On Stage 2 Tier Folding Z Keyboard Stand Review

It’s easy to think that the Internet has everything you could ever want. Sometimes it’s not until I’m looking for something very specific that I realize how young the Internet really is, and that it wasn’t created to answer my questions alone.

What I was looking for was a duel-level keyboard stand for 2 keyboards: a Yamaha p100 and a Roland Fantom G6. That set-up isn’t out of the ordinary and each keyboard met the appropriate spec for weight and shape. But I thought my intention was unique. Instead of using the stand to turn me into a rock star to be used on stage, the duel stand was really a space-saving solution. I wanted to be able to sit with the large keyboard and only be minimally obstructed by the second layer of keyboard. I’m a piano player first, and the Roland is really just a toy from my perspective. All duel-level keyboards are targeted to the live performer but I had to pick one and just hope it worked for my purpose.

No, no. I said one person and two keyboards. Simple mistake.

 

After reading some reviews I settled on the On Stage 2 Tier Folding Z Keyboard Stand, in part because it’s not the model that Guitar Center sells. For some reason this made the On Stage model seem of higher quality.

Yes, like this, but sitting.

 

Overall I’m happy with the purchase and I’ve used the new set-up for over a month now. I’ll talk about in more detail below, and actually create a bit of a review, as advertised, instead of the previous anecdotes. If you have no interest purchasing a keyboard stand the rest of this article will get very boring.

Set-up

I was warned about the difficult set-up, and they weren’t wrong. The instructions were very general and not at all in the step-1, step-2, step-3 form that I’d expect. Looking at the picture of it fully assembled is a must. This was not a large concern for me since, like Ikea furniture, it’s a one-time project. I have no intention of bringing this set-up to live gigs. If used for touring this could be a deal breaker and I imagine I’d lose one of the “On Stage Stand” branded knobs in every city I visited.

Appearance

You will look like a rock star with this set-up, regardless of intentions. Surprisingly, it didn’t take up much more space the single keyboard did previously. I found that it really helps to place a black keyboard cover of the top keyboard when not in use as demonstrated in the video below. This really helps with the top keyboard is decorated with hundreds of knobs, switches, widgets and flashing lights.

Or rock out.

Performance

Overall I can play the main keyboard in the same manner that I did before, which was the most important requirement. The Yamaha has built in speakers that aim upwards. With the new set-up it does sound a bit muffled as the Roland sits only a few inches above the speakers. This is often just motivation to turn on the external speakers.

Another factor I didn’t consider was how the set-up prevented reading music on the Yamaha’s built-in music stand. The top keyboard prevents this completely and you’re left with 2 options: either temporary remove the top keyboard or try and balance the sheet music on the top keyboard, somehow. I’ve resulted to the balancing option, but typically don’t play while looking at a book anyways. If you’re playing with a duel keyboard set up you’re assumed to be a rock star and rock stars don’t read music.

There’s no concerns about sturdiness. My playing style can best be described as organized banging and the stand never moves. Even the top keyboard can take a beating.

Bruises

My old stand had 4 legs, like a simple desk. This Z set up may work great for the stand-up keyboard player but has its drawbacks when sitting. The bottom of the Z is long and easy to trip on. The middle part of the Z does hit your knees if you aren’t careful. With clever adjustments this isn’t a huge problem, but with I’m not wearing shoes I’m always cautious of getting bruises. So far no major damage done.

In conclusion I don’t think a better stand exists for my purposes.

 

A Winter Apology (Retraction)

Today marks the first day of Meteorological spring, and by simply typing that piece of trivia I can sense I’m the guy that won’t be invited to another party. It’s an optimistic thought, especially during this winter. Winter is still here, but it’s just starting to enter retirement. It still has life to live, but death is always on its mind.

In February I wrote an apology to Winter and I am now retracting that apology. To be honest, I wasn’t sorry, and now that Winter is becoming an old man I’m not afraid to say it. It’s dumping 3-6 inches on us as I type, and 3-6 inches on us Wednesday, but adjusted to 2015 expectations that’s a dusting. By apologizing I was accepting that I was the victim of this winter’s Lifetime movie. I did nothing wrong to deserve the beating I received, and even if winter promises he’ll never do it again, I won’t take him back (until the end of 2015 of course, when I’ve forgotten the damage he’s done).

I asked Winter to give me one 46 degree day in the 10 day forecast. That seemed like very little to ask. While there’s something depressing about winter in general we always get a break with a 50 degree day or 2. It reminds us that there’s reason to live. This Winter that didn’t happen so a 46 degree day is something to smile about.

But this winter’s caused me to think and act differently and put my life in danger to prepare my property for the disasters that headline the local evening news. I’ve climbed out of bedroom windows to shovel snow off of roof corners. I had to think about which direction I should fall to receive the minimal bodily harm. I’ve climbed onto an old and grandfather-built shed to clear hundreds of pounds of snow before the threat of rain. The shed houses enough rotary cultivators and other rusty and vintage garden tools to stock the prop-house for the next Saw movie. They would not gently break a fall through the roof. I’ve accepted that my mudroom needs some remodeling after a few buckets worth of water dripped from the door frame. I’ve accepted many of these things because millions of others are going through the exact same thing.

The act of snow removal has become an art, and one that I’ve become proud of. Six feed of snow surround my two cars in a perfect rectangle.  Chipping away at ice on the driveway is an exercise I can only do when the sun’s at a certain angle. When I’m able to get a large chunk of ice in one piece it makes me happier than I’d like to admit. I expect house guests to comment on the wonderful snow removal job I’ve done in the same way that I’d expect compliments for an impressive dinner spread or bathroom remodel.

This weekend I took snow removal a step further. My street is fairly busy and narrow and snow banks have become comically high. Parking spots on the street are already well-established and some potential spots are a lost-cause with 8 feet of filthy snow in the way with no place to put it. I climbed onto the snow bank closest to my house and shaved 2 feet off of the pile, displacing the snow to the potential parking spot that had long been lost to recent blizzards and chunky plow excess. But this one bank got me nowhere since 4 other snow banks block my view as well. Running on the high of the first bank I shaved several feet off of snow banks down the road.

As I stood on each bank I waved at oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and often got a wave and smile in return. While I thought the act was neighborly at the time I can now see it as slightly deranged. I was hacking away at giant piles of icy snow with my metal garden shovel with all of my might.

If it was the end of a movie the camera would rise up while filming me from above. I would raise my shovel in the air and scream up at the rising camera “They can take our street parking, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!!! (to reduce the blind spots)”.

The Cost of Taking Digital Photos

Go on vacation. I’ll wait.

Take lots of pictures. You have a 16gb memory card? Great!

See that sunset? Take 30 pictures of it. Is that the Golden Gate Bridge over there? Take 30 more pictures of that.

Now upload all of those photos to Flickr and Facebook. Don’t look at them first. Hosting on these sites is now free! Surely your friends and family want to see all of them!

This internal voice talks to all of us who walk with a digital camera and have a mother who has told us we have an eye for photography. This includes the majority of those under 40 in the western world.

There is no financial cost to taking an infinite number of photos. There was a time not long ago when a film developer was a valued trade but in the past two decades it has now gone the way of the whipping boy or a broomsquire; a dead or dying profession. Technology has removed virtually all barriers between the photographer and the actual photograph.

The ridiculous and italicized scenario in the opening did not affect the pockets of the fictitious vacationer. It is very tempting to take thousands of photos on vacation. I do it, and will continue to do it. However, there is a cost that comes in uploading all content to social and photo sharing sites: saturation and apathy. When the world has a camera in their pocket, curating the raw batch of photos into a presentable (smaller) group is a large factor that now sets good photographers apart from a novice. Pride and a bit of extra effort can replace what used to require a year in photography school. But when the photographer is no longer required to think about the act of photography, they are less likely to take pride in the final output.

For the sake of my own argument I’ll consider operations outside of the auto function of a camera to be advanced and skilled labor. Same goes for basic post camera editing including cropping, leveling and filling/darkening light. My solution against saturation and apathy is for the photographer to go through their 4000 photos and pick the best 100 to share. I understand this is like telling an overweight person to eat fewer snickers bars. It’s easy on paper. However, both of these skills, deleting 90% of photos and eating less junk food, require no skill or training yet produces a far more desirable output. I will discuss some examples below. These are screenshots from anonymous Flickr pages with the intent to better the world’s digital photo album, not shame an individual. They are real, but nameless.

Example 1: Nauseous Repetition

This is the classic example. These 6 photos are fine and are no worse than ones I may have taken. However, the repetition comes across as lazy. I’d pick one (really any one but the 5th one which has too much boring ocean to me). Straightening out the horizon would be nice, but as I mentioned before, I’m considering that an advanced technique.

Example 2: Accidental Artistic Vision

With digital photography there’s often no reason to get it right on the first try, especially with still subjects. The idea here is interesting. The student sitting on a bench is framed by the circular end of the bench. The camera is likely sitting on the bench so it was just a matter of playing with aperture and focus. The left photo was a bit too shallow and the bench student is too blurry to really make out. It’s unclear where the focus should be. The second photo works and it’s clear the subject is the sitting student. However, the fact that both photos were uploaded suggests to me that the creativity I see in the latter photo was likely accidental.

Example 3: Just a Regular Accident

This is a fine picture of a dog and his(?) birthday cake. I’d want to take his picture too if I spent the time struggling with him to put that hat on, and then convince him not to eat the cake for long enough to snap a few pics. Pic 1 and 3 are identical making it a candidate for Issue #1, but the photo of concern here is the middle one. It’s blurry. Maybe the dog moved, or the camera shook, but the photo is clearly one that should be thrown away.

So what’s the cost of taking digital photographs. Once the equipment is purchased the cost is $0. But with that comes responsibility and self-control.

Dear Winter, I’m sorry. – Love, Boston

Dear Winter,

First, I’d like to apologize for things said between early December and mid-January. Christmas was 60 degrees and the only thing white about Christmas in 2014 was my unexpectedly-exposed pale skin. I forgot about your immense power. Things were prematurely said about how mild the winter was and everyone talked about spring as the natural followup to Christmas.

I also forgot to check your Outlook Calendar which clearly showed your European vacation planned for the holidays explaining your absence. You booked it months in advance and trusted Fall to make the extra effort to freeze us all. Fall tried, and put an extra effort into freezing us in November. But, it proved too much for Fall and they clocked out on December 21st despite a verbal contract that you told me about (I trust you, really).

The aftermath of storm one, the prequel to the Blizzard of 2015.

But please, you’ve proved your point. The damage you’ve caused so far is reversible; no permanent damage done yet. Backing out of my driveway is a suicide mission with the 10-foot snowbanks. Former 2-way streets now have enough room for a few scooters. These things can all be fixed.

Office water-cooler chatter is supposed to be about American Idol in January and February. We’re supposed to talk about how the dynamics of Harry, J-Lo and Keith is so much better than previous trios. It’s a fresh show again after some missteps in judge-staffing decisions. Instead it’s been reduced to this compulsory exchange:

“Ugh snow”
“I know right. My snow blower broke and I had to shovel it the old-fashioned way”
“I heard 12-18 more inches next week”
“Ugh, where are we gonna put it?”

Why does everyone’s snow-blower break? Is that you or should I take this up with Sears?

But I’m only 3, what do you mean it’s my turn?

 

It’s only been a few weeks but I miss the small things already. I miss dry mail and predictable trash pick-up schedules. I miss short supermarket lines and the factory-set color of my car. I miss prime-time television without school cancellation notifications. I miss going to a public space and not bringing home the flu. I miss right-turn-only lanes. I miss opening my heating bill without trembling in fear. I miss going outside and seeing oncoming traffic before it hits me.

It occurred to me that you may be a Seattle Seahawks fan. In reviewing Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception during the Super Bowl, it may have not been fair. He didn’t call it, and it clearly wasn’t thrown to him. It’s just rude and I’m sorry.

No escape.

 
Seattle weather is 54 degrees today. I’m not asking for that. All I’m asking is for one 46 degree day in the 10 day forecast. In return, besides this apologize, I promise to treat you with respect next winter. I’ll cower in fear and stock up on bread and milk when 6 inches are scheduled to fall. I’ll act frustrated when it takes a few days for those 6 inches to melt. I won’t forget that you have the power to make us all work from home again.

Kind Regards,
(A guy from (near)) Boston

Jason McGorty