Audio racks

I'm looking to upgrade my Sanus audio rack with a better wooden rack. I've checked out Timber Nation online and they look really nice, solid and affordable. During Axpona this year, I saw Butcher Block Acoustics now has their Rigidrack line which looks really nice as well---prices are comparable to Timber Nation. Both companies use maple and walnut. Are there others I should consider? How's the quality of each? Thanks!
Wood is not sonically the best material as it imparts its own characteristic sound. But then everything else does too. At least the sound wood imparts, people tend to like. So if its solid and efficiently designed and you like the look, just get it. The Cones and Shelf you use under each component have a much greater impact on the sound anyway. 
I love my Timber Nation Rack.  2" thick shelves and 135 pounds of solid wood.  I'm not hearing anything but the music.
I second Mapleshade's racks. They are engineered to manage vibrations and they have VCS (Vibration Control System) platforms that complement the racks. A very effective system. Also the VCS can be used to improve an existing rack you may have.
Looking through The Absolute Sound today I saw a 4-shelf rack from a name I recognized (can't name it right now. Prices start at $199. Looked like a nice rack.
Thanks for the recommendations---I've seen many good reviews regarding Timber Nation. They can custom make what you need as well. Mapleshade looks nice too--thanks!! 

Personally. I’d pass from timber nation. I had him build me a custom rack. I stipulated two tier. He made me a single tier. I even sent him a drawing to get it right.

I put the unit together for the heck of it. Two post ( legs ) fit properly. The other two legs were not measured nor cut properly which caused instability.

I first contacted him. I forgot his name. Sorry, that I can’t recall. He refuted all. I contacted Pay Pal. I opened a claim. Pay pal credited my account. Usually you have to provide detailed information during the claim/ investigation. That can usually last a month until a decision is made. I was refunded in less then a week!!

Yup. His rep is that bad. Sometimes his racks are dead on. Other times they are one giant hot mess. I’d definitely look elsewhere.

I heard Paul’s son from PS Audio makes well made racks. Might want to give them a call for further info.
Thanks Jay---good to know. Does Paul's son have a website? I've read some good reviews about Butcher Block. I haven't purchased anything yet---I might end up with additional units next year. Box Furniture is an option too but they're a little pricey.

I would highly recommend audio rack from Core Audio Designs. In addition to what you see on his website, he can custom build anything to your exact needs. The proprietor, Arnold Marr is very methodical and meticulous in his approach. You will end up with a rack that will far exceed your visual and sonic expectations.

No further component isolation or decoupling needed with his racks. You pay a bit more upfront but they are built to last...I owned his racks for 10 plus years and they still look good as new.

I’m not so sure if he has a website, though if you call the folks at PS audio inquiring about Paul’s son rack systems. They will tell you the name of his company. I misplaced the info.

Google timbernation audiocircle. You’ll see all of the negative feedback regarding Timbernation. That pertains to this site as well. I’m lucky I got my money back!!

I agree with Lalitk. Core audio designs are a great deal with what they offer. Heck if you have 10,000 of gear. Isn’t it worth it?? Built is quite solid. A great contender indeed. My custom setup would be about 2,100 with Core. With Boxfurniture. About 2,600.

Personally I really dig Core for price per dollar ratio. Though if you want to go one step above. Where the wood is jointed together. No assembly at all. Drop dead gorgeous. Well. For the fun of it. Check this site

For my own use I go used and purchase mid-century modern furniture on the cheap. Nice aesthetic appeal imo. Looks less like a man cave, unless you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated room.

LTA sometimes works with this company.

I personally have heard a minute improvement in SQ with all wooden furniture. Though aesthetically. It helps big time, while protecting your gear.

If I won the lottery. Heck. I’d be right in line. Though there is this thing called dating, and cost of living/bills. It ain’t cheap or easy in NYC.

Good luck,


Thanks guys---I've never heard of Core or Massif. Nice stuff for sure!! I'm definitely going to check them out as well.
Look at Symposium Foundation rack looks and sounds better then the others.
Its a safe bet nobody has tried more than a few. The best rack btw is no rack, and the rack matters less than the Cones and Shelf each component sits on anyway. 
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Valid points. I use mid century low rise coffee tables and low height nightstands to hold my equipment. Real wood. Ahhh the golden days. 

Anyways. What isolation or padding would you recommend for components? 

Thanks much. 

I like Salamander Archetype with twin platform. Unfortunately, Salamander no longer makes the twin platform.
I think a lot of this talk about isolation goes way beyond what's necessary for great audio enjoyment. As my equipment got better (and much heavier), the footers I used had the opposite results: muddier sound. 

Taking them out and placing them directly on a thick, maple shelf, pretty much does the trick. I don't have the room, vertically, to try out anything new so I went for some constrained layer damping pads from Les Davis Audio and heard a very slight improvement. That confirmed my suspicions, for now, that the way I have it now is quite good. 

Any well made piece of kit has, at the very least, some vibration isolation factored into its design. Yes, you can go with an all out assault on your setup and eventually find something that betters your situation, but you're chasing some very diminishing returns with your wallet.

Even my JBL speakers use small, wool felt dots between it and the metal stands that tilt them back a few degrees and the whole thing rest on a carpet, over concrete, over wood. The stands are flat with no spikes or footers of any kind and the imaging is rock solid.

All the best,
Thanks for the great suggestions--I've never heard of Symposium Acoustics. Nice stuff.
It's amazing to see the price differences b/w some of these builders for racks that look very much alike. One of the issues I have is that I prefer a 5 shelf system---many of these builders stop at 4 shelves. 
Symposium can give you 5 shelfs and customize it for you.Call Peter and talk to him.
Technically vibration isolation refers to isolating the component from very low frequency vibration (structureborne) primarily but also higher frequency vibrations, too. Damping is technically a separate issue and usually easier to accomplish. Some components like employ rubber feet or springy feet but until you get up into high end stuff I doubt you’ll find much of anything that’s particularly effective. What’s required imho is a comprehensive program of real isolation and resonance control for the entire system.
jred writes:

Valid points. I use mid century low rise coffee tables and low height nightstands to hold my equipment. Real wood. Ahhh the golden days.

Anyways. What isolation or padding would you recommend for components?

I tried dozens of different materials, shapes, constructions, and products before settling on BDR as the best. By far. Very likely still is, but only if you can find them used as they are no longer made since the man behind it all DJ Casser died some years ago. Cones, Shelf, Those Things, etc all highly recommended- if you can find them.

Isolation incidentally is a misnomer. I did a demo one time for a friend to show him how much difference Cones make. Only instead of stopping the music like usual I let the player play while I lifted it on and off the Cones. When I asked if he heard the difference he said yes, "as soon as you picked it up!" What's funny about that is its way more isolated with me holding it than sitting on Cones or anything else. So "isolation" is BS. Everything vibrates. Every wire, capacitor, you name it, send a music signal through it its gonna start vibrating. Isolation is a Macguffin. Its much more useful to think in terms of vibration control.

Wood is good but keep in mind all my testing shows all components pick up, to some degree or other, the sonic signature of whatever they are placed on. People like the sound of wood- there's a reason its used in so many musical instruments after all - but it does color the sound. The different wood types (oak, pine, cocobolo, etc) each have their own sonic signature. Construction can be used to try and ameliorate this and get the best of both worlds- thicker and laminated works pretty good.

Anything soft or floaty will help lower the noise floor, blacker background, etc, but at the cost of dynamics and fine detail. This is part of the reason why just about anything you put under a component will improve the sound- just about anything is better than the crap rubber feet so many makers use. 

This is all very general info, which is just what you need in order to understand what is going on and why different things affect performance the way they do. Its all a complex blend of different materials stiffness, mass, and inherent vibration damping characteristics, in which shape plays a role as well.

Sorry, but the old BDR is so much better than anything else that all I can do is say either buy that, or throw a dart (but threads like this are chock full of dart throwers already), or go and listen. 

Or DIY. Frankly the best answer for an awful lot of people is gonna be the tried and true sand box. Doesn't have to be a box even, its the idea- packed sand, mixed with a little oil to keep it nice and tidy, effectively kills vibration. More adds mass, which is great for turntables but with a lot of other components you can do just fine with three CD sized and 1" deep. Then you put something hard on top to set your component on. The beauty of this is its modular- you can easily experiment with the top being different materials like wood, MDF, acrylic, etc. 

If it sounds like a lot of work well yeah, I guess so. But just imagine how much you can learn about vibration control this way.

Which I don't have to imagine at all. Because I did it. That's how I know.
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As for sand boxes used for vibration control, I built a few many years ago. I was impressed at first, but over time the sand settled to a hard mass which ended the vibration control. I did try raking the sand, please do not make fun of me, but what a mess.

Yeah that is a misconception that hangs around so stubborn even when clearly explained it just won’t go away. Vibration control is not about isolation. Vibration control has to do with the proportional combination of mass, damping, and stiffness. The sand does not need to be loose at all to do its job. Sand packed as tight and solid as a brick still is actually better vibration control than freshly raked loose sand simply because the loose sand is softer and softer loses details. Pretty sure if you scroll up you will see where I said that already. Its just a tough concept to get across somehow.

Oh and by the way thanks for bringing it up there’s a couple more reasons to mix in a little oil. Very small amount, just barely enough to coat the grains. Eliminates dust, adds a little surface tension that pretty much puts an end to the stuff going everywhere, adds a little viscosity and lubrication that eliminates the problem of it packing down hard. I’ve got some under my turntable, and phono stage, and in my shop, been 15 years at least, consistency hasn’t hardly changed a bit. Also if you read what I wrote its not just the sand but the shape, size and material of the pad that sits on top of the sand that the component ultimately rests on that determines a lot of the control. The sand can be thought of as a stable platform on which to rest that pad or plate. That again is why its called vibration control not isolation. Or you could call it tuning if you prefer. But then you get into the whole michaelgreenaudio vague to the verge of mysticism schtick. Lets not go there.
My Woody the Woodpecker 🐓 - sorry that’s the closest emoji available - bamboo box of glass microbeads on feet of viscoelastic material simulates the operational characteristics of the woodpecker’s head whilst pecking wood. The combination of bone, flexible cartilage and elastic tissue that surrounds the woodpecker’s brain 🧠 protects it from extremely high decelerations as much as 1500 g’s whilst pecking wood. The glass microbeads move more easily than sand since they are more uniform and have less friction.
You missed a golden opportunity to shill Symposium for the millionth time. Who’s stupid, now?
I use sand boxes under tubed equipment.I've tried various rollers,cones,etc. with and without the sand and prefer just the sand.My amp rests on an isoacoustic speaker stand.The sand plus a heavy amp would be a bit heavy for the rack.
You can look at Modulum  out of canada its shelves are wood.
HRS or artesania audio both excellent but pricey.
In case the OP is still in the market for a good wood audio stand. I have all of my stands custom built by Saluda River Audio. Quality is unmatched. Not cheap but great value and beautiful.
A great rack is a thing of beauty

I have been pleased with Sound Organisation and Solid Steel equipment stands

These of course are two unrelated matters