Audio Rack Selection

Putting together a new system and an upgraded audio rack will be part of the package. Would love to know your thoughts on the issue? Is there a true need to buy upper tier racks?

The rack will need to hold a McIntosh C2600 preamp, 2 monoblocks, power conditioner and a turntable. Flooring in the room is hardwood.

Would love your thoughts and recommendations.

If you want a recommendation, look at Core Audio Designs:

Their products look and perform perfectly. I use one with a TT and McIntosh system. See my previous post on this system.
To answer your question, Is there a true need to buy upper tier racks? - Absolutely YES! A well built rack is a foundation of a good system, especially the one that has a TT. I second the recommendation on Core Audio Designs racks. They are built for life and offers superior isolation and dampening like no other racks made from wood.

It appears you need a ‘twin’ rack to accommodate the two mono’s. Give a call to Arnold at Core for one on one consultation.
Good luck!
Bh, the rack is not as important as the floor it is on. The only sensitive item is the turntable. Regardless of what the mythology says the other components could care less what they are in or on.
To test your floor put an end table or small cabinet where you plan to put your rack. Place a 1/2 filled large glass of water on the table and walk around watching the water. You can also try jumping up and down to see what happens. If the water starts wiggling you have a problem. The solutions would be a wall shelf for the turntable or a well tunes suspended turntable like an SME, SOTA or Basis. 
It is better to keep your mono blocks behind the speakers with short speaker wires and long signal wires even if you do not have balanced connections.
After all this buy the rack you can afford that looks the nicest to you.

buy the rack you can afford that looks the nicest to you.

And then buy BDR Cones for everything.
At the price range you are in BDR Shelf and Round Things make sense too. 
Are you sure you don't want to put the monoblocks on individual amp stands (that sit directly on the floor) rather than all-in on the rack?
The taller the rack the more it will amplify seismic type vibration, you know, just like high rises and skyscrapers do. One approach is to isolate the components on their shelves with small one inch springs like you know who sells.
Mike, thank you for the idea about wall mounting the turntable. I do live on the second floor and there was quite a bit of movement when I conducted your test.

I will check out the Core products and BDR.

Are there any other quality racks out there at better price points? I still need to purchase cables and speakers. Looking to save where possible without compromising the system.

Space is a bit tight where the rack will sit, would love to separate the mono’s but that looks unlikely.
In that case Geoff we all need to put out systems on the floor in the basement.
Bh, trust me on this one. The amps will do much better with short wires and the rest of your equipment will be happier without those big power supplies right under them. It will also allow you to use a shorter, smaller rack making room for the turntable's wall shelf above.
If you keep the speaker wires under 4 feet I have a few extra lengths of Kimber 8VS hanging around I would be happy to send you. You just pay the postage. If you want me to terminate them you will have to send me the terminations you want to use spades or bananas. This will give you the extra money for longer signal wires.
Are your ins and outs RCA or balanced?
I have mostly Mac equipment and because of their size, I chose to go with Solid Steel audio racks.  Look into them.
If you are tight on space perhaps something like the Quadraspire SVT will work . Reasonably priced as well and sometimes you can find used on hifishark.
Trying to give specific answers to turntable rack problems is foolish at best. There's just way too many variables in floors, walls, and turntables. Much better to approach the problem with general information that will help you figure out your own solution to your own particular circumstance.

A tall wood rack with a table on top is a lousy choice pretty much anywhere other than a solid concrete floor. Even then I would balk.

Lower is better because the higher the more the same vibration at the base is amplified at the top. Massive is better because if its massive enough it becomes pretty much impossible to move at anything other than subsonic frequency.
The rack is just one part of the solution. There is also the shelf, and the distribution of mass in the total rack/shelf/turntable system. So for example a tall wood rack might work okay if the shelf on top is so massive it forces the rocking motion down into a frequency range where its not so much of a problem.
You can see from all the above that what we are talking about really is tuning the entire system to filter vibrations we don't want and pass or transfer vibrations into a range where they're more benign.
Not sure if this will work in your situation, but my floor is wood and my table does rock and would never pass the water in a cup test, yet my playback is exemplary with fantastic bass and superb imaging, all because the rack I built satisfies all the above conditions.
It also costs a lot less than shipping alone will run for one of those sweet looking but not so good working wood racks.

Are there any other quality racks out there at better price points?

I think I found myself roughly in your budget space when searching for a decent rack.  I couldn't be happier with the Symposium Acoustics Foundation rack. 

I have my TT placed on the top shelf supported by a carbon fiber BDR Shelf for Source propped up by BDR cones and pads.  The rack is rock solid and performs flawlessly in my room. 

I have my TT placed on the top shelf supported by a carbon fiber BDR Shelf for Source propped up by BDR cones and pads. The rack is rock solid and performs flawlessly in my room.

BDR Source Shelf is very hard to beat. Impossible, maybe even. It does however need to be on a very stable rack. I'm not so sure the OP has such a floor. Once you do take care of that however, BDR is awesome. These the "pads" you're talking about? They're called Round Things.

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I thank everyone for their valuable input! You have given me several directions to start looking towards!!!
Adona  Corporation makes effective and wallet friendly racks that also happen to look good.
millercarbon, when you are an old man with a bad back and poor eye site having your turntable at about shoulder height is a blessing (along with a good light)  A well made tall rack with a granite top will have no problem with this on concrete with any turntable and on any floor with a good suspended turntable. 
One of the best racks I've ever had was a tall, thin rack with a 70kg turntable on top. The trick was simple: the rack was extremely rigid with plywood skirts (glued and screwed) on three sides, and fixed to the wall studs with 4" long #12 screws.

Not sure whether it was a reinforced shelf, a permanently fixed rack or a wall extension, but damn if wasn't stable. Performed nearly as well as my long, low, slate-topped, structural post-fixed on two sides, wall-fixed  plywood cabinet, joined to concrete.
I’ve had two different approach high-end racks with the predictable result that there is no consensus, other then it is system dependent entirely.

1. Camp 1 ... big and heavy with brass footers under the gear

I had the thick air-dried maple MAPLESHADE SAMSON shelves and HEAVYFEET brass footers

ignoring that it is butt- ugly IMO, it served its duty for an entry-level 2 channel high-end system ($7K) on a hardwood floor .

2. Camp 2 .... This involved a multi-level approach for
- (I) lighter shelves isolated from the next using a cup-and-cone interface,
- (ii) an additional, double-layer base platform provides further isolation from resonance; and
- ( iii) A toughened glass sub-shelf rests on minimal-contact ball decouplers, providing even more isolation.

I upgraded my system above to a $30K 2 channel system and the MAPLESHADE SAMSON approach and brass footers worked fine with no complaints. The listening room had some room treatments .The new integrated amp and cdp/dac were a lot heavier than what they replaced ...the new gear was ~ 35+kg and 26kg respectively.

It was then stress-tasted in a direct audition against a bespoke professionally custom made clone of the NAIM FRAIM , on the advice of my dealer, and done in my own house with my own system.


I was more than skeptical that it would impress me in an A-B bake-off against the MAPLESHADE bulky heavy isolation rack approach.

MY DIRECT EXPERIENCE ..... The bespoke NAIM FRAIM CLONE clearly bested the Mapleshade in terms of dynamics and slam much. to my great surprise. ... But don’t ask me to explain why. In any case, I bought it and sold the MAPLESHADE.


Room acoustics and electronics did matter in my experiences, = entirely system dependent...
and ...
until a bake-off is possible, it’s a guessing game .... 

This rack should accommodate your needs.  The SVT series easily bested my Target stand by tightening the bass, dropping the noise floor, separating instruments and voices, improving the speed of attack.
I have a pARTicular Novus rack with 3 high performance acrylic shelves and 2 standard walnut shelves with their Visco-elastics /Aluminum Discs separating each shelf from it support bar. The 2 standard walnut shelves will be replaced with 2 high performance acrylic shelves this spring. This rack walks all over my old Bell'O rack with glass shelves and 3" solid cherry blocks supporting my equipment. The pARTicular rack (without the 3" cherry blocks in use) just presented a whole new soundscape of music I did not know I could get from my modest equipment. The music presentation is now tighter yet more open with space between instruments and a slightly improved sound stage. If interested, check it out along with their other racks at
Hi, have you seen the beautiful hardwood racks from Timbernation in PA?  My new rack is strong, beautiful, reasonable, and holds similar equipment.  I modified his stock dimensions to slightly deeper and bigger clearances.  Love it.  Tiger Maple shelves with Walnut rails. He built it in two weeks and shipped free to my door. No more sagging bookshelf under my BHK amp!  Ken
If you choose a wooden audio rack, go to a local woodworker and talk to him. You show him a picture and specific dimensions you want then ask him the board footage for the material. Go to this website to choose the wood and order online. Bubinga, Wenge or Zebra costs approximately $25 per board foot. 30 board feet plus shipping costs about $1000. This is a 2-4 hour job, or $1,500 max material and labor. The cost difference is on the word "high-end audio rack" just like cables.
the best rack systems I’ve owned for two channel systems, TV set ups, speaker stands,  etc. have all been custom made 

we are friends with a couple excellent wood workers which allows us to custom design racks that work specific to our gear; saves space and allows us to specify wood species, finish, etc. 

draw up what you want and need then meet with some custom wood workers for quotes 
Several responses are leaning towards wood racks.

At first thought I had not considered wood as an option, more from an aesthetics standpoint than any other reason. The heavy nature of the wood tends to dominate the look and the audio pieces take second notice. The metal racks allow the audio to appear more prominent.

Unless the sound improvements were considerably better with wood then I would apt to lean towards metal or another material that is less bulky than wood. 
Check out Codia Acoustic Design. The top Diagon model is terriffic (and gorgeous.)
Wall mount your turntable, and possibly your preamp, too.
Put amps on floor near speakers as per suggestions of others,
but consider Codia amp stands or other brands.
Likewise, the power conditioner can be put on a slab of rock (marble or slate) with aftermarket footers between the rock and the conditioner.
You may not need a stand at all if you wall mount TT & preamp, and use amp stands.
Best of luck,

Most all of the racks you see in these audiophile pages are overpriced and take up too much space.  They also make lousy platforms for turntables.  Any vibrations or floor motion gets amplified at the top of the rack.  Just horrible.

The very best turntable platform is a wall mount.   Here's a photo of my turntable and rack underneath.  You can buy rack rails of any length and have any local cabinet maker put together a rack for you.  Mine sits on rollers, which allows me easy access to cables behind the gear.

Neither my preamp or power amp rack mount, so they sit on shelves I got from Parts-Express.

This will cost you less.  It will also give you a lot more flexibility as to where you put your gear.
+1 on SVT & HRS. I have good success with a SVT2 rack coupled with HRS shelves with components then on HRS nimbus couplers.  The wood metal combo looks good, to my taste, more importantly sounds great.
Although I've had Timbenation stands, the Butcher Block stands looks like a nice solution:

Or, you can do what I did and source a good, local carpenter to make just the stand you'd like.

All the best,
I am very fortunate to have a friend that does high end woodwork. I have a custom built maple and mahogany rack and couldn't be happier (Except for all the sanding I did. That end grain is a bitch!). For a similar product I would also suggest Timbernation.
I also HIGHLY recommend Core Audio Designs. I have 2 of their racks and use them on hard wood floors. They are not only built incredibly well and perform incredibly well but they are the best looking racks out there. The wood is beautiful as is the craftsmanship. They are not tecky and tacky looking like most high end racks. 
Adona has been producing solid racks and multilayer audio platforms for many years. Changed from my long time Billy Bags rack to an Adonis Eris 6W with cherry trim. Beautiful and solid.
why do people think any custom woodworker can design and produce a high quality audio rack engineered to enhance sonic qualities of your audio gear?  Sure it may look nice and it could end up being heavy but lets be honest, it's just furniture and not an engineered piece of gear.  Just understand what your goals are here.
But what if you have an audiophile with carpenter skills who can build the same rack as a non audiophile? Does one need to go to NASA or be trained there to determine what's the best solution?

A lot of this is nitpicking in the extreme

All the best,
Just constrained layer damping, nonoise. That, and an irregular shape.

Some few materials have constrained layer damping built in, like Panzerholz, or, to a lesser extent, slate, or Baltic birch plywood. The trick is to put two materials with different speeds of sound, in intimate contact, like hardwood and elastomeric glue. I used 2 1/2" of Baltic birch in three layers, bonded with elastomeric glue, bonded to a topping consisting of an inch of slate. Slate itself consists of very thin layers of rock, which reduce sound transmission and resonance.

The very best shelve material is Panzerholz, which I used in the plinth of my DIY turntable. So I have three different non-resonant materials, with different properties, which prevent resonance.
When I removed the 3" cherry blocks from under my equipment and placed directly on the high performance acrylic shelves of the pARTicular Novus rack I experienced more detail, crisper, better sound stage and improved bass response. I have no affiliation with pARTicular other than a satisfied customer.
Constrained layer damping is what I use. The difference is not dramatic, in fact subtle, but it can be heard. 

What I use with my locally built audio rack is Les Davis Audio pads.

The product looks different from when I got mine (circular, not square) but they appear to be constructed the same.

All the best,

+1 for HRS isolation and Nimbus on heavy wood furniture 

get those mono blocks out near the speakers!!!!!
Posted today, my system, with lots of pictures and a description of my rack. Its hard to tell the top granite is sitting on sand, but the sand bed in the bottom rack can be seen in some views. Lotta work but really affordable and outstanding performance.

Please note any or all parts of this rack could very easily be covered in wood veneer, or painted however you like, and probably still be under $500.
 Thank you to everyone who participated with feedback on this topic. The vast ranges of experience and opinions is what makes this site worth following and I know the community will always have suggestions to review.

Drrsutliff and Iwin, you recommended the Adonis rack. After looking at the options recommended by everyone and looking at several of those in my local shops I think I decided on the Adonis.
They do make a beautiful piece.

Thanks again to everyone!