Custom Design Discrete Inert Hi-Fi 4 review

Encourages a finger-snapping delivery from our system, but rivals offer better support and punchier, subtler performance Tested at £300

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Our Verdict

Encourages a finger-snapping delivery from our system, but rivals offer better support and punchier, subtler performance

For

  • Encourages a fast and nimble performance from our kit
  • Looks neat

Against

  • Fiddly to assemble
  • Gives a less detailed, weighty and punchy presentation than rivals

This Custom Design rack certainly lives up to its ‘discrete’ tag. The neat, slim build will appeal to many, but the shelves – made from damped aluminium – feel a little flimsy next to the wooden slabs of rivals.

Performance

We want reassuring heft. Assembly takes some work, too: the instructions are not very clear. We do some head-scratching to figure out which bits go where.

With our usual reference system on board, the sound is tight, fast and nimble. The system’s top end shines, but the rack seems to hamper our set-up’s capacity to deliver deep, punchy bass. We want more weight in terms of a more rounded and detailed performance from our system. John Williams’ orchestral theme to Jurassic Park sounds a little light on texture and detail here, and dynamically it feels a little muffled, too.

Verdict

The Custom Design allows our kit get the rhythmic structure of a song right, but at the expense of its subtleties.