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Audio rack options

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Posted on February 14, 2023 at 14:06:22
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
A while back I helped a friend, a budding audiophile, put together an audio system that he really likes. Now, in remodeling his living room, the interior designer recommends putting the components on a floating shelf, one to be constructed on the wall behind the speakers.

Is this a good idea? I'm afraid it will compromise the sound by not effectively isolating the integrated amp and CD player. Am I wrong?

I've recommended an audio rack (I love my DIY IKEA rack) but the designer seems somewhat resistant to that solution, although the idea is negotiable.

Would using isolation devices (Vibrapods, a maple butcher block, etc.) make a floating shelf practical?

He really enjoys his system and would be very unhappy if a floating shelf degraded the sound of it.

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

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RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 14, 2023 at 15:33:37
walkstoslow
Audiophile

Posts: 277
Joined: November 18, 2012
Can you put all the electronics in the next room and run speaker cable thru a wall wart, total isolation from speakers, i am all for nothing sitting between speakers.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 14, 2023 at 18:20:52
JCarney
Audiophile

Posts: 480
Location: Colorado
Joined: January 12, 2003
He needs to remind the designer who is actually in charge. It is the designer's job to realize the customers vision, not the other way around. I had to deal with designers when I had my painting business. Whacko bunch they are.

Just my silly ole opinion,
JCarney

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 14, 2023 at 19:04:30
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
I agree, and that's what I noted to my friend. The designer focuses on visuals, but I told my friend that he should remind her that sound was important to him, as well as visual aesthetics.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 14, 2023 at 19:06:46
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
Good idea but not practical in this case. The speakers sit next to an external wall, all of which is too far from any other room.

Thanks.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 15, 2023 at 03:59:13
You say the front wall is an outside wall which, as load-bearing, makes it inherently better damped than non-load bearing. Less to worry about there.

As the wall is being re-done there is the opprtunity to take full advantage of the A&M Hybrid brackets which are used by A/V consultants routinely.

Once you have an adequately supported, sufficiently deep floating shelf in place, various isolation strategies may be tried. Making the shelf itself
1 1/2" thick maple would provide the best possible foundation.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 15, 2023 at 07:38:58
Jack G
Audiophile

Posts: 9739
Joined: September 24, 1999
A rack is usually preferable, If for no other reason than flexibility. They are adjustable, nice if the gear changes. I would probably go for something a little better than Ikea, something designed to keep vibes from the gear. Solid Steel, Salamander, Pangea etc. all make reasonable shelves/racks.
If he must go with built in shelves, he has to make sure there is plenty of space between them, and they will hold A LOT of weight for potential upgrades. Yes, vibration control will help, but good ones may not be cheap, and that's still not the best situation.
Jack

 

Maybe an Idiotic Question..., posted on February 15, 2023 at 08:08:16
Sibelius
Audiophile

Posts: 1364
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Joined: April 4, 2000
But how would you handle the speaker cables? In the wall? I guess if you have a receptacle behind the shelf you could deal with power, but curious as to speaker cables.

We were planning a major remodel once that was to include a dedicated room, it didn't happen once the bids came in, but the architect we were working with was very amenable to working with me on what I wanted for appearance and sound quality. Never had to deal with a designer.

 

RE: Maybe an Idiotic Question..., posted on February 15, 2023 at 10:59:25
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
Regarding speaker cables, that thought occurred to me too, as well as plugging in for power.

The speaker cables can't be put in the wall. I'm hoping it will be understood that some sort of audio rack is the best answer.

Thanks.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 15, 2023 at 11:11:07
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
I agree that a rack is preferable for the reasons you cited.

I will look into the rack brands you noted, but at this point his system, though quite pleasing to the ear, is pretty modest by audiophile standards and wouldn't warrant a very costly rack.

The IKEA rack is the one created by Ken Lyon, the highly respected designer at Neuance Audio. He claims it bests many costly racks and I believe him, having built and used one. It transformed my system. After putting the gear in place and turning on the system, my jaw dropped at the improvement in sound.

That said, I will still check out the sources you noted because my friend and the designer might find one of them more aesthetically pleasing.

Thanks.

 

RE: Maybe an Idiotic Question..., posted on February 15, 2023 at 11:15:12
Sibelius
Audiophile

Posts: 1364
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Joined: April 4, 2000
These days there are so many nice, furniture quality racks out there that they actually add to the room's aesthetic qualities. Some are quite pricey, but in the grand scheme of a room renovation not so much. I really like the Salamander Chameleon line. I've had their Synergy rack for years. I only wish that Id've gotten the dual width, lower profile cabinet at the time I bought mine.

Best of luck to your friend, and I agree with another poster, the designer works FOR THEM, not the other way around. Of course, if there's a significant other who has different ideas, that's a whole nuther' story!

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 15, 2023 at 11:19:25
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
The link to the brackets is greatly appreciated. I was unaware of an "audiophile" shelf bracket. You also made a good point about the damping of the outside wall.

There still remains the problem of power to the gear and the speaker cables, as Sibelius noted. All that electronic spaghetti would look pretty bad hanging down from a shelf. Talk about unappealing aesthetics. I don't think the designer considered that.

Should the idea of the floating shelf go forward, so shall your bracket link sally forth to my friend.

Thanks.

 

RE: Maybe an Idiotic Question..., posted on February 15, 2023 at 11:24:37
psgary
Audiophile

Posts: 8084
Location: So. California
Joined: January 24, 2001
The link you included will be checked out. It's good to have your endorsement, since audio racks can't be auditioned in a store.

It seems likely that a rack will be the answer. There are too many problems posed by a floating shelf as far as I can see.

Thanks.

 

IMO, if at all possible..., posted on February 15, 2023 at 19:04:31
musetap
Audiophile

Posts: 31871
Location: San Francisco
Joined: July 8, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 28, 2004
LOSE the interior designer from this aspect of the process.

His/her input is negligible regards the audio portion of the show.

When it comes to audio, resistance is futile.

"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination"-Michael McClure



 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 17, 2023 at 12:58:24
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 1933
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003



If said friend can afford a interior designer. He might wish to pass on said wall floating unit | consider costumed sized racks or stands, as a proponent of mass loaded devices ( racks | stands | speaker stands ) I've been using Sound Anchors stands since 1993, to date having owned 7 different customized versions ( 3 speaker stands | 4 amp stands ) of which were specifically designed with the overall dimensions of whichever speakers were being used at said period | being that I had long ago measured my ideal listening height to have the tweeters of said speakers located within a mm of ear placement.

The nice thing about the amp stand was I'd always have them sized according to a depth of say 16-19" where many standard racks or stands aren't built to accommodate deeper equipment | as I believe in one's gear living closer to the floor as to avoid standing wave reflections from interacting with the speakers | more often than not, I've said stands built at a total height of either 10-11.5" high | between 26-42" wide depending upon I wish to set the equipment on it?.

As it load beads the equipment from its surroundings | eliminates different forms of resonance from within | I just can't justify wanting to own anything less | being a mini-monitor lover by choice as opposed to necessity, I've always felt their costumed sized | height stands have always allowed my speakers to be heard in their truest form...-, posted above is a photo of my simplistic based system, as it stood a few years ago, to offer you a rough ideal of what I'm getting at.

As I view it..., buy once and be done with it, select the wrong item and find yourself buying twice or more and wasting money and time, besides it's rare on sized rack fits all | have it custom built should be seen as essential, no?.

 

Ditch the inferior defecator. , posted on February 17, 2023 at 17:22:48
geoff
Audiophile

Posts: 3499
Joined: April 5, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
September 10, 2003
Or have he/she work around the clent's preferred setup.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on February 17, 2023 at 18:28:39
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 1933
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003


If said friend can afford an interior designer. He might wish to pass on said wall floating unit | consider costumed sized racks or stands, as a proponent of mass loaded devices ( racks | stands | speaker stands ) I've been using Sound Anchors stands since 1993, to date having owned 7 different customized versions ( 3 speaker stands | 4 amp stands ) of which were specifically designed with the overall dimensions of whichever speakers were being used at said period | being that I had long ago measured my ideal listening height to have the tweeters of said speakers located within a mm of ear placement.

The nice thing about the amp stand was I'd always have them sized according to a depth of say 16-19" where many standard racks or stands aren't built to accommodate deeper equipment | as I believe in one's gear living closer to the floor as to avoid standing wave reflections from interacting with the speakers | more often than not, I've said stands built at a total height of either 10-11.5" high | between 26-42" wide depending upon I wish to set the equipment on it?.

As it load beads the equipment from its surroundings | eliminates different forms of resonance from within | I just can't justify wanting to own anything less | being a mini-monitor lover by choice as opposed to necessity, I've always felt their costumed sized | height stands have always allowed my speakers to be heard in their truest form...-, posted above is a photo of my simplistic based system, as it stood a few years ago, to offer you a rough ideal of what I'm getting at.

As I view it..., buy once and be done with it, select the wrong item and find yourself buying twice or more and wasting money and time, besides it's rare on sized rack fits all | have it custom built should be seen as essential, no?.

 

RE: Audio rack options, posted on April 16, 2023 at 08:40:33
PranaBindu
Audiophile

Posts: 382
Location: Wyoming
Joined: April 17, 2002
If the floating 'shelf' is tall enough so that it won't sag down, then the wall mounting should hold things up fine, but I guarantee that your buddy will not be happy with the cable management that is going to be forced upon him. That's a big if, though. I don't know, but I'm gonna go ahead and predict that 'shelf' means not a box but a thin plank that is installed to appear as if it is floating in space (unsupported by lower elements such as lets, brackets, feet, the carcass of a box, etc.). I don't know what equipment your buddy is rocking, but there's no way any such shelf is going to hold up a heavy amp. Class D, maybe. Transformers involved? No way.

Designers usually don't consider construction issues. For example, architects don't realize how nearly impossible it is to install baseboard that is flush to door trim. The carpenter always has to adjust the design to account for the fact that walls are never straight, and everyone leaves the painter up shit's creek to just slap on something that won't look good.

Yeah, floating shelves are pretty. Is there a floating shelf thinner than 4 inches (that's a stretch, tbh) that won't sag under an 80-lb (entry-level tube) amp? I doubt it. Brackets and other gear will 'ruin' the clean aesthetic (as will cables).

In my opinion, the designer's idea is ignorant and not feasible.
May the bridges we burn light our way....

 

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