Review: Magma Control Stand
DJ laptop stands are pretty much the same, aren’t they? A platform for your laptop or controller, and maybe a little shelf for an audio interface, if you’ve bought a posh one. The differences are really down to quality. Right?
Well, not always. One stand that bucks the trend is the Magma Control Stand. This clever stand is designed from the ground up to hold both a DJ controller (and a big one, at that) and a laptop, while playing nicely with any existing gear either in your home studio or at the club. We put one through its paces…
Reassuringly, it’s obviously been designed for DJs – the box has a Traktor Kontrol S4 and a MacBook on it, and the back shows controllers as wide as the Pioneer DDJ-T1, also showing a Maschine on the top shelf with the laptop tucked away to the side on a more traditional laptop stand. The box also illustrates what I think is the best use of this stand – to elevate your controller set-up over and above a traditional two-decks-and-a-mixer system, either for DJing in a club or because you have both types of gear at home.
It is supplied flat-packed, so you need to do some assembling. Luckily (especially for me, with my cack-handed “never look at the instructions” approach to kit assembly), it’s not too hard. There are six butterfly nuts and six washers, so it’s hardly rocket science.
Having said that though, you do have lots of assembly options. To start with, the three horizontal poles have six short removable extenders. By choosing to use none, all, or any combination in between of these, you can make the stand as wide as you like.
Also, there are half a dozen holes up the insides of all the risers, so you can have the laptop elevated as high as you wish over the controller, and have the controller as high as you wish off the surface it’s set up on. A bit of trial and error will get these setting right for you.
Unlike simpler stands, there is therefore a bit of setting up to do here, and it’s not the ideal choice if you’re going to be packing it up and assembling it for every gig. The Magma Control Stand is more an installation stand, to be used at your home studio or to be left permanently set up in your resident DJ booth, for instance.
The stand has foam rubber both underneath the feet and on each of the shelves, so there’s no chance of accidentally scratching your gear, and it stays pretty still once set up, too., with no up/down “give”. There’s a bit of sideways wobble though, which could be fixed by bolting the legs to the desk at the back. (You’d have to drill them, though, as there are no holes as sold.)
Because you can adjust the height of the platforms, you can have it so that the controller is just high enough to clear the controls of anything you’ve got already on the surface where you’re setting up, but not so high as to be unnecessarily unstable. If you just want your controller at a nicer angle, of course, you can have it at its lowest setting.
One area where you don’t have any adjustment is front/back. It’s designed to hold controllers as deep as the Traktor Kontrol S4 (ie quite deep), so if you’re using a shallower model, it means the laptop is a little further back than you might ideally like. Won’t be so bad for 15″ and 17″ laptop users, but I found the laptop a little too far back for my liking with a 13″ MacBook.
It’s now our stand of choice here at Digital DJ Tips, which I think says a lot. Using the Magma Control Stand, we can keep a full DVS set-up on our workbench, while having a controller/laptop set-up behind it.
This also means that if we want to have two bits of controller gear set up (ie a Maschine or a Launchpad), we can shuffle the laptop off to another stand at the side and still have room for everything.
Downsides? For permanent installation I’d advise bolting it down at the back, and for DJs who have to set up and dismantle at every gig it’s not ideal. But overall, it’s an attractive, substantial, well-made, flexible solution, and one which deserves to do well for the company – especially at this price.
Have you been looking for a stand that can hold both your laptop and your controller? Do you think it’s a good value option? What do you currently use? Please share your thoughts in the comments.