How to Fix a Microphone Stand

October 12, 2019

Ever have a microphone stand that won’t stay in place?  When I was first starting out in audio, I would crank the stand adjustments down harder and harder each time I used the stand, until finally the stand was useless.  Microphone stands aren’t cheap, and that’s why it’s essential to know how to fix them when they start to slip.

There are a variety of things that could be wrong when this happens, and you’ll find an explanation of what to do in each situation.  If your microphone stand is slipping, this post will show you how to fix it.

The most common reasons why a microphone stand stops working is because it is dirty or has damaged hardware.

Why Microphone Stands Stop Working

Over time, microphone stands take a beating.  They are dropped, tossed, knocked over, and put into dirty environments.  Cheap microphone stands are made with cheap materials and hardware, but even the expensive stands tend to start malfunctioning after a while and require a little upkeep.  

The most common reasons why a microphone stand stops working is because it is dirty or has damaged hardware.  Handling your stand with care and keeping it clean can help prevent these issues.  So, in addition to showing you how to fix a stand, I’ll show you the best practices to keep your stand in good shape.  I’ll explain the different parts of a microphone stand in the next section. Feel free to skip ahead and come back to use it for reference, if needed.

Parts of a Microphone Stand

Legs or Base

Depending on the type of stand you are using, it will have either legs or a base.  The base is usually a heavy piece of metal which threads onto the stand. If your stand has legs, they are likely a separate tripod piece, held in place with a thumb screw.

Stand

This is the main vertical section which is connected to the base.  If you have a straight stand, the microphone clip is attached to the top of the stand.  If you have a boom stand, the boom is attached to the top of the stand. 

The stand is usually comprised of two sections, connected with a threaded collar adjustment in the middle.

Height Adjustment

The height adjustment mechanism is what holds the top and bottom section of the stand together, and determines the height of the stand.  Twisting the adjustment counter-clockwise will loosen the threads and allow the stand to telescope up and down. You find the height you want and then twist this adjustment clockwise to tighten it down.

The height adjustment is usually comprised of an outer adjustment handle and an inner rubber or plastic cuff. 

Boom

The boom is a piece which connects to the top of the stand and extends horizontally.  This is useful when placing the stand off to the side to avoid interfering with an instrument, desk, or workstation.  

The boom is sometimes telescoping, like the stand.  If this is the case, there are two sections held together by a thumb screw.

Boom Angle Adjustment

This usually comes with the boom arm.  It adjusts the angle between the stand and the boom arm.  It is usually made up of a bracket, two pads, a bolt, and a nut.

Microphone Clip Threads

The microphone clip threads are used to connect either a microphone clip to the stand.  You’ll find this same thread at the end of the stand and at the end of the boom. The thread standard is 5/8″-27.  

Due to the crimping method used to secure this piece to the stand or boom, this component is a part of a microphone stand that often breaks.

Microphone Clip

Although not usually sold with microphone stands, this is the piece that holds your microphone.  It is threaded onto the microphone clip threads shown above.  

Microphone clips are often designed to fit specific microphones, but there are various types of universal clips that are designed to hold a variety of microphones.

What’s Broken and How To Fix It

Stand Height Adjustment Won’t Stay Tight

If your height adjustment will not stay set how you like it, one of the following things is wrong:

Dirty or Broken Inner Cuff

If you can tighten down the adjustment handle on the stand height adjustment, then you may need to check the inner cuff that holds the stand in place.  To do that:

  1. Completely unthread and remove the height adjustment handle holding the boom to the stand.
  2. Check that the plastic cuff surrounding the upper portion of the stand is not damaged. (The thin separation is supposed to be there) 
  3. If no damage is found, remove the upper portion of the stand from the lower portion.
  4. With a wet cloth, scrub the plastic cuff, removing any dust.
  5. Reassemble the stand height adjustment.

Stripped Threads

Before determining that the bolt threads are stripped, try wiping them with a wet cloth.  Sometimes metal and rubber debris gets clogged in the threads.

If cleaning the pads and bolt threads doesn’t work, or you cannot tighten the height adjustment at all, you have stripped thread.  You will need to replace the stand. I recommend my all-time favorite microphone stand.

Boom Angle Adjustment Won’t Stay Tight

This is a very common issue, and is usually very easy to fix.  One of two things is happening:

Dirty Rubber Pads

If you can tighten down the nut on the boom angle adjustment and the boom angle setting doesn’t stay, then you may need to clean the pads.  To do that:

  1. Completely unthread and remove the nut and bolt holding the boom to the stand.
  2. Remove the circular pads on either side.
  3. With a wet cloth, scrub both sides of each pad, removing any dust.
  4. Reassemble the boom angle adjustment.

Stripped Threads

Before determining that the bolt threads are stripped, try wiping them with a wet cloth.  Sometimes metal and rubber debris gets clogged in the threads.

If cleaning the pads and bolt threads doesn’t work, or you cannot tighten the nut on the boom angle adjustment at all, you have a stripped nut or bolt.  You will need to replace the boom. I recommend my all-time favorite microphone stand.

Boom Length Adjustment Won’t Stay Tight

If the boom telescope adjustment won’t stay tight, you probably have a stripped thread on the thumb screw. 

Stripped Thumb Screw

If you cannot tighten the thumbscrew on the boom length adjustment at all, you have a stripped nut or bolt.  You will need to find the hardware to replace it. Sizes vary for these, so you may just decide to replace the boom. I recommend my all-time favorite microphone stand.

Maybe you are working on a budget and just need a new boom arm. You can get the boom arm only that’s used on the stand mentioned above without the base. 

Microphone Angle Setting Won’t Stay Tight

If your microphone won’t stay pointed where you place it, first check the section above to make sure that the boom length adjustment is staying tight.  If your boom length adjustment is staying tight and your microphone still doesn’t stay in place, there are a few things that could be happening:

Microphone Clip Thread Is Loose

Tighten the microphone clip all the way down.  If the microphone clip keeps spinning infinitely, look a bit closer and you might find that the threads at the end of the stand or boom are no longer held in place.  This is because the crimp that holds the stand or boom to the threads has loosened. Here’s how you fix it:

  1. Place the section where the stand meets the threads on a hard, stable surface.
  2. Place the tip of a standard, flat-head screwdriver on the little dent, or crimp which holds the threads in place.
  3. Using a hammer or mallet, strike the handle of the screwdriver to increase the tightness of the crimp

This can be dangerous if you don’t have experience with the process.  If you don’t feel comfortable in your ability to do this safely, you may just need to replace the stand or the boom.

Microphone Clip Angle Adjustment Is Loose

If the boom length adjustment is working properly and the microphone clip threads are staying in place, but your microphone still won’t stay in place, it may be your microphone clip which needs to be adjusted.  As I mentioned above, microphone clips are often specially made to fit specific microphones. Although, they typically have the same method of adjustment:

  1. Locate the screw on the microphone clip between the microphone clip and the stand threads.
  2. Secure one side of the screw using a screwdriver.
  3. Gently tighten the other side of the screw to set the microphone angle.

If you find that your microphone clip won’t tighten, you can pick up a replacement for just a few bucks.

If you’re using a handheld microphone, this microphone clip is your best bet. 

However, if you have a larger microphone, you should go with a universal shock mount.

Just be sure to check that it will fit your microphone before buying, as microphones range in sizes.

These methods hopefully helped you fix your stand.  Read on to learn how to maintain your stands to avoid future malfunction.

How To Prevent Microphone Stands From Breaking

Always Loosen Before Making An Adjustment

The tendency to adjust the microphone without first loosening the adjustment is a difficult habit to break.  However, this practice will drastically increase the lifespan of your microphone stand. If you are adjusting the height of the stand, first turn the adjustment grip counter-clockwise and then make the adjustment.  If you are adjusting the angle of the boom, don’t just force it down, as this can wear down the rubber pads over time. Likewise, loosen all adjustments before folding the microphone stand for storage.

Don’t Over-Tighten

People often crank down the adjustments on microphone stands unnecessarily.  This can put too much strain on the hardware and strip the threads.  If you find yourself needing to crank down the stand more than you used to, see the section above on how to clean dirty rubber pads.  Only tighten adjustments until snug and the microphone stand will last much longer.

Handle With Care

If you just finished a long day at a show, recording session, or a shoot, you will likely be in a hurry to get out as soon as possible.  Resist the urge to force the stand into its folded position without first loosening the adjustments. Also, resist the urge to toss stands into boxes.  Take the extra time to handle your equipment with care so that it lasts for many years to come.

If a stand is set up properly, there is no need for it to ever fall over.  Make sure that the boom arm runs parallel to one of the three legs so that the weight can be held reliably and that the microphone cable runs along the boom, down the stand, and under one of the legs.  This will ensure that, should someone trip or pull on the microphone cable, the bottom of the stand will be tugged, rather than the top.  It will help to protect your microphone and your stand from falling to the ground.

Perform Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

The hardware and rubber pads will get worn down over time.  There is no way to get around it. The rubber pads are worn down, creating little rubber particles which act as a lubricant.  The nuts and bolts break down and create metal filings which can jam the threads and lead to stripped threads. Every few months, it’s a good idea to disassemble your stands and clean the rubber pads and the hardware with a damp towel as shown above. 

High-Quality Stands Save You Time and Money

By far, the best brand of microphone stand I have ever used is by the K&M company.  Every professional company I have worked with has used these stands.  They work well and work longer than other stands I’ve used.  Read this article that I wrote about why I like and trust K&M stands, or read the reviews on Amazon. K&M stands are an industry standard that are much more reliable than the cheap stands I have used in the past.

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