Triad-Orbit: The Microphone Stand Reinvented
I can hear you saying it. “Seriously? How do you reinvent something as utilitarian as a mic stand? It only needs to be sturdy and hold your mic in place. Why fix what’s not broken?”
True―the mic stand, while incredibly important in the studio, on stage, and at rehearsals, is usually far from exciting. Even the most reliable stands found in world-class recording studios and on tour with platinum-selling artists all have the same functional design. However, the folks at Triad-Orbit felt they could do better than the status quo when it comes to stands, and developed a stand system based on their experience as musicians and audio engineers.
To understand what makes the Triad-Orbit system unique, you have to take a look at their components. Once you see how they are designed and perceive what makes the system work, you will understand how easy it is to get excited over something as seemingly simple as mic stands.
|T1/O1/M1 Modular System||T2/O2/M1 Modular System||T3/O1/M2 Modular System|
The IO Coupler allows you to quickly attach microphones (or anything with a 5/8" thread) to a Triad Stand or Orbit Boom arm, simply by snapping the coupler head into the I/O body in which each stand or boom arm terminates. When you need to swap your microphone, simply pull down on the release mechanism and remove. This virtually eliminates the need to ever screw a shockmount or microphone clip onto a stand; simply screw the coupler head into your shockmount and then attach directly to the stand. Additionally, it can diminish set-up and break-down time, the importance of which cannot be overstated in live scenarios or at the studio.
Any configuration is going to start with a Triad Stand. Three versions are available: the 17- to 29.5-inch T1 Short Tripod (with a weight of 9.5 pounds), the 36- to 71-inch T2 Standard Tripod (with a weight of 12.25 pounds), and the 31.5- to 78.5-inch T3 Tall Tripod (with a weight of 12.25 pounds).
Outside of the height differential, each Triad stand functions in the same manner. Each leg has four ratcheted positions, allowing for up to 65 degrees of independent adjustment. Basically, you can angle the stand by ratcheting one or two of its legs, or decrease its base footprint and increase its base clearance by ratcheting up all three legs. This dramatically increases placement options, and its applications range from creating a boom-less front line to increasing the number of tripod stands you can fit in a small amount of space, a challenge both studio and live engineers know well when trying to intricately mic a drum kit. Whereas most typical stands use knobs or thumbscrews for height adjustment, each Triad stand sports an ergonomic clutch that allows for fast and very secure adjustments that won’t slip when you’ve attached your mic.
For boom options, you have your choice between the Orbit 1 Single Arm Boom and the Orbit 2 Dual Arm Boom. Aside from the obvious differences their names imply, these two booms do boast a few different features. The Orbit 1 gives you 21 to 37.75 inches of extension, and also features the O1 swivel housing, which provides 360 degrees of horizontal placement and a 360 x 220-degree rotational axis.
The Orbit 2 Dual Boom Arm has a design that is so obvious in hindsight, you have to ask yourself, “Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” Each of its two arms has an adjustable length of 20.5 to 29.25 inches, and can be separated by a maximum of 58.5 inches from each other, with a center-swivel range of motion of 145 degrees. The miking possibilities of the Orbit 2 boom have a wide range. Stereo-miking a single source, such as piano or acoustic guitar may come to mind first, but anyone who has ever miked a drum kit can imagine the possibilities: the Orbit 2 will let you use a single stand to mic your snare and hi-hat, or both rack toms, or your overheads.
For highly accurate and intricate mic placement, Triad-Orbit has 2 Micro Adapters that attach to the end of the boom arms, the Micro 1 M1 Long-Stem Orbital Adapter and the Micro 2 M2 Short Stem Orbital Adapter. The Micro 1 M1 addresses a well-known difficulty in the studio that many engineers can attest to: accurate placement with a spider shockmount. The adapter features Triad-Orbit’s proprietary Glide Path housing, which allows both orbital rotation and straight-line, on-axis placement, and it has a long stem to accommodate many types of shockmounts.
For even more precise miking needs in tighter situations (think piano or acoustic guitar placement), the Micro 2 M2 works on a similar premise as the Micro 1 M1, but has a shorter stem arm for more exacting placement. Both the Micro 1 M1 and Micro 2 M2 sport I/O connectors, so they simply snap onto Orbit boom arms or Triad stands.
A benefit of the modular aspect of the Triad-Orbit system is that its applications are not limited to mounting microphones. The iORBIT 1 is an iPad holder with I/O functionality, so it can be mounted on any Triad stand or Orbit boom. An iORBIT coupled with an Orbit 2 dual arm boom can easily serve as an all-in-one setup for podcasters or radio-show hosts looking to have one stand hold both their tablet and microphone.
If you think the I/O Quick Change Coupler is a cool idea, Triad-Orbit also offers Retrofit Kits that allow you to integrate them into your existing mic stand collection. While the stand may not have as “cool gear” appeal as microphones, preamps, or outboard gear, Triad-Orbit has set out to improve on an age-old technology, and it appears they have done just that.