Time for a new equipment rack... thoughts needed

It’s time to retire my old (and I mean old!) CWD equipment rack. It’s been abused and Frankensteined over 30 years to house my changing equipment configs, but with the arrival of a VPI Avenger TT I’m afraid the rack just won’t provide the degree of service needed.

I’ve been reading about racks for years. Arguments for and against wood. Massive racks vs. lightweight racks. So on and so forth. I do have a set of “givens”, that I hope can help narrow things down. The first is it must be capable of supporting the Avenger on the top shelf inherently. I honestly don’t want to get into buying a rack, then buying a bigger maple (or fill in the blank) shelf that will be isolated/coupled/decoupled/levitated on the rack’s top shelf. I think that means the rack must offer an option for a larger top shelf - at least 24"x20". While the main driver is the new TT, of course I need it to support my DS DAC and DMP in proper order. It must also be modular, or at least have adjustable shelves. I also need a lot of shelves, so maybe a dual rack option would work better - otherwise I’d need a rack to hold eightcant-believe-my-eyes-smiley-emoticon_gifdifferent chassis. As to price? I can’t afford a Critical Mass, or a Symposium, or the like. I’d like it to be a cost-effective, capable rack that is based on some empirical principle. Looks are secondary as long as it’s not the audio version of an erector set.

I use Mapleshade Audio Samson racks, a Version 2 AND a Version 3. I love the look and the stability. And they offer quite a bit of isolation if used with good feet. (I’ve increased that sort of isolation by placing PowerBases under each component.)

They’re not cheap at all and pray you don’t have to move them often. . . but I’m good for this lifetime. :wink:

You should look at the Salamander Synergy racks (available at audioadvisor.com). The S40 ($649) is 40" tall and has four infinitely adjustable shelves where the shelf supports slide in vertical slots in the aluminum support posts. Due to the infinite adjustment, it can take a while to get all four shelf supports level.


Top and bottom pieces are 23.25" wide by 19.75" deep, which is slightly smaller that what you specified. Opening between the support posts is 19.75". There is also a 30" high double wide unit (Twin 30 base) with two adjustable shelves on each side for $799.

For top and bottom pieces, you have a choice of black, cherry, maple or walnut with either aluminum or black support posts. There are optional side panels, castors, front doors, back panels, extra shelves, etc.

I use an S40 with an S30 extension (30") stacked on top (a threaded bolt goes through the S40 top piece into the support posts for the S30). Total height is just under 72" with castors.

The company’s website is www.salamanderdesigns.com.

I’ve had mine for about 15 years and it still meets my needs with changing equipment.

tony22, am sure you are aware but https://www.grandprixaudio.com/ racks are great, especially the footers for the rack and your speakers. available on used market occasionally.

@lonson, yes the Mapleshade stuff looks like it would work, and from what I’ve read it does have a great reputation, but also yes it is pricey. But it’s not as much as the next tier up. Not sure I can swing it but I’ll keep it on the list.

@bstanwick, I’m not sure the Salamander top (even with the double wide) will work. Ironically there is that one review on Audio Advisor that identifies a problem supporting a turntable. Just the thing I’d be worried about.

@lazbisme, yep I’m aware of the Grand Prix line. Mucho dollars last I checked.laugh

Be cautious of the “air dried” wood in the Mapleshade racks. If you live in a drier location than where the wood is ‘dried,’ the wood will continue to dry and, over time, warp.

I have a Samson rack and not a single board in it is flat. While I like the design very much, if I were to buy another rack, I’d get the hardware from Mapleshade and buy kiln-dried wood locally.

It would help if you put your price limit in your post.

Depending on budget, I would check out Timbernation. They could build a rack to your design or may already have what you need. Depending on your floor tt may need extra isolation. A wood floor will cause the whole rack to move, while concrete will be fine. Unless you have pets or anyone who can bump it. If so, you might want to consider a wall shelf for tt. Although that may require a second platform, or two wall brackets, which then requires an added shelf, that you don’t want.

There are also a couple of different rack builders who advertise through ads at Audiogon. The only adjustable racks I would consider, if budget allowed would be from HRS.

I also agree with Lonson, that the Mapleshade racks are worthy of a look. They make some quality racks, and isolation devices, but not cheap.

Tony, I have a couple of options. First is I currently use an older SolidSteel five shelf rack (Model 5.5). I actually have two of them (an original and a newer version, the newer one is slightly bigger all around but is a bit too big for my room and not being used, hint, hint) and they work good for four components and a turntable on top. They have a well built steel frame and the shelves are each supported by three cones. The shelves are not adjustable and are MDF with laminate, so not the best, but workable. The currently available SolidSteel racks are a little different design and quite a bit more money, so that may sway you from a new one. My issue with the older rack I have is I have a VPI Aries Extended which needs a 30” wide top if I use the Single Motor Flywheel (SMF), that’s too wide for the rack and not very stable. Currently I’m using the table without the SMF so it just fits on a 24” wide butcher block, and the 24” wide shelf is quite stable. The problem is I want to use the SMF so a wider rack is my plan. Which brings me to option two.

Not sure if you are a DIY kind of guy, but I’ve been thinking of building my own rack and have looked into building something similar to the Steve Blinn racks advertised on Audiogon. I’m not sure what he uses for the structure, but 80/20 Inc. makes the same or similar material. There was some discussion of this over on the VPI forum in the “General Audio” area, on the “Turntable rack design” thread (I’m “pevo” on that forum). You can then use maple or some other material for the shelves. This should be much cheaper than the other options proposed, but it does assume some sweat equity. In the event you don’t want to build your own, the Blinn racks seem to fit your requirements and may be slightly cheaper than the other recommendations, but I haven’t read any independent reviews of them nor do I know anyone who has one so I can’t “recommend” them.

Hope those options give you some viable data points, and please let us know what you do. I’m always interested in new options to dream about!

@mylesyonel, wow that’s a bit of a surprise. I live in the mid-Atlantic states, so I’m not sure it would be a problem, but for long term ownership I think I’d want to make that a consideration. They make a big deal about not using Kiln dried. Kiln dried wouldn’t have this risk, would it?

@jeffstarr, a lot of folks recommend Timbernation, and they are in the next State over, so maybe I should give them a call.

@pmotz33sbcglobal-net, why don’t you tell me more about that in a PM.wink

Kiln dried wouldn't have this risk, would it?
No. The kiln-dried 8-quarters maple boards I bought locally at the same time and used to make matching extra shelves are still perfectly flat.
Peanut Butter said

Be cautious of the “air dried” wood in the Mapleshade racks. If you live in a drier location than where the wood is ‘dried,’ the wood will continue to dry and, over time, warp.

I have a Samson rack and not a single board in it is flat. While I like the design very much, if I were to buy another rack, I’d get the hardware from Mapleshade and buy kiln-dried wood locally.

Interesting, and unfortunate. I had one 2" maple platform from Mapleshade warp on me years ago. But my two racks, which I have had for nearly 20 years (Version 2) and nearly 6 years (version 3) have had no warpage at all; 16 of the Version 2's life and 2 of the Version 3 was in central Texas, pretty dry in comparison to Mapleshade land, the rest of the life has been the last years here in Ohio.

I have no direct experience with them but have read some praise of Adona audio racks. They appear to be very solidly built and pricing seems pretty reasonable compared to some of the competition.

Look @Critical Mass not cheap but very good.

You could roll your own if you like this look.


As I was also in need of a decent rack and amp platforms for all my nice, new PS Audio gear. I’ve been following this thread along with lots of internet research time. I really favor the Mapleshade products for looks and function but was hesitant to spend that $$ (they refused my request of a Black Friday discount). Fair enough, they had no obligation or incentive to do so. After serious research on a DIY version, I decided to just throw down for the Mapleshade stuff.

So, question to owners who experienced warped platforms - if the boards are screwed down at all four corners it seems any warp would be minimal. Living in central Texas so the humidity fluctuates but seldom do we get really dry.

Hi Bruce,

I’ve had a Samson V. 2 rack for over fifteen years and a V. 3 rack for six years now. No warpage at all on those racks. All but the last four years the racks were in Central Texas (Austin) and are now the last four years here in NE Ohio (Cleveland area, Geauga County). The only warpage I have had was a 2" finished maple platform that warped in about a year in Texas. I have had an unfinished 2" and a number or finished 4" platforms from Mapleshade and none of these has warped.

Thank you Ionson

Austin is home for me as well and also a State of Texas employee (I peeked at your profile). I’m feeling pretty good about the Mapleshade products. Seriously, if I experience anything down the road I’ll just source some thicker kiln dried hardwood. They are in transit and should arrive mid-week. Looking forward to getting it all set up. Do you have any experience with their component feet or other isolation products? I have no idea what more benefit those pricey heavy brass units might bring to the table.