Is rack between speakers always less than ideal?

I am planning a dedicated stereo system around a pair of standmounts but not sure what to do about gear placement. I can either have a tall rack off to the side or a low wide rack in the center. I am leaning toward center rack to avoid long interconnects.

The center rack would be 6 inches behind the plane of the rear of the speaker and would be about 75% of the speaker stand height. Width is approximately from the inside of one speaker to the inside of the other.

I understand that TV's and large objects directly in between the speakers can affect soundstage but what about something not technically between the speakers but slightly behind and below? Would something like this be sonically invisible, or would having "nothing" there be even better?
experiment and find out for yourself. it seems everything matters around here. ha. seriously there is an audio guru at linn[maybe he.s still there and maybe he's right] that thinks the transducer in the telephone colors the audio reproduction process. in my experience a lot of room around the speakers and nothing in between them is ideal...then room acoustics need attention,,,then isolation factors need attention and cable selection needs attention.. arn,t you sorry you asked.? really i,m sort of kidding but ideal would be put the audio system in the other room since you seem to know what gear to choose. i,m envious.. i did get rid of all my vibrapods when i tried the isonodes out. just a cheap tweak suggestion. thanks john
one other thought? go thru all the pictures of audiogoners systems and i would guess that 90 percent of the state of the art systems do not have a tv or rack between the speakers.. but ? what do they know? had to double dip couldn,t resist. thanks john
if the rack is an open air design I see no problem. I would avoid heavy solid wood furniture and glass.
Unfortunately I do not have the rack yet and buying one of each kind just to try out would be too expensive. Maybe a row of floor/amp stands are the answer.
I place a 5 shelf rack between my speakers. It is almost in line with the back of my speakers but not quite. The sound changed significantly for the worst;I was shocked at the difference it made. I am now looking for a 1 shelf stand that is wide enough to place 3 to 4 components. Just my two cents worth.
There's a lot of factors that go into this and no one can really say what'll work best in your room with your gear and ears. I'll say what seems like a good rule of thumb...

Use an amp stand for your amp in between the speakers so that the speaker cables ate as short as possible. Put the rest of the gear on a rack away from the speakers, and run balanced cables from the preamp to the power amp. A lot of manufacturers recommend longer balanced cables over longer speaker cables.

Here's something I just thought of now, may be stupid and worthless, maybe not - keep the rack out of the line from your speakers to the first reflection point.

If you want to have your rack between your speakers, maybe cover it with a heavy wool blanket? I've seen people do this with TVs. I'd imagine that wouldn't do you any favors with heat dissipation and remote control use.

Maybe the best net would be all your gear on amp stands. If you have a CD player and/or a turntable, it may be inconvenient.

I'm rambling a bit now. I'm theorizing because I have no choice but to have my TV and rack between my speakers.
There are many who will argue that a rack or TV or both between speakers is bad, and they are probably right. However, for many of us it is impossible not to do it that way. I have my rack and a large television between my speakers, and I do have a very large soundstage. My particular situation is helped greatly by the fact that my speakers are horns, which help direct the sound where I want it to go. My point here, though, is not to argue for horns, but to say that it is possible to make such a set up you describe work very well, even if it is not completely ideal. All anyone can do is the best they can with what they have to work with, and there are many ways to do it.
Thanks for the responses everyone. Forgot to mention I am planning on going with a single ended integrated which means no active pre and no balanced connections. If rack is off to the side, I will have to run cables to each source. Luckily I only have two, but still. I may just end up doing amp stands in the middle and only have the analog setup to the side.
I use a low height and open rack along with amp stands. These sit about 2 feet behind my speakers without any ill effects.The speakers very often just disappear with wall to wall soundstage(depends on the recording) and very fleshed out stable images.
Best of luck. my experience anything between the speakers is bad. In truth, my amp is between my speakers, however, it is close to the floor...not in a rack, and probably doesn't do much harm. It allows me to use short cables to the speakers...something I have found to be a positive.
Yeah, generally, the lower the better though, I think, the equipment might vibrate more because of low frequencies. So I wouldn't put a turntable on an amp stand.
I'd worry more about what's at the first reflection points on the wall behind the speakers (front wall). I can't see much energy being reflected toward the listener from a rack between widely spaced speakers. The first reflection points are going to dominate and should be treated first.
I have tried moving my equipment to the side several times. I find the loss due to the longer ICs (balanced and single) makes that setup no good for me. So I always end up with my stuff between my speakers. I suppose it is a trade-off one way or the other.

Lower is definitely another option and one that I hope to explore soon. I'm planning on taking at least a foot out of the height of my stands and maybe spreading things out. Much like Stringgreen's amp, but with all of the rest of the sources close by. Short ICs and short speaker cables seem to work best for me and I realize not every one shares my preferences. Still, it is another option to try and get the best of both concepts.
I have used the advice from the Mapleshade website on system set-up and have been well pleased with the results. Pierre Sprey is my set-up guru and his recomendations are: very short interconnects and at least 8 foot speaker cables. I have my rack between the speakers and enjoy great sound. My Viper source to preamp ic's are 1/2 meter and from pre to amp is 1 meter. The Caldera speaker cables are 8ft. single bi-wire FYI. Since my 2 channel system is in the living room, looks are important so close shelves hide the wire (at least from in front of the system). So my answer to the question is NO, having the rack between speakers is not always less than ideal. Like Daverz has suggested I would like to add a solid wood diffuser panel directly behind the rig in the furture.
No, it is not "always" less than ideal. Let the space and ergonomics of the room be the deciding factor. If you look at my systems you will notice the different setups. Both systems soundstage just fine but as always a bit different. I would think the low/wide would be easiest to implement.
Having a TV, first a 36 XBR then a 40" monitor, between the main LR speakers did not interfere with 2 dimensional imaging, but it did with depth imaging. When I installed front projection, depth imaging substantially improved. I use balanced lines to the amps with short speaker leads with excellent result.


"No, it is not "always" less than ideal."

I notice you don't have a rack between your speakers.

BTW, it appears, from your photos, you are sitting too far from your ESP's. They are designed to cross approximately at your knees.

It has been my experience a rack or anything else for that matter between the speakers is less than ideal.
I notice you don't have a rack between your speakers.

(The main system has the rack to the side and my secondary system is in between)

BTW, it appears, from your photos, you are sitting too far from your ESP's. They are designed to cross approximately at your knees.

( I don't like speakers set up nearfield. They were demoed at RMAF 2007 without a nearfield configuration. The speakers are set 8 feet apart center to center and my ears are approx 10-11 feet away.)

I would agree that in this setup no rack between the speakers is preferable.
Rhljazz, No problem, all you have to do is spread the speakers farther apart and everything will improve. I personally used ESP Concert Grands as I was one of ESP's few dealers.
A always like a rack between my speakers
I agree with Schipo: If the rack is an open-air design, I really don’t see a major problem. After it was installed, I experimented with several different locations for my SRA Craz-4 rack. I finally decided on between the speakers and behind them by about three and a half feet. I found that running longer cables was a sonic compromise I wasn’t willing to live with. Of course there are tradeoffs with the rack placement, but they’re comparatively minor, IMO. I heard a lot more (negative) difference running longer cables. Of course I’m in the minority here, but, hey, what the hell?