How important is a good rack?

I have a really nice turntable and some good equipment overall.

I have it sitting in a Michael Green just a rack., It's the entry level with the thinner shelves. I noticed it's not super sturdy if I bump into it it tends to wobble. If I am playing a record it skips. I have an older AR suspension turntable and I can walk all around the rack and it doesn't. I guess what I'm wondering does a rack need to be rigid?

Some rack suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Scott
Good is always better than bad.

A good installation means components including speakers sit on a solid foundation that is resistant to vibrations and movement. So whatever the stuff is resting on should provide that. Can be a bench, shelf, rack, whatever one prefers. Does not have to be pretty or fancy. Those are aesthetics which is important but has nothing to do with performance.

Also teh floor that things rest on is part of the foundation and often the only foundation in place in the case of floor standing speakers. One has little control over this but should be aware that the floor is a big determining factor nonetheless. With most modern consruction houses, lower floors will tend to provide a more solid foundation. First floor directly on houses foundation concrete slab is the best. So take that all for what its worth in each case.

ALso keep in mind that the higher off the floor components are located, the more susceptable to movement and vibrations they are so that ups the ante for teh build quality of the "furniture" needed.

I put my best gear on a low standing solid wood bench on teh lowest level of the house. The concrete foundation and low profile of teh solidly constructed wood bench provides a most solid foundation for everything and the sound quality reflects that accordingly.

So the general rule is to keep everything as close to the ground as possible in order to provide the best foundation. Ther further away from taht you are, the harder it may be to achieve similar results.
A good rack is very important, just ask Kate Upton. ;^)
My wife says it's over-rated! Me, I prefer quality over quantity.
That's just like Michael Green, isn't it? I would get rid of that rack altogether, and get something built correctly. Then put a set of Symposium Acoustics Roller Blocks under your table, or better yet, a SA Segue ISO board and then the Roller Blocks between it and the table.
Once you reach the threshold of isolation sufficient to keep your TT (or CDP) from skipping with light room vibrations, I wonder.

I'd expect to see a very gentle slope for increasing returns on expenditure for racks.

My own rack is brass rod and butcher block homebrew, which I like very well, and suggest you consider (tho I am digital only)

Of course A/Bing racks would be a huge PITA, and I suspect it is not done very often.

So my suggestion is very tentative. :)

Matters most for mechanical devices like turntables and speakers and disc players to a lesser extent. Much less so for amplification equipment

You knew the Kate Upton comments were coming. Obviously hers is quite important to her and advertisers. It makes her a superhero in video games and such as well it seems. 🌝
Men are so stupid, and predictable. Why? Ugh. Why not resist the urge to say the obvious school-boy reply? Why not? No one thinks its funny or clever.
05-07-15: Rpeluso
Men are so stupid, and predictable. Why? Ugh. Why not resist the urge to say the obvious school-boy reply? Why not? No one thinks its funny or clever.

Why so serious?
equipment stand or cabinet:)
I found the difference to be night and day. I had now idea how bad my first two racks were until I tried a better one. No turntable here, but the difference had nothing to do with rigidity of the frame. The worse one was more rigid. The better one did not improve with more bracing. Again turntable may be very different.
I bought a fairly tall Salamander Archtype 5 self rack (I don't like bending over to change a record). My turntable is ridged and sits on the top self with a iso platform underneath. This is a awesome entry level audio rack. It does not skip at all when its playing a record ( I could run a jackhammer next to it). There are way more solid and expensive racks but for the money ($250 std blk finish $400 cherry wood finish) it is worth checking out, for excellent isolation of each infinite adjustable self (Mega spikes are a must for the bottom).
So Mapman what your saying is if your turntable is on the top shelf the closer it is to the ground helps with vibration?

I went the Salamander Synergy route. While it's sturdy and provides good rigidity, some may not classify it as an "audiophile" rack. I liked it's modular design and removable shelves, allowing me to experiment with different shelving materials for each component. I can also adjust the height of the shelves relative to shelf thickness and component height. And since the bottom has threaded inserts for feet, I can easily level the rack and experiment with different spikes/footers from manufacturers like Eden Sound or Mapleshade.


"Men are so stupid, and predictable. Why?"

For the same reason some women can be overly sensitive and unpredictable.... we're different.
I prefer woman with good 'rack'. Normally athletic woman have very good 'rack' and good ability to get and give pleasure to the partner.
Once you reach the threshold of isolation sufficient to keep your TT (or CDP) from skipping with light room vibrations, I wonder.
I don't have to wonder, I know.

I've tried many rack and isolation systems beneath many phono rigs. A rack affects more than skipping. It also has a major influence on sonics. Preventing skipping is only the minimum level of acceptable performance. It's like riding a bicycle... learning not to fall over is essential, but it's hardly the last word in performance.

A phono playback system is designed to detect extremely tiny physical vibrations, convert them to electrical signal, then amplify the signal by ~8-12,000 times.

Any vibration magnified by thousands becomes audible. This includes both vibrations induced by groove modulations (aka, music) and vibrations coming from all other sources (aka, noise). A phono cartridge can't tell one from the other. It picks them all up equally and the phono system amplifies them all equally.

GI/GO... and a vibration-prone rack sends a lot of GI.
+1 to Svkelleher's post

Salamander Synergy is well engineered, sturdily built, usefully modular and pretty good looking. But it's not an audiophile rack in that it makes little effort to control or diminish vibrations. That said, its modularity allows for quite a bit of tweaking, e.g., use of other footers for both the rack and the equipment on it, addition of isolation devices, etc. For not much money it can be made to sound notably better than it does OOTB.

And the other thing too. ;-)
Thanks Dougdeacon, that's helpful; I can certainly see why racking matters for turntables.

I'd be very interested to hear accounts of people doing serious ABs comparing a "merely competent" rack (say like my homebrew rod and block) with a SOTA rack, say like a Finite Elemente, which costs 10 times more.

What I was wondering about whether investment in racking yields cost commensurate improvements comparable to other elements in the chain, once the fairly modest "threshold" I suggest has been reached. My speculation is that for many of us, the money might be more noticeably placed elsewhere.


While the theory that a component such as a turntable is better low rather than high, the top shelf is probably easier to play records.
To solve this issue, I simply "attached" the top of my rack to wall studs. I can't budge my rack in any direction no matter how hard I try.
I'm sure many can be done in a somewhat similar way if you just give it some thought.
I am going to put my table on a wall shelf and amp and dac on butcher blocks on the floor, just get rid of rack all together.
Very good and effective plan.
"So Mapman what your saying is if your turntable is on the top shelf the closer it is to the ground helps with vibration?"

Yes. Lower for turntable is easiest to provide the desired solid foundation. The higher up the harder it is.

The thing is with a vertical rack the turntable usually goes on top for easy access. That's the worst place though in terms of managing vibrations that can affect performance.

If you can put the table on a low solid platform, bench table, whatever separate from teh rest, that is a cheap easy and effective solution, if you have room for it.
Best to have 'rackless' room, say hiding the stuff in a closet where the acoustic energy that the speakers produce will not impact the rack and its components. Very important if you have a turntable in your system.
Makes a world of difference - especially with vinyl. I have a Townshend Seismic Stand - they are brilliant.
Yes, suspended tables like the AR prefer a light rigid platform.

If your turntable has 3 feet then that should influence your decision. 3 feet are also intrinsically more stable and easier to level.
If you have a dense concrete floor also consider siting the T/T on a separate table or rack/shelf that includes an additional shelf for the phono stage/PSU.
If wall mounting always mount the T/T shelf on an external solid wall made from bricks, concrete etc.
Keep vibration sources such as transformers off the T/t shelf. Try to get some form of isolation between shelves e.g. spikes & cups
Watch the cable dressing at the back of the turntable i.e. don't crush, mix or tension the cables, they should be as free as possible.

A facility to level the shelf i.e. T/T platter, may be essential if the T/T has no levelling feature.
Suspended tables are awkward, you are better off using mini spirit levels in 2 diametrically opposite positions to stop the platter becoming unbalanced.

One way to test the shelf brackets is to hang from them. If they flex under your weight like a springboard they aren't rigid enough. Solid triangular brackets are better for that reason.
The shelf material itself should be light and rigid e.g. wood which is thick enough to be considered rigid (you can also screw spikes into wood for decoupling....)
Ideally that shelf should rest lightly on spikes rather than physically connected to the brackets.

Final word, after you've done it enjoy the music ;^)
FWIW, the designers of the Continuum turntable (quite expensive?) and it's integral stand said that despite the massive cost, effort and design simulation that went into creating the stand they admitted it was still a poor substitute for a good wall shelf (!)

I must be a pervert - I still use a table ;^)
I'm not into wall shelves myself but some swear by them.

I suppose the wall would make for a better foundation than many floors, especially in modern houses with suspended plywood flooring that has a lot of give. Nice during an earthquake, but not so much when the tonearm starts flying if you start to boogie down.
What you are trying to accomplish is isolating external vibrations from your components. The best rack will accomplish little if it is sitting on a bouncy floor. Wall mounting on a bearing wall usually results in the best isolation.
If one has the option of acoustically isolating turntable from speakers, then that is worth it for sure.
TurnTable Wall Shelf
Above is a link to a very cool Wall Shelf - made this one for a super tricked out Palatine Verdier table some years ago.

Have no affiliation with the listing party. Just another option to peruse.

Good Listening

Putting it in a closet may have some benefit with analogue, but the question would still remain, put it on what?
Also, I have noticed that several posters seem to feel that a good rack is only needed for turntables. My experience has proven it to be important for digital as well, and I am sure there are others who would agree.
To answer your question, very important and maple seems to be the wood of choice. Maple dissipates vibration. Since I am in the midst of a complete system upgrade I knew my old wobbly Sanus rack had to go. I wanted a simple four shelf 48" wide solid maple rack but couldn't find anything without resorting to a custom built unit from a company like Timber Nation. Since a close friend is a professional wood worker I decided to build my own. As of this writing it is nearing the assembly stage. It will be solid as a rock and I anticipate it dramatically minimizing vibration over my current rack. The construction nearly eliminates fasteners since it utilizes a mortise and tenon design. I would be happy to provide feedback once it is finished. I would also recommend Timber Nation as they build custom maple racks. They advertise here quite frequently.
The rack is a component. It should be of the same quality as the rest of your rig.
Well, frankly, since most racks amplify structural vibrations, even solid well constructed racks, the best sonic results will actually be obtained by placing components directly on spikes or cones on the floor.
Your comment is simply stated and I believe, correct.
Keep the reports of careful ABs indicating dramatic differences coming! ;)

How important is a good rack?

"Music is good for your ears but bad for the gear that reproduces it. Musically induced vibration physically alters audio equipment. A vibrating printed circuit board flexes all its components to a degree. The result is audible signal distortion. For example, consider what happens if the music you’re playing matches the resonance frequency of a capacitor -- say, a nice V-Cap CuTF like the ones in my Atma-Sphere preamp. The physical oscillation of the Teflon causes small variances in the spatial relation of the capacitor’s copper plate that yield tiny yet measurable differences in its capacitance. A few microns of displacement can result in a small voltage deviation. Compound that effect across all the caps in your system and then amplify it and you have chaos.

Airborne energy does the majority of harm to signal accuracy, but it is not the sole source of problems. Structural elements in your home absorb and transmit energy to each other and anything in contact with them. Wood floors resonate and flex; massive, rigid concrete makes an excellent vibration transmitter. Not only is your system bombarded by air- and floor-borne energy, your components generate and propagate vibration as a byproduct of their own operation: power-supply transformers hum, digital transports whir, turntables turn. All of it contributes to that veil of distortion hanging between the listener and the music."

Read more here at The Audio Beat.
I use a low mass stable little table for my turntable just like Linn suggests, and everything else is on a relatively stable (unlike myself) cheap but nice looking rack with a bottom drawer for storing extra tubes and maps of Cuba...I have vibrapods or other sorbethane type feet under everything (not the rack's feet...there's only so much rubber I can take) except the Linn which has its own rubber feet which seem to work feedback (or feedbag) or footfall issues, and the whole thing makes me seem more interesting than I actually am.
The Audio Beat's review of "The Scuttle" rack states that Silent Running decided it was "time to make an affordable rack" so they pitched the basic model at $6600 upwards.

Some vendors have a skewed understanding of the word "affordable"....
I compare equipment racks to loudspeaker cabinets in that the most cost effective solution is to minimize them with the ultimate goal of getting rid of them completely. If the goal is to prevent outside vibration from influencing equipment, then footer and spikes take priority over a rack. That said, equipment racks have a high convenience value and some are very visually appealing.
Yes, I take your point but the context of this discussion is turntable related. Not many people wish to get down on all fours to load the next LP. ;^)

By way of example, my rack was custom built by the manufacturer (I was the first customer to ask him to make a tripod arrangement) so he drafted it to my dimensions on a CAD system, sent me some dimensioned visualisation files for approval then made the rack for less than 1/10th of the price which Silent Running's cheapest rack is costing.
Good VFM?
Very important jump on a Symposium Isis ASAP!
Rack suggestions are very subjective.
I don't know of anyone personally that has done a comparison of racks in the same room at the same time. I'm sure that would be interesting and difficult to do.
I like your idea of the wall-mount rack for the turntable, that can be very effective and convenient. As far as your Michael Green rack goes, I use one solely for the flexibility in adjusting the shelves, but I would not put a turntable on it, only power supplies and equipment that is stationary without moving parts (like a music server). For the time being you should tighten the nuts holding the shelves in place, that will make it a lot more sturdy. The MG theory of his racks was to channel all the vibrations from the equipment down the metal rods holding the thing together through points into the floor; I don't necessarily buy that one, and have used various footers or Symposium platforms when I have had components on it.

The main rack I use for my TT is an old Merrill Stable Table, which I filled with lead shot and sand and weighed in at about 350 pounds when full. It is very effective, and cost about $1100 when it was new, which was a lot for a rack back then. I would not spend $6600 for a rack, though, and any reviewer that calls that "affordable" is delusional, sorry. Racks can make a difference, but I do not think you need to go overboard on them. Just my $.02.
I put the turntable and preamp on two seperate shelves on the wall. Amp and Dac on the floor It made everything sound better!

If you can try it, I went to home depot and bought some shelf brackets that are 20 in and good for 1000 lbs, bought a nice finished piece of birch plywood and the results were amazing.
While weight of a rack can matter it is engineering that matters most. Engineering along with quality of build and appearance is what you pay for in an Sra rack. Check the price of any high quality furniture. My wife bought an entry table to our home. One shelf. Small! $1200. Now that is outrageous. I understand all we have different price points. There are many ways to get from point a to point b. None better then SRA.
Oh and to the point of this thread, yes racks do matter.
I'm just saying ✌️
"I'd be very interested to hear accounts of people
doing serious ABs comparing a "merely
competent" rack (say like my homebrew rod and block)
with a SOTA rack, say like a Finite Elemente, which costs
10 times more."

I went from Flexy to ikea lack to Finite elemente. I
guess that is like a/b/c. I wasn't serious, though, but I
did not have to be. The lack and finite are both much
better than the mdf-baced flexy, which was the heaviest
and stiffest. (Stiff in relation to the legs with
least stiff and heaviest shelves).

"What I was wondering about whether investment in
racking yields cost commensurate improvements comparable
to other elements in the chain, once the fairly modest
"threshold" I suggest has been reached. My
speculation is that for many of us, the money might be
more noticeably placed elsewhere."

I disagree because I do not believe its possible overcome
the problems of a bad rack elsewhere. I am also not
putting my stuff on the floor, especially since my stereo
is in my living room.
I know what you mean by not wishing to put the things on the floor. Everyone is like that. But when you go to the shows many of the best sounding rooms have the equipment on the, uh, you guessed it. The floor. It's easier to control what's going on.
There's racks and there's racks with vibration control. One gets your equipment off the floor, the other does that while reducing distortion. Some of the latter are more effective at distortion reduction than others. Devices that are highly effective at vibration control and look great, such as those from Silent Running Audio or Harmonic Resolution Systems, command top dollar. Audio room infrastructure (acoustics, power, vibration control) is a necessary condition for realizing the sonic value of electronics and speakers.
10 yrs ago I was using a generic Sound Organization rack and came across a used Billy Bags rack. The only reason I pulled the trigger was the price ($600. The rack cost twice that new!) and I liked the look of the rack. I wasn't considering sonics at all, I didn't think it would make much of a difference. I was wrong. I immediately heard an overall improvement, everything was the same as before except for the rack so....not sure if Billy Bags is still in business but if you can find one 2nd hand I highly recommend them. As far as my TT's concerned, I ordered my Linn LP12 and bought an Italian custom made stand (low mass, high rigidity, low to the ground, spikes on top and bottom). This was 25 yrs ago and haven't felt any need or urges to change anything!
Symposium ISIS is another unfortunate name for a product.