I happened across a husband-and-wife team who build an array of beautiful LP storage racks and was so impressed with their work that I desired to share my find with TAS readers. The racks are made in rural Ohio by Jason and Brit Prather. The products vary from a basic “now playing” single-LP stand or wall ledge to some full-blown cabinet that stores and displays up to 480 LPs. Prices range between $20 to $897 with most models under $150. What all the hifi racks have in common is fine woodworking, natural materials (such as copper bars that support the LPs in place), and a design which makes functionality elegant. Because all the racks are made to order, you might have the selection 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). Needless to say, that’s not my entire collection, but I utilize it for quick access to albums in heavy rotation. I like the ability to scan through the albums and find out the complete covers, record-store style, as opposed to turning my head sideways and squinting in 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 a total capacity of 480 records.
The Prather Design website has photos of Jason and Brit Prather inside their workshop building the racks one at a time manually. Both of these run the complete business, including web design, marketing, photography, managing orders, packing, shipping, and accounting. They are saying on their site: “Our small town ethics of honesty, hard work, humility, and craftsmanship are elements hopefully to convey to our own customers.” Plus it was indeed gratifying to find out their beautifully crafted record rack in my listening room, and understand that it was hand-crafted in a small shop rather than 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, below are a few important things to consider: Are you placing your HiFi on the furniture? In that case, the piece should be able to accommodate the HiFi’s width and support its weight. The number of 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 demand a deeper compartment than a mid-line receiver.
Where will the furnishings be found in the room, and just how much space will it have? If you want your HiFi in a corner, there were created cabinets angled to match snugly into that space.
What’s the décor of your room? Should your family area is mid-century modern, then a cabinet with Federalist molding and pediments might look unnatural. Conversely, in case your home features a classic look, a brushed steel frame stand may appear too modern.
HiFi cabinets can have open compartments, closed compartment (with either solid or glass-panel doors), media drawers, and much more. You can find small cabinets to get a simple system with Topping DAC, and larger cabinets for multi-component home theatre systems with large HiFis. Modular cabinets can be simply customized to meet your needs. The Salamander Designs Synergy System, as an example, lets you put in a turntable tray, extra shelves, a media drawer, change the type of feet, and 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 most audio cabinets and racks are furniture made to house your gear.
Topping NX4 DSD component rack. Audio component racks can make efficient usage of space for storage. Things to look for. A classic corner cupboard might appear to produce a good A/V cabinet, but without major modifications, it probably isn’t. Below 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. Look for openings towards the bottom, inside the shelving, and in the back of the cabinet to permit free-flowing air.
Wire channels – If you need to connect your receiver on the middle ycqolf to the Blu-ray player on the lower shelf, it’s important to have access to your cables. Try to find openings in 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 might be fine. But if you want to take control of your gear remotely, you ought to choose a door which allows IR signals to pass 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 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 set up 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 up the cabinet back and check connections. Plus, wheels allow it to be easy to move the furniture to clean.
Should you don’t would like your HiFi sitting in your cabinet, but don’t (or can’t) mount it towards the wall, manufacturers like BDI make compatible floor-standing HiFi mounts which fit behind and connect to their cabinets. If you plan to have your HiFi sit along with your cabinet, you need to add a safety strap to ensure it doesn’t accidentally tip over. Even if you don’t have young kids, securing Shanling CD player with a safety strap is a good idea. Wall-mounted shelf systems offer you additional options. This can be a great solution to get a small A/V system, especially for a wall-mounted HiFi. It allows you to store a couple of components below your set on wall shelving, keeping floor space open.