Rack/Cabinet Question

TLDR version: any thoughts or suggestions on large av cabinets that would hide large pieces of gear (e.g. BHK 300s, a P15) and still provide adequate ventilation? Looking to spend <US$4k.

Long version:

So, the good news first—my lady approved me pulling the trigger on an upgrade from my BHK 250 to the 300s, which will also bring in a P15 to replace my existing P12.

Typically, I just go the “forgiveness is easier than permission” route. However, we’re headed to RMAF next weekend, and she made a comment something to the effect of “I just want it to be done; so what’s that gonna take?” (referring to the fact that every month or so, there is some new piece of equipment sitting in the listening area, which also doubles as our HT room). My response was the 300s, a new TT to replace my Rega P6, and a new equipment rack/cabinet (because my OCD is killing me with my current setup—components all over the front and side walls, long cable runs, etc). She said “ok, Just do it and be done” and mentally I patted her softly on the head— “oh you poor naive girl.”

She is insisting that any new rack/cabinet I buy completely hide all of the equipment (other than the turntable), including the 300s and the p15. I’m having a devil of a time finding anything that does the trick and still provides necessary ventilation. Traditional av racks and open wood racks (like timber nation) are non-starters for her. The Salamander Designs stuff is the closest thing I’ve found but the online reviews are sort of a mixed bag and, frankly, their stuff seems a bit overpriced for the quality.

Am I chasing a unicorn here or are options out there that I am just missing?

If it helps, the cabinet would also need to hold my Pre, DAC, phono stage and power supply, av receiver, DVD player, small center channel and Mac mini). So, by my estimates, I would need something at least 60” W x 18” D and not higher than 40”.

Many thanks in advance,

With that much equipment and a $4K budget, the Salamander Design Synergy series would accommodate your needs. I would ensure you get it with the wire metal mesh on the side panels as well as removing the back panel to ensure good air flow. You can use one or two shelves behind each cabinet door. You can stuff a lot of things into this particular design and the full length mid and top shelves are nice for placing your center channel speaker, TV (top) or tubed equipment for the best ventilation.


Thanks tons for the reply. That model was actually one of the 3 i had written down, so maybe this blind squirrel wasn’t too far from the acorn after all.

Out of curiosity, do you happen to have an opinion on build quality? I have PTSD from assembling what seemed like IKEA’s entire furniture line for my daughter’s flat. I’m firmly convinced IKEA’s furniture names all translate roughly to “motherf***er, the godd*** holes don’t line up on this piece of s*** one either”.

Consequently, I’m sort of skeptical about any furniture with assembly-required (and particularly so when I’m paying US$2k for it), which is the reason for the question.

Also, I noticed there is an option for active cooling. Any thoughts on that option vs just keeping the back open.

Thanks again,

I have active cooling in my backless but otherwise enclosed cabinet work (BHK pre and M700)

The active system is nice, it will evacuate the air changing it completely in a few seconds. Mine comes on once every 5-7 minutes on a warm day but the central air conditioning noise is far more noticeable on those days. Once in a blue moon I hear it cycle on but it’s really no bother

I don’t have near the BTU output you will with the 300s so cooling will be ever more important for you. Once the thermal mass reaches temp, it can keep building without adequate ventilation…moving just a little air can make a significant difference

I like to shoot for 90F or less ambient cabinet temp

I negotiated and completed any further punishment with my wife a couple years ago - aka no more IKEA!

Salamander is nothing like Ikea, so no need to worry about traumatizing your family with expletive outbursts or spiking your blood pressure up to stroke level.

They are well-designed and sturdy. Heavy and solid! I have not used the backing with integrated fans. For me, I don’t like anything that adds noise or extra EMI/RFI - plus they are rather expensive. AND, I have a crap ton of cables so trying to route them with any kind of backing would have been a fool’s errand.

Salamaders are a great bang for the buck. They do not have any of the fancy isolation bells and whistles, but they are also not $10K.

Sound Anchors…best all around air flow…not pricey…should seriously consider for quality.

I just looked on their website but don’t see any AV cabinets. It appears their product line consists of speaker stands for the home/HiFi market? Unless, I am missing something…

Sound Anchors does not make anything that even vaguely meets the OP’s needs @iron. They do make awesome loudspeaker stands though, I 've owned several custom 4 post models.

they make anything to order/your specs…

i had them make appropriate amp cabinets as well as custom speaker stands for my sub-woofers…

all are exceptionally well vibration dampened and very heavy duty construction…

notice the bases are open with 2 bars (magnetized) to align with the feet, and the rest is open air design


Vince, i see what you mean, rereading the initial post…

maybe make your own (speaker) grill for the front, held on with velcro

I give 2 thumbs up to the Salamander line. I’ve had mine (from the “Synergy” collection) for going on 15 years and it’s held up to 3 or 4 moves, and several re-incarnations. The longevity of the design has allowed me to purchase add-on parts that fit seamlessly as the layout has morphed, so it’s flexible and not a “once and done” situation.

All of my front end gear is tucked into this set-up consisting of two end cubes with a “bridge” I didn’t attach the backs to the cabinets and the mesh door insets allow for airflow. The wheeled platform for the PPP isn’t a standard item, but I cobbled it together from individual parts that they sell. Allows me to wheel the PPP out of the way for access to the rear.

The end cubes here are “1 high” but also come in taller “2 high” versions, which would allow more room to accommodate the BHK 300’s. The cabinets accommodate 19" width components with a couple of inches clearance on each side. Insides also allow for infinite shelf and drawer configurations.

The Salamander website has a configurator that helps you design what you need. https://www.salamanderdesigns.com/synergy-system/

I bought this:

It holds a lot of gear, I hide a bunch behind the “Center Channel Speaker grill”. It looks great, lots of airflow, and I think it’s like $2 under $4k.

The trick about this cabinet vs. others from Salamander is the sides of the cabinet are 3/4 inch thick. There is actually an REL Subwoofer to the immediate left and right of the cabinet. (Behind the Wilsons) The cabinet does not vibrate or make any noise. They have lower cost models (that I also own) that have 1/4 thick panels on the sides and those do vibrate and make annoying noises.

That is a P20 in the middle, with six inches or more of space above it. Each of the lower cabinets is the same size.

My wife likes it, she just wishes the speakers were smaller and invisible.

edit: I see you mentioned assembly. This comes mostly assembled in a huge box. You have to set the middle shelf (Where the center channel speaker would sit) in place, put on the doors, and add any shelves in the lower cubbies if desired. With help, I carried this thing down two flights of stairs, with a 180 turn in the middle. The price seems to be the same no matter where it is sold so get someone local who says Free Delivery.
Also, the Synergy line is the other type that I have. My experience was that it required complete assembly and will buzz like crazy with a subby near. It’s nice stuff too but it will not tolerate a sub near it. (or that was my experience, YMMV)

Ooops, one last thing, the feet have level adjustments in them. I wish I would have used them BEFORE I loaded it up with gear. As I did not, it’s a tiny bit off. But so am I so it works out.

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I concur.

The defiance of science surrounding my ability to cram stuff into this Salamander has led to a case study conducted by my local university. They very well may discover the 4th Dimension in my listening space.


What does your serious system look like?

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Battery power, that means ultra clean!!!

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Only the best power for my no compromise system. It took a bit of effort with regard to “battery rolling” but my NOS 1997 Energizers totally crushed the 2017 Duracells… really breathed life into this system!


after a short while, the speakers will not seem as large (visually) to you two…but guests will mostly see them as large…

once you get used to it, they will not be noticed, just part of the room’s furniture that you will walk by and they will no longer stand out…
probably within a couple months…

keep smiling…they are home…:sunglasses::+1:

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@ JeffofArabica that is an interesting looking diffuser behind your gear rack. Would you tell us about it and whom the manufacturer is?

They are actually two diffuser panels that I place and remove depending on whether I am listening to music or watching a movie. They are made by Artnovion and this particular model is “Logan.”

Artnovion - Logan

Check this out: FB Post

OP said he bought the cabinetry from Vans.

Caught my eye/thought you might like it.

Good luck.