Audio Racks, Just How beneficial? looking for guidance in upgrading

Greetings all. Looking for guidance and your experience in racks & shelves for the ’sweet spot’ and upgrading. Do you find that applying a percentage of your total system’s value of perhaps 5% or even 10% is a good metric? Do you folks find that some of the leading Audio Rack companies, like HRS, CMS for ex., which seem great but is it beneficial to warrant spending well over $15k , $10k + or $5K on vibration isolation for a mid level system. Racks are really hard to demo; I’m reaching out to Audiogon community.

I’m trying to get my arms around some of the price points and the cost/benefits.
Anyone find wood is sonically better?
Doesn’t seem to be that much between A/V furniture manufactures and the better companies. Prefer a Modular approach like Bassoconuinuo- (anyone have it? I haven’t priced it yet.) or adjustable shelves. (not that keen on Solid Steel).
I need 6 shelves including top for turntable.
Currently have a BDI with glass shelves; using still points, or BDR cones, maple butcher blocks. Yes, I know the glass shelves...have to go.


I think putting the turntable on top is not the best solution. It needs to be grounded on the most stable platform possible. You might also consider not putting the rack in between the speakers. Other than that, structural wood framing can sound crap. Especially for turntables. 

I see from your other posts that you're already in possession of some great equipment so my angle may not apply. When I had a Linn once, wall mounting worked best. 

"Do you find that applying a percentage of your total system’s value of perhaps 5% or even 10% is a good metric?"

I'm going to go off the reservation a bit and say it makes me crazy when I read someone stating we should allocate a percentage of our overall system cost to something.  The one I see most often is the rule of 10% should be spent on cables.  It brings to mind the marketing genius of De Beers Diamond Company, all those years ago, selling the idea an engagement ring should cost 1 month's salary (it may be 2 now).  Spending more based on some marketing idea, just seems silly.  IMHO

Do audio racks make an impact?  For me yes, I have an HRS rack and dramatically improved the sonics and performance of my turntable (Rega P8).

  • Wall mounting is an option - just not for me
  • I didn't notice the impact on other components

Your mileage may very - especially for suspended turntable.

OK, There is only one piece of equipment that requires special attention and that is the turntable. It has to be at a comfortable height for you to work with on a shelf as sturdy as you can make it. Vertical racks are not optimal. The reason is they force you to run all your wires vertically in parallel which maximizes induction. With the equipment horizontal power cables run vertically and signal wires run horizontally. With wires crossed at 90 degrees there is no induction. Vertical racks are also inherently less stable than horizontal ones You also do not want to crowd equipment. A proper equipment cabinet should be tied into the structure of the house, preferably on concrete. You should be able to run into the rack and not have the turntable notice in any way. If you go to my system page you can see such an example. I like my turntable up higher. I change cartridges a lot and it is easier to work with the table up higher. To get the height I made the two bottom shelves record racks. The record cubbies have false backs, so I can get anywhere behind the cabinet if I need to. The turntable's vacuum pump and my cable modem are back there along with power management. The most expensive part of the cabinet is the Granite which cost $1500 installed. The materials for the rest of the structure cost just under $1000.00. You could have a cabinet maker do one and I can not believe it would cost more than $10K soup to nuts. Turntables should always be suspended regardless of what they are sitting on. Electronics could care less about vibration isolation. That is seriously wayward lay intuition and expectation bias. The navigation computers in rockets are more sensitive than anything we use in audio accepting the turntable. Have you ever gone to the Kennedy Space Center to watch a rocket lift off? It feels like you are being shaken by the hand of god. It is a continuous explosion. There is no amusement park ride that comes close. Turntables, on the other hand are vibration measuring devices and extremely sensitive ones. With my turntable operating normally I can hit the granite with a hammer and you will not hear anything with the volume turned all the way up. If I neuter the suspension you will hear it easily. There is no practical amount of mass that will stop the transmission of vibration to the cartridge, only a suspension tuned to less than 3 Hz will do that. 

I reviewed the Bassoconuinuo website. The scientific approach? Not so much. As with everything Italian it is all about style. This type of construction is inherently flimsy because it has no solid back or sides. The uprights in my cabinet are all 1.5"
plywood. The back is 3/4" thick. The construct braces itself. The only bracing four post racks have are the shelves which is not nearly enough.  

@erik_squires There are many topics to deal with in audio, You seem to be stuck on room acoustics. Room acoustics are important. The best way to deal with it is to build a room specifically for sound reproduction and the vast majority of us are stuck with the rooms we have. However, that is not the topic of this thread. How would you design an equipment rack or cabinet?

Tell that to my tube amps.

Electronics could [not] care less about vibration isolation. That is seriously wayward lay intuition and expectation bias.

If you have a modest budget, Adona racks are great for looks and sound. If you have deeper pockets, Live Vibe are the best sounding and look good too.

Arnold at Core Audio Designs in Novato is a true artisan and his racks include innovative isolation and custom woods at IMO very reasonable $.

HRS for all out assault w metal finishes and more $$$$

I am a very happy customer of both.

It’s true that I am a big proponent, but that’s because at least at first glance, audiophiles often don’t consider the room, which has the biggest impact on sound quality after the speakers, but start getting esoteric fast.

Your point that I'm off topic is however not wrong.  I really like Butcher Block acoustics for their product quality, cost and aesthetics.  I have no idea how it "sounds" 


There are a couple approaches. Full blown high end audio racks with built in vibration control ($$$$$) and high quality sturdy racks to which you can add vibration control. When I have researched the topic before I always have come to the conclusion that the most cost effective route is great sturdy racks with enough space to add various vibration control devices under each component.

This allows approaching each component separately and spreads outlays over time. So, in my case I have an excellent Silent Running Audio custom Ohio Class vibration platform specifically designed for my turntable. While under the rest of my components I have combinations of Black Diamond Racing platforms, pucks, and springs. So, this approach really allows a lot of flexibility.

Top notch audio racks with sophisticated vibration control cost a lot.

I used to have BDI but saw the problem with glass. Went shopping, saw a lot of flimsy racks for a lot of money too! So I made my own, went with butcher block and threaded rod. On the base of threaded rod, have heavy duty casters. As for sound in between speakers, maybe the super critical would find something, but I don’t find an issue. For base of whole structure used super strut painted black. Super sturdy. Liked this instead of stone, cause then ur talking at least a thousand pounds 

Personally, I prefer the shelves in my rack to be decoupled from one another. I don't particularly see why the rack needs to be super stable horizontally since most of the problematic vibrations are traveling vertically. As with Ghdprentice, I also prefer to decouple the equipment from the shelves. If I had an unlimited budget, I would look at something like HRS but it would probably be cheaper to replace my suspended wood floor with concrete!

After deciding on the esthetics (with your SO, if applicable), I agree with @ghdprentice in the approach of finding a rack that provides a very stable platform for each component as well as the ability to treat the support of each component individually. 

Depending on the component, I use SRA Ohio+ platforms, a BDR shelf, Zoethecus Z-slabs, DIY constrained layer platforms, thick wood platforms, Herbies products, springs, and Hudson HiFi platinum silicone hemisphere footers.  In some cases, I decouple a stable shelf like a Z-slab from the rack and then further decouple the component from the shelf using the hemisphere footers, Herbies footers, or springs.  My three "racks" consist of either sturdy constructed quartersawn oak furniture (that I have heavily reinforced) or a Sound Anchor stand.  If you simply want sturdy, it is hard to beat Sound Anchor.  However, having a fully digital system, I know nothing about specific best practices for supporting a turntable.

I agree with tomic601, Core Audio equipment racks are the best I have ever used. They look fantastic, are extremely well built and provide unbelievable sonic isolation. Jumping up and down in front of my plyKraft 3L rack has no impact on cartridge tracking (Michell Engineering GyroDec, SME IV and Clearaudio Maestro V2 Ebony cartridge tracking at 2g). Not recommended, I tried kicking the rack once (stupid, I know), again no effect on cartridge tracking! Plus, Arnold Marr ( calls himself the "biG-wiG| principal") is a super nice guy to work with. In fact, he is delivering, and setting up, a custom double plyKraft 3L rack this weekend for me. Going forward I will be selling the single plyKraft 3L rack and custom TT shelf soon.

Thank you all. Some very helpful info!
I'll reach out to Core, but I need 6 shelves with the turntable top.
Interesting points on also using footers, cones under the components as well as sitting on a better rack.
The location of my front end is away in a dining room with the amp and speakers in the living room but still close. So, rack needs to be very  'wife friendly' and not look like ' a dorm room' . .. My TT  is a Dr. Frickert Woodpecker. I had a LinnLP12, mounted on the wall with a Target TT shelf back in the day. I put 3 lolly columns in the basement under the rack area to better support the suspended wood dining room floor- Both helped a lot with foot fall issues.
The quest continues. Thanks again all!!


You might consider looking through the virtual systems to see what others are using under their turntables that would meet your esthetic needs.

As long as you have a stable platform that doesn't move or vibrate you won't need a $12,000 one. It's not to say you don't need good footing on your components.

Very beneficial.  Cannot be overstated.  Progression from old Target stands to Quadraspire SVT to Quadraspire Reference X has not only solidified my belief in their value, but also their value for each component stationed on top.

I've no TT, so step back from that.  I will confirm that each component benefitted.

My wife's system (Rega Apollo R CD, Mojo Mystique' 3 DAC, Luxman 509X integrated) initially set up on an IKEA bench.  Sounded really good.  Then planted everything on a Quadspire SVT stand.  Remarkable improvement.  Dynamics, attack, separation of voices and instruments, blacker sound stage, all improved dramatically.  It becomes a question of how much improvement, not if.

BTW, ATC SCM 20 monitors are on Sound Anchor stands with Herbies Fat Dots. Again, a real improvement from Sound Organization massed with sand/shot.

Enjoy your journey to audio Nirvana.

I have had for a number of years a steel rack(s) (I think it was made by Solid Steel).

It has modular shelfs with each steel shelve able to insert into the next and has spikes on each wooden shelve. The rack can go as high as you want. The configuration I am now using is 2 racks with 3 shelves each. One rack for my video the other for my audio. See my system page.

Under all of my components I have the Critical Mass footers. (They really make a huge sonic improvement.


blue_strat, Arnold Marr (Core Audio Designs) is actually making a 6 (2x3) shelf audio rack for me. Suggest you reach out to Arnold to get a copy of the drawing.

Hey Roxy

It is probably made of money - for what they charge!

Cast iron and wood, with the shelves stood off from the iron by recessed elastomers. The Fleetwood Rack by Fleetwood Sound Co. that makes the Deville speaker, and a division of Oswald’s Mill Audio.

I am in too far and deep to go for one but if I were starting out again…I really like the look. The cast iron is just cool looking IMO.  Their website is fun to visit as they have some cool stuff.  I respect the craftsmanship.


I can see that the shelves are adjustable, and that's nice. As far as the looks are concerned, I guess it would be considered masculine and rustic. I don't think that it would fit in with every decor. Being from Oswald Mills I guess it costs more than it's worth. 

You might be shocked at how affordable the Core racks are. …and of course you can still take the approach of adding isolation to each shelf as i do w Nimbus and Vortex HRS products under sensitive tube gear… it’s ALL about a super low deep dark noise floor….


You can see Arnolds custom work on my Casa Pacifica virtual system page…

Nice to buy a solid wood rack and good to isolate turntable but all this hype about buying a incredibly expensive rack that's been incredibly well-designed with all these isolation qualities is just ridiculous.

Explain to me the sonic benefit of these expensive racks.



Some of these racks make an amazing difference sonically. It is hard to explain the sound of an improvement. How can you say it's ridiculous if you haven't tried one?

One must always keep in mind that the OP may have started the conversation, community knowledge is more important…..

@mgattmch Trading Friday texts w Arnold as he was off to deliver your rack i surmise. I looked at your Gale system photos…. lovely and as you can HEAR the build in isolation and mass loading make a sonic difference ;-) I sold Gale in the early to mid 80’s…. they always sounded good…

Have big musical fun


I used a plastic milk crate for years and it was fine. And I put the speakers on the floor and the turntable on a dresser as long as I didn’t do jumping jacks everything was fine. 

I do have a nice wooden wide rack from salamander they don't make anymore. It's really deep and it's a shame they don't make it anymore. It's built like a tank and it comes on casters. An awesome rack

Many have mentioned Core. I cannot afford Core though the build quality is quite stunning. I’m digital. So turntables.  I cannot advise. 

On a poor man’s budget I use a Zoethecus 3 tier rack. Before that I used mid century modern furniture for my equipment.  Mighty difference. Everything tightened up and became more layered in sound. 

WAF of my cherry tier rack would work. Core as well. Many different finishes are available. 

If I had the money I’d go for Box. I’m surprised no one has mentioned. It’s built with interlocking wood joints The way furniture was made beyond decades ago. WAF would work as well. 

I have not tried any steel racks, so I cannot state the SQ delivered. Herbies gliders are excellent as well  Herbies gliders  provides additional isolation and allow you to pull your rack from the wall for adjusting cables and swapping gear. 

Happy hunting ! 

On the Gon, there are plenty of stories where there has been members with a evolving interest in equipment support.

There are stories where changing support equipment has supplied immeasurable improvement, which is the report types that are wanted to be taken on board.

The interesting thing is that the most encouraging reports are not all from individuals having spent multi $0000's, they also come from individuals who have spent multi $00's and even multi $0's.

How aesthetically pleasing a Support Rack must be will potentially move one towards the multi $00's, but aesthetics is a cost that is not an improvement in function.

The Best Function can be found at all the above values that can be allocated.

My input will be to find a way to include Support Plinths even Structure if the desirability of the product is recognised, to be produced from Phenolic Resin Impregnated Densified Wood,


6,254 posts



For me wood boards on cinder blocks … in 1970. My system sounds better now. 


Is that to suggest, @ghdprentice , that you were using the same electronics, speakers, and room, back in 1970? 😉


Bespoke or otherwise costly shelves are, IMO, like many other audio bits and bobs: they’re way easier to justify big investment on if you like shopping or looking at new “components.”


I use old HDF audio blocks from an amp designer’s former demo room… to keep my vacuum cleaner from hitting my amps. My subs perch on a maple x stainless bench from Crate and Barrel (bought used for le$$ than WallyWorld MDF shelves).

Here’s a dare, OP (grin): get your TT shelf sorted like some suggested (resonant frequency(ies) of said shelf and/or it’s mounting surface might matter…), and let your wife make a rack selection for the other stuff. Even if you use tubes, heavy in-room bass resonances may outweigh importance of the amp’s isolation from floor/shelf-specific vibrations. Could depend on how loud you enjoy playback, at least in part…



😁 Along with changes in my rack came fifty years of upgrades. So, it probably would have sounded better even if I kept the cinder blocks.

@pindac the SmC Gravity base appears to be a constrained layer sandwich of Copper and Panzerholtz…. DIY is commencing… As an aside…. Panzer isn’t $… but it’s not $$$$…. unless…

To the poster who mentioned Box, also an excellent rack. 

@tomic601 - On my gear, the SMc Gravity Base is simply a (nicely cut and powder-coated) slab of brass, attached to the bottom.   I believe one of the attributes apparently contributing to the improvement in performance is that the Gravity Base is not simply attached to the bottom of the equipment chassis but is also directly attached to key internal components such as transformers, etc.

SMc does make a Panzerholz Isolation Base (and pt. 2) and they will also build their VRE-1C Preamplifier out of Panzerholz.

Here are some off-hand observations: the market developed for racks which provide isolation and those can get pricey. Not dissing them, it is one choice. 

The alternative is to use basic, substantial racks of some sort and do the isolation part with commercial or DIY products.

I've owned a lot of stuff over the years: Finite Elements, Adona, Billy Bags, Grand Prix Monaco (which requires you to replace the sorbothane pucks periodically) and others.  I've owned the Grand Prix stuff since the aughts, a rack for gear, with carbon fibre shelves and apex footers (also on my speakers), as well as a home made rack for the digital side (constrained layer damping) and a rack for the turntable made for Minus K, which is welded steel with a phenolic top. 

If I were starting from scratch, and on a budget, I would look for substantial racks that allow you to mass load them. And deal with isolation by experimenting. I use Stillpoints for some stuff and other stuff dependent on the Grand Prix stands/racks. 

@mitch2 Thanks for the post. I had a great conversation w Patrick at SmC. It is indeed brass and in some applications a more elaborate sandwich, possibly including Panzer, Carbon Fiber, Stainless, as well as something proprietary…..


My mention of Densified Wood was a offering to not let the OP overlook it as a option, as it is one that is an important option to learn about.

I have been doing catch up with the individual who measures all types of materials for Damping and Dissipation Properties.

There are updates to be seen where the Typical Sample Sizes of 100mm x 100mm (4" x 4") are being tested as a typical plinth size of 400mm x 350mm (16" x 14").

The latest data on the Plinth Size Material has shown a Damping Factor of 0.750 

Additionally, I am to have my Pre Amp's that were designed and ready to be built, housed in a Permali Case.

The EE, has had a rethink on the design, topology and the Pre Amp's now back to a design stage. The Good News is less Casing Material will be needed if all works out.

I am keen to rehouse my Valve Phon' into a Permali Case as well to match the Pre Amp's.

I have recently seen there are Capacitor Clamp Rings being produced from P'holz where the clamped components are housed in a P'holz Casing. 

Many posts on Instagram showing esoteric TT’s that look like they could be moon landers and are placed on $15 Ikea bamboo cutting boards. If it works, great but doesn’t say much for the design of that 4-5 figure TT.