So you're speaking into a microphone, but your hands are busy doing something else. Whether you're at a podium, on a stage, or in the studio, placing a microphone on a microphone stand will significantly improve our freedom to do other things while using the microphone, whether playing guitar, flipping pages from a script, or expressing yourself with your hands.
So how do you attach a microphone to a microphone stand? A “mechanical adapter” is needed to attach a microphone to a mic stand. Mic clips and shock mounts are standard adapters used to attach a mic to a stand. Thread the clip/shock mount to the stand and slide or thread the mic into the clip/shock mount.
Let's discuss microphone clips and shock mounts further as we walk through how to attach a microphone to a mic stand!
How To Attach A Microphone To A Microphone Stand
When we look at a microphone and then look at a microphone stand, there is no obvious way to connect the two. Microphone stands (and boom arms/poles) have screw threads where the microphone would be attached, but microphones themselves typically do not have threaded fasteners to attach directly to the stand.
So in order to properly attach a microphone to a stand, we need a “mechanical adapter.” By “mechanical adapter,” I mean a physical piece that will hold the microphone and screw onto the mic stand, essentially connecting the two. These are referred to as housing pieces and come in two general styles: the microphone clip style and the shock mount style housings.
Here are a few commonly manufactured screw thread sizes (in diameter and threads per inch):
- ⅝″ – 27 tpi is the Unified Special Thread (used in the U.S and around the world)
- ½” – 12 tpi is British Standard Whitworth (used in older European stands)
- ⅜″ – 16 tpi is BSW (not used in the U.S but used in the rest of the world)
- ¼″ – 19 tpi is BSW (not used in the U.S but used in the rest of the world)
In North America, nearly all stands are ⅝″ and have 27 threads per inch. Globally, ⅝″ – 27 tpi and ⅜″ – 16 tpi are the most common. Many adapters are available to match correct thread types for microphones (⅝″ to ⅜″ thread adapters seem to be the most common due to the popular ⅝″ and ⅜″ housings/stands).
These housing pieces come in 2 main styles:
- Microphone clip
- Shock mounts
Microphone clips are the most common type of housing piece/microphone holder. These clips screw onto mic stands via one of the threads mentioned above and have a “slip-in” style of holding their respective microphones. These clips are typically made for top address or “pencil” microphones. Different microphones require different clips to secure them properly in place.
The most common “standard” microphone clip is slightly flexible and holds roughly 1¼″ “give or take a ¼″. These clips hold the famous Shure SM57, SM58, SM86, and SM87 microphones. If we look at top address microphones, we'll find that their diameters are not always constant along their lengths. These tapered diameters work to the advantage of these standard clips. Simply slide the microphone into the clip until the mic is snug!
You'll often see microphone clips used in live settings. Microphones are usually easy to remove from their microphone clip.
For more information on mic clips, check out my article What Is A Microphone Clip? (Physical And Electrical).
Microphone shock mounts are more commonly used in studio settings. As their name suggests, Shock mounts mount the microphones properly on a mic stand while providing enough isolation to reduce the amount of mechanically transmitted noise (alternatively known as “shock”).
Shock mounts come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different microphones. They are typically made of an outer stationary casing (which attaches to the mic stand) and an inner casing that houses the microphone. These casings are connected with fabric-wound elastic bands. These types of shock mounts are commonly used to house large-diaphragm condenser microphones and other side-address microphones.
Alternatively, we have shock mounts that work with o-rings or springs rather than elastic bands. These shock mount suspensions are much more robust than their elastic band “cradle” counterparts. The Rycote Lyre shock mount is a common type of non-elastic band mount. Rycote Lyre-type shock mounts are an excellent choice for shotgun and top address microphones and are often used at the end of boom poles during film production.
The elastic bands and other suspension mounts create a cradle for the microphone to sit in and absorb mechanically transmitted noise. These allow for a cleaner microphone signal and are superb in the studio and other recording applications!
For more info on microphone shock mounts, check out my articles What Is A Microphone Shock Mount And Why Is It Important? and Best Microphone Shock Mounts.
To learn more about side-address and top-address microphones, check out my article What Are Top, End & Side-Address Microphones? (+ Examples).
Let's Recap With Step By Step Instructions
Follow these step-by-step instructions to attach a microphone to a mic stand properly:
- Set up the microphone stand
- Check the thread size of the mic stand
- Check the thread size of the microphone clip or shock mount
- Acquire a thread adapter if these sizes do not match
- Attach the clip or shock mount to the stand
- Insert the microphone into the clip or insert/thread the microphone into the shock mount
Attaching A Microphone To A Boom Arm/Pole
Attaching a microphone to a boom arm or boom pole is just like attaching it to a mic stand. Simply match the thread sizes of the boom and the clip/mount (with adapters if need be) and house the microphone inside the clip/mount!
For more information on boom poles and microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• What Is A Boom Microphone? (Applications + Mic Examples).
• How To Properly Hold A Boom Pole And Microphone.
• Best Boom Microphones For Film.
• Best Microphone Boom Poles.
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Some microphones are designed with a built-in threaded mic stand connection. Therefore, these microphones do not necessarily require a clip or shock mount to properly attach to a mic stand.
The microphone that comes to mind first is the Shure SM7B. This microphone comes with a built-in shock mount style threaded mic stand connection. This mount is removable but is still stock with the microphone and is often the best choice to attach the SM7B to a mic stand or boom arm/pole.
The Shure SM7B is also featured in My New Microphone's 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones).
Another example is the Blue Yeti USB microphone comes with its own removable tabletop mount. The body of the Yeti microphone has a threaded connection that allows it to be connected directly to a mic stand.
Yet another example from Shure is their Beta 52A. This legendary kick drum microphone has a threaded connection and can attach directly to a microphone stand without the need for a mic clip or shock mount.
The Shure Beta 52A is one of My New Microphone's 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones).
There are plenty of caveats that do not require a clip or shock mount to act as a middle piece. However, these microphones are the exception, not the general rule!
How To Improperly Attach A Microphone To A Mic Stand
Having played many dive bars, I've seen some interesting house setups. Of course, microphones are a big part of these setups but aren't always ideal.
I've seen microphones attached to stands using tape. And although this does work to attach the microphone to a stand, it's not really an effective way of doing so. I realize sometimes you have to work with what you've got at the time, but please try to avoid using tape if at all possible.
Tape is not ideal for multiple reasons:
- Restricts the adjustability of the microphone position and direction.
- Rids of the possibility to remove the mic from the stand during a performance.
- Leaves residue on the microphone and the mic stand.
- Looks terrible.
- Does not provide any mechanical noise isolation from the stand.
How do I adjust my microphone stand to my height? To adjust the mic stand height, release the clutch, extend the inner tube from the outer tube to the desired height, and tighten the clutch. The boom arm slides into a similar locking mechanism and can be adjusted for extra height and locked at an angle outward from the vertical stand.
What is a microphone boom arm? Boom arms may be standalone or attached to a vertical mic stand. They generally allow for microphone holding along the horizontal axis. Standalone boom arms typically have elbows and are great for clamping to a desk and having the mic position above the desk with no need for under support.
Choosing the right microphone(s) for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Microphone Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next microphone purchase.