I was recently asked about how I set up my configurations, and I realized I’ve never really documented the setups. It all fizzles around in my brain, never quite settling down. When the time came to send some pictures to someone, I decided it was time to at least get one or two variants documented that I could send folks to. I hope this proves useful for y’all!


Often called “drop rigs” or “stashes”, I’m not really fond of either label. The idea of “dropping” my gear somewhere leaves me a bit squeamish. I prefer to rest things gently on the ground and take time to orient it all. I know no one ever “drops” the gear (well, most probably are not), but the term has always left me wanting.

There are a couple main variations I use for this, one for a Sound Devices MixPre -series recorder, one for a Zoom F series. They’re essentially the same, but some of the attachment components vary between the two. I find the F6 to be a little more compact for a tight fitting array, but the MixPre6ii is a lot easier to mount.

A few caveats ahead: thin rubber or leather washers are great to have between joints to help minimize transmission noise. They also help give some flex to the attachments so you can twist components a little more or less so everything looks pretty. Also, This isn’t a full guide, just the attachments, so I haven’t put the windhovers on the LEO-20 mic balls pictured or connected any wires. That’s for another day and outdoor pictures in-situ. Perhaps I’ll take the time for prettier replacement pictures here, too!


Top-mounted MixPre6ii and F6

A Benro tripod with a top-mounted Sound Devices MixPre6ii and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens
Top-mounted Sound Devices MixPre6ii and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens on a Benro tripod
A Benro tripod with a top-mounted Zoom F6 and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens
Top-mounted Zoom F6 and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens on a Benro tripod

Side-mounted MixPre6ii and F6

A Benro tripod with a side-mounted Sound Devices MixPre6ii and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens
Side-mounted Sound Devices MixPre6ii and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens on a Benro tripod
A Benro tripod with a side-mounted Zoom F6 and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens
Side-mounted Zoom F6 and four selfie sticks with small microphones and windscreens on a Benro tripod

Things you’ll need

This is fairly simple, just a bunch of bushing fittings and thread adaptors. First of all, it’s really handy to get yourself a little kit of bibs and bobs and possible fittings and adaptors you might need in the field. I’ve collected mine over the years, but you can easily start off by buying something like one of these: ooooo, aaahhhh, cooolll

A small compartmentalized box with an assortment of screw fittings, bushings, and adaptors
Note: they don’t come with the handy reminder note of the most common sizes: 1/4″-20 (the “small” fittings for cameras). 3/8″-16 (the “medium” fittings for boom poles and larger cameras, and 5/8″-27 (for mic stands).

Next, you’ll need shafts for mounting your mics. A few years ago I bought a bunch of different selfie sticks and presentation pointers off Amazon and tried them out. Selfie Sticks are great as they collapse to a small package, are lightweight, and usually have at least one thread post. I settled on Insta360 for the sturdiness of the overall design and the fact that they have two 1/4″ threads: one fitting and one post. The extension sliders are also about 6.5″/ 16.51cm. More about that shortly. You can use whatever kind of stick you prefer, of course, as long as it’s sturdy enough.

Insta360 Selfie Stick

Bringing it all together, you’ll need a multi-thread adaptor with at least four faces. A Manfrotto Dado ball is great and highly adaptable, but for someone on a budget it can be a bit pricey. They also seem to be frequently out of stock. Since my goal is a Quad recording, I settled on a Leofoto CF-8. It has 1/4″ fittings on all four sides, a 1/4″ post up top, and a 3/8″ cutting on the bottom. Mine is nearly always attached to an Arca-style plate for quick-mounting on a tripod (2nd image), so I had to work hard to twist it off. You’re welcome.

Leofoto CF-8 multithread adaptor
Leofoto CF-8 multithread adaptor
Leofoto CF-8 multithread adaptor mounted on an Arca-style plate
Leofoto CF-8 multithread adaptor mounted on an Arca-style plate

Why extendable selfie sticks are useful

Spaced Quad microphones arrays are, if you think about it, just four AB pairs: Left Front and Right Front, Right Front and Right Rear, Right Rear and Left Rear, Left Ear and Left Front. (There is also Let Front and Right Rear and Left Rear and Right Front, but when thinking about the soundstage, those two are rarely of concern). There are several common distances for AB spacing, but for practicality in the field somewhere between 70-100cm are most common. When an Insta360 stick is extended to 4 stops, the length is about 71.1cm. Using a little bit of grade school Pythagorean Theorem where the sum of the square of the sides is equal to the square of the hypotenuse, we can see that results in a distance of 100cm (okay 100.55cm) between any of the four pairs. Full extension is out to 165.5cm between mics. and a little less than 3.5 stops is 70cm between mics. Yay for math!

Triangles showing the relative distances of selfie stick lengths and mic distancing
And you thought you’d never need Pythagoras again…

Putting it together

Grab a selfie stick and 1/4″ turnaround. Fit the turnaround into the bottom of the stick, and fit that on the multi-thread adaptor.

Multi-thread adaptor, bushing turnaround, and selfie stick bottom laying exposed
I kinda of cropped out the attached stick on the left, didn’t I?

Like so:

Leofoto Multi-thread CF-8 adaptor with an attached Insta360 Selfie Stick
Note that it’s helpful to have a thin rubber or leather washers between the stick, turnaround, and adaptor to minimize vibration transmission. I just didn’t bother taking them out of the toolbox.

Repeat a few times and you’ll have this:

Four Insta360 Selfie Sticks attached to the four faces of a Leofoto Multithread CF-8 Adaptor
If you find selfie sticks thinner than the Insta360, you’ll probably be able to use the Leofoto CF-7, which has 4 threaded posts instead of fittings. That way you can use fewer in-between adaptors and fittings, which can be the weak links in the system.

Sound Devices MixPre series have flush-fitted threadings, so you can just attach it directly to the CF-8

Sound Devices MixPre6ii flush mounted on top of a barely-visible Leofoto CF-8
It’s really hard to get a picture of it. It looks like it could be rattly, but fortunately the bottom of the MixPre6ii and the selfie stick handles are rubberized, so they really do fit nicely together.

Zoom, on the other hand, in their infinite wisdom have strap-mounts that get in the way of flush mounting, so you’ll need some of those bibs and bobs from earlier. If you have a 1/4″ thread to 1/4″ post extension, then lucky, lucky you. Otherwise, you can make do with a 3/8″ thread to 1/4″ post with a 1/4″-3/8″ bushing like so:

1/4" to 3/8" adaptor with a 1/4"-to-3/8" bushing fitted, next to a similar adaptor and bushing that are not fitted.
You can’t tell, but the adaptor on the left has the bushing inset. I swear. For reals.

It looks like a weird hovering spaceship. Be aware of the weight imbalance. Zoom put the thread way off center, leaving the whole job feeling weak.

Zoom F6 top-mounted on a Leofoto CF-8 with adaptors.
Wibble-wobble. It doesn’t really, but it totally feels like it would.

Lately, I’ve been side mounting my recorders. It started with an injury that made squatting down to look in the front of a recorder annoying, but I kept doing it. Most — but not all — modern tripods have a side thread on the center-pole support collar. Usually it’s between two legs, but I’ve seen a few that were just over one.

1/4" thread on the side of a tripod
Blink and you’ll miss it.

The position of the side thread leaves little room for even the MixPre to fit without an extension. For this I use a barrel turnaround with two threads: one 1/4″ and one 3/8″. If you happen to have a 1/4″ to 1/4″ barrel will you send it to me? I’ve lost the one I had. I use a 1/4″ to 3/8″ turnaround to make the post side fit into the tripod. The MixPre has a handy built-in 1/4″ post that you can use with the magnetized Allen wrench beneath the SD card slot. That goes into the open 1/4″ thread of the barrel.

A 1/4" to 3/8" threaded barrel adaptor with a 3/8" to 1/4" posted turnaround fitted at the 3/*' ends. Next to this is a similar barrel and turnaround laying exposed.
1/”4″ out to 3/8″ out into a 3/8″ in to a 1/4″ in. 1/4″. 3/8″. In. Out. Turnaround. It’s like an engineer’s hokey-pokey dance.

It’s a little hard to take a picture of…

Posts and adaptors used to fit a Sound Devices' MixPre6ii to the side of a tripod
It feels surprisingly sturdy.

But it fits nicely:

MixPre6ii mounted on the side of a tripod
The white strip on the bottom has QR codes with my contact information — and links to SoundCloud for listening pleasure! — in case someone stumbles upon my rig and wants to return it to me. The label also has my phone # and email directly printed, but some of those Gen Z-ers might not know what to do with all the numbers and letters and just go straight for the QRs.

Again, Zoom’s wonderfully mis-placed thread makes reliance upon sandwiched adaptors necessary. For this we need three: a 1/4″ to 3/8″ threaded barrel, a 1/4″ to 3/8″ post turnaround, an d a simple 1/4″ post turnaround. You can buy long 1/4″ to 1/4″ post turnarounds, which would be great, but they’re usually weirdly expensive. Making one out of three fittings this way is around 1/10 the price at most.

Three piece extended 1/4" post turnaround consisting of a 1/4" to 3/8" post turnaround,  a 3/8" to 1/4" threaded barrel turnaround, and a 1/4" to 1/4" post turnaround. Next to it lie the same part, exposed.
Manfrotto makes a one-piece brass version of this, but only 1/4″ post to 3/8″ post. It’s $9 at most camera stores.

The recorder sticks out a bit from the stand. Interestingly, it makes for a great handle to pick the rig up by for short transport!

Zoom F6 side-mounted on a tripod using the assembled 1/4" to 1/4" extended turnaround from above
I will admit to having picked this up by the recorder frequently. Not always. Just frequently.

For attaching the mics, I use Rycote InVision mounts and Lyres. They have a 3/8″ thread, so I use a 1/4″ bushing to make it fit. You can probably get something similar — but I dare say not as compact — from Røde. Radius, a new company by the former owner of Rycote, may have something coming soon that will compete well.

An Insta360 Selfie Stick post-end, a 1/4" to 3/8" bushing, and a Rycote InVision mount 3/8" thread
If you look carefully at the end of the Rycote mount, there’s already a 1/4″ to 3/8″ bushing in there. It’s been over-tightened so many times that it’s become a permanent fixture. The bushing laying exposed in the middle is just for show.

It’s handy, again, to use a rubber or leather washer (not pictured) between the stick and the mount. Not only does it minimize transmission noise, it also acts a stabilizer when spinning everything so it will all look pretty. Without a washer, the microphones may end up pointing at different angles each, and that looks ugly.

A Cinela LEO microphone windscreen over a small microphone suspended in a Rycote Lyre and InVision combination, attached to an Insta 360 Selfie Stick
Aaron Cendan made the cables. His work is top-notch. Those are water-tight locking Neutrik barrels on the end.

Just to remind you what all this is for…


I hope this has been helpful! I look forward to showing off more in the future. I’ll leave you with a few in-situ/ in-the-wild pictures. There are dry bags covering some of the recorders and batteries, and the full windscreens are on, so don’t get too excited. Looking closely you’ll be able to see that how I’ve attached the mics has evolved over time, from pipe-ing mics lashed to the arms both parallel and perpendicular, up to the current mount+lyre version. Experiment! Try! Fail! Repeat!

A few links to an assortment of recordings made with all this stuff:

Alligators! Oh my.

“Rain Sheep” or Narrow-mouthed Toads

Cicadas and Katydids on a warm Summer day in the swamp

Orchestrated Frogs

Bayley Lake

Bayley Lake at Dawn

Olympic State Experimental Forest