I happened across a husband-and-wife team who build an array of beautiful LP storage racks and was impressed with their work that I wished to share my find with TAS readers. The racks come in rural Ohio by Jason and Brit Prather. The products range between a simple “now playing” single-LP stand or wall ledge to some full-blown cabinet that stores and displays up to 480 LPs. Prices range from $20 to $897 with a lot of models under $150. What all the hifi racks have in common is fine woodworking, natural materials (including copper bars that retain the LPs in place), and a design that makes functionality elegant. Because all the racks are designed to order, you have your choice of wood and materials. Walnut, cherry, maple, and oak can be found in a range of stain colors.
I opted for a Signature series dual rack that holds 60-80 LPs ($100). Of course, that’s not my entire collection, having said that i utilize it for fast access to albums in heavy rotation. I like the cabability to scan through the albums and see the entire covers, record-store style, instead of turning my head sideways and squinting on 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 for any 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 yourself. The 2 of those run the whole business, including website design, marketing, photography, managing orders, packing, shipping, and accounting. They say on their website: “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 within my listening room, and know that it absolutely was hand-crafted in a small shop instead of churned out by an anonymous Chinese factory.
Whether it’s called an entertainment center, HiFi console, or A/V cabinet, specialized furniture made to hold audio/video components can represent a sizable investment. Before making any purchase, here are some important things to consider: Will you be placing your HiFi on the furniture? If so, the piece will be able to accommodate the HiFi’s width and support the weight. How many and what type of components would you like to store? Center channel speakers and sound bars usually need wider compartments when compared to a receiver or Blu-ray player. A higher-end A/V receiver can require a deeper compartment compared to a mid-line receiver.
Where will the furniture be found in the room, and exactly how much space can it have? If you like your HiFi in a corner, there are engineered cabinets angled to match snugly into that space.
What’s the décor of your room? Should your family room is mid-century modern, then the cabinet with Federalist molding and pediments might look unnatural. Conversely, if your home includes 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 more. You can find small cabinets for any simple system with Topping DAC, and larger cabinets for multi-component home theater systems with large HiFis. Modular cabinets can be easily customized to suit your needs. The Salamander Designs Synergy System, for instance, lets you add 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 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 can make efficient use of storage space. What to look for. A classic corner cupboard may seem to make a good A/V cabinet, but without major modifications, it probably isn’t. Here are a few 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, in the shelving, and at the back of the cabinet to permit 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 essential to have access to your cables. Try to find 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 could be fine. But if you want to control your gear remotely, you should look 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 fast access. These panels could also have passive ventilation slots, and openings for cables to get run between shelves. Wheels — Built-in wheels provide easy access to the rear of your own cabinet. Needless to say, you’ll need access to initially setup your gear, but that won’t function as the only time. You’ll need access any time you upgrade or replace a component within your body. Sometimes wires work loose, and you’ll must open the cabinet back and look connections. Plus, wheels ensure it is easy to move the furnishings to clean.
If you don’t would like 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 affix to their cabinets. If you are planning to possess your HiFi sit on top of your cabinet, you should add a safety strap to ensure it doesn’t accidentally tip over. Even when you don’t have young children, securing Shanling audio with a safety strap may be beneficial. Wall-mounted shelf systems offer you additional options. It is a great solution for a small A/V system, especially for a wall-mounted HiFi. It enables you to store one or two components beneath your set on wall shelving, keeping floor area open.