A microphone bar is a device that allows you to mount two or more mics on it. It usually looks like a metal tongue depressor with threaded mic mounts on each end. Replace a standard mic clip with the bar and your stand can do double duty. They are often used for overheads or for stereo location recording. The close proximity lets you place mics in XY, ORTF, or other common stereo configurations. I have a box of these things, but they all suck. Why? Because 9 out of 10 of them have hinges! The catalog descriptions point out that the hinges "allow more flexibility" in placing mics. Whatever. You know what the hinges really do? They flippin' slip two seconds after you get your mics placed. And even if you try to muscle them by screwing the hinges down, they'll just wait until the middle of a take to move. Jerks.

Fortunately, Germany's K&M makes a bar sans-hinges. The 23500B 8" standard bar connects to the top of a mic stand and holds two microphones on their clips. (You can also add a third microphone where the threads of the mic stand are exposed at the center of the bar.) Now I can hang two heavy tube mics and not worry about their positions changing.

Everybody should have at least one microphone bar- but get the ones that don't suck. I suggest you grab an unhinged 23500B. They street for under $20. ($21 MSRP; www.k-m.de)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More