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Specialized audio furniture makes a big difference
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Specialized audio furniture makes a big difference

From the Recommendations for audio equipment series
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Vulcan 5 Shelf Audio Rack.

Q. We are really enjoying our new stereo composed of Polk LSiM 705 speakers, Cambridge Audio Alva turntable, Cambridge Audio AXC35 Stereo CD Player and Cambridge Audio CXA80 amplifier. I am sure you recognize all the components because we purchased them all based on recommendations you have made in your column.

We would like a new stand to hold this equipment and have some questions about that. How much does it matter whether we buy something designed specifically for audio equipment, or would a well-designed piece of furniture the right size would be OK? What are the best audio furniture brands?

— N.S.

A. I think choosing specialized audio furniture matters a lot! You may get lucky and find something in a furniture store that is relatively functional for use with a good audio system, but the odds are against it. Usually there is inadequate ventilation, the holes for passing cables and power cords are too small and located in the wrong places, and there is not enough space to have any flexibility placing the components. Do yourself a favor and drive right past the furniture store and get genuine audio furniture.

BDI, Bell’O and Salamander Designs are three top brands that are relatively easy to find online or in stores. There are a multitude of other specialty furniture manufacturers, and some of their stands cost more than your entire system. I think for most of the public looking for a premium solution those three brands will suffice. They still run bit on the expensive side so I have a recommendation that gets you a great looking, high-quality audio stand from a specialty manufacturer at a very affordable price.

Regular readers of the column will remember my review and recommendation of the Pangea Audio Vulcan TT and TTX2 Turntable Stands with Record Storage. The Vulcan Four Shelf Audio Rack is a new offering from Pangea Audio, available in Carbon Fiber Vinyl, Black, Rosenut and Espresso finishes. I tested it a few months ago and it is easy to assemble, looks good, feels solid and makes connecting and using your equipment a breeze. Once you have tried real audio furniture, there is no going back! It sells for $149.95 in the four shelf version and $219.95 in the five shelf version. The four shelves would be enough for your current system, but you may want to go ahead and get the five shelf version so you have room to expand. pangeaaudio.com

In closing, let me add that I have recent shopping experience that confirms the way I have long felt about this. When I got my new 75-inch Samsung Q90 TV a few months ago I needed a new stand for the TV and matching Q90R soundbar. I knew how expensive a top-notch stand from a specialty retailer would be, so I paid a visit to all the local furniture stores. Nothing has really changed, and everything I looked at would have represented a massive and unacceptable compromise, especially because I know the difference having proper furniture can make. I ended up with a Bell’O PR45 I purchased at Best Buy for $1,100, about three times what I initially planned to spend. I can see it in my room from where I am writing this, and it was absolutely worth it. It is beautifully made, it looks great, it does the job perfectly and I will have it for a good long time. It all adds up to money well spent.

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