DJ Stand-off: UDG Creator Stand vs Crane Pro Stand

Today we’re comparing two of the most significant DJ laptop/controller stands on the market. We’re pitting the UDG Creator stand against the Crane Pro stand, both well-matched in price and features. So which one provides the most value to DJs? Learn more about each and how they stack up against each other in this feature.

CLOSELY MATCHED

Two very similar DJ stands
Two very similar DJ stands

Both the UDG Creator Stand and the Crane Pro Stand are extremely closely matched, having a handful of key elements that put them in a similar class:

  • Same price tag ($150)
  • Near-identical weight (3.5 pounds)
  • Removable sub-tray (vertically adjustable on the Crane)
  • Very similar folded footprint (the UDG is slightly smaller when retracted)

MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES

The Crane design (left) and the UDG design (right)
The Crane base design (left) and the UDG base design (right)

The Crane Pro stand has been on the market since 2008 – about four years prior to UDG building their stand. There’s no doubt that UDG is very much using a lot of the successful basic design choices in their unit as well, and perhaps only because it’s a newer product, the UDG Creator stand addresses a lot of the main drawbacks of the Crane stand.

For DJs, the larger U-shaped surface area on the base of the UDG not only means a slightly more stable stand, but also allows for a mixer (or CDJ/flightcase/etc)  to rest stable on top of the stand’s base without wobbling on and off.

The Creator stand stands a bit higher than the Crane Pro.
The Creator stand stands a bit higher than the Crane.

The other major immediate difference is the height adjustment – while the height of the Crane Pro is reliant on the angle that you put the stand in (the Crane is uniquely capable of a “Z” position keeps the stand more stable but shortens it), the UDG Creator has an adjustable vertical center post. It enables it to rise to a 18.5″ height when fully extended, about four and a half inches taller than the Crane Pro.

Both stands, folded.
Both stands, folded (Left: UDG, Right: Crane).

In terms of materials, the Crane Pro is thick-walled aluminum that’s been milled down and with a hard-coat anodization on top of it, while UDG uses aluminum* (*according to Crane, lower-grade; according to UDG, the same grade) with an anodized finish as well. On the Creator Stand, the height adjustment handle is made of ABS plastic – while the tightening clamps are made of aluminum. The Crane Pro’s hardware is all aluminum, with the exception of a steel thread insert that the clamp/knob assemblies tighten on to. We found the Crane Stand’s hardware nicer to handle and easier to secure.

Both of the DJ stands come with subtrays for holding a soundcard or other small accessories. On the UDG stand the tray slides into a fixed groove below the height adjuster, while the Crane Pro’s subtray can be inserted into the stand securely anywhere along the vertical struts.

A final significant difference – the UDG Creator Stand does come with a neoprene case, which is significantly nicer than the plastic drawstring bag included with the Crane Pro.

CRANE VERUS UDG

The DJ stand turf war competitors
Competing companies in the DJ stand turf war

Both of these companies are pretty passionate about their stands – with a bit of a turf war clearly going on about the similar design and market segment. It’s worth noting that companies inside the DJ market borrow off ideas and designs from each other all the time, leading to a ton of very similar products on the market concurrently (eg: almost every “all-in-one” controller in the last four years). 

Crane claims that UDG is using more off-the-shelf components for their stand (this means parts that are already on the market), which is likely how they deliver a similar design with slightly more features at the same price. All of the parts that make up the Crane Pro stand are specifically custom designed for it – which keeps the prices higher, but means it’s a slightly higher grade of quality.

UDG takes a bit of issue with Crane’s claims here, telling us that:

All parts on The UDG stand are custom-designed and built by man and machine, no parts are “off-the-shelf”. Crane parts are also man-made by machine. The aluminum tubes on the UDG stand are available in various sizes and therefore not custom-made, the same for the tubes that Crane are using, these are also normal size tubes available in the market.

 

Editor’s Update: Both stands are made in China (we originally printed Crane as being US-made) – while Crane does offer a Gold Edition that’s made in the US, they’ve switched to China-production to keep costs low. UDG noted to us that:

The UDG stand is made in a 1st class metal machine workshop. The same workshop that produced high-end aluminium laptop parts for some of the leading laptop brands.

CRANE’S ELITE STAND: KICKSTARTING

The under-development Crane Stand Elite
The under-development Crane Stand Elite

It’s worth mentioning note here Crane’s potential future product, the Crane Stand Elite, which addresses all the main issues with the Pro – including a telescoping height adjustment and a wide U-shaped base so it can keep a mixer stable underneath. The Elite is raising money on Kickstarter right now – with a fair amount of funding still left in before it ends in two weeks. Supporters can get their own Elite for ~$175 in the Kickstarter if it gets fully funded – something that it failed to do on the first attempt on Kickstarter back in December.

Have a set of gear that you want us to nerd out on? Let us know in the comments. 

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