At first glance, there seems little difference between Atacama’s Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 and its Award-winning predecessor, the Evoque Eco 60-40. But if you think that means Atacama’s engineers have been twiddling their collective thumbs over the past few years, you’d be wrong.
Take a closer look, and you realise that there have been a whole host of tweaks to eke out even more performance from this rack.
Place the two generations next to each other, and the most obvious difference is that the bamboo shelves on the SE2 version have slightly curved sides. This helps to reduce the build-up of internal standing waves, something reinforced by the revised shaping of the distinctive cut-outs on the underside.
Great care has been taken to control the flow of mechanical energy in the rack’s structure. This energy could originate in the hi-fi components (vibrations caused by their mains transformers or CD transports, for example) or be generated by the speakers and try to work its way back into your electronics through the floor.
To deal with these vibrations, each leg is decoupled from the shelf it is attached to. The legs (which come in standard length options of 165, 215, 265 and 300mm) also have an internally mounted weight that controls how it resonates, and is terminated by a slightly rounded brass spikes to offer a degree of mechanical grounding between layers.
There are three shelf finish options – the standard finish is natural Bamboo, but medium finish bamboo and a dark version are also available at a £20 premium per shelf. The legs are only available in one colour, and that’s satin black.
The Evoque Eco 60-40 SE2 arrives flat packed, but it barely takes 15 minutes before we’re up and running. It feels well engineered and is nicely finished. If we do have a complaint, it’s that we would like Atacama to give some attention to cable management. The lack of it means the resultant spaghetti of cables from our system looks a little messy.
There are some people who don’t believe that an equipment support can make much of a difference to the sound of their system. But as we try a range of products on both the Atacama and our well used Hi-fi Rack Podium we’re left in no doubt as to the improvements such supports can make.
While a rack is obviously not in the signal path, if it handles all that vibrational energy well, the system can do its job better.
We try a Cyrus CDi CD player first and are struck by how much more agile and dynamic it sounds when used on the Atacama. We play Hans Zimmer’s Like A Dog Chasing Cars, from the Dark Knight OST, and are aware of more detail, coupled to a greater separation between the dense instrumental stands.
Max load 30kg (per shelf)
Floor spikes Yes
Dimensions (hwd) 67 x 60 x 40cm
We’re equally pleased to note that both Onkyo’s A-9010 budget integrated amplifier (£199) and Burmester’s 088 preamp (£17,350) respond in a similar manner. Both these amplifiers sound clearer and better organised when used on the Evoque than when sat on a typical sideboard or table.
The comparison with the Hi-fi Racks Podium proves instructive. Both are a notable step ahead of non-dedicated alternatives, but it’s the Atacama we keep returning to when we want to hear exactly what’s going on.
While lacking the attractive weight and warmth that the Podium encourages in our set-up, when used on the Evoque, our electronics improve when it comes to dynamic expression, precision and rhythmic coherence.
Paying just short of £600 for a three-tier Evoque Eco SE2 is hardly a trivial sum of money, but if you really want to hear just how good your system can sound, it’s an investment worth making.
- Performance 5
- Compatibility 4
- Build 5
Read our Hi-fi Racks Podium review
Read our Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40 review