Review: Stax HPS-1 Headphone Stand
Stax is a company dealing with high-end audio with seriously eye-watering price tags. Fortunately their headphone stands are more affordable.
With the Stax headphones costing well into four figures it’s only natural to have a safe storage place for them when not in use, but even with more reasonably priced headphones it’s good to keep them on a stand as opposed to placing them on a shelf or chair, where they can easily be damaged.
Headphone stands fall broadly into two categories: ones that resemble the shape of a head (to varying degrees), and ones that don’t. The Stax HPS-1s, pictured on the right, fall into the latter category.
Their design is beautifully simply but also classy. A 10cm square base supports two smoked Perspex vertical panels that attach neatly onto a piece of partially flattened 5cm diameter dowel at the top. The natural curve of the dowel provides a contoured surface for the headband to sit on, with the ear pads resting neatly on the Perspex side panels.
In spite of their pedigree I feel that there are small improvements that could be made. First, the underside of the base could have some form of cushioning, such as felt or small rubber feet, to protect the surface the stands are placed on; second, better quality wood with a more distinctive grain would look better (the base seems to be made from MDF board or something similar, so has no grain at all); and third, the screws holding the Perspex in place either need to be recessed further into the Perspex or should be of the type that would rest flat on the surface. However, I don’t believe they present any problem other than to the aesthetic appearance, and then only on close inspection.
Pictured above left and centre is a side view of the HPS-1s, and on the right is a close-up of one of the protruding screws (which can't be screwed any further in).
Styled similar to the HPS-1s the later HPS-2 stands seem to have addressed all these points. They have no Perspex sides and therefore no protruding screws, the wood used has a distinctive grain that adds a certain degree of elegance, and according to the pictures I have seen they look to have cork under the base. The picture below shows the HPS-2 stand.
Having a headphone stand I find myself reaching for my headphones to listen to music when otherwise I might not have bothered to listen at all. It realy does make a difference having headphones on a stand 'ready to go', and unlike much audio equipment, a heaphonde stand won't break the bank.
At the time of writing (February 2015) the HPS-2s sell for around £59 - not exactly cheap when you consider they are just a bit of wood to put your headphones on, but there are much pricier stands on the market. The HPS-1s reviewed here don’t seem to be available as a new item anymore, but I bought mine used for £16.