I happened across a husband-and-wife team who build a variety of beautiful LP storage racks and was so impressed with their work that I wanted to share my find with TAS readers. The racks are made in rural Ohio by Jason and Brit Prather. These products range between a simple “now playing” single-LP stand or wall ledge to a full-blown cabinet that stores and displays as much as 480 LPs. Prices vary from $20 to $897 with most models under $150. What all the hifi audio rack have in common is fine woodworking, natural materials (such as copper bars that retain the LPs set up), and a design which makes functionality elegant. Because all of the racks are made to order, you have your selection of wood and materials. Walnut, cherry, maple, and oak are available in a selection of stain colors.
I prefered a Signature series dual rack that holds 60-80 LPs ($100). Of course, that’s not my entire collection, having said that i use it for quick access to albums in heavy rotation. I love the cabability to flip through the albums and find out the whole covers, record-store style, instead of turning my head sideways and squinting on the LP jackets’ spines. The Prathers get this style in one, two, or three bays. Their top model, Morad ($875), combines a triple-bay arrangement with conventional storage below for any total capacity of 480 records.
The Prather Design website has photos of Jason and Brit Prather inside their workshop building the racks one-by-one by hand. The 2 of those run the entire business, including web development, marketing, photography, managing orders, packing, shipping, and accounting. They are saying on their site: “Our small town ethics of honesty, work, humility, and craftsmanship are elements we hope to convey to our own customers.” And it was indeed gratifying to find out their beautifully crafted record rack inside my listening room, and realize that it had been hand-crafted in a small shop as opposed to churned out by an anonymous Chinese factory.
Whether it’s called an entertainment center, HiFi console, or A/V cabinet, specialized furniture created to hold audio/video components can represent a substantial investment. Before making any purchase, here are a few important facts to consider: Are you gonna be placing your HiFi on the furniture? If so, the piece will be able to accommodate the HiFi’s width and support its weight. The amount of and which kind of components do you wish to store? Center channel speakers and sound bars usually need wider compartments compared to a receiver or Blu-ray player. A high-end A/V receiver can demand a deeper compartment than a mid-line receiver.
Where will the furnishings be located in the room, and how much space can it have? If you want your HiFi in a corner, there are specially designed cabinets angled to suit snugly into that space.
What’s the décor of the room? If your family room is mid-century modern, then a cabinet with Federalist molding and pediments might look unnatural. Conversely, should your home has a classic look, a brushed steel frame stand may appear too modern.
HiFi cabinets may have open compartments, closed compartment (with either solid or glass-panel doors), media drawers, and a lot more. You can find small cabinets to get a simple system with Topping amplifier, and larger cabinets for multi-component home theatre systems with large HiFis. Modular cabinets can easily be customized for your needs. The Salamander Designs Synergy System, for example, enables you to put in a turntable tray, extra shelves, a media drawer, modify the type of feet, and much more.
Hide your audio gear in a closet or utility room – Want to maintain your audio gear out of sight? Utility-style audio racks feature open shelving or rack mounts. But a majority of audio cabinets and racks are furniture created to house your gear.
Topping NX4 DSD component rack. Audio component racks could make efficient utilization of storage space. What to look for. An old corner cupboard may seem to create a good A/V cabinet, but without major modifications, it probably isn’t. Here are some key features to look for in purpose-build entertainment furniture:
Passive ventilation – electronic components generate heat, and without ventilation that trapped heat can seriously affect your gear’s performance. Try to find openings towards the bottom, inside the shelving, and at the back of the cabinet to enable free-flowing air.
Wire channels – If you need to connect your receiver on the middle ycqolf for the Blu-ray player on the lower shelf, it’s vital that you have access to your cables. Search for openings in the back of shelves, portals in back panels, and notches in the back of side supports.
Tempered glass door panels – For easy storage, solid door panel might be fine. But if you need to take control of your gear remotely, you need to search for a door that enables IR signals to move without interference. Such panel doors often feature smoked or tinted glass to discretely hide your components.
Removable back panels – Entertainment furniture features back panels that are simple to remove for quick access. These panels may also have passive ventilation slots, and openings for cables to become run between shelves. Wheels — Built in wheels provide easy access to the rear of the cabinet. Obviously, you’ll need usage of initially create your gear, but that won’t become the only time. You’ll need access when you upgrade or replace a component in your body. Sometimes wires work loose, and you’ll have to open the cabinet back and check connections. Plus, wheels ensure it is easy to move the furnishings to clean.
Should you don’t want your HiFi sitting in your cabinet, but don’t (or can’t) mount it towards the wall, manufacturers such as BDI make compatible floor-standing HiFi mounts that suit behind and attach to their cabinets. If you intend to have your HiFi sit along with your cabinet, you ought to put in a safety strap to ensure it doesn’t accidentally tip over. Even if you don’t have young children, securing Shanling TEMPO using a safety strap is a great idea. Wall-mounted shelf systems offer you additional options. This can be a great solution for any small A/V system, particularly for a wall-mounted HiFi. It lets you store one or two components below your set on wall shelving, keeping floor area open.