If you are competent at your craft, surely it will turn out great--it will meet your own high standards and work with your environment better than stock shelving. Go for it! Post pics when done, please.
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There are several members of my old audio group that built their own racks All of them seem to be quite pleased with the results. You can tweak your rack by using heavy brass footers. I highly recommend Edensounds products which he can customize to meet your needs. I say go for it, maybe thicker maple would look more impressive.
It probably won't sound as good as the Grand Prix. I say this because you probably don't have the engineering chops and testing ability to engineer a solution that are available to the Grand Prix design team. Nor will you build a few dozen prototypes to work out variations. That said there's absolutely no reason you should not be able to construct a workable setup that meets your setup requirements and sounds very good.
It sounds like you have the skills necessary to build your own. I would not hesitate to go the custom route if I had the talent and the right equipment. Where are you located? I may be interested if you do not like what you create. As long as it is not 1980's glass and brass you should be fine.
I seriously doubt that you or anyone else on this site or anywhere else on earth would be able to "hear" a difference in an A/B/A blind test. Purchase the material you like best at the best price you can find and enjoy your music. There are no absolutes when it comes to anything posted on any of these forums.You will probably get as many recommendations as there are materials to work with.
Look at the system pages, our members own every conceivable type, shape, brand and material you can buy. Don't give it a second thought.
Most on here have great intentions but cannot provide a shred of proof or data for anything they post, it is mostly opinions and a lot of conventional wisdom that gets repeated as fact.
Some discussions do center on electrical codes, physics, engineering principles etc, but even those discussion seems to go way off-track and there is seldom a consensus and never a "Solved once and forever" FAQs folder.
I hope this makes you and others with similar questions put into perspective what it is you are really getting from the forum. Do not take anything you read here too seriously.
This is a hobby and we are all hopefully in it for the best music reproduction we can afford. If it sounds good to you...it is good! Period....!
Happy Listening and good luck with your new rack. Post a Pic when complete!
In our studio we have listened to and compared various models of racking systems.
The differences in sound varied dimensionally much the same as when comparing an assortment of loudspeakers.
A few incredible designs provided by far greater results but would be extremely difficult to duplicate due to the materials and geometries implemented in the design. The majority of other products sampled that are fully acceptable to rational understanding provided the opposite of positive results or no audible change in sound at all.
We have found a couple of specialty companies who manufacture high-end racking systems that literally increase the quality of sound from your playback/recording system. Unfortunately many audiophiles do not know of, can relate to or understand from personal experience this extremely audible level in performance from racking until they audition one for themselves.
Like everything in audio if you have a keen set of ears A/B/A blind testing will prove that an efficient functional racking design is as critical to sound reproduction as any major component or monitoring system.
Should you exchange your current racking system in lieu of other best guess design scenarios; implementing multiple material choices and isolation methodologies will undoubtedly yield a sonic difference in your end result but is that going to be a positive change? Chances are that you will not achieve close to the results that are now in place.
Depending on your overall approach and personal quest to attain the highest levels in musical quality or prior to taking a reverse step in performance Eleschers approach should be considered here.
Disclaimer: My father works with a commercial company that employs various forms of vibration management so I am biased, have had greater access to knowledge from experience and have applied various techniques and multiple grounding principles in recording studio settings.
Many of the audiophile racks use constrained layer shelving. I believe some of the the Grand Prix racks may use straight acrylic.
My only recommendation would be to incorporate the constrained layer principle into your shelving material. I've experimented with a number of shelf materials over the years: granite marble, glass (including very thick glass and security or laminated glass), corian, MDF, phenolic, maple etc.
On a budget I would recommend a constrained layer shelf consisting of two layers of baltic birch with a 1/8" piece of neoprene sheet between them. The neoprene sheeting would be available online or typically from an upholsterer. A single shelf would probably come in around $30-$40 in this configuration. I would vary the thickness of the baltic birch to accommodate the weight of individual components. Just thick enough to support the weight without any signs of buckling or sagging.
Spending a bit more, but probably still significantly less than 1 1/2" maple, you could use extruded acrylic as the top layer, followed by the neoprene sheeting with baltic birch on the bottom. Again, just thick enough in total to support the component with no sagging. This configuration will be more expensive due to the cost of the acrylic but really offers exceptional performance IMO. I use this under my table in an older Target Wall Mount and the combination was the best in my experience.
1 1/2" phenolic was probably a distant second in terms of sonics, is substantially heavier and also quite expensive.
Wow some great responses here. After thinking this through I think I will keep one 4 shelf grand prix rack and put the rest like the hard drive and computer in a modified sideboard. I am hoping that not having my power conditioner on the rack isn't going to be to big a deal since the goal is to get all the power cords out of sight. I will take some pictures when I'm done. Thanks for all the great info.
The constrianed layer sounds intriuging. I might have chosen another brubber besides neoprene but I am not sure it would matter. I happen to think that "memory foam" has remarkable damping capability as does sorbothane which you can find in a number of forms. A composite of some sort makes sense as different elements add different qualities to the finished product. For pure beauty and aesthetics a pretty board of good wood is hard to beat.