While attending the Summer NAMM Show, I ran into several friends who thought I had left Tape Op completely. I apologize if my “Gear Geeking” column in the previous issue wasn’t clear in explaining that I’m sticking around as Gear Geek at Large (while Scott has taken over the role of Gear Reviews Editor). These friends also mentioned that they really enjoyed reading this column, because it often covers products that are handy in the studio but aren’t the kinds of things you regularly see in a pro-audio publication or catalog. Thank you for being fans of my tangential gear ramblings and recommendations. ... SmallRig www.smallrig.com is a manufacturer of all sorts of affordable camera accessories for filmmakers. Two categories of their products in particular are fantastic for mounting studio mics. The first is the Ball Head Magic Arm series, starting at $3.90 in its most basic configuration. The Magic Arm has a central T-handle that tightens down on two metal ball-ends. Ball-ends come in different options, but the standard 1/4’’ threaded screw, which works with lots of accessories in the photo/video world, can easily be converted into a standard mic mount using a 1/4’’ female (tripod) to 5/8’’ male (mic) thread adapter. For this purpose, I prefer the CAMVATE www.camvate.com nickelplated brass adapters that have a knurled “skirt” that you can tighten/loosen by hand. My favorite Magic Arm configuration costs $11, and it includes an anodized, aluminum-alloy, screwdown Super Clamp on one end that has jaws that open to 2’’ wide — big enough to effectively grab onto extra-large mic stands, drum hardware, pipes, railings, desk edges, and whatnot. Once you add a mic thread adapter on the other end, you can securely mount even a heavy, large-diaphragm condenser, and use the articulating Magic Arm to orient the mic in any direction. The second product category from SmallRig worth checking out includes Shoulder Rig Rods and Clamps. With various lengths of rods and several different types of connectors and clamps, you can assemble anything from a simple stereo bar, to a multichannel array/tree for far less money than you would expect. SmallRig also offers affordable NATO Rail (a standard for mounting auxiliary equipment) systems, if you prefer to go that route instead. Slow Dolphin, a value brand that seems to exist only on Amazon (like countless other pseudo-brands), also sells camera accessories. If you prefer a simpler solution for clamping a mic somewhere, I recommend the Slow Dolphin Tripod Camera Clip Clamp Mount, which has a single ball-end with a tripod screw, attached to a wide, spring-loaded metal jaw covered in rubber. With an aforementioned tripod to mic thread adapter, the Clip Clamp Mount is perfect for small-diaphragm mics. (Julius Studio, Anwenk, and Fovitec are pseudo-brands that seem to be selling the same products as Slow Dolphin on Amazon.) ... I have several heavy-duty boom stands that can hold a hefty tube mic with authority — some officially marketed as mic stands, and others that I assembled out of accessories purchased from Adorama and B&H Photo Video. I’ve found that lighting stands and video-equipment tripods perform better and cost less than similarly sized pro-audio mic stands. Just take a lighting stand, attach a grip mount on the stand’s 5/8’’ stud, put a boom arm (or a cradle for a boom pole) inside the clamp of the grip, and add a counterweight. Impact www.impactstudiolighting.com, Flashpoint/Adorama www.adorama.com, and Avenger/Manfrotto www.manfrotto.com are affordable brands I recommend, but there are many others I haven’t tried. Years ago, sE Electronics sold a heavy-duty mic stand [Tape Op #42] that rivaled ones costing several times more. Once I started kitting together my own stands, I realized that the sE was an aggregation of photo/video products.