Automated Microphone Build

Written by: admin@makezilla

So, here's a project for all the home recording aficionados out there. This is the automated microphone project. If you've got a boom stand, and all the necessary equipment (we'll go over everything you need), you can build one of these yourself.

This makes it easy to get the perfect mic position with the use of a remote. No more screwing, unscrewing, wondering if you've screwed it on tight enough. Just push a button and go to town on it.

First, we'll take a look at what you'll need for this project...

Step 1: The Equipment

1. Mic Stand (disassembled)

2. Control System

For this project, we used the PA-30 Control Box. Click the link to learn more about this box.

3. Linear Actuator

For this project, we used the PA-14 Mini Linear Actuator. It's durable enough for you to even lean on the mic if you have a tendency to do that.

4. Galvanized Strapping

5. Mounting Brackets

6. Screws and Hardware

7. Remotes

Remotes come with the control box.

Step 2: Getting the Right Actuator

In order to make sure you have the proper actuator, you'll want to find out what the stroke length should be. The weight and speed will not be as much of a requirement, because it's not going to be lifting much weight at all.

Measure the height of the microphone from the bottom to the bottom of the boom. Once you have the measurement, you can then extend your mic stand all the way upward. When it's up, measure the same points again. Subtract the two numbers and you'll have your stroke length for the actuator.

Step 3: Take Apart the Stand

You'll need to get everything mounted properly, so now it's time to take apart the stand. For this particular stand, it comes apart in four different parts: the base, the main rod, the inner rod and the boom portion. Your stand may be a little different.

Step 4: Preparing the Mounting Brackets

This is where your mounting brackets come in. The photo above really shows it all. Using a measuring tape, the diameter of both the larger rod and smaller rod are measured. Then two pieces of galvanized strapping are twisted, so that they match the measurements.

Then making sure the holes in the strapping are lined up, place a screw through each of them. One screw per strapping. Then push the screw through the mounting bracket and twist on a nut so that everything is nice and flush and tight.

You should have two brackets that look like the photo now.

Step 5: The Bottom Mounting Bracket

Now you can put your mounting bracket on the bottom rod. Push it over the rod and all the way down to the bottom. Make sure you get the direction of the mounting bracket correct, or you'll run into problems with room.

Once you have the mounting bracket connected, you may want to put the small metal hand piece back on. This is only for aesthetics. Don't screw the piece on or the actuator won't be able to move.

Step 6: The Top Bracket

There should be a smaller rod inside of the larger rod. Pull it out just a little and put the other mounting bracket on it. Once it's on you can put the boom stand nut back on. The nut is shown in the photo.

Step 7: Attach the Actuator

Now you can use the pins to attach the actuator. Make sure your actuator motor is facing outward, or you won't have enough room to attach it. It should only be able to be attached one way. Use the pins to mount the actuator to the brackets.

This photo should give you an idea on how to attach the actuator.

Step 8: Wire the Control Box

Now it's time to wire up the power.

The actuator will have two wires extending from it. If they aren't stripped, go ahead and strip them. Attach them to the "Output" part of this box.

On the other side, you'll see 'Input'. The wires from your power source (AC adapter), go on this end of the terminal.


Step 9: You're Done


Now when you push your remote, you should have a completely automated microphone. But why stop there? Automate the boom portion for even more control. Or automate the mic itself for ultimate control!

Have questions or comments? Let us know in the comments section and we'll answer them as soon as possible.