After you’ve got your podcast equipment, you may feel you can give a microphone arm a miss. Mic arms are a type of equipment that you never think you need until you have one.
The thing is, however, mic boom arms not only help maximize your audio quality, but help with mic technique, and create space in your recording environment. Basically, they're essential.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through why you should invest in a microphone arm and introduce you to the best ones out there. Let’s get started.
- A mic arm improves your audio quality, mic technique, and declutters your recording environment
- Most mic arms are universally compatible (though it’s good practice to check)
- For podcasters and video creators, overall we’d recommend either the Heil PL2T or the Rode PSA1
- If you’re on a budget, try the Neewer NW-35
What is a microphone arm?
A mic arm is essentially a stand or holder for your microphone. Most microphone arms are either freestanding or desktop mounted using a clamp, although you’ll also see other various mounting options.
A microphone arm suspends your mic in your desired position, ready for recording.
Note: you’ll see ‘mic arm’ and ‘boom arm’ used interchangeably. That’s because they’re the same thing.
What is a boom mic stand used for?
A boom mic stand is essentially a microphone arm with a free-standing stand. With a boom microphone stand, you can adjust how your mic sits on both a horizontal and vertical plane. This means you have ultimate control over exactly where your mic sits.
Plus, microphone boom arms help improve ‘studio ergonomics’, preventing neck strain and bad mic etiquette.
What is a good microphone arm?
There’s no single answer to this question. The criteria for a ‘good microphone arm’ really depends on what you’re looking for.
Podcasters and video creators will have different recording setups, ranging from home studio setups to professional studios. Different studio environments will have different space requisites and ergonomics to take into consideration. And, as always, different budgets will also come into play.
Plus, if you've already got yourself a mic, you'll have to think about whether the mic arm you're eyeing up is compatible. For example, if you've got an XLR mic, it's best to look for a mic arm with an integrated XLR cable.
If you’re a podcaster with more to spend, you may consider investing in a mic arm with an in-built pop-filter and shock mount. While if you’re on more of a tight budget, you may look for a simple (but effective) mic arm.
How do I set my arm mic?
There are two stages to setting up your arm mic: mounting it and positioning it.
A standard arm mic will have the option for a table mounting clamp. This means you literally clamp your mic arm to your desk. If you've got a mic stand, you should also be able to attach your boom arm to that too.
The biggest benefit of using a mic arm is that you can position your mic perfectly. As most creators will know, you want to be close to your mic, but not too close. Ideally, your mic should be about 6 - 12 inches from your mouth. And if you’ve got the budget, you should also invest in a pop filter and shock mount to really optimize your audio quality.
Can you use any boom arm for any mic?
Technically, yes. The majority of mic boom arms are universal. Most microphone stands should have a universal thread that will attach to standard-sized microphones or standard mounts. Your mic manufacturer should provide you with either a clip or shock mount style mounting that adapts your mic to the stand.
That being said, some mics are bulkier than others, or will require specifically made mic arms that accommodate their mounts.
If you haven’t got one already, find the perfect podcast microphone for your setup using our guide.
Can you attach a boom arm to a mic stand?
Remember, if you want to use your mic boom arm independently, you can. So you don’t necessarily need a mic stand. Most boom arms will clamp to your recording desk or another surface.
But if you want to attach your boom arm to a mic stand, you should be able to by either using the clamp or an alternative attachment.
How do you put a pop filter on a mic arm?
Some mic arms come with an in-built pop-filter. But if you’ve bought one separately, don’t worry, it’s easy to attach the two.
Your pop filter should come with an attachment of sorts that you can secure to your mic arm. Remember to consider the distance between your mic and the pop filter when fixing it in place.
If you’re in the market for a new pop filter, but don’t know where to start. Find the best pop filter for your podcast using our guide.
Best Mic Arms
As we said before, choosing the best mic arm for your setup is a subjective process. But here are some of the best microphone arms on the market right now:
Best overall mic arms for podcasters and video creators
- Compatible with mics weighing up to 2.5lbs
- Easy access to cables for convenient cable management
- C-Clamp attachment that works with tables up to a maximum 1.5” thickness
- Good and clean cable management system with removable panels so you can thread the cable along the spine of the boom
- Horizontal reach of 32” and vertical reach of 33”
- Silent and effortless positioning
- Compatible with mics up to 2.4lbs
- Two desk mounting options
- Dual-axis swivel mount for precision positioning
Best mic arms for podcasters and video creators with no budget
- Compatible with mics up to a maximum weight of 4.5 lbs
- Maximum reach of 31”
- Made from aluminum for lightweight design
- Different mounting options for adaptability
- Elegant design with two colorways
Best mic arms for creators on a budget
- Maximum range of 28”
- Silent and effortless positioning
- Options for clamp mount or more permanent fixture using the flange mount
- Can accommodate mics weighing up to 5lbs
- Accommodates standard size mics up to 4.4lbs
- Screw or clamp mount for flexibility, compatible up to a thickness of 2.5”
- Effortless 360-degree rotation for maximum precision positioning
- Maximum reach of 19.3”
FAQs about Mic Arms
What is the best mic arm for streamers?
Different streamers will opt for different things. However, features that streamers will look for are good (and tidy) cable management, as well as the ability to firmly clamp to a desk.
What is the best mic arm for video creators?
Again, this is a subjective choice. It’s likely that video creators will opt for a mic arm that has an elegant or subtle design, such as the Yellowtec MiKA mic arm. Or simply one that fits into their setup seamlessly.
How much does a mic arm cost?
As much as you want it to. You’ll be able to find a mic arm that suits you and your budget perfectly, no problem.
What is the point of a boom arm?
Although it may seem like a superfluous piece of equipment, a boom arm maximizes the quality of your audio to no end.
Plus, it’s just convenient. You don’t need to strain to reach your mic, and you can simply push it to the side when you’re not using it.