Racks Are Way Too Expensive
If there is one area where you can blow outrageous amounts of cash with no real hope of retaining resale value, it has to be gear racks. Take a look around. For a “thingy” that does little more than hold your gear in place, a person can easily shell out $300. (The cheapest I found was this, but that one didn’t feel right.) I’m talking plain jane, no-frills, no shock absorption racks.
I can’t figure out why this price is justified. One can argue about aesthetics, but the kind of racks I like to look at have nothing to do with audio gear. When dealing with ugly racks, I find that it doesn’t take much work to get a few cheap pieces of wood to look “pretty”, if that’s your interest.
In terms of strength, the rack gear itself rarely needs much in the way of support. In fact, one could argue that they ARE the support. Unless you reside on the San Andreas fault or have a guy who looks mysteriously like Tesla performing resonance experiments under your apartment, I can’t see how strength is a huge priority anyway. I figure as long as drop kicking your rack does more damage to you than your gear, you should be in good shape.
The World’s Cheapest Strongest Rack
I’m fairly certain a person won’t be able to top this rack for strength, size, or budget. Hell, it probably ranks quite well in the ease of construction department as well. I have the construction skills of the guy down the street with seven fingers. If I can build this thing in 20 minutes, you Stag drinkers could build it in two. Even if you are a vegetarian, have never shot a gun, and talk with a lisp, the longest this would take would be 22 minutes assuming you had the right tools. (Note: I’d bet you HGTV style lisp-speakers will give the Stag drinkers a run for their money.)
Total Price: $35 (approx)
Build Time: 2-22 minutes
I highly recommend that you angle the rack rails so they point slightly upward. This has improved visibility immensely for me and I’ll require it on all racks I use.
Some guys worry that using too large of rack could cause unwanted direct reflections from your monitors. You definitely don’t want this. If you are in a position where the monitor’s sound is not going to slam directly into the rack’s side and into your face, you can go pretty large (18 space and larger). If you think this may be a concern, a 12-space rack may be about as high as I want to go.
Upsides To This Rack
This rack design is extremely strong. When you give it a good push (with plenty of gear in it) it won’t budge. It feels extremely stable.
The rack has great ventilation. Some of my gear runs hot. By keeping the sides open, ventilation is improved dramatically over racks with solid sides.
Obviously, the price is right.
Downsides To This Rack
As is, the rack is unfinished. I’ve found that a little stain and polyurethane go a LONG way as you can see by the racks I use with my current setup.
The sides are exposed and this can look messy. At the time I built this rack, I wasn’t concerned with aesthetics. If you aren’t worried about ventilation, covering the sides with a prettier material is a no-brainer. On my latest design, I wanted to retain ventilation so I used fabric to cover up the sides. It does the trick and people who are into visual crap think it looks good.
This rack is not the most portable thing (whether within your room or taking it out on the road).
This rack design relies on the gear itself for strength. If you only have a few pieces, it may not be quite as strong as I’ve implied here. With it full, the thing is a tank. I’ve added a back support brace on my latest design to keep the rack square as I’ve found the back likes to expand outward a bit.