Gechta, I've had great success with Zoethecus racks. I have a four shelf rack I use for components and a seperate amp stand. The shelving is important and I use all Z-slabs. These racks provide the best isolation from vibration that I've ever experienced. I noticed that the sound from CD became more "organized" when I put everything on these racks. I have an ARC CD3 MKII CD player. Needs proper isolation to sound it's best (see review in Hi-Fi+, the British mag). Zoethecus did the trick. The finsih is also excellent.
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Walker Audio Prologue http://www.walkeraudio.com
Mapleshade Samson http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/audioproducts/samson1.php
DIY using the basic design premise of the Mapleshade and Walker products
Silent Running Audio Craz Reference IsoRACK plus http://www.silentrunningaudio.com/products/craz_isorack.htm
Rix Rax http://www.rixrax.com
Getcha, everyone is likely going to have a different opinion on this one, so take mine in context.
First, the most often stated objective for a rack (or any isolation device) is to reduce the resonances and vibrations affecting your gear. Hopefully, if that objective is achieved, you will also get positive gains in your sound as well. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.
I have tried, both as an owner and as a reviewer, numerous pucks, cones, shelves, platforms, racks, magnetic devices, ball bearings, levitation devices - you name it in the pursuit of taming the dreaded "vibration!"
During these years of trial and error, many have provided a sonic benefit. However, at least in MY system, all but one also made me pay a sonic price as well - meaning there were negatives you had to weigh against the positives to determine if the product was worth keeping. Now mind you, I have not tried everything out there but here is a list of some that I have tried (in no particular order at this time):
Atlantis Racks and stands
TG Audio cones
Black Diamond cones and shelves
German Physics cones
Polycrystal cones and shelves
Nordost pulsar points
Ginko Audio Platforms
Machina Dynamica Promethean Bases
Grand Prix Audio bases
Walker Audio Valid Pints and discs
Orchard Bay cones
Silent Running Audio platforms and rack
Arcici Suspense Rack
Bright Star Big Foot sandboxes and Little Rocks
Townsend Audio Sinks
Custom made racks
. . . and this list is not necessarily exhaustive. So, as you can see, I have tried a bunch of stuff to tame resonance. ALL of them, to some degree, made a difference although not all were, on balance, positive or right for me and my system. Yes, a lot depends on what you like so your results may vary.
All of this said, when I finally settled down to one product (which I have been with for years now and nothing has come close), it was based on REAL science designed to completely attack the problem and achieve the objective - Silent Running Audio (SRA). Yes, there are other products that use "science" to attack vibrations - I'd be silly to suggest otherwise.
However, Kevin Tellekamp, who runs SRA also does resonance control for billion dollar nuclear submarines. As such, his methodology is incredibly sophisticated and downright ridiculous in getting the resonant frequency WAY below the audible range with a build quality that borders on psychotic and obsessive compulsive. SRA has access to highly sophisticated machinery including advanced accelerometers and oscilloscopes in connection with its nuclear sub services that no other audio company likely has access to.
The BEST thing about SRA products is that, in my system, no matter what my system was comprised of at that time, there have not been ANY downsides to his devices. This is where SRA products were unique in my experience. SRA products not only give a sonic improvement on the magnitude of a major component upgrade, his customer service is second to none.
I won't go into the details here as I have reviewed his Ohio Class XL Plus bases when I was formerly a Senior Editor at Stereo Times (where I also gave them a Most Wanted Component Award) and am in the process of a review for the CRAZ 9 Rack. Here is that link so you can read about them there:
I continue to be as impressed with SRA products today as I was back in 2004. SRA Ohio Class PLUS products are expensive so whether or not these are for you depends on the level of your system, your budget and your own cost-benefit analysis.
As far as other products I've used are concerned, while maybe not as effective as SRA products, due to their lower cost, I have had good results with the following:
Ginko Cloud Platforms (very good value for the money)
Walker Audio Valid Points (in certain applications)
On the other hand, due to their high cost, the products I found NOT to be good value are:
Zoethecus (in my opinion, an antiquated product)
Grand Prix Audio (killed the sound of my amps)
If you can (which isn't easy with racks) try before you buy. If you cannot, do some research and see what is out there and try to determine if they are based on science or purely aesthetics or purely profit motive with no engineering support.
Finally, I have gone from my former Arcici Suspense Rack (a very good rack for the price although it's build quality is not the highest) to SRA's CRAZ Rack (which after I am done reviewing I will purchase). If I thought the SRA Ohio Class platforms were overbuilt, this thing is just plain sick - MY kinda rack!! Is it for everyone? No, as it is costly (but OOH so gorgeous). It honestly has to be seen to be appreciated as pictures simply do NOT do it justice. Does it do for your other gear what the Ohio Class bases do for your amps? Yes, and then some. But the only way to know is to hear it.
Built to withstand an atomic bomb, the good thing is if you get an SRA Rack you will NEVER have to buy another rack as long as your system doesn't outgrow it. I can e-mail you pics offline if you'd like.
Remember, all of this is opinion and based on system and component matching and sonic preferences - but if you want to virtually eliminate resonance to hear what your equipment was designed to do - SRA, IMHO, is the Bentley of isolation products.
Good luck in your search.
I have recently purchased an EquaRack system. It doesn't use shelves, but a series of isolated aluminium mounts fixed to a heavy-duty steel frame. It had a great review and has been compared with the Grand Prix. It has fully lived up to my expectations. I am using Shunyata Python power cables and the lack of shelves makes it easy to dress the cables and keep them free of the floor, other kit and the rack. The sound is great and the system is flexible enough to allow me to add another level at a later stage.
Have a look at the web site
Like Fmpnd, I have over the years been through a series of pucks, feet, discs, stands and racks, all of which were in the end less than fully satisfying. I have finally found something which does no harm and in many instances provides a significant improvement in the sound, the Finite Elemente series of feet, amp stands and equipment racks, particularly the Pagode Master Reference series used with cerabases. My initial purchase was the equipment rack which worked so well that I bought two amp stands and then began adding cerabases. A well engineered approach that works. I have recently heard an active isolation base, the minus k at the infamous Professor Luttbeg's home and it was a revelation under CD players, but incredibly expensive.
Hey Fred (Fcrowder)!! Sorry I missed you at CES, I had an unavoidable conflict and couldn't be there.
I've never had the opportunity to try the Pagode but it sure looks great. Hooper, an A-Gon member, had it and liked it but eventually went to the SRA. However, I didn't have the opportunity to hear that comparison and also realize everyone's needs and preferences are different. If you love it, then I guess the adage "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" would apply.
But, if you ever do get a chance to talk to Hooper or get the chance to try the SRA, I'd be interested in your opinion on the comparison. I know you always look for the best possible solution or gear so this is the only reason I mention Hooper's experience.
How is the rest of the system?
Well, Einstein WAS a pretty smart guy - I didn't know he designed audio gear too - and here I thought he ONLY worried about theories of "relatives" (which reminds me of that old joke - what is the punisment for bigamy? Two mother-in-laws!!) and quantum physics - silly me.
An atomic powered amp would be pretty neat though - solves those nasty AC problems. Wait, then the DIYers would have to develop aftermarket uranium upgrades. How hard is it to put a cone or a puck under a hunk of uranium? Me, I am looking into the new audio gear designed by "Jim" from Taxi!!!!
On a serious note, let me know how you like the Einstein gear when you get it.
I'll end quoting Einstein: "If the facts don't fit the theory . . . . . change the facts!!!!"