What's the greatest bargain in audio racks these days?


Hi,

I'm thinking of replacing my Crate & Barrel stereo cabinet with a proper audio rack that'll take up less space, produce fewer deleterious reflections and make cable management easier. Some of the prices asked for high end audio furniture have made my head spin. 

Any suggestions for good stuff at more down to earth prices?

I should add that it needs to be sturdy enough to accommodate my SOTA Sapphire turntable (which is a heavy beast) and my Audio Note Kits "Kit 1" amp (which weighs in at around 55 pounds).

Thanks in advance!!!
rebbi
Plenty to choose from here!
http://www.wayfair.com/Audio-Racks-and-Stands-C414565.html?rtype=9&redir=audio+racks+and+stands&...=
I have a Quadraspire that I heart. Can hold anything. Budget stuff may collapse with your lbs.
Timbernation makes great  racks and platforms for reasonable $$$$$.  
Salamander Designs Archetype 5.0 is priced @, $499 !! You could change out shelves or double up and add isolation footers etc. This style rack was very popular with DIY'ers and may still be. There is one used here under accessories for $120 + $50 shipping !!! 

I second  Timbernation if you're looking for heavy solid woods like maple or walnut.  I forget the guy's name but he's in PA and will build  whatever you want.  Lots of pictures on his website.

His work is clean but it's not as fancy as the big $ racks.  Definitely heavy duty though. 

Forget about the Salamander, especially with turntable. It's really budget stuff not audiophile. Definitely not sturdy enough and resonates like hell. I am using one for now but my turntable is on the maple block which is on the floor. Good maple rack would be fine, as others said.
+1 for Timbernation. Great rack at an affordable price, and great service as well. You can see mine on my system page.
Yep me too, I'm on page two of customer pics second row down far right.  Recently had Chris @ Timbernation make me a second clone rack and matching amps stands.  Turned out beautiful as usual and has made surplus out of all my footers and isolation tweeks. 
Here on the 'Gon there are several woodworking guys that sell their wares. Some pieces are really beautiful!
For best sound get a Symposium rack.
I have the Archetype and don't have a problem with the Oracle Audio Paris I have have on it now. The VPI Scout I had previously transmitted considerable vibration through the wood, but I put that on the Scout, not the stand.

I like that it is open to ventilation and access and the shelves can be adjusted.

It would be nice if it was a little bigger (deeper) though.
"Salamander Designs Archetype 5.0 is priced @, $499 "

This $499 price is for the CHERRY WOOD FINISH. You can buy the Salamander Archetype 5.0 for $250!!!! in the Black finish. This IMO is the best deal in audio racks today.


Matt M
Thanks a lot for the responses, folks!
I'd never heard of Timbernation. His stuff looks gorgeous, although it's a little pricey for my budget. 
I think I might get a lower Salamander Archetype and put the turntable on a separate, two shelf stand that I have.
Thanks again for the advice!
Buy a Salamander 5.0 and put everything on 2-4 " un-finished maple slabs .
Paint front edge black and your problems are over .
I've got a old Target, welded steel rack with cheap plywood shelved. 
Rather than buy a new $3000 fancy audiophile rack, I tried isolating my electronics on Stillpoints. Even with the cheap Target Stand, the Stillpoints made a huge improvement. 
Still not cheap considering their cost, but I had the Stillpoints from a previous speaker setup. 
FWIW, I have been very pleased with my VTI double-wide for the last 8 years.  It can handle a 300 lb. TV, so I would suspect the SOTA won't be an issue.  It looks nice, has cable-routing cut-outs, and casters for easy moving.  It was about the cheapest rack I could find that was sturdy and would have enough slots (three shelves, double-wide, for 8 total components).  Also, the hieght of each shelf can be selected when assembling to one of two hieghts.
I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, something aesthetically pleasing yet rugged and functional and not too expensive. So I ended up building my own wood shelves to accommodate my exact needs. I am also using stillpoints under all components except the amplifiers. They are excellent for vibration isolation. Total cost, about 50.00 including hardware however I DID have the hardwood and 1" thick laminated pine shelves I purchased from Ikea at a closeout price of 12.00 each several years back. I reinforced these with three ea 1.25" X 3/4" purpleheart ribs for added support under each shelf, 4 for the bottom shelf supporting the amps. The posts are 2.75X 1.75 thick purpleheart but any dense hardwood would work well.

If you have a cabinet shop nearby and have an idea of exactly what you want, there is just no need to spend some of the prices asked. If further interested, send me a PM Rebbi. 

 
Ebm, regarding best sound from the Symposium rack, only one issue... $$$$$. Not sure either of their two models would qualify as a "bargain". Admittedly though if cost were no object I'd get one of those myself bargain or not.
Rebbi, look at VTI. Very low,price and the quality is just fine.
I have a 15K system bought on a used\discounted budget. I could not justify the expense of high priced racks. Most all my tweaks are DIY.

I also have an older Target welded steel rack.  I filled it with sand and replaced the plywood shelves with 2” maple ones.  I should add that my rack currently stands w/spikes on carpeted Concrete floor.  Vibrations emanating from floor are not an issue, only equipment and air borne ones are a concern.  When i had it placed on a framed subfloor, I set the stand on a 2’ x 2’ concrete slab which was in turn isolated with washer/dryer footer pad from the plywood floor.

I am sure that there are things that can be done to fortify the Salamander rack. 

I think the idea of placing your TT on a separate stand is a good one.  

Keep us posted.

Sometimes they come up used here and always sell quick.
If you are interested in DIY project, a great stand can be made from Ikea (or similar) butcher block sheets and solid threaded pipe. I made two of these at a nominal cost. They are quite solid, and I think, quite attractive. The solid rod is 1" in diameter, with large hex nuts, metal washers, and Herbie’s anti-vibe thin washers between the butcher block shelves. I relied on a local cabinet maker and woodworker to drill the holes for the pipe.

 I also tapped the bottom of the four pipe legs so I could screw in Black Diamond Racing cones for spikes.
Spoiler alert!
I am selling my one of a kind Billy Bage racks here on the Gon...
Seems to fit your checklist quite well, just saying...:-)

Core Audio Designs....real wood audiophile racks at down to earth prices.  I own 3 of them, outstanding quality. 
2" thick solid wood shelves add great expense. I also considered doing this but the materials alone for some of the less expensive hardwoods maple and cherry are quite expensive for 2" stock material after doing some pricing on the raw materials, things have really gone up since my last project! The Core designs are beautiful latitk and the prices while not exactly cheap are certainly solid. The Timbernation racks look real nice for the money and I’m sure just as solid. What is nice is that this guy will build exactly what you need as he states in his ad with demonstrations of other products that he builds and shipping is free. Since much cherry and maple hardwood comes from this part of the country he probably gets it cheaper than what it might cost in other parts of the country. Certainly his prices seem to reflect this, something to consider Rebbi if you are looking at a CUSTOM wood rack to meet your needs. Another option is Sound Anchors, Bob who is local to me will build whatever you want. The problem is shipping as his racks are welded tubular steel and filled and power coated but so far as outside vibrations I would bet better than wood. Wood is an excellent choice when used with Stillpoints or other vibration isolation controls if this is a further consideration aside from stability. 2" thick stock is just not necessary for supporting a 55 lb amp if you have budget considerations. 

Another budget option is 1.5" thick yellow pine which is readily available at local home improvement centers, can be laminated  to the depth desired and is not nearly as expensive as the hardwood option but is VERY strong and stable. You could find a local woodworker or you could do it yourself if you have access to bar clamps, a doweling jig or biscuit jointer, a 7" saw and a hand plane or jointer and a finish sander. I know this might sound intimidating if you are not famaliar with woodworking but it could save you a ton and the journey to discovery is always worthwhile. Aesthetically, pine might not be a pretty but staining is another option; beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder. Legs could be 2X4 pine or threaded steel rods. 
I put a granite slab on top of my $250 Salamander rack and it works very well isolating my 50 lb Pro-Ject turntable. You can see pics of this setup in my system.

Matt M
The very best value in an audio rack is to build it yourself. Buy some rack rails from the link below and construct whatever size rack you need. Put rollers on it and that’ll make it easy to get to the back of your gear as needed. Use a turntable wall mount for your turntable and then locate your rack under it.

http://www.markertek.com/product/rr2/middle-atlantic-pair-of-equipment-rack-rails-2-space

Here’s a picture of my own rig.

http://russbutton.com/Russ/audio/20.jpg