I was recently contacted by the maker of Soft Stands to try their horn stand. Looking at their site, it looked like an interesting product. What horn stands I had seen in the past were either sort of variations on a guitar stand or seemed to be more for display purposes than actual daily use by horn players. The Soft Stand looked to be well suited for daily use in my situation as a studio horn teacher. [See UPDATE at end for availability.]
Their product description begins,
We are offering a radical new approach to French Horn stands. Most other designs are simply variations of the “display plate” approach, where the horn is placed on three points of contact, with the majority of the weight being distributed on the two lower points. The total area of support is very small; on many models well under ½ square inch. “Soft Stands” gently cradle your horn with a support area of over 25 square inches of soft polar fleece fabric…. If properly used, it is impossible to dent your horn with a Soft Stand.
The photo shows the stand and how I have it placed in my office, between my chair and a magazine rack that I use for music that is frequently used in lessons. As advertised, the horn sits securely in the Soft Stand in for me an ideal, convenient location.
One other selling point of the Soft Stand is that it can be assembled and disassembled easily and packs up in a compact carrying case. The stand itself is held together with bungee cords. This leaves the frame slightly flexible which is I think generally a positive thing but some might perceive to be a negative. If you desire the frame to be completely solid it would not be difficult to glue it into a fixed position. In any case the stand is stable and would take effort to knock over.
Besides daily use in a home practice room or teaching studio I can also see this product being very handy for the player who often plays shows or opera and for some orchestral works. In a situation where there are many rests it keeps the horn right there handy next to the chair ready to go. For this same reason, it would also be handy in a work such as Bruckner 8 where you have to make quick changes from horn to Wagner tuba.
In short, if you are looking for a horn stand this is a solid product worth looking into. It is priced at $75 (shipping included) and comes in two sizes, double horn and triple horn. My stand is double horn size but actually my Paxman triple fits it just fine as well.
There is more information to be found in their site along with ordering information. Also note that this product is also available sized for Euphonium, which I believe would also have applications in an orchestral situation where horn and Wagner tuba doubling is required.
Finally, a disclaimer: I was given this stand by the maker, under the understanding that I was not obligated to review it. I posted the review because I do feel that it is an interesting product worth looking into.
UPDATE 2015: These are no longer available, as noted in the comments as well. Someone handy enough could make something similar just from the photo. I LOVE the soft stand I have, it is wonderful in my office, it is to be hoped a similar product makes it to market again.
UPDATE 2016: And they are back on the market! The link above still works.