Alongside other equipment like guitars, amps, and even effects pedals, microphones are comparatively small and portable. As such, it may be tempting to simply stow them away in your gig bag pocket or backpack. While that certainly may work (there are some heavy-duty gig bags out there!) when it comes to touring and extensive gigging it can be wise to protect your investment a little more. Microphones take a lot of abuse when they are onstage, so transporting them securely and properly from offstage will help extend their life. The last thing you want is a microphone that functions intermittently or gives up the ghost mid-gig!
Many microphone manufacturers address this issue right out of the box by shipping new microphones with a soft carrying bag. These are usually made of nylon or leather and offer sufficient protection for light to regular gigging, helping prevent general scuffs and scratches. However, they do not offer much protection against drops or impact and if you have multiple microphones, it is impractical to carry each microphone in its own bag. In addition, if you need to bring your own XLR or other microphone cords along, a single microphone carrying bag most likely will not have ample space to include longer cords and other components.
The Carvin Audio M68 microphone comes with a 20’ XLR cable, carrying case, and clip.
Hard shell equipment cases are a great solution for carrying and protecting numerous microphones, cables, and other accessories like clips and pop filters. These are stackable and offer much better impact, crush, and drop protection than a carrying bag. Many pro audio manufacturers offer general purpose hard cases, as well as cases designed specifically to carry microphones, so feel free to shop around.
If you’re less picky, hard cases can also be found in some hardware or home improvement stores, as they are often used to transport tools and other equipment. Evaluate how many microphones you need to take to the gig and choose a case that offers enough space and ample protection.
For those looking for extra protection, shock-resistant, waterproof, and impact resistant equipment cases are also available. These types of specialized cases are generally more expensive, but are extremely rugged and durable. They can also be used to transport cameras or other electronic equipment if you are a person of many talents. Some cases come with molded foam interiors or customizable compartments to reduce the movement of your microphones while being transported. If you carry only a few high end microphones, these are a great option.
If you are set on streamlining, or portability is a priority, the aforementioned heavy duty gig bag with an accessory pocket is an option. Make sure that pocket is large enough to carry your microphones along with all your other gigging equipment, and place your microphones in carry bags to keep them extra safe.
As rugged as microphones are, there are still numerous points of failure. The XLR connector may fail if you carry your microphone by its cable frequently (don’t do this!) or your lead singer likes to swing the mic around. In addition, the microphone’s capsule may be damaged by impact. This part of the microphone is extremely expensive to replace and in most cases warrants purchasing an all new microphone altogether. Take care of your microphones and that’s one less thing to worry about during the gig!
What do you use to transport your microphones? How has it worked out for you? Let us know in the comments!
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