Equipment Racks - Guide to Available AV Rack Options
Updated: December 17, 2012

Audio-Video Equipment Racks - Part 3

Available Rack Solutions for Home Theater Use

AV Rack Systems range from industrial-type 19-inch standard rack enclosures that can be customized relatively easy to the user specific needs, to the more decor friendly yet non-standard rack solutions available specifically for use in the home theater.

Which rack system to use depends on your needs, yet if you are ready to search around, you will definitely come up with a suitable rack system that fits your purpose. Admittedly, selecting the appropriate rack system can be a time consuming process. We have already discussed what to look for when looking for a rack solution in the second part of this serious of guides on AV equipment racks. In this article, we discuss available rack solutions for the home theater.


A/V Rack Solutions for different needs

Peerless AVM AV Rack SystemAs detailed under part 1, standard 19-inch equipment racks are available from various makes, sizes, and enjoy a never-ending list of rack accessories that are fully compatible irrespective of brand. This makes 19-inch rack systems the most versatile you can find, but...

Standard 19-inch equipment racks often take an industrial look that is difficult to disguise and integrate with the rest of the room decor. Though these systems can do a superb job, it is best you leave them outside your entertainment room, and instead installed out of sight in a dedicated media closet.

There is also the issue of price. A 44U 19-inch rack costs at least $1,500; often exceeding $3,000 when complete with cooling fans, perforated support shelves, AC distribution panels, and cable management accessories. Whether this is justifiable depends on the nature and complexity of the setup you want to have.

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What about Non-Standard Rack Solutions?

There exist several 'relatively cheaper' options that would still do a great job in a typical home theater installation. True that these come somewhat cheaper than standard 19-inch racks, but even a simple AV rack system with 3 adjustable-height shelves may cost anything  up to $400 if you are after a good quality sturdy AV equipment rack solution.

Move on to the more elaborate slide-out and rotating rack solutions such as the 4-shelf ASR-HD Series Slide Out & Rotating Shelving System discussed further on in this article, and you may very well spend over $1,500 online for a 60-inch high rack solution when buying online; and this despite that buying online is generally cheaper.

But pricing of equipment rack solutions is very much dependent on the rack features — including rack finish e.g. metal or polished hard wood, rack size — mainly depending on rack width and number of shelves, and load bearing capacity. The latter is often ignored completely by most home theater enthusiast in the market for a rack solution; but it is important to keep in mind that audio amplification equipment can be relatively very heavy.

The good news is... If you are ready to search around, you will definitely come up with a suitable affordable rack system suitable for your needs. We say, be prepared to spend up to a $1000 for a good quality sturdy AV cabinet solution. So let's see what's on offer within this price bracket.

The Salamander Synergy Range of A/V Furniture

Within this budget limit, there is a vast range of products to choose from. In particular, we like the Salamander Synergy range of home theater furniture available from amazon.

These media cabinets come finished with genuine hardwood panels and extruded aluminum posts for an overall aesthetic finish that would surely suit the rest of your home theater room decor.

A case in point is their Synergy 402 A/V Media Cabinet.  The 402 incorporates an innovative design that provides complete flexibility and that can serve as the basis for an expanded system. It comes with five fully adjustable shelves, and includes a removable rear panel designed in such a manner to allow cables to pass over and underneath it.

Salamander Synergy 402 AV Component Cabinet

Synergy 402 A/V Media Cabinet

At 23¼ inches wide, the Synergy 402 is perfect for all forms of imaginable home theater gear.

Salamander Synergy 236 AV furniture

Synergy 236

Another stylish design in the Salamander range is the Synergy 236 A/V Cabinet w/two Doors & Media Drawer. This Lowboy unit provides plenty of space for audio/video system components, and at over 65-inch wide, it can hold plasma, LCDs and rear projection TVs that are as wide as 60-inch.

The Synergy 236 media cabinet comes with fully adjustable black shelves and perforated steel door panels. These perforated door panels allow for ventilation, and for remote control signals to pass through. Like the previous model, the Synergy 236 also comes with a removable black rear panel that allows cables to pass both over and underneath it.

Available in various wood and metal finishes, including the choice of castor wheels or polished aluminum feet for that extra elegant touch, these racks should prove easy to integrate with the rest of your home theater room furniture.

Middle Atlantic ASR Line of Sliding/Rotating Shelving System

Another interesting range of professional audio video equipment racks comes from Middle Atlantic.

Their ASR Series of equipment racks include a comprehensive line of sliding out and rotating rack systems that comes in various sizes; these rack solutions can be mounted in a cabinet to match the rest of your room decor.

The relatively affordable Middle Atlantic ASR-48 slide out and rotating equipment rack system shown here is designed mainly for the smaller home entertainment center.

It can take up to seven self-leveling 18-1/4" wide shelves mounted on glide rails; this allows for easy access to the rear of your electronic components.

Middle Atlantic ASR-48 Rotating Slide-Out Shelving System

Middle Atlantic ASR-48
Rotating Slide-out Component Shelving System

Middle Atlantic ASR-60-HD slide out and rotating equipment rack

Middle Atlantic ASR-HD line with its ASR-60-HD slide-out & rotating shelving system

At the upper end of the scale, one finds the Middle Atlantic ASR-HD line with its ASR-60-HD 60-inch high slide out and rotating shelving system.

As with the cheaper Middle Atlantic line, the ASR-HD model comes with slide out and rotating functionality for enhanced access to rear equipment connections.

The main upgrade over the less expensive equipment rack solutions from Middle Atlantic is that the ASR-HD comes with a more aesthetically pleasing design which will complement better any decor.

Main features include a silver brushed trim which comes as standard while an optional black brushed and unfinished wood trim kit is also available.

The same easy index self-leveling shelves used in the less expensive line apply, while the use of a self centering base simplify and speed up assembly. The ASR-60-HD can take up to 350 lb in equipment and includes vented shelves and top for optimized thermal management and cable management support.

Budget-class A/V Equipment Stands

If your budget is within the lower price bracket, it is still possible to find a comprehensive line of affordable budget class equipment racks that do not sacrifice neither quality nor design.

Generally, what one gets at the budget category are basic open equipment stands with no frills. However, with some careful search, you can still end with a good stylish stand that is suitable for your needs.

A case in point is the Poundex 5-Tier Glass Top 40-inch high open rack system; the Poundex is a typical example of an easy to assemble open-type equipment rack and incorporates three tempered-glass shelves in a hardwood frame. At under $150, it is an inexpensive AV rack option that though not designed for heavy audio equipment gear, yet it is till of relatively solid build.

Poundex 5-Tier Glass Top Open AV Rack

Poundex 5-Tier Glass Top
open shelf AV rack system


Bush Audio Video Tower rack System
Bush Audio Tower

However, our preferred line of budget-class open rack systems comes from Bush with the Bush Audio Tower shown here being a typical example of available affordable options from this equipment rack maker. This open rack solution is selling on amazon at under $230. This  is a relatively heavy duty rack that comes in a stylish design with chrome metal trims and five shelves in tempered glass.

Some may not classify open-shelf racks as a true rack system 'per se' in that basic open shelf stands often lacks some of the features found on the more advanced, more expensive enclosed equipment racks.

At the same time, open-shelf audio video equipment stands still incorporate several interesting features. Among these, the Bush system includes a perforated open spine for easy audio-video wiring and shelves that rest on vibration damping pads.

In addition, the open rack design allows both for ample airflow around your audio and video gear, and makes access to equipment, simply straightforward. Add the stylish design and solid build quality that comes from Bush and there you have a functional solution to stack your gear on a budge!

More Equipment Rack Options for the Home Theater

During these last few years, we have managed to review two totally different lines of equipment racks, one aimed for that extra touch of class, and the other to literally take your gear for a spin!

 For that extra touch of glass!

Way back in 2007, we reviewed a line of media cabinets by Maria Yee handcrafted in eco-friendly BambooTimberâ„¢ and Ghinmu wood. The line was originally available from the Magnolia Home Theater Stores in New York and Los Angeles.

The original line has now been discontinued and replaced by new models, but it still represents among the best designs in home theater furniture we have ever come across, providing the perfect merge between functional media cabinets and elegant design; the aim was to bring out the best in any home entertainment system. More information in our review article: Home Media Cabinets for that Unique Finishing Touch.

Take your Gear for a Spin!

Another line of AV equipment racks we reviewed on our site comes from AVRAK. AVRAK are mainly renowned for their range of AV rotating equipment rack systems, similar in concept to the range of pull-out and rotating rack systems from Middle Atlantic referred to above.

Like most equipment rack manufacturers, the AVRAK system comprises a full range of products - from pullout and rotating rack systems, to stationary, rotating, and freestanding with rotation. The AVRAK system is among the most expensive around but it also offers a high degree of adaptability, available customization options, and a meticulous attention to detail. More information on the AVRAK line of rotating AV racks can be found in our review article: AVRAK Rotating AV Racks.

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 Article Content

Issues discussed in this article

Blue bullet  A/V Rack Solutions for different needs: Standard EIA/310-D 19-inch racks vs. non-standard racks solutions

Blue bullet  Non-Standard Rack Options: Discussing the more affordable equipment rack options from top equipment rack manufacturers for home entertainment.

Blue bullet  More Available Rack Options for that 'extra' touch of class!