Equipment Stand placement?

With so much focus on reducing vibration and other environmental detriments to good sound, I wonder where the best placement for the equipment rack in a listening room would be. It seems that with rear-ported speakers that are out from the back wall, that putting the equipment along the back wall between the speakers would be subjecting it to increased vibration. Putting it along a side wall puts it more in line with the first reflection point, and therefore more sound waves.

What are people's preferences for sound rack placment and why? -Kirk

Well there is theoretical ideal set-up, and then there is real world set-ups. Ideally you place amp only between speakers allowing short speaker cables and run long ICs back to rack along side walls, balanced ICs being ideal.

This is not so much because of sound wave effect on gear which will happen anywhere in room, but for soundstage/imaging enhancement which is improved with no obstructions between speakers. Also psychologically stage
seems deeper/wider with no obstructions especially if you use spot lighting to enhance the illusion.

Now in reality not many audiophiles do this because you almost never see 15-20ft ICs for sale here wich would be needed for ideal set-up. I would guess close to 90-95%
of audiophile systems have rack between speakers.

Also if you pull speakers out 5ft or more from speaker wall
rack effect has less negative impact on soundstage when placed between speakers.
I tried both, with rear ported speakers on a side wall and between at the back wall.
My ideal thought would be to have the power amp in the middle (if stereo) or closest to speakers (if mono) with shortest speaker cable length and longer interconnect leading to a side wall equipment stand placement.
Having not tried the different cable length but comparing with same length I could not tell the difference it made to the sound (even at high volume) with placement at side wall or between at back wall.

My current set up (in a new room) has the equipment in between on the back wall. My observations are similar sound but varing degree of change to the sound when trying out any new isolation product.
kthomas: earlier this year, i reconfigured my system placement to replicate what megasam calls the "theoretical ideal set-up." my equipment rack is now on the right-side wall, aft of the first reflection point. the only thing between my speakers is my amp. when i moved the rack, i also put up 7 asc sound panels between and in back of the speakers (there had already been tube traps in the corners.) this relatively simple change brought about, for me, one of the biggest improvements i ever made in my audio system. the soundstage became much deeper and wider. image placement was more stable and airy. bass was tighter and deeper. yes, this required a single 7 meter run of balanced interconnects but it was well worth it in my view. indeed, i'll never allow a rack, or anything else but an amp, between my speakers again. -kelly
There are advantages other than running shorter interconnects by having your equipment between the speakers.
If you are using a line conditioner it keeps you from having to invest in several conditioners or extremely long and expensive powercords. If you have equipment that is as gorgeous to the eye as sonically pleasing to the ear then you want to highlight it and if you have it buried in a corner it does not have the same appeal. The more senses invloved in any experience the greater the rewards.

Also the main reason not to have your equipment between your speakers is for soundstaging and imaging - - if you use really low racks or amp stands you will not have a problem.

I personally like the aesthetics of having the system between the speakers - - I like the fact that many components look like fine sculptures. In the showroom we have no racks above 24 inches and our depth and soundstaging are excellent. Then again we have treated the rooms since that is 25% of the sound.

From a practical point of view as expensive as powercords, interconnects, and speaker cables can be even with places such as Audiogon to purchase audio you will get better sound by using shorter runs and purchasing better cables than by buying longer runs of lesser cables and having your system in a corner.

The key factor is if you place a televison, or a tall rack between your speakers you will have a more difficult problem.

Also as you pursue your audio Nirvana remember it all starts at the wall. Your audio system is like your own health it can only be as good as what you feed it.
My experience is exactly consistent with Megasam's and Cornfedboy's. Another principle is to move your rack away from the wall. Bass tends to stack up along walls and will energize the rack and components placed there. The performance of my turntable was greatly improved by moving the rack to the side (5m of balanced IC from pre to power) and about 1' from the sidewall and 5' from the back wall. This was recommended by the guys at ASC when they were helping me with room treatments. I also added Sonex foam behind the rack.
What I did to improve this was to use 50 Hz and 100 Hz test tones + SPL to find the lowest response place close to my speakers.
Guess what? in my room it happened to be between my speakers
behind their plane about 1 ft. My equipment is in separate tweaked sand box(45lbs) /inner tube boxes 1 for preamp, 1 for digital source and 1 for the amp. Results very good. Height with each is less than 12 inches
Good luck.
Several good experiential opinions are offered above, none exactly alike. KT what that tells you is, like everything else, you'll need to experiment in order to determine what works best for you with your own equipment in your own room. I also realized significant benefits by not having anything placed between the speakers so my rack is along a sidewall. However regarding my particular component synergy, I also found that longer interconnects were detrimental compared to shorter ones, while longer speaker cables resulted in less degradation than with longer interconnects & shorter speaker cables. Note that I prefer networked speaker cables, so those longer lengths are accordingly inherently compensated. The equipment rack, also containing a single stereo amp, is now all on a sidewall. In this way I was able to use shorter AC cords as I wired a dedicated AC line directly to the rack location, & my AC conditioners are also located there locally.
Again, all of these advices tell you not a whole lot about what will work best for your setup, but do offer many good suggestions about what might be most advisable for you to try out.
Thanks to all for your helpful replies. Bob - you're right - this has confirmed that experimentation is the order of the day. Currently, I don't have any choice as to placement, but soon I'm going to be able to free up one or the other side walls, and ultimately there will be some remodelling. I was curious if there was any sort of consensus as to the best approach but, like everything in this hobby, it's not that easy :-)