"Audio Furniture" Adds nothing to the systen and usually gets in the way of good sound. I see a lot of great components that are stacked into a "entertainment center" All speakers need room to breathe. must be that WAF thing.
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Most manufacturers of audio equipment don't make stands or furniture. When they are showing their equipment at a show, I suppose that they want the focus of attention to be on their equipment, not to provide free advertising to someone else's stand. Perhaps a reviewer reading this thread may wish to comment as to why they don't mention stands/furniture.
Proper equipment stands and furniture do make a difference of course. If it doesn't, then people should feel free to place their monitors on the floor, or in the china cabinet, or on top of a bar fridge in their basement listening room. Or they could put one on top of their amp and the other one on an overturned flower pot. When I was in university, I had one speaker on my bed headboard and the other one on a clothes trunk....on diagonally opposite corners of the room. Surround sound from only two speakers!
I'm sure that a solid stand with no resonance would have some effect on the sound but in my situation convenience trumps that consideration. I've got an all-metal rack from IKEA that I like better than anything else I've had for one reason, it has wheels.
Because I'm constantly adding or swapping pieces as I play around with things the ability to roll it out and turn it to the side to get to the cables and the backs of the components is great. I'd guess it has saved some wear and tear on the gear, too, since I don't as often have to move them in and out of the rack.
I made some concession to the usual concern about the metal rack 'ringing' by covering the bottoms of the shelves with sound-absorbing sheeting. I also put the components on sorbothane pucks and then heavy tiles. The convenience factor easily outweighs any other considerations for me.
All speakers need room to breathe. must be that WAF thing.
I agree about the WAF being a major determinant in most systems, after all we share our lives and abode with our better half. Your highly respected and excellent speakers definitely need room to breath as they actually radiate an opposite polarity sound field backwards (in the mid and treble) whilst radiating an omnidirectional (same polarity) sound pattern in the bass. So your speakers are not at all suitable for an entertainment center, for sure.
However, some worthy speakers can be designed to go in walls (soffit mount examples & soffit mount technical description). This can actually create the most even sound field possible as everything radiates forwards in the same polarity (bass, mids and treble) with much less comb filtering effects from first reflections.
Many acoustic studio designers support soffit mounted setups and there are a great many out there. This is much more complex than an "entertainment center" and often requires more bass absorption/trapping - especially on the far wall behind the listener....but the there is really nothing that matches how impressive and coherent these soffit-mounted designs can sound ( why else do you think studios would go to so much trouble and huge expense to build these show case soffit-mounted main monitor systems?) Basically these extremely expensive custom installations are designed to impress musically astute studio clients (artists/musicians) by sounding better than anything else the artist/musician has heard anywhere; if these systems can impress a major artist than it helps bring in more business to the studio.
Your great system clearly identifies you as a serious audiophile and therefore I thought these details may interest you. Enjoy!
Cd players have clock and lazers prone to micro vibrations,as do lp tables prone to vibration.Amps,preamps,Everything you can do to isolate components from vibration helps.There are cheaper effective ways to do this.You just have to find out what works for you,money wise and appeal wise.Most importantantly can appreciate the differance.
I've found Billy Bags audio furniture to be situated in a nice sweet spot with regard to function, aesthetics, and price. My wife quite likes their modernist form/function looks, as do I. Rather than going for spikes, I opted for the glide feet so that I can slide the rack out into the room for major cleanings or rearranging. Their stuff is very strong too, would support anything. I cruised their site's "blow out" bargain basement and got just the piece I wanted at half price!
As a designer of the highest available reference, I would love to shed light on this.
It really depends on equipment as to what is best to hold them in or on, plain and simple. NOT how some other market has confused the public.
Turntables benefit from anti-vibration, anti-magnetic and anti-EMI...
Class A amps benefit from anti-EMI, need a more rigid shelf due to weight, and non-heat-transference materials to control thermal induction to other equipment...
Class A/B amps benefit from anti-EMI...
DVD and CD players benefit from anti-vibration, anti-magnetic and anti-EMI...
Preamps benefit from anti-EMI and anti-ESD... especially with tubes involved...
Cable Boxes / converters with HDD, PVR and DVR's benefit from anti-magnetic, anti-EMI, anti-ESD and non-heat-transference materials to control thermal induction to other equipment...
Tube Amps benefit from anti-EMI... they have moved the tubes outside the Chassis / Faraday Cage for aesthetics.
Speakers benefit from firm coupling, transferring energy to any available surface to help with vibration reproduction. Coupling via spikes can help a subwoofer extend low frequency response by using the floor or subfloor as a massive transducer through coupling...
The combinations are depending on equipment. The difference between racks and stands can be audible, but not with all setups. Since the overall balance rests on the weakest link... usually one problem addresses the combination as a whole.
I have heard hundreds of the most confusing details from my competitor's and consumer's, all the while knowing that none of them take the time to research or examine the setup and basic electronic principles involved.
The audio community is too focused on this or that minute detail whether or not it actually doe anything for the setup.
I do not recommend any shelf treatment other than anti-vibration if no other equipment is directly above, below or to the side. It does no good to shield from nothing.
If you've ever opened a high-end amp, crossover or preamp you notice a massive round torroidial magnet... if you test the magnetic field around it, some have influence over ferrite materials over 30" away... the opinions on "non-marketing" real scientific principles know that flux causes big issues inside some components including DVR, PVR and Turntables or Record Players. Phono pickup needles are metal and can have magnetic or ceramic output MOST MANUFACTURERS ARE IN IT FOR THE $$ AND HAVE NOT ACTUALLY THOUGHT THINGS OUT.
Manufacturers do not usually use great stands because manufacturers are very, very, very, very cheap. Kind of the opposite of what you would think.
Without naming names :) I have worked with MANY of the world's most luxury manufacturers and it always comes down to "YOU SHOULD GIVE US FREE STANDS SINCE OUR PRIMO PRODUCTS WILL BE ON THEM AT THE (INSERT TRADESHOW)"
Not a bad deal if you manufacture stands that cost a couple hundred bucks... but when you actually have a product that is expensive for a reason, they won't pay a dime. We do not give away $2k+ racks for vanity, and manufacturers of $20k, $30k, $40k, $50k, $60k+++ equipment will not spend $200 on a good looking rack.
When we were first starting out, we were approached by ultra-high-end guys and were shocked that they did not even want to pay 10%!!! AND they wanted to keep the product because it was so cool & advanced!!! It was hard to get going because we had to sell WAY below what it cost us to make just to get feedback in the community.
There are four main high-end racking manufacturers that flat out lie about everything they make and claim yet they are well known, seriously banking and growing fast. We use real equipment in real setup scenarios to measure our advantages and they just create spinning fantasy. They sell on emotion but I am a numbers and reality type of guy so we do not mix.
A long time ago we just made the resolution that most everyone is crazy and we are quite lucky to have the common sense customers that we do.
I have enjoyed hearing wild claims about how carbon fiber sheets are more dense than three feet of thick granite, how spikes magically remove vibration by generating heat and nameless other marketing ploys to sell product.
Makes it hard when you have the only product that actually does what it claims but doesnt have millions to put a spin on it!
The best quote from a manufacturer is this one: "Our coupling spikes properly de-couple and isolate your equipment"... makes me laugh every time :)
I do believe that a good rack can help to possible improve the sound by eliminating vibration. But I am not afraid to admit that my main reason for being in the market for a nice rack is that I want something that looks good to display my gear. I know some audiophiles say "who cares how the xxxx looks, as long as it sounds good". For me, looks do matter as I am spending a lot of money on these components and part of my enjoyment is not only the sound but also the look and feel. for the amount of money I spent on gear, I want something that looks and sounds good.
Anyway, just my two cents....
Tboooe, I agree completely! Most people have to juggle the asthetics and WAF with performance. The most important thing for most customers is changing out the way the rack looks with different wood inserts. Odd as it seems, I sell more to women than men... and men are my 98% demographic. But most people like to spend a couple hundred and brag about what type of write up it received in a magazine :)
Nope, I did not get the email, Tboooe.
Please resend, my email address is on the Audiav site under "contact".
Mrjstark, you are a gentleman and now my utmost, close personal friend... anytime you need a place to store your sensitive a/v gear, I will be there!
I will come bearing furniture that will hold more than 60 pounds on a middle shelf, shielded from the near field environment and will not need re-lubed with snake oil :)
It is a sad but true fact that manufacturers, dealers and magazine reviewers get (or want) everything for free. They act like we should be honored to give them product(s).
Most of the manufacturers do not even understand what differences there are between a steel and aluminum chassis for EMI control... they also build things based upon public misconceptions. I have even talked with hundreds of electrical engineers who think lead will actually block magnetism and can't even begin to discuss EM problems... and they are "educated". It is a weird circle of the blind leading the blind. Most are hacks... Everyone thinks they know, but they are just products of common thought also :)
In the beginning, we were very excited to be contacted by seven to ten of the "big-big-boys" (of which I should not name), and none even would cough up mere pennies for the $200,000++++ systems they were showing off. I think (personally) if I were trying to show off my $60K to $120K monster amps to the public, I would want more than a La-z-boy ottoman to show it off.
Thank you all for your input.I recently had the opportunity to
place my tubed amps on decent and "GOOD LOOKING" stands.
The improvement in dynamics was very impressive.
So I took the plunge and ordered a four shelve rack.
My pocket is a little poorer but I know the music and my mind will be much richer.
Thank you all again
Of all the tweaks I've implemented in my system, the one that TRULY caused the greatest, immediate, audible improvement (one that could be heard without squinting my ears ;)was when I got my Billy Bags equipment rack. Sometimes when tweaking, I THINK that MAYBE I MIGHT hear an improvement, not so with my rack. Needles to say, I'm a true believer!
I agree with Chazro completely.
A good rack is essential to getting the best out of your audio gear.
It is the most basic and solid foundation to vibration control and isolating your equipment.
You'd be amazed at how much vibration a CD transport, transformers, and tubes create that can drastically affect their performance.
I have a dedicated Sound Anchors equipment rack, and two custom made Sound Anchors stands with BrightStar sandboxes for my mono blocks.
I wouldn't be without them.
I'm a true believer in Sound Anchors products.
I was convinced many years ago when my audio dealer did a dramatic demo that blew me away and made me rethink the importance of vibration control and damping.
He did a demo with a pair of classic Spica TC-50's on a "quality" pair of British speaker stands, and then switched to the Sound Anchors stands.
The results were jaw dropping to say the least, especially since I owned a pair of Spicas at the time.
If you have a lot invested in your system, you're not doing it justice leaving it on the floor or on a KMart rack.
Would you run recaps on a Porsche?
If you did, don't expect it to perform the way it was designed to.
The same goes with sensitive, high end audio gear.
High end audio gear only performs as well as you set it up.
Attention to detail is everything to getting the best out of your equipment.