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Is the TrueStand outstanding or a mere stand-in for something better?
What do you picture when I say the words “headphone stand?” The now infamous foam yoga block? Or perhaps an omega-shaped wooden curve? The budget-minded among us may own an affordable Ikea MÖJLIGHET. Perhaps you’ve got a clip-on desk model? There’s no shortage of options out there.
Heck, these days, you can even buy a headphone couch.
What all those options have in common is that headphones hang from them rather than ‘stand’ on them. And this creates an issue because the weight of the headphones compresses the foam padding on the underside of the headband. Or the ear pads press against the stand itself, deforming and flattening them. No stand seems to only contact the hard bits on the headphones.
- Well constructed of premium materials
- Doesn’t deform the headband cushion
- Good match for the Apple Airpods Max
- Too small to securely fit all headphones
- Does not store or manage cables and may apply pressure to connectors
- Having to reposition cups to fit in the stand is not convenient
- Large ear pads may be deformed
- Not inexpensive
Never fear. Where a problem is perceived, the market will deliver a product to fill the gap. Enter three guys who collectively call themselves Neederland and their first product, the TrueStand.
The TrueStand is a unique offering, as it is a small foam rubber-lined bathtub constructed of premium materials (aluminum or carbon fiber). Headphones daintily perch on top of the stand, taking the strain off the headband pad.
The near $100USD price tag means that the TrueStand is intended to display mid-to-high-end audiophile headphones. I can’t imagine many folks justifying the purchase of a stand that is a significant percentage of the cost of the headphones it is designed to hold. So, in order to do what it is intended to do, the TrueStand needs to look terrific, attractively display headphones, and securely hold and fit a variety of high-end cans.
Neederland claims their unibody headphone stand is “the first affordable high-quality stand created in the same process as luxury vehicle parts.” They want to bring something new to audiophiles who are not satisfied with the generic options on the market and to solve headband pad problems. Additionally, the TrueStand is intended to look tidy and to easily fit on most desktops.
Is the TrueStand a solution in search of a problem, or does it offer a significant advantage for headphone owners? Continue on curious readers, and ye shall find out.
Neederland is a Cambridge, UK-based company founded by Martin (Marcin) Słomkowski (design, 3D modeling, finances, and engineering), Norbert Sieczkiewicz (Ph.D. student in Cambridge in Engineering), and Michal Artur Nocon (material engineer). The name is a play on the words “needer” and “land” and is intended to convey that their products are needed to fill a niche. The company was incorporated in July 2020.
Neederland follows the 4N principles of values: nifty, novel, noble, and needed. “Great goods need well-thought internal and external design… Enhancing something that already exists or developing an invention from scratch… Breakthrough ideas, sustainable execution… We are great observers and listeners.”
- Form: Headphone stand
- Size: 160mm (l) x 98mm (w) x 64mm (h)
- Weight (g): 433g
- Materials: Grey aerospace aluminum or automotive carbon fiber (CFRP), vegan leather foam
I received the (to borrow an Apple-color-term) space-gray colored aluminum model. It’s just as solid feeling as you’d imagine a milled, small brick of aluminum filled with high-density rubberized foam would feel. That is to say, YOU could stand on it without issue, so it’ll hold up to even the heaviest of headphones (or should I say HEDDphones?).
The internal foam rubber (that Neederland amusingly describes as ‘vegan leather foam’) is surprisingly firm and dense, feeling more like sporting equipment than the cushion I expected. Neederland says you can rinse it under running water to clean, and I have no doubts it will outlast me.
There’s a 55mm x 24mm rounded cutout in the bottom of the stand, and this expands into an infinity/8/peanut-shaped, overlapping circles, 140mm x 85mm shape at the top. The opening and space at the bottom of the stand are not roomy enough to contain bulky cables but may allow you to leave cables attached to the headphones while in the stand.
A thin USB cable can fit under the stand, as it is held up a few millimeters by four stick-on rubber feet. This allows for tidier in-stand charging of Bluetooth headphones.
I noted above that in order to be a success, the TrueStand needs to look terrific and attractively display headphones. It’s certainly well-made and has a great neutral, industrial-design vibe that will complement almost any pair of headphones. So far, so good.
One thing about being a reviewer is that I tend to have a wide variety of headphones on hand. So, I am able to test how well the TrueStand fits a plethora of headphone options.
The results are mixed. In most cases, the TrueStand is a bit smaller than it should be. Almost any pair of headphones can be balanced on the TrueStand, but it takes a fairly narrow pair to fit securely.
A circular headphone shape (band and cups making a ring) tends to provide the best fit, as long as the cups are small enough to sit down into the tapered hole. A newish pair of Sennheiser HD 518, with a strong clamping force due to their tight shape, fit the stand best of all.
It is not convenient to have to change/expand my preferred headband size to use the stand.
|Sennheiser HD 650 (stretched to fit my head)
|1MORE Triple Driver
|Takstar HF 580
|Shipibo Audio modified Grado clones
|Sennheiser HD 518
|Meze 99 Classics
When paired with the right pair of headphones, the TrueStand delivers on what it promises: it removes any pressure from the headband cushion. However, it may deform large ear pads, isn’t particularly cable friendly, and isn’t as adaptable to various headphone shapes and sizes as I hoped it would be.
Where to Buy
The life of a reviewer means that I often have 10+ pairs of headphones on hand awaiting a review or need to be within easy and quick reach for comparison. Although I’ve tried a few traditional stands, my desktop space is at a premium, so a few wall-mounted stands were the way to go for me.
Adding to the trouble, my main listening rig is centrally located in my not-so-large home, necessitating something attractive rather than just affordable. I envy those with lots of space who can beautifully display their high-end headphone collection with matching omega-shaped wooden stands effortlessly spaced along the top of a cabinet.
The TrueStand isn’t a perfect fit for me. I don’t have the desktop real estate nor the budget to own a dozen of them. Perhaps the collector with 4-5 TOTL headphones on display is better suited, although if you own large Audeze headphones, it’s not going to be a good fit.
In the end, I think the TrueStand best suits the desktop jockey, with a single pair of mid-to-high-end headphones tethered to a desktop setup, or someone who wants a matching spot to park their AirPods Max when they get home.
I like plucky, innovative, little-guy companies. They can’t enjoy the economy of scale to create bargain-priced products, but they do add undeniable flair and invention to the industry. That being said, the TrueStand is a bit of an odd duck, and it won’t be an easy sale to most headphone users.
Despite its quirkiness, it does fill a niche for a specific type of headphone audiophile, and I’m always glad to experience a different way of looking at things.
A slightly larger design, with perhaps a user-selectable choice of foam insert size, and a comprehensive headphone fitment chart provided on the Neederland website, would transform the TrueStand into a true one-size-fits-all stand.