Grounded – Gravity instrument stands for stages and studios – Test report by tools4music

What does the English natural scientist and physicist Isaac Newton have to do with instrument stands? Gravity! After all, this is the name given to the new Adam Hall stage stand brand. It was Isaac Newton who formulated Newton’s law of universal gravitation in the late 16th century as one of the fundamental laws of physics. In launching the Gravity brand after some two years of design and development work, Adam Hall Group aims to bring a breath of fresh air to the accessories market. Stands are available for speakers, keyboards, guitars, lights, and music.

Hand on heart: in a market where there are already several well-established brands, not to mention the many cheap imports from the Far East, what makes Gravity stands different? To answer this question, I not only take a closer look at the products themselves, but also go back to where the Gravity story began. To Neu-Anspach, home of Adam Hall Group, where the first ideas for a new stand brand were developed a good three years ago.

“It seemed to us that the perception of stands was underestimated on the market,” comments Adam Hall Group CEO Alexander Pietschmann, recalling the start of the Gravity project. He claims that the overall market is dominated by the entry-level sector with low-cost stands, mid to high-quality ranges are found in a few regions, and in Europe, especially in Germany, there is a strong and dominant quality brand in the form of König & Meyer. Adam Hall Group Product Manager Robin Henlich even believes that a spiral effect has occurred in relation to low-cost stands. The products are not only replaceable but the price war has also lead to quality suffering.

This is where the Gravity concept comes in. Adam Hall Group wants to use the Gravity brand to offer high-quality, mid-range products characterized by user-friendly value for money. I put a number of products from the extensive range to the test: the MS-4312 B (microphone stand with folding tripod base and 1-point telescopic boom), the MS-2322 B (microphone stand with round base and 2-point boom), the GS-01 NHB (foldable guitar stand), and the NS ORC1 (orchestra music stand).

Even the unique packaging design is striking. The green Gravity logo, which is also found on the stands’ marking rings, jumps out at you. The separately available G-rings (to date available in ten additional colors) can be used to personalize the stands, such as by adding yellow rings to the drum stand and blue ones to the guitarist’s stand. This makes things easier for musicians and technicians during assembly and disassembly. If the green rings provided as standard aren’t to your taste, they can be switched for the black G-rings provided as part of the basic kit.

There are two different Gravity microphone stands: the foldable tripod version and the compact solution with a round base. The MS-4312 B is a classic tripod microphone stand with a black powder coating and a maximum height of 169 cm. The stand has a die-cast zinc base (die-cast parts are made with great precision, rigidity, and strength) and large, foldable, steel feet with strong rubber caps for protecting the surface beneath the stand. The position and tilt angle of the telescopic boom can be quickly and conveniently adjusted using a single tensioning screw on the boom hub. The quick-release locking device makes it possible to adjust the telescopic boom to a length of up to 88 cm. The height adjustment handle and the screw head are made from ABS with a non-slip, soft-touch cover. A 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thread adapter is already screwed on.

The specially designed locknut for securing the microphone clamp is particularly easy to use. The black stand looks robust and remains stable even when fully extended. Detachable clamps make it possible to run the microphone cable along the boom and rod without any loops. The single button for adjusting the boom is no problem for light microphones. Although the knob is easy to hold and can cope with the horizontal position of the boom, when firmly tightened, it can still move slightly in the sleeve. This is not a problem when using microphones of a ‘normal weight’ but could potentially lead to undesired changes of position when used with heavy studio microphones combined with a certain amount of raving.

Anyone who definitely wants to avoid this, should look to the MS-2322 B. This stand has the same features as mentioned above but, unlike the MS-4312 B, has an additional fixing screw, which secures the telescopic boom more reliably, preventing it from unintentionally twisting. A further difference lies in the heavy cast-iron base, which weighs more than 3.5 kg. The round base with a diameter of 265 mm has a green plastic ring incorporated into the underside. This not only provides acoustic insulation but also protects the floor.

This stand requires a smaller base footprint than the tripod stand described above—a factor that singers/guitarists will particularly value as the widely spread legs of a conventional tripod stand can pose a trip hazard on stages with little space. As a result of the more compact footprint, this stand version is (generally) less suitable for the overhead miking of drum kits. Here, the MS-4312 B, when set up accordingly, can defy gravity and be used as an alternative.

Gravity GS-01 NHB guitar stand
This stand is suitable for acoustic and electric guitars, as well as electric basses. It is height-adjustable to a maximum height of 108 cm and can be folded up to a compact length of 67 cm. The ‘neck hug’ mechanism independently prevents the guitar from slipping out of the yoke and opens automatically when the instrument is lifted off the stand. The soft padding on the feet prevents instruments from being scratched. As with many other competitor products, the guitar stand is not suitable for permanent use with guitars with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

Despite the diameter of the stand material, the guitar stand is surprisingly light (1.67 kg). The GS-01 NHB firmly supported all the models in my guitar collection (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and an electric bass) as the quick-release locking mechanism allows it to be adjusted to different guitar models.

The NS ORC-1 is a stable, easy-to-adjust music stand made from black, powder-coated steel in the style of an orchestra stand. The tilt angle of the 50 x 33.5 cm lightweight aluminum desk (width 500 mm, height 335 mm) and the stand height can both be adjusted using frictional force and without screws. The desk has cleanly flanged edges; the maximum extension height to the bottom of the desk is 120 cm, which should more than suffice for even the tallest of musicians. The screws and solid washers made from galvanized material on the tilt mechanism look slightly out of place compared to the rest of the Gravity design. The stand height and tilt angle are easy to adjust. Even a folder of music sheets does not cause the stand to wobble after a few jolts. Black plastic covers on the tripod feet protect the floor. The brand markings are subtle: only a ‘Gravity green’ base ring draws the eye.

More Gravity
To stand out from the competition, when developing its new Gravity brand Adam Hall Group invested in more than just design. In an interview with tools 4 music, Product Manager Robin Henlich lists aspects that Gravity products offer as standard. For example, the die-cast zinc base on the tripod stand. The base also comes in plastic, combined plastic and sheet metal, and aluminum die cast versions, but the die-cast zinc version offers the highest quality. This is not only more stable but can also be worked more delicately. The low processing temperatures during the manufacturing process reduce the scattering and tolerance, which in turn increases fit accuracy. Henlich also claimed that, with a thickness of 1.8 mm, the tubes on Gravity stands are far stronger than on many low-cost stands, which often have tube thicknesses of just 0.8 to 1 mm.

The new Gravity brand of stands brings a fresh appearance to a somewhat conservative market. The focus is on both design and quality, which is clearly evident in the products presented here in the test. The extent to which the stands with the striking ‘apple green’ brand color will gain a firm footing in the market will be decided by customer satisfaction. I’d say that the value for money here is about right.

Robin Henlich, Adam Hall Group Product Manager Pro Audio, Stands, Accessories:
“We have set out on a very exciting road with Gravity. Initially, I was very surprised at how much of a role music plays in this area. Thanks to the quality commitment that we make with Gravity, the topic of stands, which is otherwise rather dry from a product management perspective, proves to offer a broad playing field with many extremely exciting ideas and solutions. We’ve achieved initial success but still have lots of future plans, involving both new products and the continual optimization of existing ones. We’re delighted with the broad acceptance of this new brand and are doing our all to continue developing and launching high-quality, innovative, and affordable products.”

Gravity MS-4312 B (microphone stand with folding tripod base and 1-point telescopic boom)
Product type: microphone stand
Tube material: steel
Tube color: black
Tube finish: powder coated
Min. height: 1,030 mm
Max. height: 1,690 mm
Transport length: 1,050 mm
Height adjustment: yes
Base type: tripod
Base material: die-cast zinc
Boom design: 1-point adjustment
Boom length: 880 mm
List price: 49 euros

Gravity MS-2322 B (microphone stand with round base and 2-point boom)
Product type: microphone stand
Tube material: steel
Tube color: black
Tube finish: powder coated
Min. height: 1,000 mm
Max. height: 1,680 mm
Transport length: 1,050 mm
Height adjustment: yes
Base type: plate
Base material: cast iron
Base weight: 3.566 kg
Boom design: 2-point adjustment
Boom length: 880 mm
List price: 50 euros

Gravity NS ORC-1 (orchestra music stand)
Product type: music stand
Material: steel/aluminum
Finish: powder coated, galvanized
Color: black, galvanized
Desk design: plate
Desk material: aluminum
Desk finish: powder coated
Desk color: black
Desk width: 500 mm
Desk height: 335 mm
Min. height (desk lower edge): 640 mm
Max. height (desk lower edge): 1,200 mm
Transport length: 1,180 mm
List price: 59 euros

Gravity GS-01 NHB (foldable guitar stand)
Product type: guitar stand
Material: steel
Color: black
Finish: powder coated
Suitable for: electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and (electric) basses
Number of guitars: 1
Width: 500 mm
Min. height: 680 mm
Max. height: 1,080 mm
Depth: 400 mm
List price: 39.90 euros


Source: tools4music magazine, 2/2016, Germany:
Author: Franz Ludwig

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