If you've ever seen video footage of radio shows and podcasts, chances are you've seen microphone boom arms. These are the mechanical microphone stands that extend toward the speakers and allow for easy microphone positioning in front of each speaker.
Microphone boom arms typically attach to a desk or surface, and have at least 2 straight arms connected by “elbows.” A microphone is attached at the other end of the boom arm.
Boom arms are designed to be maneuverable (so that the microphone can easily be positioned) and stable (so that the microphone remains in that position once it's set).
So what are the best microphone boom stands on the market? Here are my top 3 recommendations:
- Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M: The Yellowtec m!ka On Air Microphone M (link to check the price on Thomann) is a high-quality, broadcast standard microphone boom arm (along with the other arms on the m!ka line). The Arm M is a sleek and sturdy boom arm. It's the medium sized arm in its family and is capable of extending 31” (78.7cm) from its attached end while holding up to a microphone securely in place (up to a whopping 4.5 lbs. (2 kg)). The m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M also features an “On Air” LED light that turns on during recording to easily communicate to the people speaking into them when they're being recorded.
- K&M 23860: The K&M 23980 (link to check the price on Amazon) get a top recommendation as a professional boom arm. It's got a solid build, a total extendable length of 37″ (94cm) and holds up to 3.2 lbs. (1.5 kg).
- Samson MBA38: The Samson MBA38 (link to check the price on Amazon) is my top-budget recommendation for a microphone boom arm. Though not as high-quality as the two previous recommendations, the durability and ease of positioning of the MBA38 is excellent. On paper, the Samson MBA38 outperforms our previous two recommendations in length (38″ or 9.5cm) and mic weight capacity (5 lbs. or 2.3 kg).
We'll get to each of these boom arms in a second, but first let's discuss what criteria make a great boom arm.
How To Attach A Microphone To A Microphone Stand.
What Makes A Great Microphone Boom Arm?
- Maneuverability: Choose a microphone boom arm that is maneuverable and can easily position a microphone where it needs to be (within reason). The overall span, number of joints, and the potential angles of the joints all play a role in maneuverability.
- Stability: Select a boom stand that will attach effectively to its surface at one end and hold the microphone perfectly in place at the other end without sagging.
- Durability: Pick a boom arm that is built to last. Joints often wear out from the repetitive stress that is common to boom arms.
With these factors in mind, let's revisit each of my microphone boom arm recommendations.
The Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M
Yellowtek's m!ka product line includes high-quality boom arms for microphones and monitors. Though all of their m!ka boom arms are excellent, the all-around best of the bunch is the On Air Microphone Arm M.
The Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M is designed and built with renowned craftsmanship. It is made of durable and strong silk-mat anodized aluminum with high-quality adjustable friction joints. The wiring is run completely within the arm, concealed by the tubes and joints. On top of that, the On Air Mic Arm M featured a dual colour on air indicator near the microphone end to ensure the speakers know when they're on and off the air.
There is some customization and work to be when receiving a m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M. It comes with open-ended cable tails at both ends, which require cutting to the preferred length and soldering to an XLR connector. There are also various mounting options (table, wall, pole, etc.) that require additional mount pieces to function correctly.
The microphone end fastener is a 5/8″ threaded connector.
With all that being said, the On Air Microphone Arm M is an absolutely outstanding microphone boom arm. Let's talk a bit more about why that is so.
Maneuverability Of The Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M
The On Air Mic Arm M has a maximum range of 78.7 cm (31”) which is all that you'd typically need in any practical situation where mic arms are required.
Depending on the mounting of the On Air Mic Arm M, the arm may be stationary (when wall mounting) or be capable of spinning in 360-degrees (table mounting).
Like most popular mic boom arms, the On Air Mic Arm M has 3 joints:
- “Shoulder joint”: this joint is just above the mounting end of the On Air Mic Arm M. It is capable of positioning the first tube (straight arm) anywhere from 20° back to 80° forward.
- “Elbow joint”: this joint is in the middle of the On Air Mic Arm M and connects the two straight arm tubes. This elbow joint allows for an angle between 39.5° and 155° between the two straight arms.
- “Wrist joint:” this joint is just before the microphone fastener end of the On Air Mic Arm M. The wrist joint allows for a 90° angle downward or upward from the second straight arm.
To better illustrate this, let's look at a diagram from Yellowtek describing their m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M:
Needless to say, the m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M is highly adjustable. Once positioned, this high-quality mic boom arm is designed to stay in place until further adjustments are made.
Speaking of staying in place, let's now discuss the stability of the m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M.
Stability Of The Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M
The strong mounting and highly effective joints of the m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M make it very stable once it's locked into position.
This stability is excellent, supporting microphones weighing up to 2kg (4.5lbs).
The arms are pre-weighted to fit most standard microphones. When needed (like when using a 2 kg microphone) you can fine balance the arm by adjusting the internal spring system for perfect counterbalance and untroubled use
Durability Of The Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M
Silk-mat anodized aluminum parts and heavy duty joint design makes the Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M an incredibly durable mic boom arm.
The K&M 23860
Like all K&M products, the K&M 23860 microphone boom arm is a high-quality mic accessory. It's stable steel construction features an innovative table clamp (with a width of 0″ to 1.889″) for quick and easy positioning, an internally guided balanced mic cable (length of 9'8″), and high-quality plastic joints.
At the microphone fastening end, the K&M 23860 has a 3/8″ threaded connector but comes with a 3/8″ – 5/8″ adapter.
Let's get into the finer details about why the K&M 23860 is such a great choice when selecting a microphone boom arm.
Maneuverability Of The K&M 23860
The K&M is a very maneuverable mic boom arm.
First, the universally shaped clamping parts allow the clamp to be used on smooth surfaces (like desks) and round-shaped tubes (like desk legs or other mic stands). The microphone arm can also be fixed with K&M's table flange (K&M 23855), which is available as an extra accessory.
Like most popular microphone boom arms, the K&M 23860 has 3 joints:
- “Shoulder joint”: this joint is just above the mounting end of the K&M 23860. It is capable of positioning the first tube (straight arm) anywhere from 20° back to 60° forward.
- “Elbow joint”: this joint is in the middle of the K&M 23860 and connects the two straight arm tubes. This elbow joint allows for an angle between ~30° and 155° between the two straight arms.
- “Wrist joint:” this joint is just before the microphone fastener end of the K&M 23860. The wrist joint allows for a 15° angle upward and a 120° downward from the second straight arm.
The first straight tube measures 40.0 cm, the second measures 42.0 cm, and the “wrist” of the arm (between the mic fastener and the wrist joint) measures 4.6 cm. With the above angles, this gives the K&M 23860 a maximum horizontal extension of 82 cm from its clamped position.
Therefore, we consider the K&M 23860 to be quite maneuverable.
Stability Of The K&M 23860
The stable metal construction with high quality plastic inserts guarantees secure and strong hold, making the K&M's frame very stable.
The rated microphone weight that the K&M 23860 is capable of holding is 3.304 lbs (1.5 kg). On top of that, the clamp of the 23860 is fairly heavy duty and when tightened correctly will never be a weak link.
Durability Of The K&M 23860
From the steel frame to the high-quality joints to the mounting clamp, the K&M 23860 is built to last. It's very durable.
The only issue is that the K&M comes with a plastic 3/8″ to 5/8″ thread adapter rather than a higher-quality metal one. Though this is not truly part of the microphone boom stand, it's worth mentioning. I always suggest using metal thread adapters over plastic. It will save you the headache of stripping the relatively easy plastic threads.
The Samson MBA38
The Samson MBA38 is a fantastic and inexpensive mic boom stand. It's durable, easy to position, extends to 38″ (9.5cm) and can hold a microphone weighing a whopping 5 lbs. (2.3 kg).
On paper, the MBA38 is the top-performing mic boom stand on this list. However, in practice, the above two will out-perform this arm in the long run. That being, this is still an amazing boom arm stand and this recommendations page wouldn't be complete without it.
So let's dig into the Samson MBA38 and find out why it's so great.
Maneuverability Of The Samson MBA38
The Samson MBA38 is incredibly flexible in its maneuverability.
First, it will clamp directly to a desk via c-clamp (2″ maximum grip) for more temporary use. Alternatively, it will attach via flange (with wood screws) in a more permanent setup.
The maximum horizontal arm reach is 28″ while the maximum vertical reach is 38”. This shows us the MBA28 is very maneuverable.
Stability Of The Samson MBA38
The MBA38 features internal springs that not only allow for silent positioning, but also for strong positioning. Once the MBA38 is set in position, it stays there. It would take a 5 lb. (2.3 kg) microphone attached to the end of the MBA38 to drag it down. That's a heavy microphone, and the MBA38 is a stable mic boom arm.
Durability Of The Samson MBA38
The Samson MBA has a very durable steel construction. However, springs are known to loosen over time, so it's good to take good care of the Samson MBA to maintain its integrity over the long run.
Boom! There are my top 3 recommended microphone boom arms. Whether you're recording a podcast or radio show, or just want to have an easily accessible microphone at your desk or studio, a mic boom arm may be of great benefit for you. Once again these are simply my own recommendations and once again, they are:
- Yellowtek m!ka On Air Microphone Arm M: Best top-of-the-line microphone boom arm.
- K&M 23860: Best mid-range microphone boom arm.
- Samson MBA38: Best “budget” microphone boom arm.
For all the My New Microphone mic/gear recommendations, please check out my page Recommended Microphones And Accessories.