All boom arms are not created equally. Many podcasters learn that the hard way by opting for ultra-cheap models that don't work very well, and break quickly.
We've had our fair share of duds in The Podcast Host studio, but one of our best boom arm investments has been in the form of the Rode PSA1.
It's a premium model when it comes to buying a mount for your mic – and at the price of $99/£64 it's certainly a big investment for the podcaster on a tight budget.
It's understandable that many either opt to spend an eighth of the price on a cheaper model, or not bother with one at all.
So first thing's first…
Do You Actually Need a Boom Arm?
It really depends.
A lot of podcasters record with USB mics, and most of these mics are designed to work as standalone kit.
Manufacturers will either build a table stand into a USB mic, or provide one in the box with it.
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Popular USB mic ‘‘The Blue Yeti' actually has a shockmount designed to hook it up to a boom arm, but typically most mics that you'll see mounted on boom arms are XLR or ‘anaologue' models.
Desk stands can be handy, and save you money. But one big problem is they're completely stationary, meaning you're pretty much stuck in the same position throughout the duration of your recording session.
They also make mics very susceptible to picking up the noise of any contact with the desk they're sitting on too.
Benefits of a Boom Arm
A boom arm can really help minimise the impact of unwanted sound from contact with the table. Commonly this is someone hitting their leg on the underside, or knocking something with their hand whilst talking.
Boom arms can also be adjusted to fit the position of the podcaster, either prior to or during a recording session.
They also look and feel more professional too. They can add in that extra layer of professionalism not only to your audio, but on the visual side of things if you record a lot of video, or run live sessions.
Rode PSA1 Features & Specs
The PSA1 is a swivel-mounted boom, and can be rotated 360 degrees.
It has a horizontal reach of 820mm, and a vertical reach of 840mm. This gives you a lot of freedom in where you position your mic (and yourself) prior to recording, whether that's sitting down or standing up.
The boom is supplied with velcro cable wraps to keep cables tidy and stop them from getting in the way.
You also have two options when it comes to mounting the PSA1. The desk clamp will secure it to desks up to 55mm thick, whilst the desk insert (which requires a hole in the desk) accommodates desks of up to 70mm thick. Naturally, the latter is is suitable for more permanent setups.
I've already mentioned unwanted noise from accidental contact with the desk. The PSA1 does a good job of taking the sting out of this, but you can virtually eliminate it by adding in a shock mount between your boom arm and mic.
The PSA1 doesn't come with one as standard, but Rode do sell their PSM1 shock mount separately. It's not necessary, but a nice bonus if you're going all-in here.
Rather than relying on a shock mount though, try to practice better recording etiquette and coach guests or co-hosts so that they're a bit less physically animated during a recording!
Summary – The Rode PSA1
I mentioned at the start that this is certainly a premium piece of kit, and at $99/£64 it's a big investment for most.
If you're just starting out in podcasting, and you're on a tight budget, then you can probably do without one of these for now. Especially if you're using a USB mic which comes with its own stand.
But if you've been in the game for a wee while now and are looking to step things up with your gear and your overall sound quality, then it's well worth your consideration.
If you're lucky enough to have a permanent recording space then the Rode PSA1 can become an integral part of your studio.
Yes, you'll find many cheaper boom arms out there, but a lot of them are false economy. They won't be even nearly as flexible, and can often break quickly.
The Rode PSA1 has the quality of build to handle years of use. It's very much a long-term investment.
Need More Help Choosing Your Podcasting Equipment?
If you need some more tailored advice for your own setup, or want help with any other aspect of podcasting, then we’d love to work with you.
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