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Old November 19th, 2011, 07:04 AM   #1
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sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

I have this stand/extendable arm combo:

Beyerdynamic GST500 - Tripod Microphone Stand AMS-GST-500-5-8

The stand is fairly good, but the center brake knob on the arm just can't be tightened enough to reliably hold any weight at even a moderate distance.

Two questions:

1. Are all portable tripod stands basically the same in terms of reliability and quality? Based on the B&H photos, they pretty much look like mine.

2. Would something like this be overkill, or too top heavy, as a retrofit for my base:

Atlas Sound PB11XEB Adjustable Boom Arm PB11XEB B&H Photo Video


Seeing my mic slowly descend into the shot is something I won't forget, and will pay money to avoid in future!
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Old November 19th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #2
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Just a couple of questions... How heavy a mic are you using, and in what scenario are you using the stand?
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Old November 19th, 2011, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Just an average hyper or short shotgun for location shooting. The arm can just about support its own weight when fully extended.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #4
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

I have a couple of these Beyerdynamic stands. They work OK within the same kind of limitations as a construction crane :-)
In other words don't expect them to hold much weight at the limit of their travel (especially with boom at a right angle to the main stand).
If you have much experience holding a mic on a boom you will appreciate the considerable leverage that even a light shotgun can exert.

It's all about vectors, (though counterbalance has a part to play as well).

Don't expect it to behave like one of these:
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Old November 19th, 2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Many of those small booms/mic stands have the same type of lock seen in those BnH pix. You have to really tighten it up and end up scrunching the plastic washer. There are better neoprene grades of those, try your nearest Home Depot or Plumbers outlet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Fass View Post
Seeing my mic slowly descend into the shot is something I won't forget, and will pay money to avoid in future!
Ha .. reminds me of the first few weeks on air with a brand new TV station, NBN Channel 3 in Newcastle here.

In our large Studio A we had a Mole Richardson boom (Cols picture above) and what was called a 'Lazy Arm'. This was a big standalone rig on wheels with a heavy counterweight strung on adjustable rollers with springs. After a few weeks in use, the 'string' broke and the whole rig very slowly collapsed right down to the tripod floor mount with loud sproing! doing! bang! crash! sounds.

It happened on air during the '3 Cheers' kids show and I remember our colorful crazy Norman the Clown, standing there looking stunned as this all happened. It finished with one roller wheel wobbling past him into the cyc. at the back of the studio. The 'APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE' sign flashed on for the audience, and we went to commercials.

Seems like yesterday but it was 50yrs ago next year, big celebrations coming up in March.

3 Cheers.
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Last edited by Allan Black; November 19th, 2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 10:29 PM   #6
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

i once purchased one of these, it is quite robust: On-Stage Stands SB9600 | Sweetwater.com
They also have a version with studio casters and a weighted base,but I have not used that. The boom arm is pretty long (82") so it's not something you'd put in carry-on luggage! It does, however, break down for transit. The stand is suitably heavy.

I have also used a hand-held-type mike boom mounted on a C-stand with a $30 adapter that B&H sells---it's kind of like a fishing pole caddy --- the c-stands are very sturdy, the clamps don't slip, and you can get double duty if you have a mike pole already....
Pearstone Boom Pole Holder 8121290 B&H Photo Video
There are other manufactuers of c-stands, Matthews is, I think, the original:
Matthews Century C+ Turtle Base Century Stand - 5.25' 339760 B&H
. You'd need a grip head, here's one:
Avenger D200 Grip Head - 2.5" D200 B&H Photo Video


A complete stand that includes a short boom and the grip head:
Interfit Century "C" Stand with 4' Boom Arm - INT308

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; November 20th, 2011 at 12:06 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old November 21st, 2011, 07:25 AM   #7
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

For that type of work we use a dedicated field boom on a C-Stand. either CF or aluminum will work since it is stand mounted. But if you are going to be doing any hand work I would suggest the carbon fiber unit. A sandbag would also be nice to have on hand as a just-in-case.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

I also have a Boomboy bracket to use when a C-stand is available. $30 cheap.
Boom Boy | Remote Audio
For ENG type sit-down interviews, I bring along a standard size music-type boom.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 08:40 AM   #9
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Rick, this is mostly for sit-down interviews. It just needs a better brake on the arm.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 09:06 AM   #10
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

In every case where I've used someone else's mic stand with boom arm and the arm wouldn't support the weight of the mic, close inspection revealed two things:
The cupped washer under the tightening nut was installed facing the wrong way, and there was grease on the surfaces of the boom pivot.
The cup of the washer has to face the surface of the boom pivot and the dome of the washer has to face the tightening nut. Most people assume it's a flat washer and don't pay attention to how it is installed, but it should have a noticeable curvature and needs to be facing the correct direction for maximum holding power.
Disassemble the boom arm from the mic stand and wipe away any grease or oil from the surfaces that need friction to hold the boom arm up.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Quote:
The cupped washer under the tightening nut was installed facing the wrong way
Jay, if it's the same model as mine, the washer IS flat.
(Apologies for iPhone photos)

EDIT: Now that I look at the box, mine are Beyerdynamic GST400 but the difference is mine have a fixed length rather than an telescopic boom arm.
http://europe.beyerdynamic.com/shop/...t-400-3-8.html
http://europe.beyerdynamic.com/shop/...t-500-3-8.html
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sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?-nuts.jpg   sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?-nodome.jpg  


Last edited by Colin McDonald; November 21st, 2011 at 10:51 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 11:31 AM   #12
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

I've never taken it apart, so an installation problem would have had to happen at the factory.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 12:30 PM   #13
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Fass View Post
Rick, this is mostly for sit-down interviews. It just needs a better brake on the arm.
Yeah, that's the problem with older or budget stands. Hanging an unused cable or two as a counterweight helps.
I also use a lightweight gaffer clamp to attach a boom to an unused (or used) ENG light stand on travel gigs, were weight an additional gear is an issue. I'll look at the specific model when I get back to HQ. Weighs less than a pound
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Old November 21st, 2011, 10:06 PM   #14
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Colin, it is more subtle on yours than on older stands, but I believe the way your washer was stamped does make it not exactly flat, especially around the edge.
It's something worth checking even from the factory, along with removing any grease that may be on any of the components that need friction to hold tight.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 10:40 PM   #15
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Re: sturdy, portable mic stand/boom arm?

Time to get rid of the toys and do this job properly.

An honest to goodness GRIP HEAD will be heavier to schlep, annoyingly big to fit in cases and totes, but will do this job a THOUSAND times better than a mic stand pivot.

They cost between $25 and $50 bucks. And once you use one, you'll NEVER go back.

Good luck.
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