I have been looking down rabbit holes for a long time making modest changes and discovering things that make sonic improvements. The more i look the more i discover there are primarily 2 ways to improve an already excellent system. Less background noise and improved sonic accuracy. In my system the area that i haven’t explored very thoroughly is rack system and its overall effect on the sound accuracy. I have invested in better quality stillpoint devices for each of my dcs, preamp, amp and power cleaner devices but the racks themselves are modest. Can anyone direct me to a link that really gets at the meat of this subject or is this a dead rabbit hole. Thx. B
It’s definitely a rabbit hole, Barry. A slippery, sloping rabbit hole.
Very, very easy to vanish up one’s own jacksie with the isolation stuff. It’s so hard to compare. It’s so awkward to set up. And it’s generally a lot of cash to lob into something.
One of the things I found difficult is that it feels risky to mix and match approaches. A CMS rack here, a Stillpoints footer there, an HRS platform underneath etc. I vacillated for a long time…then jumped in with both feet. I’m still wincing from the cost. Sounds amazing, though. Better than the EXR would have? Maybe. Better than the Herbies footers I had before that? Maybe. Definitely looks great. And I’m not likely to knock it over during a booze-fuelled late night session
Thanks Ben. My concern exactly. I am definitely open to exploration but this particular commitment ( more due to absolute effort required) just hasnt got me convinced enough to go the road. My rack (s) arent unattractive but good enough to get the job done visually. Certainly not as expensive as the least expensive component that they support. Although i may have spent a few cars full of cash getting to this point I’m just looking (listening) for credible guidance that makes me think that significant accuracy rests between the stillpoints and the floor. I appreciate your insight and welcome others. Best. B
How much sonic gain is a subjective and therefore personal judgement. Unfortunately there is no objective information published (perhaps even available) that will provide guidance. All there exists are unsupported assertions: " we make the best rack" .
I am unable to find a single source of information unattached to a manufacturer’s marketing puff but:
- Racks do alter the listening experience. However this can be for good or bad.
- Whatever ,we all need some sort of rack. Placing high end units on spare spaces on domestic furniture is not the best solution.
- Many racks are poorly designed from a hotchpotch of ideas gathered here and there and can involve strategies that are may result in poor results. With some exceptions these include glass shelves and the use of spikes incorrectly. Often some sort of compromise becomes necessary.
So that rabbit hole is a deep one. However what may seem to be a disadvantage can actually help. That is that you cannot really arrange an A/B comparison of racks. Most high end dealers may stock two ranges, one at budget level and one top end. Given the circumstances and the lack of reliable and unbiased information there may be an advantage in that the choice can be limited in practice.
Fortunately most people here do have racks from the better manufacturers ( see the “show off” thread) even though for some of us there are limitations as four levels seems the limit.
@Anupc mentioned some objective investigation somewhere a while back: that there was little/no measurable vibration on an existing rack, so they took it no further. But agreed, Pete — there’s nary a sausage published anywhere I’ve seen. Would love to read such a thing!
Hey Pete. Yes, my rack system was designed to hold audio gear but as stated earlier not particularly costly. Twelve wooden shelves on a metal structure spread over 3 bays wide with decent leveling capabilities. Amplification is separately raised off of the floor about 4” on similarly constructed wood and metal platforms. Over the past 2 years each component has been separately isolated on stillpoints isolation feet and are sized larger than required by weight. In my logical mind each of my components are already isolated and likely wont benefit from using an isolating rack to isolate the isolation feet that isolate the components. Yes… it sounds ridiculous… but i obviously haven’t read or tried everything which is why im asking.
As far as aesthetics the existing rack is functionally fine and somewhat subdued. I understand the desire to get the most attractive (possibly expensive) rack to display all of the gems which have been acquired and muse at how much cooler a rack such as ben’s @all2ofme would look in my home. Then i look at the task at hand and what it might take to put such a 12 bay rack together in mental and financial resources and i pose the above question.
I really do admire the display of equipment by forum members and am always reviewing these systems looking for hints at how i might improve my own system. I was intrigued for example by the isolation weight used by @Anupc on one of his components. I really am totally open to suggestions and appreciate the feedback. B
The rack is a nice way to arrange your equipment in particular when you have tons of cables behind your gear…With dCS it happens
It is very easy to measure, with a smartphone and the appropriate application you can download most of the time for free.
With this in hand I can tell you that my Bassocontinuo hifi rack vibrates a little bit less than a 20€ Ikea table I have in the same room…Does this tiny difference make a difference I could hear if my hifi was on the Ikea table ? No idea.
Does very small vibrations (0,00005gr) make a dCS DAC sounding bad compared to 0,00002gr, may be dCS people measured that in the factory ?
Athough such apps measure vibration it is unclear that they do so at frequencies relevant to audio. I just checked my copy and I cannot make any such conclusion.
Ben’s is HRS I believe. I am just speculating on what a 12 bay HRS rack would cost even using the cheapest options. Eek!
I’d love some concrete, reliable, relevant measurements (if we can agree what relevant means in this case).
I can say I heard a huge difference with IsoAcoustics’ GAIA feet on my previous speakers. However I didn’t hear much difference when I put the Orea feet on my other equipment. I didn’t hear a difference when I replaced those with Stillpoints either.
Maybe because we live in a village and the main road is far enough away not to cause an problem, or, maybe, I’m deaf, but, try as I might I didn’t hear a difference.
Barry, precisely because it’s to really hard to actually compare the sonic benefit of different racks, I attempted to measure what sort of vibration my dCS components were experiencing. You can read about it in the following thread and follow-up posts;
I think especially where solid-state components are involved, it’s very difficult to attribute any subjective listening experiences to vibration measurements. That said, with tools now relatively easily available to measure differences between racks/isolation, one can just pick the best from that objective comparison.
As Ben says, based on my (relatively brief) measurements, I really couldn’t justify swapping out my existing isolation/rack for anything “better” - peace of mind and money saved
Yeah i get that exactly… but i am still listening
Exactly. I know it would definitely look better … but if i put a bag over it could i tell the difference?
Yeah. J. I live out in the country. Nearest neighbor is outside of baseball throw away. Street is over 250 feet. Small airport a few miles away. Im on my own transformer. My listening room noise floor is about 29db and dropping. There are only so many things to work on but im still searching. I do know every bit of isolation and precision is one bit closer to perfection.
Thanks Anup. Ill check out the link. Im not terrified of spending more but i need a reasonable thought that i may actually see a gain. Sounds like the quorum indicates its a bottomless pit with no likely real solution.
Racks are a funny old subject really, and i think any gains to be had from a good designed rack come from firstly how bad your gear is at dealing with vibrations, and then how much vibrations are in the room caused by your speakers, traffic, etc, etc.
Also floor construction comes into it, so lot’s off different thing’s that will either add up to a lot or not so much.
Obviously a nice rack can look nice, and hopefully help keep the vibrations down, but in the end it comes down to you personally as to whether you go for it or not.
For me personally i wanted a nice rack, i haven’t a clue if it’s making a difference but it certainly isn’t making it worse.
I agree with all you say but I have a comment on the above. I have been using dedicated racks for audio since the early days of audiophile rack manufacture in the UK. That was the early 1980s with the first Sound Organisation units. These were replaced with the first version of the late and missed Max Townhend’s Seismic Sink “pendulum” suspended rack and later with my big Quadraspire SVT.
So that’s three racks successively in the same room. So some sort of comparison could be attempted. I have to say that each replacement gave me clearly audible improvements. I can’t easily itemise them but the overall sound and music seemed better each time. As a classical listener string sound is important to me and that, at least, can be thought of separately and got better and better.
I am hoping that this is a little encouragement.
Get a Quadraspire rack. I have the mid range SVT and it opened up the sound from my equipment.
I have no links with Quadraspire other than being a very satisfied owner of one of their products.
Ditto Custom Design HiFi racks of which I’m a fan https://www.customdesign.co.uk/Milan-6-support-hifi-furniture-hifi-stand-hifi-table-hifi-stand-hifi-support-hifi-table-hifi-equipment-support-CDht2221-speaker-stands-speaker-stand-milan-Compact-hifi-furniture-hifi-support-hifi-table-hifi-stand-speaker-stand-hifi-furniture-hifi-tables-s
I don’t consider it a rabbit hole. It isn’t something easy to compare like two dacs or something.
But I will tell you if you can ever hear a dCS set up on a Grand Prix Audio Silverstone rack, you’ll buy it. You won’t care about comparing after you hear it. And it’s exactly what you say in your original post, less background noise, Improved sonic accuracy. I’d add resolution and tambre. My Grand Prix Audio Rack takes my Vivaldi Stack to a new level, it’s NOT subtle and you can’t go backwards once heard. My 2 cents