The Valan Atlas PMS3. The Best Microphone Stand Ever?

Valan Atlas PMS3 Microphone Stand with AKG D202E

The Valan Atlas PMS3 was originally manufactured in the late 1960’s by Valan Electrics, Birmingham, England. It is the only microphone stand that I can think of that has appeared regularly as a ‘must have’ on the Technical Riders of many well-known performers. A quick glance around the internet reveals pictures of famous users including Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Helen Reddy, Ozzy Osborne, Led Zeppelin, Status Quo, Deep Purple, The Slits, The Clash and Bono (U2)

Bono of U2 with Valan Atlas Microphone Stand

 It has also been a firm favourite with comedians. Here below is British comedian and national treasure Ken Dodd. On stage at the Theatre Royal Norwich.

Ken Dodd with Valan Atlas Microphone Stand

So what is it about the Valan Atlas that makes it so different to other mic stands.

1. Thanks to its unusual woven wire clutch mechanism the height is instantly adjustable. It goes up and down with a single movement of the hand and stops wherever you let go. So no faffing around slackening or tightening anything.  

2. It has a very heavy cast iron base with a small footprint. This makes it extremely stable but also very easy to tilt in any direction. You can even lean it right over like Bono in the picture above. It is perfect for the theatrical showman/woman.

3. The small footprint of the base also means that the performer is unlikely to trip over it!  From the sound engineer’s point of view it also means that singers and guitarists who tap their feet are less likely to hit it!

Base of Valan Atlas PMS3 Microphone stand

 4. The solid construction of the stand and its clutch mechanism also acts as an excellent shock absorber. This helps protect the microphone against unwanted handling noise.

5. The middle section covering the clutch mechanism also forms a very comfortable hand grip at waist height.

6. The chrome finish is superb and always looks fabulous under a centre spot.

Valan Atlas PMS3 Microphone Stand

The Bad News and the Good News.

Very sadly Valan Electrics went out of business in the early 1980’s. The last mention of them I can find is in a Studio Sound survey in July 1981. However, these iconic stands have remained popular and the good news is that they are once again being made by US company RCI    http://www.rcistarlite.com/micstand1.htm 

Conclusion.

We all know that cut-price microphone stands are never worth it. They will always let you down (usually in the middle of the gig)! Valan Atlas PMS 3 microphone stands have never been cheap. However, they are beautifully made, a joy to use, and will last for years. I bought mine in the 70’s. It has been centre stage on thousands of shows and still looks as good as the day it left the factory. Worth every penny!

Status Quo with Valan Atlas PMS3 Microphone Stands

13 responses to “The Valan Atlas PMS3. The Best Microphone Stand Ever?

  1. I love these stands. I have about 7 of them now. Ive been collecting them for a few years and intend to do some restoration on some of my more worn examples. Im lucky enough two own a few boom attachments too. 👍🏼These are the best mic stand!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for mentioning these: I was just looking at one, and on your recommendation have just bought a couple! I’d forgotten all about these ..used them years ago, and they’d totally slipped off the end of my memory! ..Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the nice story. We are producing these in the United states and have made improvements to the stand. The stand is made with high Qualirt Brass and a Solid Bronze bass not cast iron. the stand is also a little taller to accommodate singers over 5 feet 9 inches. In addition to a tighter mesh which is the most difficult item to make on the stand. RCI Starlite has been making them since the early 90s. They are the Rolls Royce of Mic stands but they are worth it. they can be had at http://www.starlitedrums.com or http://www.rcistarlite.com Best regards Romano Cotone RCI starlite International

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    • Many thanks for your comment and the additional information on the latest improvements. These are fabulous stands and it is great that you guys are carrying on the tradition. All the best. Martin

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  4. Brill, I have one,but it needs an adapter to fit modern mic holders.
    Any ideas, thanks ..

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  5. Hi, I’m lucky enough to have 2. My boom stand has started to slip. Which makes me think that the clutch is beginning to fail (not bad after 40 years!!!). I’ve looked everywhere for a ‘how to’ guide of taking the stand apart, with no success. I wouldn’t dream of trying to bodge it, it’s far too precious, but if I can improve the action, I’d give it a go. Any advice would be really appreciated.

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    • Hi Simon, The knurled ring at the top of the black hand grip should unscrew, which then allows the extending part of the stand and the clutch to be withdrawn. However, it may well be very hard to undo. If the clutch is very badly worn it may need to be replaced. It may be worth contacting http://www.rcistarlite.com/micstand1.htm to see if they will sell you the spare parts. Good luck! Let me know how you get on.

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      • Thanks so much for the reply. I must admit, I tried to undo the knurled ring a couple of times by hand, but couldn’t budge it. Now you’ve confirmed that’s the way to go, I think I might have to break out the grips!!!
        Thanks again for taking the time to reply and giving the link to RCI.
        Have a great New Year. All the best.

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  6. Marydriscoll123@gmail.com

    hi, what happened to the company in the 70’s, did theymove to a new name in the 70’s in birmingham

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    • As far as I can tell these stands were manufactured from the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s by VALAN (UK) Valan Electrics, 1034 Yardley Wood Road, Warstock, Birmingham B14 4BW. They appear to have finally ceased trading around 1981.

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  7. ABS an audio visual company Took it over for a short period of Time in 1981 then RCI Starlite has made then since the early 90s. Then all stands started to be produced in 1999 with solid bronze bases (painted Black with chrome over high quality brass and a taller sections to accomodate singers over 5’8″. the top upper fittings were changed to the 1″ units to fit the standard 5/8″ mic clips of today and the mesh adjuster is specially made using the brass rings instead of the plastic rings. the plastic Ring units of the mesh adjuster were terrible and was the main failure and demise of the stand in the early 80s. This was done to bring down costs. Its an expensive stand to make because all of the parts were hand milled back then as they are today. Even at the RCI Starlite company they had to make their own foundry to cast the bases. Since the early 1980s a lot of foundries closed down in the USA and the UK and mostly located in china these days

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