There's nothing we like better here on whathifi.com than an exclusive review, and today's offering is certainly a little bit different. This plain looking device is in fact designed for cooling your hi-fi or home cinema equipment, and making sure it doesn't overheat.
The Antec VERIS AV Cooler may look like a conventional isolation platform, but look closer and you'll find two cooling fans under the base. You place it on top of the hottest component in your system and you then set the fan to the appropriate speed to keep everything cool.
We've been running one for a couple of weeks in one of our reference systems, so read on to find out how it performed.
Antec VERIS AV cooler
Cooling platform £80
An affordable way of keeping your home entertainment kit ticking along smoothly
Nothing of note
Original thinking in a simple, effective package
Is your home cinema system hot stuff? If you own certain makes of surround receiver – we're looking at you, Onkyo – that's not necessarily a compliment, particularly if you've got your kit squirreled away in a cabinet rather than in plenty of free space.
Thing is, with home entertainment kit heat can be as much a burden as a benefit. While most equipment works best once properly warmed through, it seldom performs to its best when overheating.
And all that dispelling heat can spell trouble elsewhere in your system too, especially for anything equipped with an onboard hard-disk. As anyone with a Sky+ or similar will attest, overheating kit is often teetering on the brink of catastrophic failure: either it'll become cantankerous – its cooling fan wailing like an air-raid-siren portent of impending doom – or it'll simply lock up altogether.
Antec's Veris AV cooler is a simple, affordable way of addressing the issue. At first glance, it appears to be a standard hi-fi support platform: it's big enough to easily accommodate most hi-fi and AV amps (and by implication, almost anything else) and even has soft rubber feet at each corner.
However, peer closer and you'll find two substantial cooling fans built into the unit's base, supporting by a venting slot to the rear. They're accompanied by a three-position switch on the front of the platform (high, low and off) and a blue LED showing power status.
More after the break
All you do is place your AV Cooler on top of the hottest component in your system – most likely your amplifier – set it to the appropriate fan speed (with an Onkyo, that'll be high) and make sure the extractor vent can dispel its hot air into free space, rather than back into your enclosed cabinet.
And that, folks, is it. Antec claims 22.5dB of noise in the low-speed fan setting, which dispels 5.5 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of hot air, rising to 29dB on high (8 cfm). It's also comparatively energy efficient, requiring 3.6 watts or 5 watts, depending on speed – a typical energy-saving lightbulb, for reference, uses 6 watts.
And most crucially of all, it works: with the Antec in place, our AV receiver's heat was kept well in check, our Sky HD box, previously prone to the odd crash and moan, behaved impeccably, and we were never once disturbed by the cooling fan on our PS3.
Could you do the same job for less than £80? Undoubtedly. Buy yourself some cheap cooling fans from Maplin, cut a few holes in something suitable, and you'd be there. But the A/V Cooler is neat, simple to install, looks smart and costs appreciably less than the £80 we've cited here once you look around.
Given what it does – and the investment in both system longevity and reduced stress it represents – that has to make a worthy five-star winner.
Dimensions (hwd) 4.6 x 43x 36cm
Home cinema yes
Number of shelves 1
Shelf width 43cm
Shelf depth 36cm