamps onto the cargo bar
on top of my truck's canopy, giving about 11-12' of height. It's very

Note you could get height with a mic boom pole. I've tried that, but
it's more difficult to keep it quiet than the tripod setup and the boom
tends to flex. I've got a boom pole that can get me above 20'. Mostly I
use that pole to dangle a hydrophone into water through the bushes. I
also have a short pole that can get me 10' or so, and is more mobile
than a tripod.

The advantage I'm using with height is that the soundfield is less
cluttered. Close to the ground you get more reflections, phase shifts,
and so on. Height simplifies this and gives you a cleaner recording. I'm
sure that even higher than I'm going would provide some more
improvement. There is a difference you can hear even between holding a
mic chest high and at full arm stretch up.

Another use for height is to go with a directional mic like the telinga
pointing down at your subject. Thus reducing the effect of distant noise
sources. This will be easier with ground level callers than those in
trees. Klas mentioned doing this some years back, which is why I got
started checking out recording from height. I then discovered the main

As far as setting up, it's very easy. Takes me a couple minutes at most
to set up, including digging things out of the truck. I normally leave
the adapter on the SASS, so it only needs to be dropped on the top of
the tripod and the lock screw tightened. Most of the time is stringing
cable and making sure it's not going to make noise. For the overnight
setup I have the recording equipment all set up right beside my bed in
the truck, just roll over and fire it up if something interesting turns
up. I've been known to go back to sleep with the headphones on
monitoring. Wake up when the 80 minute disc runs out.

It's really quite simple to use. Make sure the cable won't move in the
breeze and hit things making noise. Most of the time I velcro it to the
stand just below the mic, and maybe at the bottom. Remember for cable
length you have to have enough cable for the height. I'm using 5 pin XLR
cable for stereo so only one cable. It can also be very comfortable
recording, not just in bed, but I also will run cable into the cab of
the truck. That provides seating, and with the windows closed you don't
have to be quite so quiet. And for those that it matters less insect



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