Can an audio rack be that important?

When we spend Tens of thousands on audio equipment are we losing sight on the importance of a good audio rack? I have seen many setups were ultra high end audio equipment is used sub-par equipment racks. 
I have been grappling with buying a high end audio rack for sometime but have always put it off as less important. 
What does a reference rack actually do for the sound of high quality components?



rack investment is a relative thing to where you are on the system building path. no one size fits all.

1-to begin with put your gear on the floor and invest your money in the best pair of speakers you can afford. that is the quickest path to the best sound. if your significant other wants the gear on some nice piece of furniture don’t worry about it too much.

2-as your system improves the most cost efficient rack approach is to get a basic rack and treat the individual chassis with footers to isolate the gear from resonance. but here it gets complicated because your floor is always a part of the rack equation as far as performance. so look at it as floor+rack=result.

3---past a certain point where you have your speakers and gear selected, with decent signal cables and power cables, next is your acoustics, power grid, and then rack performance.

so rack issues are not top of list, but they are on the list as you try to optimize your system. better acoustics, amps, sources, cables and power grid will take you farther in performance than a nice rack. until you deal with those other things first, a pretty sexy rack is assets miss-placed. a reference rack is very expensive, and very hard to sell or ship. so make sure your system is mature and settled before you take that step. treating individual components with footers (maybe DIY footers) might get you by and you can avoid an expensive rack all together.

i have a mega buck system and use basic racks at the highest levels of performance. but i also have some superb active isolation, just not expensive racks.

Not unlike a good speaker stand - solidity, stability, mass, and damping.  Give your equipment stable, solid, damped support and let your choice of footers and mass loading do the rest.  
I use a combination of very solid and heavy wood furniture, and a Sound Anchors steel stand that is sand-filled for damping, and supported on elastomeric footers.

If I had a bunch of money to spend, one ot these would be nice.

Nothing really for sound.  Your equipment needs to be well supported and springs can help isolate equipment.  Heat needs to be managed.  I just had a custom rack made for $300 or so. 

love the look of the one pictured above.  but you can get good sound from any rack you can make fit your system as I described above.  

Focus on other things.  If you've already done everything else, a beautiful rack compleiments a beautiful system.


They definitely make a sonic difference. I had a 4-shelf basic target rack for years, and when I got the Adona, the change was very audible. More stable imaging, and everything seemed more grounded. I also use different footers in addition to the rack. I love the look too, and the shelves are infinitely adjustable.

Audio Racks, Modular Audio Video Furniture and Isolation Platforms at Adona Corporation.

Can an audio rack be that important?

Second only to power cables, or maybe it was high dollar electrical outlets. No, I think the most important thing are Marigo  VTS Tuning Dots. 

I’m really not sure if it does or does not make an audible difference. I also have a mega buck system and I finally went and splurged on a custom rack from Timbernation. Gorgeous solid tiger maple. $2300 plus $400 shipping. I’m still waiting for it to be built. 

Better is better but it's just furniture. A rack is generally not going to improve or even affect the audio itself, but we must consider things like a turntable if part of the system on the rack (let's assume no turntable for a second). We will have all kinds of arguments, but no modern audio gear is going to sound different between racks. If you have enough movement to affect your gear on any decent rack you have bigger structural issues or environmental issues in your building. I have movement issues with my wood frame floors, but no rack is going to change that. Nice well built heavy duty racks are always better, not arguing that. Chances are if you are having issues with a rack it's because it is complete junk, but is still not affecting the audio quality. I have a cheap but decent rack system, but the issue is the wife walking like a sasquatch while the turntable spins, even with sorbothane insulators, not the rack. If you are one of the people who like to get naked and roll in piles of expensive power cords, and interconnects, and spend time preaching about audiophile fuses, then you might feel the need to argue this one :-)  

I find that isolation and vibration control have a big impact on SQ particularly with tube gear.  Having a solid base created through a quality rack provides a solid foundation to executing resonance control.  Platforms and footers work so much better if integrated into a quality rack.

I think it really depends on the room & more specifically the floor. If you have a cement slab floor  it makes life much easier. Generally, you want to couple to that floor as directly & firmly as possible. Putting the equipment right on the floor should be fine or if preferred, any decent rack or even cinder blocks topped w/ a piece of granite or solid hardwood cutting board. Suspended wood floors are much more of a challenge & in my experience, often the opposite is best whereby you want to try to decouple the equipment from the floor it the vibrations & resonances it can create. This is especially true w/ speakers.. There’s a lot different theories on how to do this. I use 4” x 4” squares that are designed to mitigate vibrations for industrial equipment. They’re  layered w/ relatively hard very grippy rubber w/ a core of pretty dense foam. They’re inexpensive & seem to work very well w/ my speakers .

Has anyone ever seen or used the Tri-Art bamboo rack I am interested in a four shelf model for my Auris Fortissimo tube and Sugden a21se signature Goldnote mono blocks Goldnote DS 10 a with PSU Evo 10  and AYON S10 MK ll signature apparently bamboo has some great characteristics for isolation 

I made one out of Stainless Steel, Aluminum & Copper with every component of the rack isolated form each other with Pure Virgin Teflon. Next I will remove the feet from all the stereo components and replace them with a screw-on suspension that will be integrate and isolated from the rack shelves. It is fully adjustable for the height and width of the components so every time I change something I can adjust it. Might not be something you really need but it organize the gears and requires shorter cables.

I just post a picture when I first install it on my profile. I don't know how to post a picture.

It is like plastic surgery, which doesn't improve your physical health but might make you feel better.

Looking at mitch2s system pictures I think he has a good handle on what nice looking audio furniture looks like.

My listening room is on rug covered hardwood floors suspended over a two car garage.  Isolating my turntable was a really difficult task.  I spent a good bit on a Timber Nation Tiger Maple 3" Shelf Rack, which is shown on my profile.  It is very heavy and the design uses multiple interfaces.  I’m happy with the results and can now play my records at reasonable volume. 

I agree. Mitch's system rack and room looks absolutely beautiful.  Nothing like anyone had in college. Love those SRA platforms!

Foot meet mouth 🤣 @roxy54

I am quite satisfied with my Fern & Roby Rack #1 and I also have a Solid Steel rack. I find the Butcherblock Acoustics' racks to be very nice and economical.

Equipment Rack Ash 3 Shelves 004

Everyone had one of those in college. It's junk and it looks ugly too. 


I didn't address you at all, so I don't know what you're talking about. I was addressing @mitch2 .

I'm glad that I provided you with an opportunity to brag about what you have though.

@roxy54 not at all, I was directing the rest of my post to the OP not at you at all. Should be careful you will end up with hoof and mouth disease as you were a bit braggadocios yourself.

They definitely make a sonic difference. I had a 4-shelf basic target rack for years, and when I got the Adona, the change was very audible. More stable imaging, and everything seemed more grounded. I also use different footers in addition to the rack. I love the look too, and the shelves are infinitely adjustable.

Audio Racks, Modular Audio Video Furniture and Isolation Platforms at Adona Corporation.



As a long time stereo builder (1975) and PC builder (1995) I would highly recommend against ever putting equipment on the floor. That's where all the dust, dirt, bugs, and water will congregate. Also limited air flow. I was taught 16" minimum , that's the height of electrical receptacles in most houses.

I will be the first to admit that it is sometimes not practical or feasible to do. I just bought a new VTI HIFI rack. I was replacing a cheap POS Wayfair stand. I spent right around $1000 for 10 racks. So even thought the bottom 3 racks are only 4.5" off the floor I am using them for my power amps. VTI makes power amp stands for mono blocks.

I can't say the sound has improved but my peace of mind has. I kept waiting to hear a huge crash and finding all my stuff in a pile. New rack is rock steady and looks really nice too. Hopefully last one I will need to buy.

I too started with cinderblocks and 2 x 8 floor joists for shelves. Then I moved on to  schedule 40 PVC filled with sand. 1/2 " for speaker stands and 1" for actual rack. Sturdy with no vibration. Then I got married and wife insisted upon "real" furniture.



I wasn't bragging in that post, and I never do. What you said was directly addressed to me, but only made you look bad.

I was skeptical for decades about the sonic benefits of a rack, but finally had one built because I was tired of having gear sitting on the floor.

Had a friend who's an artisan build it to my specs.

1.5" butcher block hardwood.

1" square steel tubing.

All tubing filled with sand.

Shelves isolated from tubes with silicone.

Tubes isolated from wood floor with hard rubber discs.

I was only wanting things to look better, but to my surprise the sound quality also was improved.

So yes, in my case a well-designed rack did make a difference.

@roxy54 Not the case at all. You think what you like and post like you do. To nice a day to waste on you. 

I’d say, like most things we buy, there is a minimum quality standard that should be adhered to. That being said, there are both acoustic and aesthetic advantages to be had if it’s in your budget.

I built my own by repurposing some walnut furniture into a number of shelves that can be configured in a multitude of designs based on where they are placed in the space.

Ive had these as one tall rack, two medium racks and recently into three short racks. Connectors are 3/4" black pipe from Home Depot. Most components are on IsoAcoustics Gaia footers, IsoAcoustics Orea or IsoPucks.

Yes absolutely , you can measure the vibration ,a decent stand today $minimum.  $1500  there are $20 k stands with seismographic control electrically

if you have the bucks ,$500 nothing special , but you can buy the iso acoustic pucks  sold by weight needed and 4 is better then 3  that’s a good stop gap 2-300 per component start with the dac ot digital and or turntable .  They make nice ones for speakers about $600 for 2 speakers .

Yes it is Important.

No, you do not Have to spend a lot of money.... but it Helps.

Thanks guys. 
Prioritizing spending on what makes the most sonic difference can be part of the fun.  I have always tried building or configuring stuff myself like different types of stands, air bladder suspension, lots of cables, and the damped springs I use as footers beneath Sound Anchors speaker stands.   
I try not to get too hung up on the need to spend lots of money to accomplish a goal. For example, a little effort and ingenuity could turn a typical block equipment stand or a flexy stand into something with a unique look.  The stands in the previous post are a good example of how you can make something cool without spending too much. Below are some shelves we recently added as part of a renovation in one of our offices.  The combination of steel framing and aged/cured hardwood boards looks great, and could make a really cool equipment rack, but unfortunately the wood was not cheap.


Like Mike said, pretty close to the bottom of the food chain. At least for my concrete floor setup. It would go considerably up the food chain for my TTs if I had wood flooring on joists.

Except for turntable stability, quality speaker stands for stand mounts and not blocking too much air - the rest makes no difference to sound quality.  

Wow, I must be insanely poor, the cheapest Fleetwood rack from a post above is 8600 dollars, uhm yeah I got that...🙄

My 500 dollar sideboard/credenza is doing just fine, thanks. Sliding wood doors keep most equipment safe and out of view, it's 18 inches wide, and has an open lower shelf for my class A amp. I'd say it's near perfect for my needs. 

The isolation offered from footers such as the IsoAcoustic Gaias and others negate the need for massively built and beautiful racks. Yes, that Fleetwood Rack is nice but that's 5/6ths the way towards buying a Technics SU-R1000. I know where I'd spend that kind of money and it wouldn't be on that rack. 

All the best,

In general, a good solid rack will do the job. You get the best components you can, upgrade all the wires… which increase performance, then power cables, then room treatments, then isolation devices on you stable platform.

While you can certainly benefit from a fancy platform with elaborate isolation, typically it is more cost effective to buy a sturdy rack, and add isolation to each component.


So, for instance, cheap springs or cones, then a platform like Black Diamond Racing composite and cones… then the next level Townsend…. And finally a high end isolation platform like Silent Running Audio Ohio class.

Ideally, with no budget constraints you would get a fully isolated highend rack and high end isolation platforms… but we are really talking about incredibly subtle improvements… appropriate for $50K components.

Yes indeed, the Fleetwood Rack is hugely expensive. I am sure it meets my rack performance goals, but the reality is that folks buy it for the cool factor and the OMA/Fleetwood clientele consist of folks for whom money is not the main issue.

My Sound Anchors stand also meets my rack goals and while not cast iron, it is steel, can be sand filled for damping, and can use wood shelves with elastomers under them (like the Fleetwood) if the owner desires, at about one-third the cost. There are many examples of wood and/or metal stands at a wide range of prices that offer solidity, stability, mass, and damping.

I found racks with cross-bracing and fillable tubes sufficient for tubed equipment, but the turntable was better isolated by a tri-pod style rack with each section separated by needle point connections. This virtually eliminated all resonance and side to side sway.

You can really tell the difference by tapping the cross-brace style vs. the tri-pod.  

In audio with the best systems EVERYTHING matters. Micro vibrations matter. I put special feet under a DVD I used only as a CD drive and it was a completely different, better drive. There are lots of ways to isolate micro vibrations in a syste. A good rack designed for it is certainly one of these. Needless to say it would be ideal to try out any rack you are considering in your own system.

1-to begin with put your gear on the floor and invest your money in the best pair of speakers you can afford. that is the quickest path to the best sound. if your significant other wants the gear on some nice piece of furniture don’t worry about it too much.

Are you totally deranged? Ever heard of caring and sharing?

I believe it makes a difference.


I went from VTI stands to an SRA Scuttle and wow

WAF and practicality will lead me to sit my system on a USM modular rack on WHEELS! I know some of you are giving me the palm face but the location of the system and its weight would make cables swapping too hard otherwise. Each component will sit on Symposium Svelte Plus platform and Rollerbocks which hopefully will compensate the abominable choice of rack.

Firstly the impact a Rack can have, is not limited to High Quality Devices only that will benefit from a well thought out Rack.

All devices mounted on a Rack that interfaces as a betterment into the Listening Environment will clearly show benefits are to be attained for the produced sonic.

Listening Environments are quite unique and 'all', will have a variation of the ambient energies able to be transferred into the Audio System.

One design for a Rack, that works within one environment does not guarantee the same Rack will produce the same results in another.

The situation could be a Rack of a certain Type might need additional support Structures used in conjunction with it to get the best interface from it.

Alternatively a completely different Rack Design might be the only method to achieve the optimised interface in a particular environment.

Note: There is not a ubiquitous Support Method that extends to creating a optimised interface in all listening environments. 

Something that is overlooked and not seen too often as a Topic of Discussion is Cable Management.

Carefully routed Cables and Cable Tidiness, are able to impact on the sonic produced.

This is ubiquitous across all listening environments, if the Cables are a mess, there will be a loss to the quality of sonic produced in the listening environment.

When a optimised Support Structure is discovered, and used for supporting a audio system, that has thought put into producing a Tidy arrangement for the Cables, the most basic of benefits will be a noticeable improvement in the Bass Note and the Decay.

Additional Benefits will be a coherence through out the frequencies, where the Mid's and Upper Frequencies are perceived as having a projection.

Ultimate Benefits that can be perceived are Micro and Macro Details will be noticeably present, and even better, the Envelope of the Notes/Vocal will manifest with a shaping to the point they can almost seem tangible.

It really does come down to how much an individual is willing to experiment with Structure and Cable Tidying to get such perceptions on improved sonics.


I couldn’t have said it better than @mikelavigne 

Just to add from personal experience - I have found my system to sound best with the amp(s) on the floor or on amp stands, away from source components. I have proven this to myself with every amplifier I owned once my system reached the resolution levels to reveal subtle differences like that. 

I think that it is likely that without exception, all those who have posted that good quality racks make no difference have never experienced the difference that a good rack makes in sound quality.

To the OP’s question, I find his subjective quality characterizations interesting:

  • a good audio rack
  • ultra high end audio equipment
  • sub-par equipment racks
  • a high end audio rack
  • a reference rack
  • high quality components

These types of subjective quality modifiers have been used widely throughout these forums, and throughout this thread, and I often wonder what level of correlation exists between the meaning of these phrases when used by various authors.

In this case of audio racks, I am interested in what physical/mechanical characteristics take an audio rack from the realm of being sub-par or basic to being good, high-quality, or reference? Racks costing thousands of dollars are made by a variety of manufacturers, from a variety of materials, using a variety of assembly and support methods. What makes an audio equipment rack good?


What makes an audio equipment rack good? Making it as non-resonant as possible is a good start, which often involves some decoupling of the shelves from the rack superstructure. Racks do make a difference to sound quality but they are best considered in the same context as the general category of resonance management devices.

Of course they have to be suitable for the equipment being housed and aesthetics matters a lot to some people.

What makes an audio equipment rack good?

1 High Audible Function (any Component or Loudspeaker).

2 Includes Vibration Management Technology.

3 Reduces Operating Temperature in All Electronic Components.

4 Design using Physics and Geometry as the Core Principals.

5 Material Science Yielding Zero Audible Frequencies When Vibrating.

6 Audio Furniture is Just Furniture. Wood is Noisy and has Very Limited Benefits for Reference Rack Function.

7 Realize that Making a Shelf Sound Good is Impossible.

8 Adding Various Types of Component Footers and Active Isolation Systems is a Band-Aid® Approach to Treating a Wound.

9 Changing Cables Equals the Same Results as Footers, a Tweak, or Investment Loss.

10 Stay Clear of the Audio Industry’s Branding and NonScientific Categorizing. DeCouple is the Latest Meaningless Description in Analyzing Functions.

11 Avoid Attempting to Stop Vibration. Electricity Establishes Vibration that Affects the Systems Entirety.

12 You can Audition the Financially Guaranteed Racking System in Your Environment.

13 Sonic Results Take You to a Place of Newfound Listening Enjoyment.

14 Provide us the Opportunity to Hear How Much Sound is Missing and Prove Science Exists Without Constant Subjectivness!


Live-Vibe Audio

Disclaimer: I work with a vibration management research company and retail products in the audio-video, musical instrument, and commercial electronics industries. This post is not an advertisement or shill for sales. I am available to answer all questions. 330-260-6769.