Studio Night

The hockey puck worth $120

I’ve had an AKG C-414 microphone for about 10 years.  It’s been a good “workhorse” microphone for everything from drum overhead to acoustic guitar to room mic and beyond.  It seems to work pretty well for my voice, too.


The adapter that allows it to be attached to a mic stand broke a few years ago.  It’s a metal part except for the threaded connector that screws to the mic stand.  That part is plastic.  That is also the part that cracked, rendering the whole adapter useless.

I was looking for a replacement, but all I found were shockmounts that were absurdly expensive.  Some of them were almost half the price of the microphone itself.   I could have thrown hundreds at a new mount, but it rankled me that they were so damned expensive.  There had to be a way to use something I already had laying around to hold the microphone in place.

I tried using a regular mic clamp (like this) for a while.  I could squeeze the cylindrical barrel of the 414 into the plastic clip (which usually houses a dynamic mic like an SM 57 or 58), but it wasn’t very stable, and I couldn’t hang it upside down the way I like to when recording vocals.

I had recently gotten an MXL 990 mic for general use.  It’s a steal at $70, although the high frequency response seems to be pretty noticeable (I’ll fix it in the mix – ha!).  It came with a shockmount.  The mount was way too big for the barrel of the 414, though.


Later I was cleaning up the studio when I found a couple of free hockey pucks from the (now defunct) Cleveland Lumberjacks.  They were promo pucks that had been given out during a couple games I had attended years earlier.  I was going to throw them out, but some idea kept trying to surface in the back of my mind and it involved a hockey puck, so I hung onto them.

After I had moved on to doing something else, I finally realized why I had kept them.  They were circular.  Just like the opening in the MXL shock mount.  I could make a “donut” that would fill the space between the MXL shockmount rim and the barrel of the 414.

I figured I could use a hole saw to size the outside circumference to fit the MXL mount, then a smaller hole saw to cut out the hole in the center for the barrel of the 414.

Drilling through a hockey puck is just about fucking impossible.

I had it clamped flat in a vise, and I worked the hole saw down with as much force as I could muster.  The rubber is extremely dense, and it seemed to take a mighty long time before I was able to get through the thickness of the thing.  There was black rubber dust everywhere.  I re-clamped the now-smaller puck and did the same routine for the inner hole.  There was cursing involved.


FInally it was done.  I cut a notch all the way through so that it could “pinch” around the 414 barrel when I tightend the shock mount.  I wrapped the edges with gaffer tape (a must have for studio or gigging) to smooth it out, and I used a strip of rubber inside to tightly grip the 414.


There it was.  A functional shockmount.  In the land of the drunkdude, stubbornness is apparently the mother of invention.  At least when there’s a hockey puck laying around.