Connectrix Keyboard Stands
Whether you're gigging every night of the week or simply building up a small MIDI studio in your bedroom, you need something to prop everything up. Tim Goodyer inspects a range of keyboard stands whose cost belies their quality.
There's no getting away from it, most keyboard players resent having to pay out for keyboard stands and flightcases. Think about it: both pieces of hardware do nothing to extend the range of sounds you can make, nor how easily you can make them, yet both are almost indispensable. Given a free choice, would you rather lay out two hundred quid on, say, a second-hand TR808 or MT32, or on a three-tier stand? I rest my case.
The fact remains, however, whether you're gigging regularly or confined to the studio, you're going to need something to support your equipment in such a way as to make operating it convenient and comfortable. Until now the choice seems to have been between the luxury and expense of something from the fully pro Ultimate Support range, or something more affordable but rather less stylish. CIS may be comparative newcomers to the stand scene, but they've brought with them a healthy combination of thrift and elegance.
Presently, there are a total of four Connectrix stands on which to spend your money. Three of them - the GT1, GT2 and GT3 - are variations on the theme of a "centrepole" stand while the fourth - the GT-H1 - is an H-frame. As their model numbers suggest, the GT1 is a single-tier job which takes one keyboard, the GT2 a twin-tier and the GT3 a triple-tier stand. Although the supports and other fittings are common to all three models, the centre poles themselves differ in height. The significance of this is that you can't simply add a couple more supports to a GT1 and turn it into a GT3 (although CIS will sell you additional supports) - the main reason for opting for a GT1 or 2 to begin with (apart from the price) would be to avoid having a black metal post projecting in front of your face as you play. All three models are, however, capable of accommodating the GT-Micboom microphone boom which bolts onto the head of the centre post.
The base of the GT series is formed by three feet and a rear support strut; for carriage the feet fold up against the post and the strut unbolts. The keyboard supports themselves also fold flat against the post for carriage but, when folded down, adopt one of three pre-determined positions, giving a variety of playing angles. The supports lock into these positions by means of a spring-loaded pin locating into one of three drilled holes, and can be relied on not to drop your synth on your feet if you get a little carried away during your performance. Pulling these pins out of the holes was a little tricky on the review model, but seemed to become easier with use. A little grease might have helped but the springs don't actually need to be as strong as they are - perhaps this is a good indication of the overall strength of the unit, however. The centre pole fixings allow the supports to be positioned at any height on the pole.
One limitation of the GT series which should be considered before buying is the depth of the supports. There is a little over 13" (330mm) clearance between the centre pole and the front edge stops - this is quite adequate for most modern instruments, but it's worth checking if you're using something like an OBX. I suggested to CIS that longer support arms could be made available and they seemed happy to investigate the possibilities; it's reassuring to know that people are ready to listen. The keyboard supports are also suitable for 19" rackmount units as long as the front retainers don't obscure a disk drive or any controls.
If you're planning to lug your gear around from gig to gig (or even home to recording studio), you'll need to know that any of the GT series complete with mic boom can be tucked into a soft carrying case and, whilst not in the same league as Ultimate stands, is quite carriable.
Moving on to the GT-H1, we find an attractive alternative to the more common X-stand. This can be varied in width from 25" to 41" and may be locked at any point in between by a friction bolt. The keyboard supports slope down gently from back to front and may be set to have a mean height of between 27.5" and 32.5", using the same secure system of sprung locking pins as the GT1/2/3 keyboard supports (five stops).
The GT-H1 breaks down for carriage into the two end supports and the horizontal crossbar. It's quick to assemble and disassemble, is very light and would be equally well suited to use in a domestic setting or onstage at a rave.
The general styling and finish of all these British-made stands is very good, especially for the money. Overall they represent a new and welcome option in keyboard support systems.
Prices GT-H1, £49.95; GT1, £59.95; GT2, £69.95; GT3, £84.95; GT-Micboom, £29.95; carrying bags, £14.95, £16.95 & £18.95. Package prices for complete stand/micboom/bag combinations: GT1-PCK, £84.95; GT2-PCK, £94.95; GT3-PCK, £119.95. All prices include VAT.
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