A good gigging stand in 2018: Peak aluminum model vs. Nilton vs Desca vs ??

Edited: May 7, 2018, 10:22 AM · I've owned a Peak stand for years but I'd like something lighter and more compact (the original Peak with steel legs weighs in at about 5 pounds.)

Now there's a new aluminum-legged Peak (SMS-40) which only weighs 3.5 pounds and still very reasonably priced at $47.

For a splurge there's the Nilton Magic stand which claims to weigh under 3.5 pounds and packs down a bit smaller than the Peak (though it costs 3x as much)

Meanwhile, I came across a little company that makes the Desca Presto (https://www.descahome.com/) which is 3 pounds, 12 ounces and even more compact than the Nilton. Looks great but, as Desca only sells through their own web site, there are no Amazon reviews to consult. But the price is reasonable at $55 plus shipping.

Finally there is the Rat stand from Europe. They're hard to find in the U.S. but can be had for $120-150. Very compact, super-quick to assemble, but heavier at 6 pounds (which is probably a deal breaker for me).

I'd love to know if anybody's had any experience with any of these promising new designs.

Replies (12)

May 7, 2018, 9:59 AM · One thing you don't know from pictures is how well they'll hold up. In that regard, design simplicity is a virtue.
May 8, 2018, 5:53 PM · I'm interested in this as well.

I currently lug a Manhasset Voyager around because it is sturdy, stupid-simple to put together, and it can take stand extenders.

My previous portable stand required an instruction manual to assemble and re-pack. I never managed to get rid of the need to carefully look at the diagram each time. It was uber compact and lightweight, though.

May 8, 2018, 6:11 PM · We have three Voyagers as well and like them but I'm a little jealous of the folks who can collapse their stand into a skinny carry bag.
Edited: May 9, 2018, 6:52 AM · Thanks Lydia. I love Manhasset, my Manhasset practice stand is going strong after 40 years.

I'll add some details for the Manhasset Voyager. Looks like the big advantage is fast assembly which is no small thing.

It can be bought for anywhere from $45 to $75 depending on where you buy. Two models, the regular Voyager which is a tall stand, and the Voyager Concertino which has a shorter shaft for sitting players.

Manhasset doesn't list the weights of its stands. Amazon lists the Concertino as 4 pounds, but weights on Amazon are often not accurate. The tall Voyager I've seen listed at 6-7 pounds but again I don't know if that's accurate.

Packed, they're big but not enormous. Requires about 28 inches of width (same as the Peak) and 16 inches of height.

Manhasset makes tote bags but they're kind of expensive -- $30-35. Still, with tote, the Manhasset costs less than a Nilton.

Edited: May 9, 2018, 8:42 AM · The short stand is really short, good for my little girl cellist when she was 8 years old. She complains it's too short to use now. The tall stand is normal size for most folks. I can put it on the scale for you when I get home if needed.

Edit: I think we got these at Johnson Strings, either on a free shipping promo or via Amazon with free shipping, for around 50 bucks.

May 9, 2018, 9:04 AM · We have a couple of the vented Gearlux stands, which have proven quite sturdy (we bought them in 2013). I like the fact that I can use magnets to hold flimsy music in place on these. They do collapse but are heavier than what you're describing. ~$30 on Amazon.
Edited: May 10, 2018, 6:00 AM · Over 70 years of playing in public and private have have music stands up the gazoo!I i use a Manhasset set up permanently at home (it was my "studio"). I've had all kinds of other stands too over the years including a couple of Peaks, and wooden stands and a menagerie of folding metal stands including some with heavy solid metal disks and a folding Peterson stand.

My latest purchase, and one I find most utile as a giging stand is a black "K&M EZ Fold." I back up the desk with a a tri-fold music folder of black poster board that I can open to 3-page width when continuity requires it, or more often as only a double-page width. From the audience it looks as good as any other black stand. The advantage of the EZ Fold is that I feel I can safely open or close it with a violin or viola in my lap - with all other stands I have felt I was endangering my instrument when I tried to do that. K&M advertising gives the false impression that a flick of the wrists will open or close the desk of this stand; it's not quite that simple, but it is the easiest portable stand I have ever had.

I can pack the K&M stand, my gig light and a small folding Gelco cushion in my little old Peterson-stand carrying case and hang in from my shoulder when I am on the move. Right now I see one on line for about $20! These days, in our chamber orchestra I am increasingly surrounded by players with Nilton Magic stands - but those cost about $130 plus $20 for the carrying case and don't package as compactly as mine or set up and down as conveniently. Although, I must admit that for while I did covet one.

As far as writing on music on my K&M stand as described, I use a Staedtler pen with soft 1.3 mm lead with no trouble.

Edited: May 9, 2018, 2:33 PM · Thanks Katie, Stan and Andrew.

I've also become aware of the Donner stand on Amazon, which is $35 including bag, claims to weigh only 3.5 pounds and gets good reviews.

One problem for me with a lot of lightweight stands is that they don't have a solid desk surface, so if you're playing from thin sheet music it's hard to mark during rehearsals. (the workaround is to always bring a folder)

I also need something robust enough to be steady underneath an orchestra light and a good bit of weight. Sometimes we play from books, sometimes from Ipads which can get to be a couple of pounds.

May 9, 2018, 4:34 PM · Belmonte for me, twice per week for last 5 yrs. Carry in music pocket.
May 9, 2018, 6:51 PM · 5 pounds on the regular-size Voyager stand.
May 9, 2018, 11:53 PM · Peak collapsible is great and not very heavy, even if it takes up a lot of space. Sturdy and easy to write on, fasten Aria light, etc.
For less space, and if the light is not required, there are some good metal ones, although I can’t remember my favorite right now. May be Andrew’s recommendation.
May 14, 2018, 12:04 PM · The only benefit of a heavier portable stand is its resistance to wind if you plan on playing outdoors and for getting exercise lugging it around. Unfortunately the lighter it gets, the flimsier it gets, find the right balance for your needs. I think there is no one stand fits all; same goes with instruments too!

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