Confusion about "high-end" racks


I'm searching for a rack upgrade : finite master reference, grand prix audio monaco, sistrum, critical mass, audiav crystal or diamond series, silent running audio....
All use different approaches, different materials etc.. and usually criticize negatively one each other, especially I'm impressed reading comments from audiav about sra.
Is there specific experience, which is the most neutral - less coloured approach? what other parameters should consider?
Best to get a rack, four posts, with no shelves but one that will support granite. Ideally, the shelve heights should be fully adjustable and not fixed. Then, have quarter inch granite shelves made. Should not cost you more then $40 a square foot. Avoid glass. Finish on granite can be polished or dull. If you have a TT, make its shelve half inch, bottom with quarter inch top putting spikes in between. Enjoy.
Sistrum has some new products coming out soon that sound better than even thier current racks. I am in the mechanical grounding school, unless you have springy wood floors. I dont have any thier full equipmemt racks, just speaker stands and a their stand under my turntable. Both made a huge improvement.

But I do think some magazine should do a comprehensive review/comparison among the major types of racks.
In my opinion since no one that I’m aware of has done a side to side “A/B” comparison of one rack to another with the exact same equipment it’s all a matter of personal tastes which is highly opinionated.
They are all good racks, go with the one that you like the looks of the best, or that fits your budget. Look for slight defects or flaws that will not work with your system suck as shelf spacing, incorrect size shelf, no ability to add mass to the structural supports, can’t use points for connection to floor or as I found out the hard way with my reference rack the “Sistrum Platform Rack”, because of the back leg being in the center, that back leg might interfere with an AC plug or RCA/balanced interconnect, or it’s a hassle to set equipment on three audio points or those sharp points can mark the bottom of your equipment. My remarks about my rack are not meant as criticism but simply an example of insight I have as an owner that others might not think of.
Best regards,
I looked at all the ones you listed and more. While I liked the SRA they aren't flexible enough for me and would require two which I can't fit in the space I have. GPA look cool, but just don't seem to have any real science behind them (to me) next time you see one, grab the top and shake it, you'll see why I didn't buy these! Sistrum? I have a Great Dane and suspect she'd knock something off those platforms so they weren't even a consideration. I liked the look of Acoustic dreams but they didn't work for me either. I haver seen the Critical mass systems, and they look great, but they are huge shelves and take up a lot of space, I think for a large complicated system like mine they are to bulky and they are rather expensive. I liked the looks of the Finite Pagode Master Reference, but alas it's too small and not flexible enough for me. I looked at a bunch of others not mentioned here too, as well as all the stock ones like Billy Bags, Lovan, you name it I likely know them.

I literally spent two years going through which racks I wanted to upgrade to, and knowing I was going to spend some serious coin on them, I wanted one that I could live with for a long time. I wanted a solid build with large weight handling, the ability to level on my Terra Cotta tiled floors with stability, preferably a rack that could be pretty tall and have multiple, adjustable shelves. I only found out about AudiAV a few months ago and well, my rack will be here before Christmas!

I went with a black Crystal 6' tall with 8 shelve, all signature and several with Granite for my really high end pieces. All shelves are equipped with the Mag Block as well, in black.

I spent hours on the phone with Jared Poiry and the guy is into some serious science with these things! The vibration isolation used is akin to what is under electron microscopes, and the Mag Bloc is straight out of defense contracts, you have to see his video about this stuff!

Feel free to drop me an Email privately to discuss these further, but I don't think you can find a more flexible rack that does as much as these do anywhere.

Oh, you might want to rethink the Diamond, unless you are running several hundred pound components they are way over kill, and costly (Jared told me the average $ for a Diamond setup runs close to $30K when fully spec'd out!)

So you think that racks affect the sound of a system? Aside from the acoustic imprint the shape, size and location of a rack can have in a room, how, exactly, does a rack affect the sound of a system and, if it does, how audible are these effects?

I would upgrade real components and simply make sure the rack is out of the way, acoustically speaking, rather than being used as an altar for componets.

Setting up your electronics in an adjoining room with only the speakers in the room is always a possibility, if you don't mind the walk.

First of all, after reading the subject title of this thread, I am most dissapointed that we are talking about audio gear. :)

I agree with Larry (Lak) that at the level you are talking about, appearance and ergonomics are the main issues. All the mentioned racks should perform high quality isolation regards of design. I also have a rack (Lovan Sovereign) that has the middle leg in the back, and agree that it can be a PITA functionally. It seems to interfere with either power cord or interconnects at some time. Though I have a couple friends who rave about the Symposium Isis rack, this also has the middle leg in the back that you'll have to learn to 'work around'.

Good luck,
pbb racks will help isolate equipment and help with ressonance control and yes they make a big difference sometimes as much as buying a new piece of equipment. even setting up in an adjoining room your still have resonance problems and isolation problems and the you have to pay for extremly long cable runs
Hi Ken,

I just had a Audiav Crystal rack delivered to Australia around 2 weeks ago. This model had all Signature Granite Composite shelves, mag shielding and cable management.

The rack means serious business and looks a million bucks.

You can have a look in the member systems by using the following link.

I could easily have gone with the Finite Elemente, but the Pagode was too restrictive my my needs.

I think you posted on a now removed post that you had ordered these. Mine should be here ~12/21 as it stands, mine will be 6' tall with 8 shelves, all signature with mag block, three granite shelves, in black. Oh yeah, I went with Crystal as well!

Glad to hear you like it!
Wwshull, isolate the racks from what exactly? I assume vibrations. Tell me how they can affect the sound to a level of audibility on music? I suspect you will come out with the mantra that the vibrations cause changes in magnetic fields that affect electrons in circuits. If so, assuming that this is so, what levels of electronic perturbation are we looking at here that would make this audible by humans on music reproduction? What about the transmission of vibrations through the air, do you think that a rack will resolve any of this, even admitting that there is some physical mechanism that pollutes electronic signals trough very low levels of vibration? Would the solution not be, as I have indicated, to site the equipment in another room, preferably a concrete bunker?

Aside from the acoustic effects of an improperly placed set of electronic components in a sound room, an expensive rack is a poor investment IMHO with the money better used elsewhere, even, dare I say without fear of reprisal, on records!

My new racks will hold all the wieght I need and keep my components safe and vibration free with shielding of magnetic forces as well. Will it sound better? I don't know, but I don't ever have to worry about a shelve breaking and losing $100K worth of gear from a rack failure.

Isn't that alone worth the price?
Whatever you want and you can afford is worth the price. Glad to see that the main purpose is to hold your equipment. I simply would not give too much credence to claims of vibration reduction having an audible effect, and now you have to throw in magnetic forces...
Apopira2, you are correct that there are substantial differences in basic concepts between the various racks. Basically your choice is tightly grounding to the earth or isolating your components. Isolation generally means making a choice about your lowest effect isolation frequency. Tight grounding seldom means driving a 10 inch I bar into the Earth twenty feet, but at best anything that shakes the Earth even locally will be transmitted into your system.

I have nothing to recommend other than trial and error to find what you like best. I must say that if I could afford to have Halcyonic isolation bases under all my components, I would. It removes motions from above as well as from below.
Yeah, im really confused now. Im just starting out and am getting some Mcintosh, 2-mc 275 which will go on the floor(amp stands???) c-220, and am going to get a nice turntable (2k range) not sure which yet? and I thought I was doing good picking out a BDI rack!!! Didn't order it yet! So now I'm looking at the racks you guys recommended and man they are nice, pretty costly though!!! I do like the Audiav racks.. I just dont want any interference to my turntable!!! hate that...
I use the Copulare racks hand made in Germany. I thought about all of the issues already mentioned here, vibration control, weight support, aesthetics etc. I realized that the only choice was that something that would at least dampen the electronics, mostly tube gear and be pleasant to look at as well. The Finite Element and SRA's were on my list. The sound of each rack combination would have certainly been different, the finite element with massive damped wood and braced, the SRA with mystery damping stuff made to order for the exact size equipment to be used and the Copulare made to order also with exact measurements, but a little more spare room to move other components. In the end, location and convenience led me to my choice, besides a personal visit to my house by Mr. Copulare himself. The effect over what I was using was night and day, made me realize that my cables were fine, it was my old rack sucking the life out of the equipment.

I think that the rack itself can be used as a tuned device just like cables and acoustic couplers. This makes the decision harder because you need something that will both sound right and integrate into your current household.
Chiroman, I had the good fortune to have been in audio since some cinderblocks and long pine boards was considered an adequate equipment rack. I remember how much my turntable improved when I put a jack on the rafters below the turntable. I remember taking tennis balls and slitting them along the seam in furniture casters with a marble shelf under my turntable which help with footfalls as I approached but ruined the bass. I remember being impressed with the first TipToes of aluminum.

I still retain the Mana stands that I bought 15 years ago, but I think their top shelf can be greatly improved, such as by adding a Neuance shelf or an Acapella base.

All that I can advise is that you will not keep whatever rack you buy indefinitely and that which you choose will interact with your turntable. I would seek an American made rack right now as the dollars value is vanishing, especially relative to the Euro and Pound.
Going on the assumption that very few people have done a/b comparisons...if I was gonna spend the dough we're talking here I would want it to support anything I threw at it, And, look good doing it, HRS ;
Now if I aligned myself with Pbb, which is more likely the case, budgetary considerations, I like Adona; will support 300 pounds, looks good, modular construction provides infinite set up options, and even has the cache of granite/MDF laminate shelving at a very reasonable price, my 2 cents.

You do realize HRS racks can run $30K right??? My AudiAV were expensive, that is off the charts pricey!

The Adona stuff looks pretty good and made in Ga. I think i may go with them...
Anyone elase have any experience with them?
I looked at the Adona line, and spoke to them as well. The problem I see with them is they are modular like Lovan and while it does allow flexibility, it isn't as solid as the AudiAV racks in my mind. Remember they are using four feet on each tier, three points determine a plane (why Lovan uses three legged tiers), four only complicates things..... Thus the reason I wish speaker makers all used three spikes in stead of four.

They do have a cool modern look to them though and are pretty adaptable. They are also a cheaper than the AudiAV racks, which I have heard rumor they 'copied' from..... NOTE RUMOR, I can't prove anything and am only relaying what I've heard...
A friend got a huge 3 section HRS rack and two amp stands. This is the most solid, substantial and beautiful stand I've seen. Each shelf is designed with dampeners that are specifically tailored to the load of each shelf. The company works with the owner and dealer to get the layout and tuning of the rack right.

The price for all of this was, to me, astronomical.

I make do with a custom-built Zoethecus rack (alas they are no longer in business), plus a bookcase, numerous Symposium Ultra and Svelte shelves that either fit the Zoethecus rack or sit on the floor under my amps.

My choice of shelves, and couplers, etc., were entirely by trial and error. It is simply NOT the case that better dampening means better sound; there are too many instances where "more" means worse. I find that these products make the most difference with CD players and can lead to the sound becoming too dry and analytical if one goes too far.
Kenny, Larry, HRS; whew, yea, pricey, sure are purty though. Chiroman; I like the modular nature of my Adona racks, I've already added as my system has grown, have also had to adjust shelf height to accommadate a top loading cd player...that was handy. Good point was raised by Kenny; a three leg system never wobbles, but so far I have no issues in that regard. I still wouldn't feel comfortable making any claims about sound improvement with any rack.
I too find it impossible to really determine how important a particular design of a rack is as far as impact on sound. My approach has been to find a solid, stable rack that is configured the way I need it to be, and to rely on shelves and isolation gear (e.g., rollerballs) that can be added to the rack depending on the particular results obtained.

As far as a good stable rack, something cheap, like the Atlantis racks, are quite solid and easily configurable to the spacing requirements of the user. I have seen Billy Bags racks that were also very solid and stable (they come in so many varieties, including custom design, a suitable configuration should be obtainable).
OK, the thought of Courtney Love's rack at this hour of the morning.... thanks Swampwalker!
...$30k for a rack??? I can't remember who it was that said it on this forum, but they said...."were all as crazy as we can afford to be"

At some point, I have to take a step back and come to my senses.
That we are, only as crazy as how much we want to spend I guess. One of my friends had a brand new Z06 Corvette and painted it some $14,000 chameleon color, all of the rest of us said WT over,,,,anyway went to car a show and his car did not even place, in fact my car with stock Millenium yellow came in first. The bottom line, it IS a matter of taste for us individually and sometimes I guess you don't really care what other people think in accomplishing those goals.

30k buys the "basic" HRS rack. The one I saw (three section) cost twice that. The system sounded very good, but there is no way for me to say how much the rack contributed (the other stuff in this system was none too shabby, as you can well imagine).

Isn't this kind of $$ amazing?
Well the thread does say "high-end"..... exit sheepishly, stage left already :-(

You can get an HRS for less, something like $10K, but when you buy that, wouldn't you just have to pony up for the burl wood???