There are some people who don't believe racks make much difference to the performance of a sound system. We disagree. Hi-fi or home cinema electronics need support and isolation to have the best chance of delivering everything they've got.
In our experience, the best hi-fi and AV racks can have a notable effect on the performance of equipment. Clever design elements such as spikes and dampening gaskets help to kill vibration, upgrading the musical performance of your kit.
So what do you need to know about racks? Most are modular, so you can select the number of shelves you need. They're usually flat-pack but easy to assemble in around 15 minutes or so. You'll also want to pay attention to the type of wood used to make the shelves and choose a finish that suits your listening room's style.
We've tried and tested all options below, and drawn up a list of the best hi-fi and AV racks for your budget.
If you’re of the opinion all hi-fi racks are created more or less equal, the Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 will make you rethink your position. It's as fine an equipment support as we’ve tried for the money – and it's the current winner of the Best Equipment Rack at the What Hi-Fi? Awards.
It's well engineered and the bamboo shelving is beautifully finished. Great care has been taken to control the flow of mechanical energy in the rack’s structure, with each leg decoupled from the shelf it's attached to.
Paying just short of £600 for a three-tier Evoque Eco SE2 is hardly a trivial sum, but if you really want to hear just how well your system can perform, this is a sound investment.
Read the full Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 review
The Hi-Fi Racks Omnium8 is an incredibly versatile rack. There’s a choice of eight standard finish options and no less than four different types of uprights. Buyers can specify the number of shelves, their spacing and whether the uprights are bolted or spiked. You get the idea – this rack can be configured to accommodate just about any set-up.
And whatever the configuration, this solid oak rack support will add sonic weight and warmth to your kit. The Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 (above) might offer a touch more agility and precision, but both set-ups render similar amounts of detail.
A superb, high-quality product. If its looks and flexibility float your boat, dive right in. You won’t be disappointed.
Read the full Hi-Fi Racks Omnium8 review
Atacama's newest and most premium range of racks is a brand new design from the Evoque SE2 (and £100 pricier per shelf), with the brand continuing its use of bamboo material throughout. The Elite Eco 24 features solid bamboo legs and is a more high-quality design that looks rather fetching too.
As ever, the design is modular and now includes cable management panels, which are now handily compatible with other models too. The grooves cut into the underside of each shelf direct vibrations and mechanical resonance away from the kit more efficiently in this model, and the overall effect on our system is one of an open, organised, more dynamic and precise sound. Bass sounds tauter and deeper than when using the same kit placed on the Evoque rack, and there's a sense of ease with more subtleties revealed that elevate the system's overall performance even further.
Yes, each shelf can add up to be rather pricey, but if each individual kit in your system costs upwards of £1000, it's worth investing in this sturdy, great-looking specialist support rack that will let your system perform at its full potential.
Read the full Atacama Elite Eco 24 Reference review
How we test hi-fi and AV racks
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door – including equipment racks.
What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, so we build and compare every equipment rack we review against each other and the current leader in its field, to gauge how it compares to the best-in-class competition. We keep What Hi-Fi? Award winners – such as the long-standing Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 – in our stockrooms so we can always pit new products against ones we know and love, and we do our best to review as many new models in as many markets as possible to ensure our contextual knowledge is the best it can be.
We are always impartial in our testing and ensure we take time to build and set-up hi-fi and AV racks properly and securely. We'll use a variety of kit to place on the rack to see how well it copes with different sizes and types of products, as well as the impact the rack's materials and design have on the system's overall performance.
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we're being as thorough as possible. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.
You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.