What Does A Shock Mount Do (And Do You REALLY Need One)?

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  • Learn about what a shock mount is and whether or not you should buy one
  • Understand the differences between various types of shock mounts 
  • Hear a side-by-side comparison between a hard-mounted mic and one using a shock mount

You’ve certainly seen them – geometric-looking, dangling attachments that surround a microphone that’s attached to a stand. Shock mounts, as they are called, are commonplace in many recording studios, and live venues. But do they have a legitimate purpose, or are they simply there to make your setup look more fancy and cool?

There is good reason to invest in a shock mount; however, you may not necessarily need to – let’s dig in. 

Do You Need a Shock Mount?

Probably not. But there’s a chance you do.

Simply put, shock mounts help dissipate extraneous, non-auditory vibrations that may make their way into the microphone’s diaphragm via its stand – such as a rumbling in the ground or a bumping of the elbow. 

If these don’t sound like situations you commonly find yourself in, a shock mount might not be necessary. However, we can’t always perfectly control our sonic environments. Having a shock mount can add that extra layer of security so that any unwanted and often unpleasant sounds will make their way through your mic and out of the speakers. 

How Does a Shock Mount Work?

Typically, shock mounts are constructed out of lightweight material, often plastic, and contain some sort of elastic bands which help suspend the microphone in the air while still allowing it to move somewhat freely. 

With these elastic bands being the last point of contact before the microphone capsule, any vibrations occurring before the shock mount will be diffused by the material. Take a listen to the side-by-side test below to hear the difference for yourself. 

When is a Shock Mount Useful?

For example, let’s say you’re recording in a high-rise building in Manhattan, and just as you’re capturing that perfect vocal take, you feel the building start to rumble from the passing of a subway car underground. That rumbling vibration reverberates through the structure of the building, as well as through anything in direct contact with it; in this case, the microphone stand. 

As that vibration travels up the mic stand, it eventually reaches the elastic bands of the shock mount. Due to their compositional nature, these elastic bands absorb the vibrations before they’re able to reach the microphone and ultimately avoid ending up in your recording.


We typically use microphones to capture sound waves traveling through the air, such as a voice or an acoustic instrument. But there are other types of waves that will also be picked up by a microphone and interpreted as sound if present, such as seismic waves, microwaves, radio waves, and shock waves. 

If your vocalist accidentally bumps the microphone stand while recording, this will send a shock wave up the stand and, if hard-mounted, into the microphone’s diaphragm…

Do all Microphones Require Shock Mounts?

Condenser microphones are known for being much more sensitive than dynamic microphones.

Often, nicer-end condenser microphones will even come with a custom shock mount – but if yours didn’t, investing in one of any caliber could be worth it, depending on your recording or performing environment. 

When using a dynamic microphone, on the other hand, shock mounts are rarely necessary, simply because dynamic mics usually don’t pick up subtle vibrations, or even if they do, the resulting artifact won’t be tremendously noticeable. 

Are Shock Mounts Useful for Live Performance?

Certainly, especially if the stage or surface you’re standing on is prone to transmitting waves, such as a wooden stage. Anytime the kick drum is hit or a foot is stomped, this will send reverberations through the stage surface and up any mic stands. 

However, most live microphones are dynamic (see above) and won’t pick up these vibrations. Even off the stage, most radio broadcast studios use shock mounts to suspend their microphones. While this will help with reducing extraneous vibrations, they also serve the function of deterring any guests from grabbing the mic with their hand, which inevitably will lead to a sonic artifact coming across. 

Shock Mounts

The shock mount has to be one of the coolest looking items in the studio. Such visually soothing geometries on the end of the boom like the web from a 1950s robot spider suspending your mic in the ether.

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Are There Different Types of Shock Mounts?

While the basic principles and properties of a shock mount remain consistent across the board, there can still be subtle differences between models that are important to consider. The primary structure of most shock mounts is made of either plastic or some sort of lightweight metal, such as nickel. 

The latter will offer you more durability and is less likely to break, but will also come at a higher price point.

Additionally, while most shock mounts suspend the microphone using an elastic material, some opt for more of a rubber material, as rubber is also a great absorber of vibrations. 

Final Thoughts

While shock mounts may make your setup look “more professional,” there’s a high likelihood that a shock mount won’t make much of a difference in your microphone quality. Should you have a condenser microphone and unique conditions or circumstances such as the ones listed above, perhaps consider investing in a quality shock mount. 


Do You Need a Shock Mount For ASMR?

Given the exaggeratedly-low input volume that comes with recording ASMR audio, a shock mount could be a valuable accessory to help avoid capturing even the most subtle of unwanted vibrations. 

Does it matter if I hang my shock mount upside down?

When looking through photos and videos of shock mounts, you may notice that a lot of the time they hold the microphone hanging down, as opposed to propped upright. While this may look more professional, there is no sonic difference in how the mic is mounted . Oftentimes drum overhead mics will be positioned in this way to better avoid contact and interference from the sticks.