When recording quality audio with microphones it’s paramount to capture as clean a signal as possible. We use high-quality microphones through quiet mic cables into clean mic preamps. The signal chain is always number one but microphone shock mounting is always critical.
Microphone shock mounts isolate secure a microphone while isolating it from mechanical noise. Mechanical noise includes low-end rumble and any kind of impacts that would cause sound vibrations in the physical objects tangentially connected to the microphone (ie: mic stand, floor, etc.). Eliminating, or at the very least reducing, these mechanically transmitted noises helps tremendously in capturing a clean mic signal and is possible with a mic shock mount.
So what are the best microphone shock mounts?
Well it depends on the type of microphone you plan on mounting. Like microphones, shock mounts come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some microphones even come with custom shock mounts designed specifically for them.
With that being said, there are certainly a few shock mounts I would recommend. They are:
- Rycote USM: The Rycote USM (link to check the price on Amazon) is my top recommended universal shock mount for “studio microphones” (USM even stands for Universal Studio Mount). The USM is versatile and capable of holding microphones ranging from 18 – 55 mm in diameter and up to 500 g horizontal or 750 g vertical whille providing an incredible 12 dB of sound isolation.
- Rycote INV-7: The Rycote INV-7 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a popular shock mount in Rycote’s InVision family. Although different INV mounts are created for sifferent styles of microphones, the INV-7 is gets the top recommendation for its versatility and broader compatibility with small diameter microphones. The INV-7 can hold microphones from 19 -25 mm in diameter and up to 120 mm long.
- Rode Blimp: The Rode Blimp (link to check the price on Amazon) is a very popular windscreen/shock mount combo that sees a great amount of use in the professional fields. This system is my top recommendation for shock mounting shotgun microphone. The Blimp actually utilizes a shock mount system created by Rycote, and so, Rycote really gets the top three recommendations here.
Before discussing each of these mic shock mounts in further detail, we’ll talk about what factors make a great shock mount.
What Makes A Great Microphone Shock Mount?
- Compatibility: Choose a shock mount that is capable of holding a variety of microphone shapes and sizes. Alternatively, choose the shock mount that was designed for the specific microphone in question.
- Mechanical isolation: Select a shock mount that will effectively isolate the microphone it holds from the potential mechanical noise in the mic stand.
- Durability: Pick a shock mount that is built to last. If it has elastic isolators, ensure they are designed to hold up and not sag over time.
With these criteria in mind, let’s dive into the recommended microphone shock mounts.
The Rycote USM
The Rycote InVision USM (Universal Shock Mount) is an absolutely beautiful microphone shock mount. I’d go as far as saying that it works better on some microphones than those microphones’ specialized shock mounts.
Though the Rycote Universal Shock Mount has “universal” in its name, it is designed for large diaphragm microphones. The USM will hold any practical large diaphragm mic and is even capable of holding some small diaphragm condenser mics.
The Rycote USM gets my first recommendation because it holds large diaphragm mics, which are the most common in studio situations. Any large diaphragm studio mic will benefit from this shock mount.
Let’s now talk about the USM in terms of our criteria.
- For all large diaphragm microphones of 18 – 55 mm diameter and maximum weight of 500 g horizontal (750 g vertical)
- Up to 12 dB sound isolation
- Weight: 154 g
- Overall dimensions: 120 mm diameter x 170 mm length x 70 mm depth
- Colour: Black
- 25 years manufacturer’s guarantee
Compatibility Of The Rycote USM
The Rycote Universal Shock Mount earns its name with its versatility. It will securely hold any microphone with a diameter between 18 mm (0.71″) – 55 mm (2.17″) up to a maximum weight of 500 g (1.10 lbs.) horizontally or 750 g (1.65 lbs.) vertically.
Most studio microphones fit well within these limits, so it’s safe to say that the Rycote USM is indeed universal and very compatible.
Note that although the USM would likely hold shotgun style microphones securely, these long tube pencil mics would benefit from a double point shock mount (like the Rycote INV-7, which we’ll discuss in a moment).
Mechanical Isolation Of The Rycote USM
The mechanical isolation is excellent with the Rycote USM. It provides up to 12 dB of isolation from mechanically transmitted noise. That an incredible amount of attenuation for a shock mount that holds a microphone so securely in place.
The specially designed clips and Hytrel thermoplastic suspension allow for this superb isolation.
Durability Of The Rycote USM
The Rycote USM is a very durable microphone shock mount. Under practical studio applications, there’s little to worry about in terms of the USM’s longevity.
From the clips to the hinge joint to the threaded mic stand connector, the USM is built to last.
The aforementioned Hytrel thermoplastic suspension is the real star of the show in terms on durability. This practically indestructible suspension holds both light and heavy microphone steadily in place without the risk of wearing out and sagging.
The Rycote INV-7
The Rycote InVision INV-7 is my top shock mount recommendation for small diaphragm pencil mics, shotgun mics, and indoor boom mic applications.
This shock mount has two points of contact with its microphone. Its reliable suspension works extremely well to isolate the mic from shock and mechanically transmitted noise.
Let’s talk more about the Rycote INV-7.
Compatibility Of The Rycote INV-7
As mentioned, the Rycote INV-7 hold its mounted microphone at two points. In other words, it has superior stability to single point shock mounts and a much more capable of holding longer, skinnier microphones.
The two mounting clips of the !NV-7 will hold microphone diameters between 19 mm () and 25 mm (). These clips are positioned on a long bar that accommodates microphones longer than 120mm.
The large lyre suspension webs measure 70 mm high and 40 mm wide to securely hold heavier microphones.
Mechanical Isolation Of The Rycote INV-7
There’s no technical specification for the attenuation of mechanical noise the Rycote INV-7 provides its microphone. However, the isolation is noticeable, especially when the shock mount is used in dynamic booming situations.
Durability Of The Rycote INV-7
Like their USM model, Rycote’s INV-7 is built to last. The thread, joint, and bar are all rugged and of high quality. The unique lyre suspension is engineered with Hytrel thermoplastic for a virtually indestructible design.
The Rycote INV-7 is definitely durable.
The Rode Blimp
So far we’ve covered the best shock mounts for the large diaphragm and small diaphragm microphone categories. Though that’s very generalized, it pretty much covers our bases as far a practical microphones go (no one shock mounts lavalier microphones for example).
I figured I’d end this list with a shock mount that’s got a bit more going on: The Rode Blimp.
The Rode Blimp is a complete windshield and shock mounting accessory for many of Rode’s pencil microphones and other shotgun/pencil mics. The Blimp is excellent for outdoor and indoor use and see most of its action at the end of a boom pole.
The Rode Blimp actually integrates Rycote Lyre technology for its shock mount (I swear I’m not biased, it’s just that Rycote is the best). Its windshield is excellent, as is its shock mount. Let’s discuss the latter.
Compatibility Of The Rode Blimp
The Rode Blimp accommodates most shotgun microphones under 325 mm in length and 19mm – 22mm in diameter. The internal spine of the shock mount has a spacing guide for flexible placement of the Rycote Lyre suspension pieces.
Note that the Blimp’s shock mount is capable of holding shotgun microphones measuring longer than 325 mm (). The limiting factor is the windshield in this case. So in order to mount a longer mic, we’d have to lose the windscreen part of the Blimp.
Mechanical Isolation Of The Rode Blimp
Though there’s no technical specification for the mechanical noise attenuation of the Rode Blimp’s shock mount, I will tell you from experience that it’s a game changer.
The Blimp is most often fastened to the end of a boom pole. Boom poles are their operators are commonly called upon to be dynamic during a performance. Any shift of the boom operator’s position or change in grip sends mechanical noise down the boom pole and into the shock mount. Rycote’s Lyre mount in the Rode Blimp reduces this noise effectively, yielding a cleaner microphone signal and a ultimately better audio product.
Durability Of The Rode Blimp
The Rode Blimp is very durable and is built for the rigours of the road and film set. To back this up, Rode gives a 10 year warranty (no registration required) on their Blimp.
So now you know a bit more about the importance of microphone shock mounts. You also know which shock mounts work best with each of the two categories of mics that benefit from them. Once again, my recommended microphone shock mounts are:
- Rycote USM: Best shock mount for large diaphragm studio microphones.
- Rycote INV-7: Best shock mount for small diaphragm pencil studio microphones.
- Rode Blimp: Best shock mount for shotgun boom microphones.
For all the My New Microphone mic/gear recommendations, please check out my page Recommended Microphones And Accessories.