Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

The Coolest Equipment Racks at High End 2016

SoundStage! hasn’t done much coverage of equipment racks, but there were so many appealing models on display at Munich’s High End 2016 that we decided a photo essay was in order. These racks are not mere furniture. They’re all constructed specifically for audio, with various techniques used to channel and/or damp vibration that might affect audio electronics and source devices. All of these companies offer racks in many shapes, sizes, and finishes, so if you like one of these designs but need a different configuration, check out the company’s website to see what your options are.

Atacama

Eco-focused audiophiles will love Atacama racks, which are handmade in England from sustainable bamboo grown without fertilizers or pesticide. We especially liked the Evoque Eco 35-40 shown here, which is built to house compact audio components. Each of the legs is isolated from the shelves and support spikes with damping material. The model shown here costs £140 per shelf; the company estimates that the North American price would be about $250 per shelf. It’s available in natural finish plus three stained finishes, but only stained finishes will be available in North America.

Bassocontinuo

From a style standpoint, the B by Bassocontinuo was by far our (and probably everyone’s) favorite rack at High End 2016. The shelves are covered in leather in your choice of colors (but we say go for the orange). Insert materials on the shelf tops provide a stiffer footing for components: the Racing series shown here uses carbon fiber, while the Heritage series uses wood veneer. Spiked stainless-steel posts separate the shelves; you can specify three or four posts per shelf. The version shown here costs €5500.

Blue Horizon

Blue Horizon’s racks can be configured in all sorts of ways, from traditional stacked equipment racks to complete media centers. A basic model with three shelves costs €1500 in bamboo or €2000 in black or white. The €3500 step-up version includes isolation platforms to “float” the components, plus spiked isolation feet for each shelf.

Cold Ray

The colossal extruded-aluminum legs on Cold Ray racks should support even the most ostentatiously massive turntables. The legs are available in 180mm, 225mm, and 325mm lengths, in anodized silver or black finishes. White, black, and wood-finish shelves are available. The base costs €644, with additional shelves available for €308 each. Matching speaker stands use the same anodized-aluminum extrusions.

Creaktiv

The Big Reference ci2p Plus from Creaktiv features adjustable isolation feet that elevate each audio component; the feet can be placed in seven different locations to accommodate various component sizes and designs. A channel in the back keeps all the cables neat. The version shown here costs €6000, with a two-shelf version for €3100 and a three-shelf version for €4500.

Hi-Fi Racks

The wooden audio furniture from Hi-Fi Racks mirrors some of the elemental charm of Parsons tables. Matching equipment racks and speaker stands are available in a variety of finishes. The Podium Reference rack shown here runs £562, with extra shelves adding £153 each. The matching T5 stand costs £241.

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa focuses on long, low wooden racks that look like they could support three or four NFL linebackers. The 55mm-thick shelves of the Deepspace rack shown here are slotted on the bottom so they can be filled with sand to damp vibration and add mass. Just flip it, remove the bottom cover, add sand, replace the cover, and flip it back over. (You might need a couple of those linebackers to help.) The oak rack is available in four stained finishes and three more with a decorative stripe running down the middle of the shelf. The model shown here costs €4680.

Brent Butterworth
Contributor, SoundStage!