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Educational Buying Guide

The B&H Guide to Boompoles

By Sam Mallery

A boompole is a curious tool. It’s a microphone stand that cannot stand. In essence, a boompole is crude and simplistic, yet the engineering and thought put into their design is great.

Once you’ve decided to purchase a boompole, you may be a bit taken aback when you first explore the available options. What tends to surprise people is that the starting price for boompoles is nearly $100 for inexpensive models and over $1000 for the most expensive ones. It just seems like a lot of money to pay for a stick.

Invariably, people want to know one thing: what makes a boompole that much different from a broom pole? For starters, boompoles are expensive because of the lightweight materials and parts used in their construction. This is a tool that you are likely going to be traveling with, and holding above your shoulders. You want it to be as light as possible.

- Weight Is an Issue with boompoles, the lighter the better

Another aspect to take into consideration is the noise created when a boompole is operated. Special features are built into boompoles that make silent operation possible. Finally, the boompoles that we sell at B&H are all collapsible. Try stuffing a five foot broom pole into your equipment bag.

There are two types of materials used to create boompoles:

1) Aluminum
2) Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber boompoles weigh less than aluminum, but they’re also more expensive. Aluminum boompoles are heavier and stronger than carbon fiber.

Cabled Vs. Non-cabled

Some boompoles are “cabled”, others are not. A cabled boompole has a coiled microphone cable that runs internally through the pole. The end of the cable sticks out of the top of the pole and allows you to plug-in your microphone. An XLR output jack is installed at the bottom of the pole. This enables you to attach a microphone cable to the pole. The cabled boompole can then be plugged into a videocamera, a recording device, a mixer, or a wireless transmitter.

The nice thing about a cabled pole is that set-up time is faster. In “run and gun” production situations (reality television, news reporting, etc.) a cabled boompole may be a necessity. You should be aware that cabled boompoles have some added weight, and collapsing the pole should be done carefully to avoid bunching up the internal cable.

One plus for using a non-cabled pole is that the audio signal doesn’t have to pass through two separate audio cables to get to its destination. In this situation, the loss of audio quality is minor, but still, it doesn’t hurt to avoid it. You also have your choice of what kind of microphone cable to use. You can opt for a single Canare or a Mogami cable for premium audio quality.

Helpful Hint!

A handy feature to look for when choosing a cabled boompole is a “side exit”. This means the XLR output jack is not on the very bottom of the pole, but rather it’s mounted on the side of the bottom end of the pole. The advantage is that between takes you can rest the base of the pole on the ground without applying pressure and damaging the vulnerable audio cable and output jack attached to the pole. Using a right angle XLR cable for bottom exit boompoles is also highly recommended.

Accessorize Yourself

There are many helpful accessories available for boompoles icluding: Cases, Mounts, Quick Disconnects and Counter Weights. The mount that you need to attach a microphone to is sold separately. Worry not dear reader, you can learn all you need to know about mounts for boompoles in the previous pro audio update article about shockmounts.

Avoid a Common Mistake

One unforeseeable pitfall first-time boompole owners often experience is prematurely wearing out the locks on their pole. When they extend the pole to use it, they often over-tighten the locks that hold the segments of the pole in place. Those locks are pretty fragile and require thoughtful treatment when used. They don’t need to be forcefully tightened. Just wipe any dust and tighten them enough to hold steady, and your boompole will last much longer.

Give Your Arms a Break!

You may not always have a pair of arms available to operate the boompole. With the appropriate parts you can safely mount your boompole on a stand for both action and static scenes.

These are the three basic components you need to mount your boompole:
a C-Stand, a Grip head, and a Pole Holder.


The Big Boompole Breakdown

Below we have created a breakdown of some popular boompoles:

Boompoles Under $200

Make / Model / B&H#

Length /Weight

Material /Sections

Cabled

Compatible Boompole Case

Price

What makes me
Special?

Gitzo
G556
#GIG556

2.5 - 6.6'
1.1 lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$89.95

Can also be used as camera monopod

Gitzo
G556C
#GIG556C

2.6 - 6.9
.79 lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10036BTLG

$146.95

Can also be used
as camera monopod

Gitzo
G557C
#GIG557C

2.7 - 9’
1.5 lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes
Side
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10036BTLG

$189.95

Can also be used
as camera monopod

Rode
Boompole #ROBP

1.4-9.5’

Carbon Fiber 6 Sections

No

B&H SKU#
ROBPB

$109.95

Ten feet of pole for not much money

K-Tek
K89CC
#KTKE89CC

4.7 - 20.11’

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10055BTLG

$179.95

Inexpensive option for a cabled pole

Boompoles Under $400

K-Tek
KE79CC #KTKE79CC

1.8 - 6.7'
18.9 oz

Aluminum
6 sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$209.95

Shrinks down to 1.8 ft

K-Tek
KE110CCR #KTKE110CCR

2.5 - 9.2'
12.5 oz

Aluminum
5 sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$239.95

Inexpensive option for a side exit cabled pole

Gitzo
GB3560
#GIGB3560

34.3 to 155.5"
1.6 lbs

Carbon Fiber 6 Sections

No

B&H SKU#
AL10036BTLG

$269.95

Improved locking and comes with a dust bag

K-Tek
KEG100
#KTKEG100

2.2 to 8.9'
1 1lb

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

No

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$309.95

Lightweight graphite pole made in the USA

K-Tek
K102
#KTK102

2.2 to 8.9'
NO Spec for Weight

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

No

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$399.95

Lightweight graphite pole made in the USA

Boompoles Over $400

K-Tek
KEG100CC #TKEG100CC

2.2 - 8.9'
1.3 lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$408.95

Lightweight
graphite pole Made
in the USA

PSC
SSBPCC
#FBPSCC

1.7 - 6.1
1.3 lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$454.58

Shrinks own to 1.7 ft

K-Tek
K102CCR
#KTK102CCR

2.2 - 8.9’ 1.6lbs

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Side
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$564.95

Durable and jam
resistant gears

K-Tek
KA113
#KTKA113

1.4 - 9.5’

Carbon Fiber 6 Sections

No

B&H SKU#
AL10032BTLG

$639.95

Pivoting joint
allows more clearance
from frame

K-Tek
K251FT
#KTK251FT

4.7 - 20.11’

Carbon Fiber 5 Sections

Yes Bottom
Exit

B&H SKU#
AL10055BTLG

$859.95

Scratch that
itch from
21 ft. away

Please note: All prices are subject to change based on current market prices. The prices contained in this newsletter reflect current prices at the time of publication.

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