Silent Running Audio Craz-4 or Craz-8. In my experience, the best-performing and best-built racks out there. I've tried a few.
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The Walker Audio Rack in Jacoba wood...
Also available in double this width and with custom shelving heights. In either configuration, it's a monster to ship, though.
I've always liked Rix Rax in photos, but when I saw them in person I wasn't that impressed. They're well made, but they're not as elegant as they appear in photos. They're much beefier looking in reality. And the automotive influence is definitely evident. But then again, that may be a good thing.
When it comes to choosing a rack I waver between the two extremes, wood and metal. I own both Zoethecus and SolidSteel. What a confused slant headed green bastard I am.
Gunbei, that may be the case for the RixRax Hoodoo, but the Sonata is another story entirely. To my eyes it's the quintessence of grace.
IMO there are very few racks out there that have the elegance needed to function as furniture while fulfilling their sonic mission. For me that means something beyond a simple rectangular form (no matter how nice the wood), and no shiny metal or glass, except possibly as accents. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Gliderguider, you may be on to something, because it was in fact the Hoodoo and amp stand I saw in person. I was turned off by the massive square auto-painted metal frame and super thick overly lacquered wood platforms.
In pictures, the Sonata looks like something Leonardo might have created plans for or Jules Verne could have invisioned. Pretty cool. I'd like to see one in person.
When I saw the pARTicular racks at CES a few years ago I was surprised at how small they actually were. They just seemed so much bigger and substantial in the photos.
I visited an Audiogoner's house a few weeks ago to deliver an amp he'd purchased from me. What surprised me was how nice the black $70 Ikea Lack bookshlef looked sitting on its side. It was a very classy and unintrusive center piece to his audio rig.
Gunbei, I have a Sonata - you can see it in my system pics. The photos don't do it justice. The universal first impression runs along the lines of "I guess if you're going to worship hi-fi, you need a proper altar." It has tremendous presence, coupled with a feeling of lightness that belies its rigidity. Elegantly imposing, I guess is the right description. I don't like auto-paint finishes, so mine is in a nice unobtrusive black crinkle-paint that really sets off the wood and the gold cones.
I owned a Zothecus rack, then the Grand Prix Audio with carbon fiber shelves and then I auditioned the Harmonic Resolution Technology (HRS) M3 isolation bases, dampening plates and Nimbus footers. I then bought the new generation HRS MXR equipment stand in burled walnut finish (I literally just took delivery yesterday of the stand).
It is extremely attractive (my wife for the first time commented that I should put it out in my listening room versus inside my recessed equipment closet..), the shelves are adjustable, the wood work is flawless and, this is the best part, it radically reduces the harmful effects of air-borne and equipment-borne vibrations to a level I didn't think was possible.
The really nice thing about the HRS system is that it is entirely modular allowing you to build it up piece by piece. For example, you can start with one isolation base for your CD player. YOu can put this isolation base on an existing shelf or rack. You can buy the dampening plates (which sit on top of the equipment) and Nimbus feet (which go under the equipment) piece by piece. I bought these in stages trying them on each piece of equipment to validate it's impact before buying more. I ended up treating all of my components.
The isolation bases are designed so that they can sit on the floor or on another equipment rack. This is how I started and I ended up with 6 bases (dartzeel amplifer, 2 Hydras, CD12 player, dartzeel pre-amp, Linn Unidisk 1.1). For the best possible performance you can then buy the MXR frame (his second generation) and sit up to 4 isolation bases in the frame.
As a test, I just put one isolation base into the MXR frame last night and sat my Linn CD12 player on it. Before the frame arrived I had been listening to my CD12 on just an isolation base in a standard equipment cabinet. To tell you the truth, I was not expecting an audible improvement. I bought the rack mainly because of its beauty and precise engineering. I was totally blown away by the incremental sonic performance I got from my CD12 in the MXR frame. Everything became more fluid, musical and at the low end a new level of detail emerged such that I could follow every bass guitar pluck.
I realize this may sound a bit over the top and I am fortunate to have a dedicated and fully treated/tuned/calibrated listening room which fortunately and unfortunately lets me hear everything my system in doing - good and bad - but I was simply not prepared for the improvements the HRS has delivered in my system.
The HRS MXR is not cheap...the frame with 4 isolation bases (i.e. shelves) is $15-16K, but it is some of the best money I have ever invested in my system. Inevitably, the other products I have tried over the past year of intense experimentation yielded some improvements in one part of the audio spectrum, but at the sacrifice of performance in another. The HRS is advertised to be one of the only vibration control systems that is "broadband" or across the entire spectrum. Based on my experience over the past 3-4 months it has lived up to its billing.
Again, let me state that I have not tried other products beyond GPA and Zoethecus and I'm sure they are very good as well and I know they have a good following such as SLA and others.
Bottom line, I strongly encourage all serious audiophiles to investigate these types of products before investing in expensive component upgrades. You may be very surprised at the performance your existing components can deliver if they are properly isolated from the destructive effects of air-borne and internally generated component-borne vibrations. I know I was. Every component I tried benefited with the most significant improvements being achieved from the source end on out (i.e. power line conditioner, CD player, pre-amp, amp in that order).
Buy on looks, but also buy based on your ears!
Happy listening guys,