At the beginning of the year I reviewed the Novopro PS1XL for the March/April edition of the magazine and it then went on to win the Accessory Of The Year trophy at our inaugural Pro Mobile Awards event. This innovative product offers mobile DJs a flat-pack variable height plinth/podium that is much more flexible, as well as easier to transport and store, than traditional quad-truss-based solutions. It has proved to be a big seller for Novopro, but they’ve received feedback from customers who would like even higher plinths and the new PS1XXL is the answer to these requests.
Just like the original PS1XL, the new PS1XXL comprises two telescopic side pieces which easily join together with base and top plates to create a complete podium. This can then be used to support lighting effects – for example moving heads – or other pieces of equipment such as speakers. Where the original model offers a variable height of between 990mm and 1750mm, the new addition to the range expands from a minimum height of 1400mm up to a towering top height of 2500mm! This means that the new model is ideal for positioning lighting effects up above head height.
The PS1XXL weighs in at 20kg, which is only 3kg more that the PS1XL, and is capable of supporting a load of up to 60kg. Despite its larger size, it is supplied with the same 500mm x 500mm lightweight base plate. While this is sufficient to support the unit adequately, it could very easily be knocked over by a drunken punter – especially when fully extended. However, to address this, Novopro has also introduced a new larger heavy duty base plate as an optional extra. Sold in pairs for £119.95 as the HDPLATESET-PS1XL-XXL, this bigger base measures 650mm x 625mm and adds a significant amount of stability to the PS1XXL podium (the same plate can also be used with the PS1XL model too). As to whether you need the bigger bases, that will depend on your specific setup and the venues you’re working in. However, as a rule of thumb, if you plan to position PS1XXLs behind your setup out of reach of guests, the supplied base plates should suffice. However, if you’re planning to position them where a guest might decide to use them as a leaning post, I’d definitely recommend budgeting for the HDPLATESET-PS1XL-XXL.
Assembling the podium is a simple and intuitive task which only requires one person, even using the largest height setting. The process simply involves screwing bolts into the top and base plates through the side sections as well as supporting cross pieces. Then, when the podium is fully assembled, you simply slide up the telescopic sections and lock them in place at your desired height. On my first attempt I managed it without issue in less than five minutes and with a little practice I’m sure it could be perfected down to a minute or two.
With a robust metal construction, the PS1XXL is a professional product that is almost as sturdy as a solid piece of truss when locked together. Both the side pieces and base/top plates are finished with a glossy white powder coating that seems to be pretty thick and therefore shouldn’t scuff or chip as long as it is handled carefully.
The PS1XXL is supplied with two sets of bolts, which further adds to the product’s flexibility. There is a standard set which can be locked into place using a wrench and are intended for situations where the podium will be permanently erected (for example if you’re lucky enough to have a large vehicle that can accommodate the podiums in their assembled state). However also supplied as standard are a set of bolts fitted with plastic thumb-tightening tops which can be easily attached and removed without the need for any tools, these are designed for use when the podium will be assembled and then dismantled at every gig.
To adjust the podium’s height each leg is pre-drilled with five different holes into which slide spring-loaded ‘turn and lock’ catches. This system not only makes it easy to change the height as required, but also means that the legs are very securely locked into place ensuring the structure remains rigid at every height setting.
To help keep the various parts of the podium safe from knocks and scratches it is supplied with two black storage / transportation bags – one for the side pieces plus accessories and the other for the top and base plates. These both feature carry handles and will not only keep the podium safe in transit but also make it easier to carry. As you would probably expect from bags that are included for free, they aren’t the most robust of carry cases! However, they will certainly do the job if you only plan to use the podiums on an occasional basis.
If you’ll be taking the podiums out a few times every week, then it’s probably worth investing in the NPROBAG-PS1XXL premium-grade bag set that Novopro has also now introduced as a separate product priced at £69.95. These feature a superior premium black finish, strong stitching, high quality zips and padding to offer the podiums extra protection.
As with the original PS1XL, both black and white scrim covers are included with the PS1XXL as standard. These are the perfect diameter to fit the product and simply slip on over the top to transform the hollow podium into a solid pillar. Obviously, these are ‘one size fits all’ so the excess bunches up at the top or bottom if you are using anything other than the highest height setting. Although, to be fair, I don’t think this will be particularly noticeable to guests – but it may bother fellow neat freaks just a little!
When you’re using the white scrim, sitting an LED wash fixture in the bottom of the PS1XXL will cause it to glow very effectively. These portable podiums are actually better for achieving the ‘glowing totem’ effect than regular solid truss, as they don’t have any diagonal supports to block the light.
The top plate is pre-drilled with a central hole that can be used to secure a lighting fixture using a threaded bolt (supplied). The product also comes with a 35mm spigot that can be easily bolted to the top to allow the use of the podium as a speaker stand. Finally, a pair of sticky-backed non-slip foam pads are also included, which can be used to stop equipment slipping off the unit if it can’t be bolted down.
It is refreshing to see all of these accessories included with the PS1XXL as standard and not sold as optional extras. It is even supplied with a set of white Velcro cable ties that can be used to secure your mains and DMX cables along the back leg of the stand so they are neatly out of the way. The base/top plates also feature cut-out handles that not only make them easier to lift, but can also be used to drop cables down through the top plate.
The new PS1XXL builds on the success of the original PS1XL, literally taking it to new heights! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!!) It is ideal for positioning moving heads and other lighting fixtures at a level where they can project over the heads of people on the dancefloor. Thanks to its variable-height telescopic design, multiple units can also be used to create the ‘stepped podium’ look that is popular at the moment. What’s more, since it shares the same design as the original PS1XL, a mixture of the units can be used on the same show to allow plinths of heights ranging from 990mm, which is around DJ console height, right up to 2500mm.
The original PS1XL is an extremely well-designed product that looks great, is very sturdy and – with its variable height and diverse collection of accessories – is extremely versatile. The new PS1XXL adds to this versatility by allowing podiums of significantly increased height and therefore offers new creative potential for the mobile roadshows that can be constructed from this innovative flat-pack product.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 92, Pages 78-80.