- We review 8 popular microphone boom suspension arms.
- Options to suit the budget-conscious and those who want full-blown studio quality.
If you are an up-and-coming or even an established music producer or engineer, buying the right equipment is crucial. Easier said than done, when there are about a billion boom microphone stands in the market, right?
Over the past few years, desk-mountable suspension boom arms have notably risen in popularity. This is largely due to a rise in the number of Youtubers and podcasters in 2020.
We provide you with a rundown of the benefits of owning a microphone suspension boom arm, followed by our top 8 picks of 2020, and lastly some tips to be aware of before purchasing.
Best Microphone Suspension Boom Arms for Home Recording
What Are Microphone Suspension Boom Arms?
Most of us are probably familiar with how a traditional microphone stand works. They’re ubiquitous in recording studios everywhere.
But sometimes a typical stand doesn’t cut it. They take up unnecessary space due to their large sprawling legs, and can be a real inconvenience to those of you studios in small apartments.
That’s where microphone suspension boom arms come in.
A mic suspension boom arm is a foldable piece of equipment that can be easily unclipped, stored and transported. Unlike a traditional stand, boom arms can be stored easily, transported and changed out for your needs.
How Do Microphone Suspension Boom Arms Work?
Now with a bit of background, you might be asking: How do suspension boom arms work?
Microphone suspension boom arms can be attached to your recording desk or other equipment easily. They are typically hinged in the middle, allowing them to fold in half. On the other end, a cradle holds your microphone and can be adjusted.
What Are the Benefits of a Suspension Boom Arm?
More Room to Work
Unlike traditional mic stands, which take up space, boom arms are easily stored.
With a boom arm, music producers and engineers can easily save space to work. That means more breathing room for you in often cramped quarters.
Boom arms also help free up desk space. They take the stationary mic stands off your desk, freeing up your real estate for the things that really matter – like synthesizers and drum machines.
Additionally, high-quality boom arms can fold right into your desk when not in use, saving even more space.
Unlike a traditional mic stand, which can be difficult to pack down, boom arms are easy to dismantle and transport.
The best boom arms can clip and unclip from your desk, giving you maximum interchangeability. If you’re a music producer or sound engineer on the go, boom arms provide ease of ability to shift your studio on the go.
Great for Influencers
That “pick up and go” feature of boom arms is also great for live podcasts and streaming.
With the way music marketing is going in 2020, content creation is becoming an asset to bands and producers alike. Many are turning to YouTube and Twitch to host live production/DJ streams and band vlogs. Having a boom arm setup could be a real asset for you if content creation is something you’re looking to potentially explore this year.
Which to Buy?
With all of those benefits in mind, it’s still important to find the suspension boom arm that suits your needs best.
Lower-end boom arms, while practical, can also present more problems than they’re worth. If your boom arm is poor quality, it may break more easily or not be able to hold your heavy (and expensive) microphones.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I bought a $10 boom suspension stand and it went straight in the bin a week later. What good is a stand if it can’t support my trusty RODE NT-1A microphone?
Look, I love a budget just as much as the next person but leaving the security of your microphone up to ‘chance’ just doesn’t scream professionalism, especially when you’re trying to build a respectable home studio.
After my little frustrating incident, I decided to head to a few local stores to test out what they had on demo. After trying about 10 of them, I narrowed the choice down to the best 8 of them I could find on the market today. Here’s the list, in no particular order.
Our Top Microphone Arm Picks
Microphone Boom Arms: The Reviews
Kicking off the list is a suspension boom arm from a company that’s a little lesser-known, but is a solid option for those wanting a boom suspension arm that is quality and won’t break the bank.
The Heil PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom has a sleek, black design that anchors to your desk. The arm itself holds microphones that weigh up to 3 ½ pounds. Top and backplates can be removed to help you place the microphone cable inside the boom. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Unlike some of the other products on the list, Heil’s model employs out-of-sight internal springs. That means you don’t have to worry about springs on the outside of the case. That means no cable connectors to slow down your setup.
The stem of the boom arm is threaded with chrome and can be locked into place.
A small issue I had was that the little spinning tightener to lock the arm in place can be a little tricky to tighten down. With a little patience though, I managed to lock it in place fine.
It would’ve been a shock to discover that RODE, a reputable microphone company, would produce a garbage microphone stand.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. The RODE PSA 1 delivers on all fronts, and as a result is our top pick.
The RODE PSA1 has a 33-inch reach for your convenience, offering ample range. But the real star of the show is the dual-axis swivel mount, which allows you to freely position the arm in whatever position you so desire.
The arm body has two spring-loaded sections that are both quiet and flexible — making it a perfect choice for broadcast radio studios or voice-over studios. Because no one wants a recording with a squeaky mic stand audible in it, right?
Unlike other boom arms with only one clamp, this model has two: the dual-axis swivel and the standard C-clamp. That gives you flexibility for your setup, no matter where you are.
Next up is a great boom arm from Blue Compass that is purposefully built for studio desk recording.
The Blue Compass Premium boom arm has all the features you want for your recording experience. The arm itself has an “all-tube” spring system and hidden cable holder that gives the arm a sleek design. Definite bonus points for design on this one.
The arm uses hinges that are tightened by hand, cutting off unwanted noises during recording. The arm itself is designed for use with Yeti and other broadcast microphones.
All standard shock mounts are fully compatible with this boom arm, allowing you to transfer in and out as needed.
In contrast to other boom arms, this model has slightly less reach at 32 inches vertical and horizontal. Depending on your setup, this could be a good or a bad thing. Having a shorter arm does mean you’ll save more desk space, but might also mean you’ll have to lean in if you have a ridiculously deep and large studio desk.
If I had to be honest, the mount can be a little tricky to lock into specific positions, though is not a huge issue. In terms of weight, the arm can hold up to 2.4 pounds, which should suit most producers. Check the weight of your primary microphones first though.
Much like the Heil PL-2T, the K&M brand is a bit of an outlier when talking about brand recognition. This boom suspension mic stand really surprised us though. If you’re looking for a stand that can handle some of the heaviest condenser microphones out there, at an affordable price — this one’s a safe bet.
The K&M 23860 hold up to a whopping 3.2 pounds of microphone weight, enough for all but the heaviest mics, and much more than most of its competitors.
The K&M model also has a massive wingspan of 37 inches, outpacing most challengers. All of that reach means more room for you to move and capture your sound your way.
Oh, a couple more things.
The 23860 is constructed with steel, giving you maximum durability. The arm also includes plastic inserts that ensure a secure hold.
This boom arm’s impressive design includes a unique table clamp that gives you quick positioning. The arm itself includes an internal cable guide so you can avoid external clamps, which means less work.
If you’re after a luxury boom arm that looks and feels different than the rest, give Yellowtec’s m!ka a look.
While extra small, this boom arm is a solid addition to most studios, and comes with a few unique features not seen on other models.
For one, the arm includes a red LED “on-air” signal that is not seen in any other arm on this list. Whether or not this impacts your ability to write better music, is beside the point. It is a nice touch though, especially for podcasters and those who require such a feature.
The sleek, white aluminum body has bright contrast to other models. In terms of cable management, this thing is pretty slick. Part of the hefty price tag is that it includes its own native XLR cable, which feels quality.
The ultra small design is a big benefit to those with limited space, giving you more room to work. The sleek look and flashy features do come at a price, though.
However, with its smaller size factor, the Yellowtec m!ka does not extend as far as some of the other arms on this list. The reach sits at around 21 inches, with a maximum weight load of 1.98 pounds. That’s not insignificant, but it could limit you depending on the size of your desk/setup.
On-Stage are synonymous in the audio industry for putting out competitively priced, decent quality gear.
The On-Stage MBS7500 boom arm is near the median on price for our list, and sports some great features for the price point.
Out of the box, the arm has a modern, sleek look with no ugly springs or tension knobs exposed. Beauty points to On-Stage for sure.
The arm can be positioned on three axis points, which offers plenty of flexibility. Stands under $100 generally come with one common issue – squeaking, though we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was super silent.
The arm is hollowed out which means you can run your cables through the chamber, keeping cables out of sight — love this feature a lot.
There is a caveat, though. With all of these benefits, the table clamp on the boom arm can be a little bit problematic. The boom arm does have a temperament swiveling when its connected to the clamp, which does limit its range (but only by a little).
Looking for a budget option that isn’t a complete waste of money? They’re hard to come by, as I regrettably found out the hard way. However, the Knox Boom is a budget option that is definitely worth a mention.
The arm rotates 360 degrees, giving you a wide range of motion on two axis. Funnily enough, with this arm being super affordable, it actually holds a whopping 5 pounds of weight.
With its steel-construction, the arm is fairly heavy but durable as you’d expect.
Knox are confident enough in their product to offer a 1-year warranty, which is always a good sign.
However, what this boom arm has in weight, it loses in reach length. The arm extends up to 30 inches, which is a bit less than other models on this list. Because of limited range, you might have to get creative with your set up.
This one’s for the real budget hunter. And get this — it actually isn’t a total piece of crap.
Qualifying as a super budget option, the Neewer Boom Scissor Arm is a fairly decent arm at a rock-bottom price.
This adjustable arm is jet black and made of steel, and feels somewhat solid. Definitely not the sturdiest, but sturdy enough for a range of lighter microphones.
The arm’s C-clamp allows you to latch on to most desks and didn’t give us any problems upon installation.
The maximum weight is nothing to shout about. The Neewer boom arm holds up to 2.2 pounds, and while that’s less than many of the other options on here, you might be able to get away with it. If you’re using something heavier like a Shure SM7B, forget about it though.
Another thing we weren’t too crazy about is that the arm has an exposed spring on it, so you’ll have to be careful with getting it tangled. Microphone cables also cannot be hidden in the arm, meaning you need cable clamps.
Microphone Boom Arm Buying Tips
What Should I Look for in a Boom Arm?
Reach and Weight
Depending on your setup, the reach and weight capacity of your boom arm are important to keep in mind. Do you really require that extended reach? In most cases, you may not — but it’s worth considering when making your decision.
In general, the ability to hold more weight means more choices of microphones to set on your boom arms. That matters if you have a specific microphone in mind for use.
Features and Design
How your boom arm looks and feels is very important for some producers and engineers.
Ask yourself whether you require cable management features that hide microphone cables. Are you OCD with messy wires? Does the thought of having cables completely out of sight and an immaculate desk intrigue you? Then opt for a boom arm that has cable ‘through’ options.
If you’re looking for more hot tips and guides to build the home recording studio of your dreams, visit our Home Studio Design category.
Last update on 2020-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API