Better Without The Rack?

May 11, 2011

Most of my possessions are boxed up and in storage but one of the last things to be locked away will be the audio system (of course). However, my replica spider rack is off to Gary Steel’s place tomorrow; he’s kindly agreed to “store” it for me while I’m overseas. Seems fitting that it goes to another of the Witchdoctor team seeing as I originally bought the rack from Gary Pearce.

The constraints of the room mean that the rack has to be placed between the speakers, so that’s the way I’ve always had the system set up but now, with all the components unceremoniously sited on the floor, I’ve been loving the way the system sounds without all that stuff hogging the middle of this critical space. The basic character of the system hasn’t changed but there’s way more depth to the soundstage, imaging has improved and the presentation seems bigger and just generally better. Vocalists in particular seem to have benefited from this room rearrangement.

Now this isn’t an earth shattering revelation to me and I trust that it won’t be to you. It makes sense to free up the space between the speakers to allow them to do what they do best but then where does the rack and the gear go? Somewhere on the side if the room allows it but then your cable runs increase dramatically.

Perhaps the best compromise is what Gary Pearce has, which is a low, extra wide rack, that stands no more than hip high. Yes you need a big room to get away with this (or not much audio equipment) but this keeps the soundstage clear where it really needs to be, unless you’re running midget speakers or a set of old school stout floorstanders sans stands.

If you can move your rack without blowing out your cable budget, I’d say that it’s worth a shot, especially if you’ve got one filled to the brim with bits and there’s a turntable on top. Borrow some cables from your friendly neighborhood hi-fi dealer and see if the move is worthwhile. It’s certainly something I’ll be considering in future.


  1. Master Kramer, if you ever need to dispose of the Spider replica please let me know – it was quite a useful and good sounding platform, especially for turntables (rigid, but very lightweight)

  2. Seems ironic that I bought a rack that doesn’t need any shelves and then I went out and bought everything from perspex and marble slabs to rimu boards and chopping blocks to use on it.

  3. Hi Mr Kramer

    You’re so right! I’m glad you hear what i heard in my own system after removing the rack from between the speakers! I can now confirm i’m not hearing things! The depth of the soundstage improves with much better layering; the instruments & vocalist all have their own space & can breathe much better on stage! It’s just less cluttered with better width as well. I mean not a cent was spent & the improvement….. I dare say BIG, IMHO. I think all should try to free up the space between the speakers & reap the rewards ^_^

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