In the realm of writing music product reviews, reviewing speaker stands such as VocoPro’s SS-88 model is decidingly un-sexy compared to guitars, keyboards and the newest digital gizmo.  However, now that most cabinets are no longer mere speaker boxes, but powered PA’s with digital processors with mixing capabilities and often a considerable investment, a new look at what makes a quality speaker stand may be in order.

 

To keep the weight/strength ratio where the stands are both portable and affordable, the SS-88 uses a combination of aluminum tubing and high impact plastic hardware.  The large triangular knobs on both the leg adjustment and height adjustment are comfortable to grip and allows for plenty of torque to tighten either piece easily.

 

Both of these pieces are designed with the triangular handle’s bolt being attached to a insert within the main tube’s surround to provide the grip when tighten.  This is far superior to the “C” design of clamp mechanism where the two ends of the “C” are drawn together to tighten the hold.  The C clamps were prone to cracking and breaking when over tightened, where the VocoPro design merely stops turning when fully tightened.

 

The 1 1/2” center pole of the SS-88 is tapered to 1 3/8” on one end, to accommodate speaker cabinets with either size receptacle.  This pole has small holes at five inch intervals drilled through it for the steel pin that functions as a safety against the pole sliding down if not properly tightened.  The pin is attached to the height adjustment hardware with a nylon strap so it’s always where it is suppose to be, and has it own receptacle for when the stand is in transit.

 

Also included with the SS-88 is a molded four-bolt mounting bracket for speakers that do not have built-in pole receptacles.  This mounting bracket can also come in handy for those that would like the SS-88 to hold something other than speakers, such as self fabricated band lighting.  Four bolts are included with each stand, but, interestingly, no nuts.

 

Each leg of the tripod is 28” long allowing for a spread of 4’ between each leg when the stand is extended in its most stable configuration.  Most musicians will find that a spread of approximately 3’ should be sufficient for all but the most heavy and/or awkward (or fully extended height) applications. The SS-88 is height adjustable from 42” to 72”.  Thick rubber caps on the end of each leg provide plenty of grip while protecting the surface at the same time. 

 

We used the SS-88’s with the Mackie DLM8 powered speakers, and the more hefty (58 lb.) Line 6 L3t powered speakers which it handled readily.  The stands performed as expected.  The stands may seem to be overkill for the mere 22 lb. weight of the new Mackie DLM8 speakers, but are a necessity in order to place the diminutive speakers at the proper level for sound distribution.

 

Not all speaker stands are created equal: quality of the stand’s hardware and assembly is going to determine how well it will function and how long it will last.  The quality of these VocoPro SS-88s and the attention to design has use believing they’ll be performing their job well into the next decade.

 

($59 list, $49 street)

Originally posted 2013-07-21 21:42:09.