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MIDI Studio Workstation Stand By Derek Johnson
Published April 1994

Cambridge Innovation Systems are a company specialising in keyboard and instrument stands, who've now branched out somewhat to provide a special workstation stand aimed at computer music users. This affordable system has at its heart a fully adjustable base unit (a keyboard stand in its own right) with an angled, extending centre pole. There are a wide range of options, but the 'preset' workstation configuration reviewed here is suitable for use with a master keyboard or synth and a computer setup. Apart from the base unit, which can accommodate even very large, 88‑note controller keyboards, there are shelves for a computer, monitor and mouse. As a taster for CIS's other options, I was also provided with an adjustable arm unit for an extra keyboard (perfect for an SH101, as it happens) and a double speaker/equipment platform. I'll say right now that there is no way, even with the tall centre pole provided, that all of these options fit onto one unit, although a useful selection of them do.

Construction of the stand was easy, given access to a picture of the fully assembled unit; this was reassuring, since instructions weren't actually present with the review unit. A handy instruction sheet is usually provided to customers.

Once assembled, it's time to try out the shelves — you may find yourself sliding them around a bit until you find the ideal setting. I threw on my SY85, an ST, my SM125 monitor and the mouse tray. No problem: for the most part, it looks very tidy and solid. However, the shelf holding my monitor, while perfectly stable, wasn't really designed for the job. The monitor is kind of ledged between two arms, with the swivel base hanging below. The other problem is what to do with the mouse tray. The provided platform is limited as to where it can be located — either above or below your computer — although neither position is totally ideal. You can get used to either position, but my favourite mouse location was on one of the optional speaker/equipment shelves, mounted immediately behind the master keyboard. The obvious solution would be some kind of shelf on a hinged arm which could be rotated out over your master keyboard when required; contacting CIS revealed that this is an area that they are investigating. Keep your eye on Shape of Things to Come for developments.

My only other negative comment regards one small point: the slide‑on shelves have a plastic inner sleeve, and a threaded screw pushes into the inner sleeve to create the friction that holds everything tightly in place. But if you were to move the shelves fairly regularly, chances are that the plastic could actually break under the stress. The inner sleeve is also a little tight on some shelves, and takes a bit of a push to get it moving on the pole. But given that most users will install the stand in a permanent location, these problems shouldn't be much cause for worry.

In all, this is a value‑for‑money, functional stand. It has a reasonably compact footprint, and there are screws and wings nuts in all the right places to make sure the stand won't fall over; even with the stand fully laden, you never get the feeling that collapse is imminent, and the angled centre pole really helps distribute weight and maintain stability. There's also loads of room for your legs and feet underneath the lower shelf, although some may find the lowest position a little too high.

Even though the components in the GT‑PRO range are actually not very expensive — you could start off with the GT‑PRO base unit at £74.95, and add the centre pole and other bits one piece at a time — buying the reviewed keyboard/computer workstation as a package is actually even better value at £124.95; the double speaker/equipment shelf (also great for drum machines and sound modules) adds just £39.95, and other options include a mic boom stand, various adjustable shelves, and so on.