It happens to all of us; we put a mic in a boom stand, set it to the right height, tighten the clutch and set off to the next task.
When we turn around and look, the mic drooped down toward the floor like a limp noodle.
We head back, tighten the clutch some more, only to find the mic will not stay put.
I have been so frustrated by this phenomenon that I’ve placed orders for new mic stands on Saturday afternoon during set up.
However, brothers (and sisters), I can now tell you this need not be so. I have seen the light. I have learned that these lazy, wayward mic stands can be rehabilitated. And it’s easier than you might think.
It turns out the problem part in these mic stands is an easily replaceable part. A simple pair of fiber/rubber discs act as a clutch pack. Over time, these discs wear out (a process accelerated by booming the mic stand up and down without loosening the clutch first). The good news is that the parts are cheap, and the process takes about 2 minutes.
I ordered my discs from my audio dealer (they were under 50¢ each). I use primarily K&M mic stands, though it appears that most mic stands use the same size disc. In case your dealer can’t find the part, it’s K&M part number 03.21.160.55.
To change them out, I raised the mic stand up to a comfortable working height and began to unscrew the locking knob. Pull the screw out and the top of the boom comes off the mount. The discs will fall right out. Put it back together with new discs and enjoy mic stands that stay put.
After changing all the discs on all the mic stands I had in stock, I went ahead and ordered another 24 discs to keep on hand. I know I’m guilty of beating up the boom stands and trying to use them long after the clutch discs are shot. So I figure, if I keep them on hand, when a boom won’t stay put, I can simply swap discs and be back in business in no time.
Here’s a “before and after” picture illustrating what a worn disc looks like compared to a new one. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
This is not a new or super-exciting product. However, we all use mic stands on a daily or at least weekly basis and a boom stand that won’t stay put will frustrate you and your musicians.
Chances are, you can fix every boom stand in your inventory for under $15, including shipping.
Mike Sessler is the Technical Director at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, CA. He has been involved in live production for over 20 years and is the author of the blog, Church Tech Arts . He also hosts a weekly podcast called Church Tech Weekly on the TechArtsNetwork.