Microphone Mechanics: Specifications for Stands, Fixtures, and Attachments

This article is about the physical equipment required to place professional microphones on stage for a live performance or in the studio for recording. Electrical and signal considerations are not our concern here. What we care about right now are the mechanics of securely and reliably positioning a microphone in front of a sound source. This is about bases, stands, booms, thread adapters, clips, and shock mounts.

Microphone Stands

Bases

  • Solid
    • Round
    • Nesting/stackable
  • Tripod
  • Mobile/rolling

Stands

5/8 Tubing

  • Outside Diameter: 5/8 inch (0.625 inch)
  • Threading: #27, i.e., 27 tpi (threads per inch)

7/8 Tubing

Typical for mic stand bases.

  • Outside Diameter: 7/8 inch (0.875 inch)
  • Threading: #27, i.e., 27 tpi (threads per inch)

Microphone Fixtures

Among the most common microphone fixtures is the 5/8 male to 3/8 female adapter. This item is often supplied with SM-57 style microphone clips and is notorious for getting stuck inside those same clips.

Thread standards for microphone fixtures:

  • 5/8 inch – 27 TPI – USA standard
  • 1/2 inch – 12 TPI (apparently found in older European stands and/or microphones)
  • 3/8 – 16 TPI European Standard (While not a standard fitting specification in the US, adapters are readily available and are often provided with microphone clips. The UNC equivalent is used for heavy camera equipment in photographic fittings).
  • 1/4 inch – 20 TPI (BSW) compatible with UNS, a US standard common in photographic fittings, e.g. tripods.

Microphone Clips

  • Spring-loaded clips
    • Octava style
  • Snap-fit clips
  • Compact shock clips

Microphone Shock Mounts

  • Elastic band
  • Rubber fitting
  • Articulated (lyre)

Microphone Fixture Arrangements

  • Stereo Bar
  • X-Y
  • ORTF
  • Mid-Side
  • Blumlein
  • SM57 + SDC
  • SM57 at 45°

Sources

  1. https://www.atlasied.com/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxDcxxjcO5w jk
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone_stand (on physical parameters)
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone_connector (on electrical connections)
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_mount#Microphone_mounts

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