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Do racks and cabinets make a difference?


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13 hours ago, Dacman said:

i am about to build a rack and am calling for opinions on whether they make a difference or not. design suggestions are welcome also

Some pay thousands for racks, others like me use ordinary furniture. But I do use Isoaccoutics stands for my speakers and believe that vibration isolation help sources like disc players (& turntables which I do not have). I also have cheap IKEA bamboo chopping boards which help a little.

 

I assume you are using timber. See whether you can incorporate bamboo as shelving, similar to some commercial offerings. 

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1 minute ago, Snoopy8 said:

Some pay thousands for racks, others like me use ordinary furniture. But I do use Isoaccoutics stands for my speakers and believe that vibration isolation help sources like disc players (& turntables which I do not have). I also have cheap IKEA bamboo chopping boards which help a little.

 

I assume you are using timber. See whether you can incorporate bamboo as shelving, similar to some commercial offerings. 

hmm thanks you are not the first to suggest bamboo yes it will be wood so i will look into the bamboo

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I've read that bamboo and hardwood ply are the best shelves acoustically.  MDF is easy to use so it's popular with manufactures and diy'ers, but isn't good acoustically. 

Whatever you use for shelves, make them thick so they can hold the weight over time without sagging. 

If you have hollow metal legs in your design, fill them with dried sand. 

Putting the shelves on spikes can also help. 

 

As to how much they influence the sound of the system, it depends on your room and gear.  The rack might have less influence if it's sitting on a concrete slab compared to softwood floorboards.  It will certainly influence the sound of a turntable, and also might improve CD player and valve amp performance. 

 

There are lots of DIY approaches to hifi racks, some are documented in the diy forums on SNA and other audio communities. 

One popular approach is the TNT diy, which is created using threaded rods.  I would suggest using painted pvc pipe to cover the threads, or to make a wooden cover for them. 

https://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/flexye.html

https://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/flexyfaq_e.html

 

Good luck with your project.  I'm sure there are many here who would like to see photos of your progress. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

I've read that bamboo and hardwood ply are the best shelves acoustically.  MDF is easy to use so it's popular with manufactures and diy'ers, but isn't good acoustically. 

Whatever you use for shelves, make them thick so they can hold the weight over time without sagging. 

If you have hollow metal legs in your design, fill them with dried sand. 

Putting the shelves on spikes can also help. 

 

As to how much they influence the sound of the system, it depends on your room and gear.  The rack might have less influence if it's sitting on a concrete slab compared to softwood floorboards.  It will certainly influence the sound of a turntable, and also might improve CD player and valve amp performance. 

 

There are lots of DIY approaches to hifi racks, some are documented in the diy forums on SNA and other audio communities. 

One popular approach is the TNT diy, which is created using threaded rods.  I would suggest using painted pvc pipe to cover the threads, or to make a wooden cover for them. 

https://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/flexye.html

https://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/flexyfaq_e.html

 

Good luck with your project.  I'm sure there are many here who would like to see photos of your progress. 

 

 

Thanks thats great i was planning on using 40mm pine for the shelves and 70x70 pine for the posts. 

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I find MDF dulls the sound too much, Bamboo I like so much that I am looking to rebuilt my amp that is built on a sheet of MDF to bamboo (bit of a job so might be down the track). I use Bamboo under speaker stands, source and under the speakers themselves (with anti vibration rubber pads under the Bamboo for better vibration control in each of those situations).

 

I also have the anti vibration rubber pads under the legs of my rack.

 

Of course there are more expensive and possibly better vibration control isolation to use in place of White's Anti-vibration pads if you have the budget :)

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1 minute ago, Assisi said:

@Dacman

 

As you know I used bamboo and steel rod.  The bamboo was a kitchen bench top from Bunnings cut into four pieces.  Interestingly the cost has gone down in just over 2 years

 

https://www.bunnings.com.au/kaboodle-2400-x-600-x-35mm-bamboo-benchtop_p2662191

 

John

image.png

i see thanks john i think i will use a bamboo shelf for my switch

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An acoustic difference? If you have equipment that is sensitive to vibration, then isolation is the critical factor. Here the materials and aesthetics are insignificant in comparison to having isolation mounts that are optimised for the weight and relevant frequencies.

 

Here's what many people forget - the rack itself along with the equipment has a direct impact on acoustics. The worst case scenario here is where many people start - speakers sitting on top of a large entertainment unit, against the wall, no toe in, everything crammed together. It looks and sounds crammed in. Now move across to a minimal rack, placed for minimal impact, with speakers better positioned (usually with breathing space on all sides and toe in) ... now this is a big leap forward. It's less about the rack itself and more related to letting the speakers breathe. Very often when the rack is obtrusive, the speakers are forced into positions that hold the system back. There's always compromise in a living room system but when you take this as far as you can go, the rewards can be dramatic.

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My view of racks is they serve 2 purposes.

 

- Arrange your gear

- Isolate vibration

 

Anything more than that is really window dressing. Nothing wrong with beautiful window dressing of course, and we shouldn't be embarrassed to admit it.

 

As far as audio quality goes, a rack that isolates well will certainly help components that are vibration sensitive (think turntables). Other than that, it's largely fashion IMHO.

 

Nothing wrong with beautiful furniture of course, but if you think it makes your DAC sound better I'm afraid you're probably just justifying your purchase.

 

No doubt a lot will think I'm wrong, and often do! :)

 

I'm aesthetically vain enough to admit I bought something expensive purely because I love the look/build quality of it. I don't need to pretend it makes things sound better. Same reason I like expensive watches.

 

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9 hours ago, Dacman said:

hmm thanks you are not the first to suggest bamboo yes it will be wood so i will look into the bamboo

Hi Dacman.

I recently sold my old rack with MDF shelving and purhased one with bamboo shelving. Definitely noticed a difference in SQ.

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As others have suggested, when it comes to equipment supports, isolation makes the biggest difference to perceived sound quality. Damping can help too but is less critical than isolation. Turntables, CD players and valve amplification will benefit the most, turntables in particular. Speakers will also benefit greatly when isolated from their support structure, eliminating feedback distortion which smears the sound. To hear properly isolated speakers is a revelation! 

 

Have fun with your project @Dacman. Pm me up if you are curious about maximising isolation for your system

Edited by Soundscape
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By coincidence from this thread

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/301302-bench-top-material-for-component-shelving/?do=findComment&comment=4461617

 

Try laminated bamboo from

https://www.letobamboo.com/

Advantage of selecting thickness and cross lamination can reduce vibration.

 

Edited by Snoopy8
Removed length, width mistake
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45 minutes ago, 08Boss302 said:

Hi mate, hope your well

I really like how you've placed the speakers on bamboo boards

I'm going to try that... 

What have got under the boards? 

Looks like spikes, I'd do as @Soundscape suggests and isolate the bamboo boards from the floor.

 

Edit: although it is hard to see and they might actually be isolating footers? @Dacman ?

Edited by muon*
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52 minutes ago, 08Boss302 said:

Hi mate, hope your well

I really like how you've placed the speakers on bamboo boards

I'm going to try that... 

What have got under the boards? 

im good you doin? theyre hardwood on spikes gave me transperancy lost some bass but got it back with positioning

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On 11/02/2020 at 7:52 PM, Dacman said:

i am about to build a rack and am calling for opinions on whether they make a difference or not. design suggestions are welcome also

I love all this stuff. I’m soon to tackle an interesting one.  I want the tv out of view (a battle I lost - getting a tv in the back lounge), so I’ve bought a tv lifter and I’m working on a design to have the tv at the back, and have it lift out of the rack.

 

I would use a nice hardwood for the main structure (mostly for aesthetics).  I’m a big fan of recycled messmate.  Have a look here for inspiration:

https://www.bomboracustomfurniture.com.au

 

Then next, you can consider a design whereby you have a bunch of (again, preferably nice hardwood) shelves that can be moved up/down, and sit on a timber rail.  That rail can have routed sections into which you could sit 1/2 squash balls, so the shelf is not physically attached.  This means they both move and are isolated frommtransmitted vibration through the frame.

 

Cut each shelf short of the back of the unit to allow for dangling cabling. Another nice touch is some sort of removable “kickplate” at the base to hide all the power boards and so on, but allow access to it all.

 

Lastly, each shelf can also have some nice (varying size) bamboo or engineered “sandwhich” board (like in kitchens).  Just leave it raw (looks good) and sit them on little pads of some sort.

 

That should get you drawing!

 

Good luck and post progress!  

 

Mat

Edited by Mat-with-one-t
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