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 come in rural Ohio by Jason and Brit Prather. The products vary from a simple “now playing” single-LP stand or wall ledge to some full-blown cabinet that stores and displays as much as 480 LPs. Prices range between $20 to $897 with a lot of models under $150. What all the hifi stand have in common is fine woodworking, natural materials (such as copper bars that support the LPs in place), along with a design which makes functionality elegant. Because all of the racks are made to order, you might have the selection of wood and materials. Walnut, cherry, maple, and oak can be purchased 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, however i use it for quick access to albums in heavy rotation. I enjoy the ability to flip through the albums and see the complete covers, record-store style, instead of turning my head sideways and squinting at the LP jackets’ spines. The Prathers get this style in a single, two, or three bays. Their top model, Morad ($875), combines a triple-bay arrangement with conventional storage below to get a total capacity of 480 records.
The Prather Design website has photos of Jason and Brit Prather in their workshop building the racks one at a time by hand. Both of them run the whole business, including website design, marketing, photography, managing orders, packing, shipping, and accounting. They say on their site: “Our small town ethics of honesty, work, humility, and craftsmanship are elements hopefully to convey to our own customers.” And it was indeed gratifying to view their beautifully crafted record rack within my listening room, and understand 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 perhaps a/V cabinet, specialized furniture made to hold audio/video components can represent a sizable investment. Before you make any purchase, below are a few important points to consider: Will you be placing your HiFi on the furniture? If you have, the piece must be able to accommodate the HiFi’s width and support its weight. The number of and what type of components do you want to store? Center channel speakers and sound bars usually need wider compartments when compared to a receiver or Blu-ray player. A high-end A/V receiver can require a deeper compartment when compared to a mid-line receiver.
Where will the furniture be found 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 fit snugly into that space.
What’s the décor of the room? In case your living room is mid-century modern, then a cabinet with Federalist molding and pediments might look out of place. Conversely, in case your home includes a classic look, a brushed steel frame stand may appear too modern.
HiFi cabinets might have open compartments, closed compartment (with either solid or glass-panel doors), media drawers, and a lot more. You will find small cabinets to get a simple system with Topping DAC, and larger cabinets for multi-component home theater systems with large HiFis. Modular cabinets can be simply customized to meet your needs. The Salamander Designs Synergy System, for example, lets you add a turntable tray, extra shelves, a media drawer, change the style of feet, and a lot more.
Hide your audio gear in a closet or utility room – Want to help keep your audio gear from sight? Utility-style audio racks feature open shelving or rack mounts. But many audio cabinets and racks are furniture made to house your gear.
Topping NX4 DSD component rack. Audio component racks will make efficient utilization of storage space. Things to look for. A classic corner cupboard may appear to produce 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, within the shelving, and at the back of the cabinet to allow free-flowing air.
Wire channels – If you want to connect your receiver on the middle ycqolf for the Blu-ray player on the lower shelf, it’s vital that you get access to your cables. Look for openings at the back of shelves, portals in back panels, and notches in the back of side supports.
Tempered glass door panels – For simple storage, solid door panel may be fine. But if you need to control your gear remotely, you need to look for a door which allows 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 really easy to remove for quick access. These panels could 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. Needless to say, you’ll need access to initially setup your gear, but that won’t be the only time. You’ll need access whenever you upgrade or replace a component in your system. Sometimes wires work loose, and you’ll must open up the cabinet back and look connections. Plus, wheels make it very easy to move the furniture to clean.
If you don’t would like HiFi being placed in your cabinet, but don’t (or can’t) mount it to the wall, manufacturers like BDI make compatible floor-standing HiFi mounts that fit behind and affix to their cabinets. If you intend to have your HiFi sit on top of your cabinet, you ought to add a safety strap to make sure it doesn’t accidentally tip over. Even when you don’t have young kids, securing Shanling audio using a safety strap is a great idea. Wall-mounted shelf systems give you additional options. It is a great solution for any small A/V system, specifically for a wall-mounted HiFi. It enables you to store 1 or 2 components below your set on wall shelving, keeping floor area open.