Triad-Orbit Advanced Microphone Stand Systems

by George Petersen
in Road Tests

The Orbit 2 dual boom simplifies stereo mic placements from a single stand.I never thought I’d be reviewing a mic stand. But then again, Triad-Orbit’s Advanced Microphone Stand Systems aren’t ordinary mic stands. Actually, the real point here is whether I need another (or several) more mic stands. After all, I have a ton of them that I’ve bought over the years, ranging from cast base models to various folding versions.

Unfortunately, I continually keep buying more every year or so, because, if truth be told, the life expectancy of the average mic stand under daily pro use is pretty short. Clutches wear out, threads strip and those barbell-style cinchers on boom joints either break off, bend or simply fail at the worst possible time. And how many times have we all experienced “mic droop” — where the boom mic ever so slowly begins to sag in the middle of a song, on a downward spiral — while we watch helplessly from a distance. Occasionally, something even as seemingly mundane as a mic stand takes on a lot of importance.

The legs on each mic stand can ratchet to tilt the axis by up to 65°, adjust for uneven floors or rise slightly above drum stands, cables, etc.Enter the Triad-Orbit

With that sort of reflection in mind, the folks at Access Products Group — a company with years of real-world experience developing OEM and original design products for numerous pro audio and M.I. brands — went about reinventing the mic stand with an eye toward flexibility and unyielding performance. The result was the Triad-Orbit Advanced Microphone Stand System.

The line is based around three Triad straight stands that are height-adjustable from 17.25 to 24.5 inches (model T1); 36 to 64 inches (T2) and 32.5 to 71.5 inches (T3). All use heavy cast parts and thick tubing for a substantial heft — the T3 weighs in at a goodly 14.5 pounds. The height clutches have large grips with a smooth, solid touch that sends the user the immediate feel that these aren’t gonna slip — ever. So far, these just seem like overbuilt stands, but there’s a lot more going on here.

The top of each stand terminate in a hexagonal socket. (Each stand also ships with an IO Quick-Change Coupler — a short brass hex rod with standard 5/8-inch mic clip threads at the other end.) This hex rod IO coupler approach is key to the entire system. The stands easily and securely grip the posts of the hex-shaped rods (simply by pulling downward on the stand’s/boom’s top barrel, while the hexagonal design prevents inadvertent rotation.

The other secret of the Triad stands is the articulating base design, which offers the stability of a large cast base with the convenience of a folding tripod design, but with the bonus of ratcheted legs. Each of the latter has four locking positions that allow the user to adjust the pitch of the stand for up to 65° of slant. This allows boom-free setups (such as tilting the stand towards the performer, over around a small pedalboard). It also simplifies use of the shorter T1 stand to get in closer to snare/hi-hat/floor toms in a sea of percussion stands and simplifies adjusting for uneven floor/stage surfaces. Tweaking each ratchet requires no more than pressing downward on a toe lever on a leg.

Sonic Booms

So far, so good, but the fun kicks in with the Orbit Orbital Booms, which use a stainless steel Compass Point gimball assembly with a large secure twist grip that can lock the boom into any position within its 360° by 190° of rotation. The Orbit 1 single boom extends from about 21 to 37.5 inches and terminates in a hex socket for its (included) IO coupler.

The Orbit 2 dual boom is like nothing you’ve ever seen outside a plumbing supply house. Essentially it’s a Y-shaped yoke with an IO couple rod at the base, with a rotating swivel (adding 150° of left-right motion) and above that two steel-ball Compass Point rotators, each having an adjustable (16.5 to 29.3 inch extension) boom arm with an IO termination. Like the Orbit 1, the dual boom locks solidly, but beyond its more obvious uses — such as drum overheads and piano miking — really opens up the door for ease of stereo mic configurations, like setting up M/S or Blumlein rigs. Alternatively, the Orbit 2 is also ideal for non-stereo applications, such as holding a mic on one arm and attaching accessories like the iOrbit 1 tablet/iPad mount (or iOrbit 2 smartphone adapter) on the other.

On the upside is the Elevator Shaft, which is a straight 33-inch extension with IO couplers at either end, and is just the thing for placing audience mics, RF antennas or orchestral/choral mics well above the fray. On a T3 stand, this would yield nearly nine feet of height — not including a boom.

The Compass Point gimball assembly has a large secure twist grip that can lock the boom into any position within its 360° by 220° of rotation.On and On

It cannot be overemphasized that the Triad Orbit is a system. The line also include both short- and long-stem mic swivel adapters that pair rotational adjustment onto an I/O rod. These are perfect in all kinds of difficult miking situations, especially around drum kits or percussion rigs where getting just the right placement is often problematic.

I’m sure the company would prefer that all users abandon their entire inventory of conventional stands for the Triad Orbit approach, However, they are certainly aware that this probably isn’t going to happen (at least not right away) and even make a line of retrofit components, adapters and couplers that allow incorporating parts of the Triad system onto conventional stands. This way, users could begin integrating into a full system gradually and adding to it over time.

Also available are padded carry bags for one or two stands and 3.3-pound Grav Bags (weighted shot bags) to add stability to legs of stands in precarious setups or areas with high traffic.

The Wrap

I never thought I’d utter these words, yet I’m jazzed about these new mic stands. True, they’re heavy — a T3 with an Orbit 2 boom tips the scales at nearly 21 pounds — but sometimes, when it comes to securely placing expensive microphones, a little (or a lot) stability is a good thing. Likewise, these are also somewhat pricey, but when I think back of all of the stripped out, bent and trashed mic stands I wasted money on over the decades, the Triad Orbit does make a lot of sense. And given their flexibility, stability, versatility, ease of use and solid construction, these are definitely something to consider.

At a Glance

Triad-Orbit Advanced Microphone Stand System

An integrated system of high-performance microphone stands that are versatile, sturdy and adapt to placement situations that other stands can’t match.

Pros: Ultra-high quality construction; flexible; stable; useful accessories to meet almost any need.

Cons: Heavy; somewhat pricey.

Street Pricing: T1, $139; T2, $179; T3, $219. Orbit O1 single boom, $109; Orbit O2 dual boom, $199.

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