Review: UDG Creator Laptop / Controller Stand
UDG has come a long way since its days as the maker of record boxes to be seen with, and nowadays has all kinds of stuff that appeals to digital DJs - not least the UDG Creator Stand, that we're reviewing here today. Made of high quality anodised aluminium, the stand bears a definite resemblance to the popular Crane Stand, in that it has the same style of securing clamps, tubular construction and rubber rings to keep the horizontal tubes gripping to the surface/laptop.
Like the Crane Stand it also folds twice. This makes it a reasonably small, lightweight size when closed, that can easily tuck into the padded bag that's provided, which has a smart white UDG logo on it and a separate internal pouch for the secondary equipment tray of the stand. So upon unpacking it, your first move is to loosen the two clamps and swing the feet around to the position you'd prefer. The two legs can move independently, which doesn't seem to add anything useful to the design, although it possibly means that if you put the stand on your surface before tightening the clamp, it could compensate for any unevenness to prevent unnecessary wobble.
The top shelf can be adjusted to any angle you want to get your keyboard or controller in exactly the right position. Furthermore, by loosening the silver plastic sheath on the main upright, you can adjust the height of the stand and also swivel the top shelf left/right as far as you'd like - great for tucking your laptop off to the side, for instance. I found that you do need to turn this sheath rather tightly to ensure it holds the position you choose.
Thanks to the deep, grippy plastic-coated front feet on the main tray, to the rubber-style pads stuck onto its top surface, and to the rubber rings around the rear pole, your laptop will be held sturdily in place, whatever size of gear you use (UDG says 13" to 18" laptops will be fine).
Of course, due to the sideways "U" shape of the assembled stand, there will always be a bit of wobble, as with all stands of this type, and that's why I'd recommend its use as a laptop stand rather than one to hold a controller (a pad controller, for instance) that you're likely to be bashing away at.
Next thing you may want to do is fit the supplied second equipment tray, a small, fixed-height-and-angle single piece of metal with two rubberised lips at the front, that slots into a slit in the rear of the upright about 8" off the surface. This is demonstrated in the product packaging shots with a Pioneer RMX-1000 on it, but I think it's more likely to be used to hold an audio interface such as a Rane SL2 or a Native Instruments Audio 6. It could fit a horizontal-shaped pad controller too, although as it is a relatively deep, narrow shelf, you wouldn't want to use anything too shallow and wide (an LPD8 would wobble a bit, for instance, but I think a Vestax Pad-One would be OK).
And that's about it! Once it's all set up and loaded with your gear, it just gets on doing its thing. As long as you've been careful enough in assembly and made sure the clamps and height adjuster are all nice and tight, it keeps everything where it should be, and is as easy to fold up as it is to assemble - 30 seconds maximum.
If you've always looked at the Crane Stand but wanted a stand with more adjustments, this is it. As it has a single upright pole instead of two like the Crane, you can adjust it to any angle left/right, and the vertical height adjuster gives added flexibility. It is relatively simple to fold and unfold, and as long as you pay enough attention to get everything nice and tight before putting your gear onto it, it's perfectly stable, although the design is better suited to laptops than controllers on the top shelf.
For me the silver plastic sheath that tightens the height adjuster slightly lets down an otherwise very well made stand, at least appearance-wise, but overall it has the feeling of quality, something that carries through to its well protective and custom-shaped carrying bag. Overall, I really liked it. For those gigs where I want to take more than just my laptop, it's good to have the extra shelf, and for places where you know you're likely to be cramped, being able to set it at a range of heights and angles may prove invaluable.
The UDG Creator has managed to combine some of the simplicity, sturdiness, elegance and quality of the Crane Stand with a hefty dose of extra flexibility. It's not cheap, but it is pro grade and thus likely to win fans among those who need this level of performance and versatility.
Do you own one of these? Does this look like the type of stand that would appeal to you? Please share your thoughts on the UDG Creator Stand in the comments.