DIY Microphone Shock Mount - For Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic

After finishing my DIY pop filter project and making some improvements on it, I decided to take my home recording adventures further by looking to see if anybody has attempted to build their own microphone shock mount. So I Googled "DIY shock mount" and sure enough, I found a few but they were for pencil or shotgun type microphones, like this one from wiremonkey.com. The concepts were simple and really easy to build but I could tell it wouldn't work on my large diaphragm microphone so back to the drawing board.


So what exactly is a shock mount and what does it do? Here's a simple explanation from Wikipedia:

"In a variety of applications, a shock mount is a mechanical fastener that connects two parts elastically.One common application is a studio microphone mount, in which the microphone is partially isolated from vibrations that might otherwise be better transmitted to the microphone through the mic stand, causing unwanted sounds to be added to the output signal, like vibrations and unwanted disturbances."

The pencil/shotgun DIY project seems to achieve this  shock mount concept but for the heavier large diaphragm condenser microphone, a different approach is needed to secure and support the mic's size and weight. After an hour of looking at pictures of large diaphragm (and mostly expensive) shock mounts, I came up with my own ideas on how to build one using scraps of PVC pipe, screws and elastic bands.

PUTTING THE IDEA ON PAPER
First, I drew my "blueprint". Nothing fancy, just scribbles and notes to give me some perspective on the project at hand. My goal was to spend the least amount of money and use whatever tools and materials I already had or whatever unwanted scraps and items I could get from work.







CORE MATERIALS
Designing my DIY shockmount was solely based on my microphone's physical dimensions so if you plan on following this, you obviously need to tweak it to fit your particular microphone.

My core materials are:



6 inch PVC pipe at least 5 inches long. This will serve as the outer frame that connects to the mic stand.

2.5 inch PVC pipe at least 3 inches long. This will serve as the microphone holder.

Elastic Bands. This will help suspend the microphone holder by connecting it to the outer frame.

TOOLS
This project took about a total of 2 hours (spread over a few days) to complete, starting from taping saw guides down to assembly… add an optional 30 minutes for painting.

Tailoring tape measure
Painter's masking tape
Sandpaper
Fine point felt tip marker
Multi-purpose utility saw
Cordless reciprocating saw
Cordless power drill/driver
Dremel rotary tool
Clamps

With all the tools and materials on hand (I hoped) I finally went to business…

PART 1: OUTER RING
The outer ring is a scrap 6” PVC pipe I got from work.

STEP 1.1 MEASURE, APPLY GUIDE AND CUT. I decided that the outer ring measurements will be 3/4” on center with a 2 -1/2” flange. I used blue carpenter’s tape to establish my cutting guides for the ring and the flange.





The first cuts were done on the four vertical sides of the flange stopping at the 3/4" mark so that when I cut through the ring later, the scrap pieces will fall off leaving the exposed parts and preventing me from cutting through the flange.



STEP 1.2 MARK SCREW POINTS. Using the tailor’s measuring tape I measured the outer diameter and divided the result by four giving me the location of each screw point. I did not write down the exact quarter measurements so to illustrate, if the exact diameter is 6”, each quarter measures 1.5”. I used the tailor’s tape again to mark the ring at every 1.5” point.

STEP 1.3 DRILL PILOT HOLES AND INSTALL SCREWS. I don’t know the exact type of screws I used but the shank was about 1/2" long and the head was about 1/2" in diameter. I got them from when I removed paneling from our porch screen doors. Glad I saved them. I used “eyeballing” technique to figure out the drill bit size by putting the screw against the drill bit making sure that the hole will be just big enough to provide a “bite” for the screw threads. I drilled pilot holes at every 1.5” mark and put the screws in.



PART 2: INNER RING
The inner ring is also scrap 2-1/2” PVC pipe I got from work. I cut a 2” long piece. I found the pipe size perfect for my Behringer C-3 that has a tapered shape that when slipped in the ring it stops right at the “C-3” marking. Initially, I will only be able to place the mic upright and let gravity do the rest.

STEP 2.1 MARK SCREW POINTS. I marked eight screw points, about a quarter of an inch below the lip, four on top and four at the bottom using the technique described in 1.2.

STEP 2.2 DRILL PILOT HOLES, INSTALL SCREWS. I thought screw eyes would be the best thing to thread the elastic bands through so I got an 8-pack #216-1/2 from Home Depot for $0.98. Drilled pilot holes to the size of the screw eyes, using the “eyeballing” technique described in 1.3. After installing the screw eyes, I used a small needle nose plier to carefully pry them open turning them into tiny hooks.



THE TEST FIT
I found a 6-pack of elastic hair bands at Michaels for $3.17. I would’ve preferred all black but they weren’t available so I got the multi-colored set. I decided to use the blue and yellow ones. My daughter was more than happy to grab the rest of the girlie colors.

I threaded the elastic bands through the hooks and screws in a zigzag and criss-cross pattern so that it looked like a four-point star when you looked at it from above. I couldn’t explain it so just refer to the picture below to see what I mean. The middle ring was snug just the way I wanted it to be.



Then I placed the mic to see how it would handle the weight. The middle ring sagged a bit but all in all the assembly held in place. I needed to find a way to add more tension on the elastic band but so far so good.



PART 3: MICROPHONE HOLDER HACK
Next thing I had to figure out was how to attach the shockmount assembly to a mic stand. I already had a microphone holder that I never use so I thought I’d modify it so it can be bolted into the outer ring flange.




STEP 3.1 SLICE AND DICE. I cut off the two sides of the mic holder, leaving a surface that’s as flat as possible.

STEP 3.2 DRILL HOLES. I already had 1 inch machine screws and nuts on hand. All I needed were two of them. Once again, using the “eyeballing” technique, I picked a drill bit size big enough to let me easily insert the screws. Then I drilled holes on both ends of the modified mic holder.

STEP 3.3 DRILL FLANGE HOLES. I set the freshly drilled mic holder up against the outer ring flange and marked the drill points on the flange. Then I drilled holes into the flange using the same size drill bit used on the mic holder.





PART 4: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

STEP 4.1 ATTACH MIC HOLDER TO FLANGE. I placed the elastic bands beneath the screw head on the flange section of the outer ring, one on top and one at the bottom. While holding them in place, I lined up the mic holder with the flange holes and bolted them together.



STEP 4.2 THREAD ELASTIC BANDS. I threaded the elastic bands through the rest of the screws and hooks just like I described in the TEST FIT paragraph and did a second test fit, this time attaching the whole assembly on the mic stand.



It held in place but there was still that little sagging issue when the mic was put in it. I was pretty sure the mechanics of the shockmount was sound but the sagging made the aesthetics a bit less desirable so I really needed to find a way to add more tension to the elastic bands to resist more weight.

PAINT IT BLACK
While figuring out how to add more tension, I decided to paint the shockmount matte black to give it a more finished look. There were many choices for a can of spray paint but I opted for the one that mentioned “plastic” and didn’t need a primed surface. Rust-oleum’s UNIVERSAL All-Surface Paint fit the bill for $5.93 at Home Depot.

While I was spray painting the shockmount, I suddenly thought of a simple way to add more tension on the elastic bands. All I needed to do was add more loops into my zigzag-crisscross configuration. Again, it’s better explained with the picture below.



For a finishing touch, I cut a 1/2" by 5” strip off of a ShamWow! absorbent sheet and glued it on the inside of the inner ring to add some level of scratch protection for my microphone. For a future tweak to this design, I will cut out a 1/8” strip along the inner pipe and use an adjustable hose clamp to allow me to place the mic in an upside-down configuration if needed.


 
And there you have it… my DIY large diaphragm shockmount for less than $10.00 and a couple hours.



Thanks for reading this DIY walkthrough and I hope I gave you some ideas to get you started with your own DIY shockmount project. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. 'Til next time.