Hopefully, we all know about the importance of supporting our monitoring loudspeakers on a firm and stable platform and, thankfully, there are countless monitor stands available. Some designs are beautiful to behold, while others allow the function to overpower the form! Few are height-adjustable, though, and most that are tend to be feeble and unstable.
However, I recently stumbled across an Italian company called Zaor, who build a wide range of really interesting and attractive studio furniture, equipment racks, speaker stands, work consoles and hi-fi cabinets. The Italian styling is evident throughout, as is the attention to detail in the clever and often unusual designs.
Of particular interest is the company's Stand Monitor, which is height-adjustable from 80-129 cm using a simple but effective peg system, and is able to support speakers up to 65kg! The floor baseplate measures a modest 32cm square, and it has four adjustable flat feet, while the top plate is slightly smaller at 28cm square, and has an Aerstop expanded rubber insert to prevent speaker movement. At additional cost floor and speaker spikes are available, as is a special high-gloss black or white paint finish. The review model had a black-ash style finish, with a silver centre column.
The construction employs a rectangular wooden tube rising from the base, inside of which an internal frame guides a separate rectangular shaft attached to the top plate. A spring-loaded metal peg installed in the outer tube locates in one of 12 metal sockets installed along one of the narrow sides of the top-plate shaft, with roughly 4cm spacing to determine the height of the stand. Despite the simplicity, this appears to be a very solid and stable arrangement.
The stands are intended to be used with the wider aspect of the central column facing the listener and the locating peg on the outside edge, but I preferred to use them with the peg facing forwards, as in this arrangement the small amount of residual free-play between the inner and outer columns is on the side-to-side axis, rather than front-to-back. Just to be nerdy, I also packed some stiff furniture foam off-cuts into each side of the shaft to damp any remaining tendency to wobble or vibrate, as well as to minimise any acoustic resonances from the base tube itself.
Being constructed from solid wood and plywood, the stand has virtually no self-resonances (unlike most metal stands), and I didn't detect any audible 'organ-pipe' resonances from the open support column, even before installing the foam off-cuts, no doubt partly because the column has a large cut-out at the bottom enabling cables to be hidden by running them down the inside of the tube.
The Zaor stands are very well built and sturdy, of a manageable weight if you need to move them, and quick and easy to adjust. The height range covers pretty much all bases from lounge seating to standing with most small and medium monitors. In fact, I was so impressed that I bought the review models. Hugh Robjohns
£499 per pair including VAT.
$695 per pair.