Do All Mic Stands Suck?

Do All Mic Stands Suck?

It seems that I’m always looking for a better mic stand.  By better, I mean something that will last longer than one or two years.  My usage will be for local corporate and non-festival sound reinforcement applications.  It seems I’m going to have to continue purchasing these important pieces of hardware much more often than I’d like.  Now….  with that being said and in all fairness to the many brands and models available, a few are better than the rest.  However for me, the vast majority of these stands are lamic stand casecking.  Sure, you could say that I may be too hard on these stands and that I don’t transport them properly.  But those who know me understand that this is not the case.  I treat my gear with respect and try to get the most mileage out of my purchases.  Like anyone else, I’m always trying to find the best gear (or product type) for my hard-earned money.  Though equipment failures and expected obsolescence are a fact of any business, it seems that microphone stands just don’t hold up.  I guess I could complain to all who will listen and say “if we can put a man on the moon, why can’t someone build a better mic stand?”  But it’s true.

A few yeaon stage standrs ago, I did my research and concluded that the OnStage Model MS9701TB was suitable for my situation, running a local sound company and being a gigging musician.  And, with a street price of about $50 bucks, it seemed to be a great deal.  Retailers claimed that this stand was heavy duty and tour tough.  Well, once the stand arrived it was certainly heavy, but as time went on its duty was rather iffy.  Upon deployment, the first gig demonstrated that the stand’s height adjustment clutch was so tight that I needed a wrench to loosen and tighten it.  Conversely, it’s boom arm friction adjustment never would tighten enough to keep even the lightest mic from slowly descending to belt level.  Then after about 10 uses, its legs came loose (from a collapsed position) and would flop around. Lastly, a broken boom adjustment screw that had to be surgically removed, and stripped mic clip threads, added to my frustration and lack of confidence.  It seemed that I was constantly searching through my parts boneyard in hopes of making this product usable.

onstage boom clutch

clutch won’t hold

These stands gave me no confidence that they weren’t going to fall apart during a performance (which happened a couple of times).  Damn, what would have happened if I purchased the cheap ones?  Though to be fair, I’ve seen that OnStage has updated the stand (MS9701TB+), and they claim to have addressed paint flaking and leg stability.  Time will tell if it’s any better.  I have one of these in route, and will report back later.

on stage boom ext knob

broken tightener

The other day I was checking out their website and noticed they had included a service section detailing parts that were available and could be ordered right away.  I thought this was cool and began to find the many parts I needed, all of which were replaceable.  I go to checkout and all but one part were back-ordered with no time frame shown as to when they may be shipped.  So that was a big waste of effort.km210_9

So what should you purchase?  The touring sound companies will tell you that the better products from K&M (Koenig & Meyer) are what they use.  The model 210/9 is a nice stand, considered heavy duty and is below $100.  It has a strong tripod base, reliable adjustment clutches and hardware, with a telescoping boom arm.  I’ve had a few of these in use for many years and they’ve had vkM clutchery few problems other than needing a little tightening of the leg screws.  Of course any stand you’ve had on the front lines for a long time is going to look scratched and beat up, but functional performance is what counts.  And, for about $75, it’s a great value.

Another stand I’ve used that deserves your consideration is the DR Pro Tripod Boom ($50).  It is solid with smooth adjustment hardware and a robust weighted base.  Unfortunately, your choices of where to purchase DR products are limited to Amazon and Guitar Center (which means it won’t be in stock when you hit the store to check it out).  Additionally, as with most any Chinese made stand, replacement parts can be very hard to obtain.  So in the event of a part failure, your ability to “MacGyver” a fix will come into play.  So in the end, plan on spending a few hundred bucks each year on new microphone stands, though these products from K&M and DR should be considered.  As always, do your homework, consider user reviews, check the warranty (parts availability) and consider your application.

Feel free to add your comments about microphone stands you’ve had success (or problems) with.

Rooster Review – Mega Tripar Profile Plus

Rooster Review – Mega Tripar Profile Plus

Today I thought I’d stray a bit from my typical audio-focused content and tell you about the Mega Tripar Profile Plus LED stage light fixture from American DJ.  If you’re expecting a review detailing my displeasure or critical view of this product, you won’t hear anything like that today.  In short, this is a very nice, cost-effective fixture with loads of flexibility and great reliability, which I highly recommend.  mega tripar ioI own several of these and a few of its older sibling, the Mega Tripar Profile.  With a street price of around $99, there isn’t much that can beat this product and its feature set when considering the price.

This is an LED equipped stage (or DJ) light fixture that eats just 21 watts of power and produces a bright configurable output.  Up to 30 units can be daisy chained together using easy to find IEC power link cables.  The unit comes with a split mounting yoke that can also serve as a floor stand when using the fixture in up-lighting situations.  When removing the yoke, its slim design allows the fixture to lie flat or easily be placeMega Tripar uplightsd within most box or triangle truss applications.  Because the product employs five 4-watt LED elements, it runs with virtually no heat output making it great when washing drapes, walls and stages.  3-pin DMX IN & OUT with 5-channels allowing DMX controllers to easily be connected plus there are 5 built-in operational modes that are great for stand-alone setups.  The big upgrade from its older sibling is the addition of “UV” helping to obtain a warmer white output, which should satisfy even the most critical user. Another nice change is that American DJ upped the per/LED wattage.  Its beam angle is 40 degrees and there is even an optional infrared remote control which can be very handy during setups.

In use, I have to say the Mega Tripar Profile Plus is great!  Its RGB color mixing capabilities allow users to dial-in just the right amount of color saturation when color-matching a customer’s party.  For me, one of the most important requirements in lighting is reliability.  Since I became aware of this product and its older predecessor, mega tripar remoteI have deployed literally thousands of these with only one failure.  That is truly amazing for a $99 lighting fixture.  I’ve dropped them and had them fall from suspended truss and all have continued to work just fine.  The rear control panel is intuitive and allows quick programming.  With a front setup of white lights washing the stage and several Mega Tripar Profile Plus around the perimeter you can make even the ugliest band look like stars.  While these are not intended or rated for wet locations, they do just fine in humid environments and I’ve had no issues using them in cold weather setups.

If you’re ready to step up to LED fixtures or want to add more fixtures to your lighting rig, the Mega Tripar stage megatripar upProfile Plus should be at the top of your list to check out.  And for bands looking to step up from traditional hot, power-hungry Par Cans, this American DJ fixture is hard to beat.  Give our friends at American Musical Supply  a click and checkout their great products and pricing.

TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2

TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2

Today I’ll review the TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2 pedal. American Musical Supply  This second generation pedal is a great compliment to TC’s Mic Mechanic (to be reviewed), just like the original Harmony Singer, introduced with much acclaim several years ago.  Canadian based TC Helicon has been a leader in digital technology for many years and is the sister company of Danish TC Electronic, which are both owned by the Music Group of companies that include:  Behringer, Midas, DDA, Bugera, Lake, Tannoy and a few others.  Chances are you’ve used a TC product in a live sound rig or studio without knowing it.  But for now, we’ll discuss the Harmony Singer 2. Continue reading

QSC K12 Review & Road Test

QSC K12 Review & Road Test

Today, we’ll review and discuss the very popular QSC model K12 powered speaker.  American Musical Supply  As you may be aware, the K12 has been on the market for over 7 years and is regarded by many as today’s standard in powered speakers.  Since its introduction, many other manufacturers’ similar offerings have passed through dealer’s shelves, but none have stood the test of time like the K-Series.  Products in the series include the K8, K10, K12 and KSub.  But for now, we’ll concentrate on the K12.  Why?  I am a K12 user for over 2-years and a fan of most QSC products.  If you have time, checkout QSC K12 Info  and take a look at the many quality products they produce. Continue reading

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