Equipment Stands: What are your experiences?

While it may seem natural to put your equipment on a shelf or a rack just for looks or practicality, it can have an impact on your sound.  For some, it is just an added expense that isn’t completely necessary.  Audiogon user, MrVordo, asked the Forum what they thought.  Do they really make a big difference in your sound?  Do only some components need stands and others not?  Read below to find out what kind of opinions our other users responded with.

MrVordo: Does the kind of stand you use make a difference, especially with components other than turntables? I realize how much difference a good stand can make for a TT, but does it make much of a difference for your preamp, CD player, and other front end units? How about amp stands? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth upgrading my stand to something more robust, which means pending $$$. I currently use an old Target T5 stand, which is similar to the Solid Steel 3 series, and have just switched to a Sound Anchor stand for my amp. Since I switched amps at the same time, and the amp weights 200 lbs., I’m not going to AB it with my old stand.  Would love to hear what experiences you have had with different stands.

Zd542: They do make a difference, but I wouldn’t buy one at the expense of other equipment. If you are still building your system, I would get a rack last.

Rockadanny: Star Sound Audio Points under my gear and subs, and Sistrum Platform SP-101s under my main speakers has made a significant improvement in my system’s sound: clarity, naturalness, and ease of flow of the music. Under my main speakers on my suspended hardwood floor I could see, but under my gear? I was/am astounded.

Roxy54: You have a very good system, well past the point where a good equipment stand would make an positive audible difference. I use the Adona Zero SR4 and love it. To me, it had the effect of making the speakers disappear more as sound sources, which probably has to do with the added stability lowering noise maybe. Who cares why; it looks great, has great access, and is super stable. I too used a Target T5 for about 15 years. No comparison. Core designs makes well engineered racks that are very attractive as well, but use a good bit of wood if that’s your preference. We all know some of these brands can reach very high prices, but these two brands are within reason. Another good thing about the Adona is the great and easy adjust-ability of the shelves. Reading what Rockadanny said above reminds me about Starsound. If it within your budget, I’m sure it is better than what I have. I have the SP-101 supports beneath my speakers, but if I could afford the equipment rack I would buy one. They are the real thing.

David12: I am sure they do, as long as you avoid glass shelves. I use a good quality, but not expensive wood stand and add decent footers, which can be a cheaper way to good isolation, but I am sure they make a difference. I would say TT> tube amp or pre amp> speakers, in that order of sensitivity to isolation.

Akg_ca: The British and American approach to audio stands is very different. The Brits favor a “lighter is better” approach to manage and channel away vibration and jitter. The US approach is a “heavier mass” isolation approach.  Which is better? Impossible IMO to generalize; it depends on your particular gear. Anecdotally IMO it further depends on added sensitivities introduced as one moves up the $$ chain for that gear.

Agear: Stands can make a significant difference in my experience. My non-audiophile wife could hear the difference in blinded tests. It is readily discernible and obvious. The degree of change can vary based on equipment type and design elements and degree of system resolution. Start with your speakers and work backwards.

Schw06: The effect of proper vibration management and resonance energy transfer was a “slap you in the face” upgrade in my system. I can’t make a judgement for anyone else, but I have Agear to thank for helping me understand its importance. There is no going back for me.

Audioquest4life: I went from heavy duty glass shelves to Copulare wooden shelves and it made a tremendous difference in the playback of my source components and the amps. The sound improved tremendously. I also upgraded to a heavy mass Clearaudio MontBlanc turntable stand from a standard wall mount one, and again, it was an improvement in sound.

 

How do you store your equipment?  What are your experiences with equipment stands?  Are they worth the investment?  Share your thoughts below.

15 thoughts on “Equipment Stands: What are your experiences?

  1. Chapeller28 says:

    I am currently running a pair of jl audio fathom 113’s on a floating floor. Are their any stands out there for them that aren’t overly expensive that will help my relationship with my neighbors below me??

    • Logan6478 says:

      Yes, carpet. 🙂  If you’re trying to control transmission, it’s across the whole area; not likely through the speaker base.

  2. beaverlake says:

    Setting aside speakers and turntables – has anyone, anywhere done ANY analytical testing, measurements, etc. to indicate ANY connection between components that “vibrate” more or less depending on whether or not they are on a purpose-designed/built “audiophile” equipment stand?  Assuming for a moment that speakers aren’t transmitting significant vibrations through the floor because they are spiked or on a good “isolation stand” (that would include subwoofer output) – doesn’t that mean most of the vibration that electronics would encounter would be through reflected sound waves hitting the stand or the chassis?
     
    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an anti-tweak fanatic, “it’s all snake oil” kind of person.  I just have a hard time attributing sound improvements in electronics to vibrations transmitted through the air (or floor for that matter) that would then somehow impact the movement of electrons through our electronics thus degrading sound quality.
     
    Of course, I have my gear in a carpeted equipment room somewhat isolated from speaker output and I freely acknowlege never even thinking about A/B testing a rack/stand.  Nevertheless, I do fully appreciate the aesthetics of a system when the gear is on a nice rack and the wiring is properly “loomed”.
     
    I suspect this post will attract a bevy of “I heard the difference, have you tried it” responses so I’ll fall back to another controversial approach and repeat – what testing has ever been done?  Surely making a recording comparing a “before/after” playback with simple, available measurment equipment could be done to indicate some impact on the speaker output that could be attributed to bad stand/good stand placement of equipment.  Speakers and turntables excepted, without something a bit more objective I am of the opinion that having a reasonbly well built cabinet, shelf, or stand with good airflow for cooling is all thats needed and that an “audiophile” approach to furniture can’t make any real difference in what comes out of the speakers.
     
     

  3. psgary says:

    I built the IKEA end table/coffee table audio rack from directions found in a post at Audiogon.  It cost about $100 because some really good spikes from Parts Express were used.  Much easier to build than I imagined.  It only took a few hours.

    The result?  The difference in my system was astonishing.  It was like a major upgrade to all my equipment.  Easily the best bang for the buck I ever spent on my system. 

    I could hardly believe the difference in the sound. No measurements were taken, but my ears didn’t need any.  They noticed a huge improvement.

    I don’t know what difference a megabuck audio rack would make, but I can’t recommend the IKEA rack highly enough.  A system really can’t be considered complete without something similar. 

  4. Datatask Nz says:

    I’ve built a ‘ Frankenstein ‘ turntable based on the principles of isolation and absorption . I also have my speakers on mass loaded stands. In my opinion, and given due diligence elsewhere , the quality or otherwise of stands makes a difference that would be perceived as subtle by the novice, but of HUGE import to the enthusiast. Resolution of the bottom end is a direct function of coupling to rock steady mass loaded stands.

    With respect to turn tables, you are trying to remove vibration close to the same order of magnitude as the signals you want to recover as groove information. Isolate first, then dissipate. Anchoring the tone arm cable to the plinth is probably more important than most realise. All IMHO.

  5. Davew says:

    Well I just downgraded, sort of.  I have a Krell/B&W system with Calxy Femto DAC.  Beeen using a high end rack for many years, but just couldn’t take it visually any longer.  I ditched the rack for a modern console made of 1/2″ plywood not MDF and put my monoblocks on the hardwood floor.  I heard no degradation in sound whatsoever. 

  6. Odyssey91 says:

    Here’s my question about vibration affecting sound quality. Focal, a well-respected name in high end audio, offers the Bird system with a “subwoofer” built into the box of electronics. A damn subwoofer! The Bird may not be among their upper end products, but neither is it a mass market product. And yet the electronics are housed in a box with a subwoofer. The vibrations have to be considerable, yet no one is calling the system unlistenable or mentioning how the shaking is ruining the sound. Five-figure racks, cables and power conditioners are among the things that make non-audiophiles look at us as idiots. And they are right. But it’s your money; spend it as you wish and believe what Michael Fremer and Robert Harley tell you to believe. I’d like to do a blind test with someone out of sight vigorously shaking a tube amp while a panel listens. I doubt it would have one bit of influence on the sound as long as a tube didn’t come loose!

    • Finnman500 says:

      ironically, heavy, expensive gear needs less isolation than cheap components which react to even mild vibration.

      as for power cords and conditioners. they are perhaps more important than the gear itself in terms of tonality, sound depth, dynamics and in general the removal of electronic artifact that ruins an otherwise great performance from a recording.

  7. The Audio Technician says:

    beaverlake, in response to your question re: testing:  I have tested several isolation techniques with regards to both solid state and tubed equipment (NOT speakers, turntables, or CD players), and there ARE minute differences, particularly with larger (octal) or high-µ tubes, but also with transistorized gear.  Most of the vibration gets transmitted either through tube grids or cheap caps in SS equipment.
      

      So YES, isolation techniques CAN have SOME effect on even solid-state gear – (ironically, the lower-end gear tends to be more susceptible in terms of SS gear in general).

      HOWEVER, short of famously-microphonic tubes (such as the 6SN7), most difference picked up acoustically (using Earthworks M-30BX through SSM2019-based mic pre w/shunt-regulated CLCRC power supply) had less effect than repositioning the microphone 2″

  8. Gary boyce says:

    I am willing to bet all these “golden ears” could not yell the difference between a cement block or a five figure eguipment stand in a blind test. You simply believe if you spent so much, it has to sound better, just like all the malarkey with cables and voltage conditioners

  9. beaverlake says:

    Mr. Technician – thank you for the response.  I’ll take your input at face value since I have no idea whether or not your test equipment references are legit (not questioning your credentials, just questioning my knowledge).  That said, I appreciate your final note about not only the extremely miniscule impact, but the fact that moving the mic 2″ had more of an effect.

    On the lighter side – I guess that means we should all stop head-bobbing to the beat when we listen to well-recorded, well-reproduced music!

    g

  10. MrToby says:

    I built my own rack using decorative concrete blocks (painted white), 1 1/4″ high density fiber board overlaid with 3/8″ think granite. I edged the shelves with oak painted black. The blocks are isolated from the shelves with felt. I use various isolators such as Navcom Silencers under my CD transport and DAC.

  11. MrToby says:

    I’ll add this for those who don’t believe that electronics are affected by vibration: My CAT SL1 Signature preamp changes when the top cover is removed.  Now, is the change due to vibration or metal?  I don’t know but the sound is definitely more open and spacious with the cover off.  I am going to try making an acrylic cover.  I remember that Klyne (sp) did this years ago because it was discovered to do the same thing as I have experienced with my CAT.

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