The iconic Crane Stand is perhaps the most aspirational laptop stand in the DJ scene. Those aspirations have been easier to fulfil with subsequent cost effective editions, but it’s time to put the Crane Stand right back at the top of the must-have pile. The Crane Stand Elite brings together the wide experiences of the original Crane Stand with the user wishes and creates a laptop stand that far and away the best stand in the market on paper.
But making such a thing is not easy. It takes money, thus Crane have turned to the ubiquitous Kickstarter in a bid to fund the next wave in their life. Their Kickstarter campaign tells you all about the new Crane Stand Elite, but we did almost nail it from the teaser video anyway. All of the issues that users had with the original have bee addressed, as well as adding a few extra killer features.
It’s called the Crane Stand Elite with good reason — for me, the killer feature is the use of carbon tubes. Our bags our heavy enough as it is, so directly addressing the weight of the over-engineered original Crane Stand is a very welcome move. Looking at the Kickstarter detail, it looks like a non-telescopic Crane Stand Pro Ultra Light and a telescopic Crane Stand will be on offer. I’m pretty sure that for most people, a non telescopic version will suffice, making the ultra light edition a godsend for the DJ bag.
There’s certainly a lot of reward levels in this Kickstarter campaign, all of which get you some sort of physical stuff, from a sticker right up to the Crane Stand Elite hand made one-off prototype engraved with your name.
It’s not unusual for a small manufacturer to open up a new product on Kickstarter, but Crane is definitely one of those brands that is all about the community. It’s hard to imagine that people would get so animated about inanimate objects, but the loyalty shown by some to their brand is admirable. Thus Crane wants to tap into this “for DJs by DJs” ethos, and get the community to help build the laptop stand that they want to see.
The Kickstarter campaign has 29 days to go. Get in quick and support the company make the next generation of DJ laptop stand.
Garett Fitzpatrick has a lot to say, but we forced him to be as concise as possible. For a length audio interview, check out Mojaxx’s interview with Garett. Here’s our much more time friendly version.
Crane at the core is a group of party kids turned product developers.
Was the Crane Stand an original idea in its own right or a response to the existing laptop stands?
We actually started working on the project 5 years ago due to the lack of adequate options available.
The original Crane operation was a local production line and a lot of hands-on labour intensive heavy engineering. Has anything changed?
Nothing has changed in regards to the development of both the product and production. The only thing that changed was the location. We tried really hard to keep the production solely in the US, but this was not possible at the time. One big difference that we offer, is we frequently visit our crews overseas and continue to develop the manufacturing process. This is critical to obtain the level of quality we strive for. It also helps to give us a chance to connect with the employees. We still make the Crane Stand Pro Signature Series Gold Edition right here in the Seattle area. Nobody buys it.
The Crane Stand became an instant hit, and more or less iconic from day one. Did you expect such success? And what do you feel contributed to it?
Hell no we didn’t expect it! It was a huge surprise. We never thought that it could be a fulltime thing. For the most part, we credit the majority of our success to the good people at Rane. Some of our friends at Rane saw what we were trying to do and really gravitated to it. I can assure you that without their help in the beginning, we would not have taken off so quickly. I think the other thing that really helps is that we really do care. We do not waver on design, service, or quality. Our service policy is really simple, if you come correct and act right, we will do anything to help you. I personally like to get involved on the forums and really listen to what people are commenting and asking for. I think people get it. We certainly are not perfect, far from it. We do try our best.
Touching on the distinctive design – there are an increasing number of similar stands appearing. What sets Crane apart from the competition?
First and foremost is the quality and engineering. We design, test, prototype, test some more, then test a little bit more; all in house. Computer models that we build even before prototyping are insanely overdone and it has to be in order to be the best. I don’t like to get in to what other people do too much. I will say that some of the other companies out there aren’t developing anything. They find something at a trade show and slap their name on it. We call it phoning it in, “yeah, we like that item. Go ahead change the interior color, upgrade this, move that, and make the material a little cheaper…” and voila! They just “created” a new item. Pat yourselves on the back. Lol.
Another BIG issue that we see is companies that are setting prices high just because they can. Using lower-grade materials, finishes, off-the-shelf components and charging a similar price. All while not developing a friggen thing. This to me is a great theft to the industry. It is really hard for someone without a manufacturing background to spot this kind of stuff which is how they get away with it. We make EVERYTHING from scratch and damn the cost.
Unfortunately for those who don’t know; when you know, you know. What I mean is, it’s really hard to get across the metal specifications and manufacturing processes in a press release without turning people off. Some people get it right when they see a picture of it. Others get it when they hold it in their hands. Other still will just think that it’s an overpriced paperweight. There is nothing that we can do about that. Maybe that’s why we make products for professionals.
Do you set out to do things deliberately differently?
Not necessarily. Don’t fix it if it aint broke! We try to make it right and that just happens to be different. As for the designs, everyone has their own flare or style. We like to stick with a look that has become synonymous with Crane.
What are the brand values of Crane?
We believe fundamentally that designed obsolescence should be punishable by death (or severely to put it lightly). We make products that WE would buy. We test our products before they go into the market. We strive for excellent customer service and believe that people should be treated the way they treat us.
Having established Crane and a solid product line, why use Kickstarter which is seen as a way for startups to get going?
In some respects, we still are a start-up…. we certainly don’t have hundreds of thousands to throw around at new projects. I can tell your readers that the amount we are going for doesn’t really scratch the surface of what is actually going into this new line.
The Crane Stand Elite was developed based on the past few years of criticism and pointers. What better way to prove that it is by the people than by actually getting people involved? We are also testing the waters with this as we have seen a lot of companies using Kickstarter to launch products. We would love it if the crowd could decide what we make next. With Kickstarter, that is possible!
Case in point, the CraneCenterStage was a product that we developed for people that had a wobble of the mixer. We made the product for DJ Jazzy Jeff because he suffered from this issue. We put the product on our website on pre-order only. We made a few, nobody bought it. We could have just changed the Crane to include the CenterStage. However in testing, we found the CenterStage, like any duel leg to be cumbersome in setting up. So we axed it. If Kickstarter was a “thing” at the time, we could have made them for the people that wanted them.
The Crane Stand Elite brings some cool new things that haven’t been seen on a laptop stand before. What’s your favourite new feature?
There are actually 5, and I can’t really pick just one.
- By popular demand, we brought back the telescoping riser. http://twitpic.com/yctjj
- The wider leg. Our leg is still super easy to work into an existing setup at a club instead of those 2 legged jokers.
- The shorty! Our stand goes way down low (about an inch off the table) to allow for a WAY higher range.
- I guess if I HAD to pick just one, it would be the spline mechanism. This is the most innovative add to date in our eyes. The mechanism itself can hold up to 300 lbs! No levers on this bad bwoy. Tighten the knob and you are done. SOLID
- Modular design. There are no welds on this stand at all. With one tool you can easily change out parts at will. Change out the risers for telescoping or non-tele, carbon fiber or aluminum, laptop trays for controller trays; whatever you want.
You also have a pretty distinctive range of hardcase luggage. Can we expect a wider range of accessories from Crane?
Our mission is to make the highest quality and best designed fixture and protection accessories for sensitive electronic devices. Our cases are second to none just like our stands. We have some ideas (that I can’t get into detail with) that we feel would flip the mobile DJ and mobile work station upside-down! If that’s a hint, cool.
If you liked the sound of that and fancy a slice of the action, you have 26 days to add your name to the Kickstater list.