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Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?
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DCtoDaylight
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#1
17th February 2008
Old 17th February 2008
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Talking Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?

So, I've been shopping for an upgrade to my little $25 stereo bar...something at least 18 inches long or a bit more if possible that can be used on a stand or in a flying situation....and I've got a pretty bad case of sticker shock.

Now, like any red-blooded Slut I don't mind spending money for quality stuff....but I just can't get my head around why a two-foot hunk of aluminum or steel and three or four big thumbscrews has to cost $250 or $500.

Am I missing something here? It just seems crazy when some guys in Switzerland, of all places, can underprice the market with that $150 student project!
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17th February 2008
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17th February 2008
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I think it is market economics. When a group of students do it the deal can be cheap. They make it and sell it. When you make it and other folks sell it you have to ship it, market it, price it high enough to pay your end of the deal and a profit and the seller has to have enough of a markup to make it worthwhile for him to stock and sell.

I wish they were cheaper. And the link to Jerry at Posthorn has the inexpensive solution. Thats a good deal.
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17th February 2008
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I have the SabraSom and it works pretty well. An XY pattern takes several mic stand thread adapters to gain some height on one of the mounts, but besides that I have no complaints.
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17th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughesmr View Post
Get a Sabra-Som mount from Posthorn Recordings. Cheap and pretty durable, can use hexrods of up to 1m.

Posthorn | Universal Sabra Tools
Seems a bit short ?

Anyway, I am always a bit frustrated by this kind of information:

consisting of two 3/8'' and 5/8" male thread devices

here, meters and centimeters are something we are familiar with ...
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17th February 2008
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Some improvisation with existing materials can get you a nice long stereo bar for not much money.

Ingredients.
1 x 1.2m long 5mm diam carbon fibre kite spar, approx $12.
2 Schoeps FA1 flute clips. $25 each
Some kite spar fittings from local hobby shop, < $10
Superglue.
1 stainless steel bolt and 1/4 inch to 3/8 mic/camera thread adapter.

See photos for completed bar. It flexes but will not break, its very very strong.
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Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-p1020540.jpg   Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-p1020542.jpg   Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-p1020544.jpg  
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17th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
here, meters and centimeters are something we are familiar with ...
Nonetheless, all the mic stands and holders you use every day use non-metric threads...

Daniel
DCtoDaylight
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17th February 2008
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Hey, thanks to all of you for the advice on the Sabra-Som - it looks like by far the best price-performance ratio. I'm thinking I might get the 1M rod and cut it in two, as I'd like something longer than 300mm but shorter than 1000mm (I know, fussy, fussy, fussy :-).

For flying, would it make sense to use two of the stand holders so that you could have two independent points of attachment to the overhead line? The modular Sabra system seems to allow for this.

David, your carbon-fiber solution is very cool and creative - I need something where it's easy to adjust spacing, though, so I think the Sabra is better for me.

And as far as our inability to standardize on metric dimensions....that's an even bigger mystery than expensive stereo bars!
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17th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
Am I missing something here? It just seems crazy when some guys in Switzerland, of all places, can underprice the market with that $150 student project!
No , the only thing you're missing is the capitalist equation - fleece them for as much possible, and for as long as the market will bear.

You will not see DPA/AEA/Schoeps etc. drop prices on theirs till another company starts dipping into their market (profits) - then you'd see the scramble to adjust pricing, and quick!

Unfortunately, it's such a tiny market, there realistically will not be any change re: pricing, but - I've been known to be wrong before...

Best,
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17th February 2008
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If you're good with a drill press and simple metalwork, do what I'm doing. 1" wide, 1/4" thick by 6' long aluminium rectangle stock. Cut to length. Drill some 3/8" holes where you want them. Get some 3/8" button head socket screws and some 3/8"-5/8" mic clip adapters. Then some way to mount. I'm using a Yamaha BMS-10A monitor stand adapter.

Nice and light, and you can use DIN/ORTF/NOS measurements and fill in open space with other placement holes. Or make one that's entirely non-standard just to have more variety. It's not as flexible as the AEA with the sliders, but hell of alot cheaper.

And if the bare aluminium is too bright for you, you could send it out for anodizing or powder coating. Or I'm just going to spray paint it matte black.

6' Aluminium bar - $15 (can make several sizes out of one bar)
Yamaha BMS-10A - $20 (give or take)
Screws, Nuts, etc. - Maybe $5 or so.

Daniel
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17th February 2008
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I make these. Markbars are what I call em.
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Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-markbar019.jpg   Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-markbar025.jpg   Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-markbar026.jpg  
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17th February 2008
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Boy I feel like an idiot. I wasn't even thinking about just using a threaded 3/8" hole. I was too concerned thinking about how much a 5/8-27 tap would cost. Could have saved myself $20.

Oh well,
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17th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
David, your carbon-fiber solution is very cool and creative - I need something where it's easy to adjust spacing, though, so I think the Sabra is better for me.
The carbon sleeves that the Schoeps flute clips are attached to slide with resistance along the spar, so spacing adjustment is very easy.
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18th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapermark2006 View Post
I make these. Markbars are what I call em.
I PM'd you for more info but never heard back....

Rich
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18th February 2008
Old 18th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
Hey, thanks to all of you for the advice on the Sabra-Som - it looks like by far the best price-performance ratio. I'm thinking I might get the 1M rod and cut it in two, as I'd like something longer than 300mm but shorter than 1000mm (I know, fussy, fussy, fussy :-).
Make sure you cut yourself two different length bars.
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18th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bove View Post
Make sure you cut yourself two different length bars.
Hey, great minds think alike! I was going to do something like 350-650 or thereabouts. Thanks for the reminder - easy to forget stuff when the jigsaw comes out.

Mark, your Markbars look great, very clean design....and David, thanks for clarifying the adjustability on your setup - very nice.

Thanks again to the collective intelligence of the group here - I'm going to order some SABRA-SOM pieces that I think will do several things I want to do at a reasonable price with minimal time performing modifications. Very much appreciated, y'all!
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18th February 2008
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Here's not just a stereo bar, but a Decca Tree made out of ordinary K&M booms and a small ORTF bar. It easily carries SDCs, I'm not sure I'd mount anything heavier than a C414 to it. On a boom with a larger counterweight, I could actually place it directly above the conductor. Gonna make a few sandbags.

Leaving the Center out, it would be just an AB stereo bar.
If you use the shorter expansible booms, you got even more flexibility.
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Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-tree1.jpg   Why the heck are stereo bars so expensive?-tree2.jpg  
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18th February 2008
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Some of these things remind me of ... well .... something Godzilla would put together. The problem I have is that I have to hang these in a concert hall in 40 minutes before the performance and pull them out afterwards. They have to be light and easy to suspend from a multicore with a fishing line pulling them into a catenary.

The solid metal stuff is way too heavy, aluminium is getting there, but the reinforced fibre is the way to go. Fittings can be a problem. I like some of these.
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18th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
Thanks again to the collective intelligence of the group here - I'm going to order some SABRA-SOM pieces that I think will do several things I want to do at a reasonable price with minimal time performing modifications. Very much appreciated, y'all!
So I just actually got an ST-4 from them. I like the bar and all but the mic posts are TERRIBLE. It's got these funny little pieces that screw into the actual mic clip, and then those screw onto a smaller screw on top of the post. It's really hard to adjust the angle of the mics, and on top of that the little pieces get really stuck in the mic clips (they-re like the NA/European adapters for mic clips).

I will keep using it but I'm going to look for some after market posts. Or perhaps those quik-lok mic things that instantly attach a mic to a stand will help, I don't know.
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18th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
So I just actually got an ST-4 from them. I like the bar and all but the mic posts are TERRIBLE. It's got these funny little pieces that screw into the actual mic clip, and then those screw onto a smaller screw on top of the post. It's really hard to adjust the angle of the mics, and on top of that the little pieces get really stuck in the mic clips (they-re like the NA/European adapters for mic clips).

I will keep using it but I'm going to look for some after market posts. Or perhaps those quik-lok mic things that instantly attach a mic to a stand will help, I don't know.
LOL....I *knew* it was too good to be true that there'd be a simple solution!

Thanks very much for the input....for the mics I'll mostly be using (Toa KY small condensers), this isn't a killer, as the part that screws onto the mic stand has its own swivel built in. But I can see how this would be a PITA....

OK, maybe these things DO need to cost $500!
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22nd February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
So I just actually got an ST-4 from them. I like the bar and all but the mic posts are TERRIBLE. It's got these funny little pieces that screw into the actual mic clip, and then those screw onto a smaller screw on top of the post. It's really hard to adjust the angle of the mics, and on top of that the little pieces get really stuck in the mic clips (they-re like the NA/European adapters for mic clips).

I will keep using it but I'm going to look for some after market posts. Or perhaps those quik-lok mic things that instantly attach a mic to a stand will help, I don't know.
I wish I'd seen this thread before you bought, or I would have warned you off the ST-4. I bought one last year, and I hate it. I have the exact same problem about the post adapters getting stuck in the mic clips, and also, the washer-like pieces that you bring up to secure the clip in the desired position can get stuck so that it becomes impossible to get the clip at the correct angle. On top of that, the little thumbscrews that hold the individual mounts in place on the hex rod feel extremely flimsy.

It's just not a quality piece of gear, by any stretch of the imagination. YGWYPF, I guess.....
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22nd February 2008
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Ha, I just did a recording of a wind ensemble with the ST-4 and it worked pretty well...only because the two mics I was using happened to "perfectly" go where they were supposed to. I also had to make one post go up and one go down for the ORTF array since the stands don't vary in heighth so you can't cross mics.

I need to take pics, it is actually pretty wicked looking. I have another session tomorrow so I'll bring my camera.

However I went to Home Depot today to see if I could find something to make the ST-4 better, and I think I have just the thing, and for less than $5! However I need a jewelers saw to hack off the top of a hex bolt cleanly. I'll detail it when I have some time and can post pictures
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25th February 2008
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Don't know if anyone was interested but this is what I ended up doing with my ST-4. The mics are very far aprt vertically so that might have affected the recording but it sounds fine. I'm working on a cheap way to raise one mic with a 3/8" threaded bolt and joiner, but I need a very fine hacksaw to cut off the bolt's head.
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