BellStandAudio audio racks
Last fall, I was looking to upgrade an audio rack for my $10K front-end two-channel audio system. I needed a six-level rack for an amp, preamp, CD player, phono preamp, DAC, digital signal processor, and turntable. I came across the BellStandAudio website and sent an email to Dan, the owner, explaining my needs and cost considerations. My goals were two-fold: to find a sturdy, acoustically-inert stand and one that I could get customized to my particular component needs. I soon received a personal response from Dan and we subsequently talked on the phone about my particular needs. During our discussion, he offered several helpful suggestions regarding my needs that I hadn't contemplated. One I recall was a grounding problem I had been having for which, given his electrical engineering background, he offered a simple solution that has worked out perfectly. We discussed material options for the selving and I agreed that maple shelves would be great and visually appealing. For the top shelf isolation for my turntable, he suggested a 1.5" thick piece of walnut, which he perceptibly knew would match the appearance of my SOTA turntable. We talked about finish options and wood staining options that would would contrast the fine wood in the rack.
Soon the rack arrived and required only my placing the separately packed shelves on to the supporting pieces in the rack. (That was a very big deal to me as I didn't want the hassle of having to assembly a rack.) Without the shelves in the rack, I physically manipulated the rack to see how solid it was and it seemed to be built out of one solid piece of wood -- I tried to flex the rack torsionally and it was immune to it, which attests to the solid contruction of it. The way in which Dan has engineered the supporting mounts for individual racks is key to the functionality of the rack, without a doubt. I don't profess to understand it, but he put a lot of thought and engineering into a "damping system" employed into the rack to ensure that the vibrations borne by the components in the rack are dampened. Dan has done empirical testing of his racks with respect to vibration and disturbances so he has has clearly considered, and I believe, dealt with this most crucial aspect of the design of his racks.
I have had his rack for few months and can say its inclusion in my system has brought the performance of my music to a new level, far exceeding my expectations for such a modestly price rack. The music now seems to be suspended in a wall of absolute quiet and darkness. The presentation is more holographic and three-dimensional, no question about it. His unique cable-management system employed in the back for rack (such a simple idea really, but nobody else does it), has largely untangled my estwhile mixed up mess of interconnects and power cord cables. Dan has really thought this whole design very completely.
Dan's rack represents, in my view, an extraordinary value in the quest for sonic excellence. You can upgrade components as much as you like, but the place to start is to have a well-designed (and, I think, visually appealing) rack with which to allow your gear to perform at this absolute best. If you don't follow this simple precept, I can tell you that you never will know how fine your system can perform.
Finally, I am aware of several uber-expensive racks on the market -- I have seen them at all the big audio shows, and believe they perform very well. However, does it really makes sense to spend $5-$15K for a rack when Dan can offer the same level of acoustic isolation, with beautiful woodcraftmanship, and allow you to customize your rack to your unique needs? That is the question I asked myself when I was thinking about having a rack built for me. I thought it was too good to be true, but it absolutely is true. All this Dan offers at a price equal to what some folks are willing to pay for a pair of interconnect cables!! I haven't had a more significant addition to my audio system than the BellStandAudio rack from Dan.