Stereo rack between the speakers...Bad idea?

I’ve never had a setup where my components were not on a vertical rack that sat between the speakers. Wondering if others who may have experimented with rack placement have discovered that not having your gear located between the speakers made a significant or noticable difference?

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Like them better way behind or off to the side- in the middle messes with imaging/soundstage

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I think it might depend on the speakers, the distance from the back wall, and the height of the rack. Direct firing speakers that, say, need a good 3 feet from the wall to the front baffle, spaced far enough apart, might not get messed up too much if a low rack is against that front wall.

I kinda figured soundstage might suffer some with a rack of gear in the middle.
My speakers were designed to be placed close to the front wall, so my rack sits slightly in front of the speakers, and are about the same height as the speakers. Still surprised how well they imagine though, but always looking for ways to make improvements. Don’t really want to buy longer interconnects. Was thinking of possibly getting a horizontal rack that sits lower than the tweeters and mid-range drivers.

IMO with a low rack (equipment standing aside each other at 2 ft height) the implication to soundstage is little and if you place the rack not tightly at the back wall but some feet apart, the implication of standing waves and therefore resonance is also little (because the rack then rather stands in a suck out).

The other thing is that if you place components at the side (which I’d like if I could), the cable lengths to the speakers would have to triple. I don’t think that’s good and honestly I’m not sure how many people really compared the effects instead of just deciding for one option from the beginning and thinking it’s good :wink:

That’s probably true.

I think going with a lower and wider rack is path of least resistance.

Came across these racks online which would fit the bill.
http://timbernation.com/48adjustable_popup.html

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Great racks and easy to assemble. Word of advice if you buy one let if air out for a few days before you put it together. I left mine on the Screen Porch for four or five days before I set it up in the room. Also if it is going to be just you get it real close to where it is going to end up before assembly as it is heavy as hell.

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Having your rack between your speakers is obviously a compromise. However, with room treatments and fastidious placement trial and error, you can overcome most of the compromises. I have castors on my Wilson’s so it helped. I close my eyes and the imaging places the singer squarely in the place where they should be.

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In the future having your components in the middle will be known as the “Missionary Position”.

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It will be fine if your rack is well below the level of mid driver and tweeter. Jim Smith (get better sound) stated it’s a big NO NO to put tall rack in the middle, one of his top advices to get better sound.

Yes, I remember this…for me tall, stacked racks are a no no optically anyway :wink: I even saw some extremes here putting a fat P20 on top.

If your loudspeakers are far enough out into the room, the rack shouldn’t cause that much of an issue. You can tune your room without the need for visible wall treatments if it’s purpose-built. This is a photo of my theater and critical listening room (17x24) and it’s been acoustically engineered to the nth degree. Floating room within a room, green glue, multi-layer fiberboard, 2-foot-thick-poured concrete walls, 18" floors on acoustic isolation system that is also designed for earthquakes (mega expensive floor, but you’d never guess it by looking at it.), Closed-cell foam sprayed in the ceiling and walls as well as other treatments. And note the stillpoints with the feet on the Alexia’s? Not many people use the feet - they do add some help with isolating your loudspeaker.

Finally, note that my rack is short and stout - filled with lead shot and heavy as hell.

A giant rack in-between your speakers can have a negative effect if it’s level with the front of your speakers, but if you push that rack back and have the room , pull you loudspeakers out at least 3-4 feet from them , you can do pretty good.

Final note: this photo was taken when everything was just connected and tested. Nothing was formally staged just yet. The Alexias are much farther out in the room now.

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I’d also argue that you have no choice these days with cable costs and the fact that you get the best performance having shorter cable lengths.

My speakers were designed to sound their best within inches of the wall behind them. Which means my rack sits slightly in front of the speakers, and at about the same height as the speakers. I’m surprised how well they imagine given the location of the rack, and the close proximity to the rear wall. I do plan on getting a lower rack, in hopes of improving imaging even further.

I agree. Cables make a difference, and considering their cost, you want to keep them as shot as possible.

It has already been mentioned that If your speakers are far enough from the rear wall and audio rack, it will be absolutely fine. The soundstage and imaging won’t suffer one bit.

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Yes, I think that would work for most speakers. The speakers I’m using were designed to be close to the wall behind them, which I’ve verified by spending countless hrs shuffling them around. So in my case, I’d either have to move the rack to the side, which means buying all new cables, or use a lower and wider rack, which would lower the gear below the tweeter and midrange drivers.

In your system, and mine, (Wilson X1s) the mid/tweeter units are well above the center placed rack and I do not hear a detriment to the sound.

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I used to have a pair of Newform R645’s. Excellent speaker. I liked them so much at the time, that I had a custom speaker built using the tweeter ribbons.

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So Sean from Zero Fidelity & The Dude from AEC/Next Best Thing Studios did a YouTube Video together this past week on this very Subject. I heard all kinds of Crap that I’ve done myself over the years and it made no difference other than Psychological (OCD issues…LOL).

Audibly no difference when I had my equipment in a Horizontal Rack (now holds part of my Music Collection) or the current Vertical Rack next to my TV.