The best boom arm is something more and more of us are looking for right now, as the explosion in podcasting, live streaming, YouTube, and other emerging media open up exciting possibilities to generate a second income.
Used by everyone from Twitchers and vloggers to professional voice artists and broadcasters, boom arms are becoming cheaper and better by the day. So if you want to improve the audio quality you get from the best microphones, it’s a great time to update your setup.
That said, boom arms aren’t just for home use. They’re also used to support mics on stage, plus there’s a different type of boom arm, that's used to support and position lighting for studio photography and filmmaking. If you’re looking for one of these options, then skip down to numbers 8, 9 and 10 on our list.
In this article, we’ve uncovered the best boom arms today, available for a variety of purposes, and a range of budgets. We explain how each one differs, and give you the technical details you need to choose between them.
Best boom arms for microphones
The RØDE PSA-1 is known throughout the broadcast industry as a go-to boom arm, and it’s also commonly used by podcasters, voice-over studios and online streamers too. This two-section, spring-loaded broadcast microphone arm rotates 360 degrees and features a maximum reach of 32in (820mm) horizontally and 33in (840mm) vertically.
The PSA-1 allows you to position and re-position your mic both flexibly and quietly, keeping on-air noise at a minimum. It comes with both a desk clamp and desk insert mounting attachments, a 3/8 to 5/8-inch microphone thread adaptor, and cable wraps for tidy installation. Compatible with most microphones weighing between 700g (1.5lb) and 1.1kg (2.4lbs), its robustness, reliability and high quality construction makes it our clear pick as best boom arm overall.
Watching the pennies? The Samson MBA38 is the boom arm in the mid-price range available today. Designed for radio, podcasting, broadcast and streaming, its internal springs and durable steel body are very robust, as well as being easy to adjust quietly. You can quickly fix this boom arm to your desk with the C-clamp mount, or use the flange mount for a more permanent installation. It provides a generous 38 inches of horizontal/vertical arm reach, and will support microphones up to an impressive 2.3kg (5kg), making it the best boom arm for heavy mics, too.
Short of space, and need something a little more compact for your home studio setup? Then we recommend the On-Stage MBS5000. This professional articulating mic boom is nicely robust, thanks to its square-tubing construction, and comes with a 10-ft XLR cable pre-installed inside for a clean and professional look. Again, you get two mounting options, in the form of a C-Style clamp, which grasps surfaces up to two inches thick, and a screw-in flange mount for permanent desktop or overhead installations. All this, at a nicely affordable price that represents excellent value.
Another boom arm from On-Stage, the MBS750 is almost twice the price of the MBS5000 (above). In return you get a high level of flexibility, thanks to the three axis points, and very quiet operation indeed. Also, this boom arm has a polished and super-streamlined look, with a total lack of protruding parts or springs, and hollow arms allowing you to run your cable through the middle.
In short, if you want to impress your YouTube or Twitch audience with the professionalism of your desk set-up, not to mention keep everything nice and tidy for your own enjoyment, this is an excellent choice.
This boom arm came in at around $100 at time of writing, so it’s certainly not a budget option. But its enclosed aluminum construction is well designed and sturdy, and its internal springs offering very smooth and quiet operation. The 989-000899 also boasts hidden-channel cable management, friction hinges with full 360-degree rotation, and support for mics weighing up to 1.1 kg (2.4 lb), including the popular Yeti and Blackout Spark SL.
The NW-35 Boom Arm is very cheap, and designed with home studio use in mind. So it’s a good option for YouTubers, podcasters, musicians, voice actors, and video gamers who are on a tight budget.
This steel-constructed boom arm can be mounted on desks up to 1.7 inches (4.5cm) thick with the supplied C-clamp, and supports microphones weighing up to 3.3lb (1.5kg), including the Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball.
It can be fully rotated throughout 360°, with a 270°-pivotable spigot for adjusting the angle of your microphone. You also get a snap-on mic clip, which fits microphones of 35mm in diameter, and a double-layer pop filter with a bendable goose-neck, making this a real bargain.
The Heil Sound PL-2T overhead boom boasts a beautifully streamlined design based on a system of balanced internal springs. It’s able to support microphones up to 3.5lbs in weight, plus there’s also a counterweight to accommodate lighter microphones. Another nice touch is being able to remove the top and back plates to thread the mic cable inside it, which makes setup nice and easy.
Looking for a boom arm to support your microphone while on stage? The microphone stand offers exactly that, extending to a maximum height of 2.1m (7 feet), including the 80cm boom arm. Made from steel and benefiting from noise reducing rubber feet, it also collapses easily into a small length for travelling. Overall, this is good quality mic stand that may be a little expensive, but does offer excellent value.
Best boom arms for studio lighting
Boom arms aren’t just for microphones: studio photographers also use them to support their lighting rigs and position them in a variety of places and at angles quickly and easily. Our top pick for this purpose is the Avenger D600 Mini Boom. This heavy-duty chrome-plated steel boom arm telescopes from 117cm (46 inches) to a maximum of 212 cm (83 inches). It supports up to 7kg (15.4lbs) at its maximum extension, when mounted to an optional light stand. Solid, flexible and reliable in use, this is a great buy for any studio photographer.
Just like studio photographers, film-makers need a boom arm to support their lighting rigs, and we recommend the Manfrotto 8.8' Super Boom. It’s not cheap, but with a huge reach of 2.7m and support for loads up to 5kg, it’s very robust and does the job well. It features coaxial geared controls at the end of the boom, which permits movement a full 180° and extends to 2.7m (8 feet 8 inches). Note that while it comes complete with a pivoting clamp, a counter weight and cable clips, the stand is not included.
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