How to Choose the Best Audio Rack?
Table of Contents
Top Best Audio Rack Based on Reviews and Price
Why You Need a Good Audio Rack?
An audio rack or cabinet is a structure whose main purpose is to host audio systems. Asides from its primary function of housing your audio equipment as well as the routing of the cables, audio racks add unique aesthetics to the room space. They are generally wooden, metallic or glazed structures. However, choosing and setting up your first rack can be a complicated process.
To help you in that process, in today’s post, we bring you a simple guide that you can follow when you decide that you are ready to take the leap in quality in your home studio, theater or living room.
Top 10 Factors to Consider When Buying an Audio Rack
1. Types of Audio Racks
Basic studio rack: For beginners, these racks have open shelves. They are inexpensive but are easily accessible and will display the equipment housed in them. However, if you’re looking to expand the number of your audio equipment, these are not recommended for you.
These are the perfect rack for traveling entertainers (musicians, deejays, etc). They have designs that look like cases. You can put them in the car trunk, open them and set them up at your gigs.
These are audio stands designed for homes that have kids around. Closed up to easy access, they also keep the audio equipment away from dust. However, if there are no exhaust fans, you will have to provide a solution against heat.
These come with added bells and whistles like noise-reducing features, fans for ventilation as well as caster wheels for transportability. Of course, they are the most expensive on this list.
2. Decide What Audio Equipment Go Into the Rack
For your basic home studio, theatre or living room audio rig, there are a couple of things that you will surely need.
They are these:
- multi-channel microphone preamp
- power conditioner
- headphone amp
- monitor control system
- audio interface
3. Choose the Number of Rack Shelves
After knowing the number of audio equipment you want to have in your new rack, the next step is choosing whether you want a 4-shelf rack or a 6-shelf rack. Although your rack will most likely not carry more than 5 equipment, keep in mind that some take up more than one slot or rack unit. Also, our advice is that you leave some shelf units empty for air ventilation, as drawers to store things or to add more equipment to the rack later.
Assuming that your rack is going to look a lot like what we have seen in this first part of the post. A good starting point is to start with a rack of 4-8 units. 6 is usually the perfect number in most cases.
4. Height of the Rack
Manufacturers comply with a series of standard measurements in the making of the racks. However, there are different sizes and types. To calculate the height of a rack, the unit of measurement called U is used. This is equal to 44.45 mm or 1.75 inches. Therefore, the height of any audio rack must be able to be expressed with some multiple of U.
This is the height of each shelf. It is the space we have to locate those elements that we want. We can then express the measurements of a rack as follows: Height (U) x Width (mm) x Depth (mm). Rack cabinets are usually manufactured with heights between 12U and 47U. But you can find wall racks in lower heights, from 6U onwards.
5. How Wide Can the Audio Rack be?
The depth is key when choosing a rack since you’ll need extra space for wiring. It is important that the cable is not excessively bent since it may deteriorate more easily. And also, depth is a determining factor for air circulation inside the cabinet. It thus contributes to the proper cooling of the devices.
Width is usually the most standardized measure. 19 inches width (600 mm) is the most common. Remember that the standard 19″ rack refers to the width distance between the interior profiles of the cabinet, not the total exterior width of the rack. In fact, cabinets are manufactured with a width of 800 mm that allows greater ease of use to the installers. This is because maintaining the standard 19″ between the profiles, they provide an extra space of 100 mm from the profile on each side. This allows more space to add accessories that can help us achieve a more efficient and orderly installation.
Cabinets with 600, 800, 900, 1000 and up to 1200 mm depths are manufactured to house deep hardware. Having sufficient space between the hardware and the cabinet walls allows air to circulate inside. This helps to maintain the ventilation circuit. It thus eliminates possible hot spots that may compromise the operation of the installation.
6. A Choice Between the Single or Double Door
Audio racks that include enclosures can be very diverse and with very different designs. In the case of doors, standard rack fabrications for audio equipment usually include a door in the front. In addition to being made of metal or glass, they can also have a simple or double door. This is in response to the need at times to position the cabinet in narrow passageways where a standard (single) rack door, when opened, would take up too much space. The one-door racks can clutter and impede passage. It can simply become too large to fully open.
Doors with double doors are the solution to this type of problem. Since they are half as wide as the later, they take up half the space when opened, almost always being an effective solution.
7. Standing Audio Rack vs Wall-mounted Audio Rack
Standing Racks: They have a width of 600 to 800 mm and a depth of 600 to 1200mm. They are usually manufactured with heights between 12U and 47U, although there may be smaller dimensions. The number of shelves ranges from 4 to 6. But 5 are the most common. They are mostly made of glass and steel materials.
Wall-mounted Racks: Normally with depths of 300, 400, 450, 500,600 mm and heights from 4U to 22U, these are made to be hung on the wall. Although it can also be placed on the floor. The wall racks are designed for small installations. So they are usually low in height, and less deep than normal cabinets. They have an anchoring system that allows them to be hung on a wall in addition to being used on the floor.
8. Determine the Type of Rack Material
The material of the rack is chosen according to the decoration of the room. Here are a few examples that might interest you:
Wood: Wood is one of the most common materials used for audio racks. But when choosing this material, choose solid woods such as oak, mahogany, chestnut, etc. The solid wood shelf is suitable for a rustic interior.
Glass: Glass materials are common in standing racks and wall-mounted racks, especially in the making of the doors. If you prefer glass, choose tempered glass material instead of the regular ones. Tempered glasses are stronger and safer.
Metal: This material is ideal for rooms with contemporary decoration and offices. Besides, it is the most common material used in audio racks and IT cabinets.
Plastic: A plastic shelf has the advantage of being easy to maintain and is available in various colors. It goes well with a vintage, arty or pop style interior.
Wicker: This material is an economical solution. However, it is not resistant to humidity.
9. Airflow Management
Without a doubt, keeping the temperature stable and optimal is essential. It is one of the reasons to buy a rack. The audio elements will produce heat and raise the interior temperature. Therefore the selection of the dimensions is crucial to avoid the overheating of the cabinet. It is necessary to leave spaces where air can circulate. Some racks come with spaces at the back to let hot air out. But in the event that there is too much heat, we must use fans for cooling.
This is why, before buying a rack, you must know what equipment you are going to introduce into it. Take into account the wiring and enough space for air circulation. If you choose the ideal dimensions with ventilation spaces, then you will get the most out of both the cabinet and the interior material.
10. The Decor of the Room
The furniture you choose should follow the same style as the rest of the space you’re installing your audio rack.
- For contemporary settings, choose a modern audio cabinet with straight and simple lines or some sober modular composition.
- For classic living rooms, you can opt for a large piece of wood and darker colors.
- For rustic spaces, choose an iron frame with lower compartments to store what you don’t want to be visible.
The audio rack houses all your audio equipment in a place and adds functionality and aesthetics to the room decor. However, there are a couple of things to think about before deciding to buy an audio rack.
Remember to choose an audio rack, consider the interior decor of the room; ventilation and airflow management is essential; choose durable materials such as hardwood, metal or tempered glass; decide whether you want a wall-mounted or standing rack.
In addition, depending on the space you have, decide whether a single-door or double-door will work best for you. And finally, choose the dimensions and the number of shelves you want (between 4-8), depending on the number and dimensions of audio equipment you’re housing.