Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
Seemingly everyone makes an equipment rack of some form or another these days with varying degrees of success, however for best results you're better off going with a third party or specialty equipment rack. The problem with going with an esoteric rack manufacturer is that you often end up paying a lot of money for that esoteric status and not for performance. Well, the Samson V.1 from Mapleshade, is about as esoteric as they come yet unlike other brands their equipment racks actually work and work well.
You're probably thinking to yourself that the Samson uses some high end unnamed composite product or features a fully suspended or counter balanced design, which wouldn't be unfounded, however it utilizes none of those things, in fact, it relies on the power of maple. Who knew Mother Nature was such an audiophile. That's right the Samson V.1 is about as straightforward and low tech as they come, utilizing your choice of two or four-inch thick air-dried maple shelves, coupled to four threaded black or silver uprights (poles) with brass nuts and footers.
At first glance the rack, while nicely finished, does seem a bit like a DIY design but unlike DIY knockoffs you can tell where the professional know-how and expertise has come into play. The fit and finish is excellent and once assembled the Samson V.1 is about as solid as a slab of granite.
The Samson V.1's shelves are infinitely adjustable thanks to its threaded rod design, however the shelves themselves are rather standard in size at 23 and a half inches wide by 15 inches deep. For more vibration control you can choose a thicker slab of maple but the shelf dimensions remain the same. Fully assembled the Samson v.1 is 25 inches tall from the floor to the top shelf in the two-shelf version and can go as high as 49 inches in a four-shelf variety. Prices start at $535 for a two-shelf version and can go as high as $1,800 for a pimped out four-shelf version. All Samson V.1 racks are sold direct via Mapleshade's own website and come complete with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Read about the high points and the low points of the V.1 on Page 2.
• The Samson V.1 rack from Mapleshade is one of the most rigid,
vibration free and solidly built racks I've encountered in the
audiophile and AV space.
• The fit and finish of the maple shelves is phenomenal and the hand
rubbed lacquered finishes (extra cost) are even more impressive.
• The adjustability and customization of the Samson V.1 rack ensures
its longevity in your system, allowing it to grow with you and your
system's needs/changes versus hindering it.
• Adding additional shelves is easy with the Samson V.1 rack adding to its already stellar customization.
• Sonically the Samson V.1 works as advertised. The rack itself does a
tremendous job decoupling components from unwanted vibrations giving
high frequency transients a more airy, lifelike sound as well as
firming up a bit of the bass and opening up the midrange. Of course
we're talking in extremes here and incremental differences for the
Samson rack, or any rack for that matter, cannot make a bright or dull
system sound night and day different nor can it make up for a badly
designed room or improper speaker setup.
• Stylistically the Samson V.1 is not going to win any modern design
awards for its about as low tech looking as they come, that being said
there is an attention to detail here that while simple in appearance
does appear very professional.
• Once assembled the Samson V.1 is very solid and rather heavy so
moving it, especially with carpet piercing spikes, is not going to be
an easy task.
• Racks, like most audiophile accessories, do have a bit of a "snake
oil" reputation to overcome for no audiophile accessory can cure all of
your system's ails. That being said, unlike cables or contact pastes
etc. the Samson V.1 does have a practical application in that it can
house and hold your gear first then provide sonic improvements second
provided your system is tuned enough to take advantage of its vibration
dampening and decoupling properties.
With a starting price of just over $500 the Samson V.1 is not the
cheapest rack though it does lean more on the affordable side, even
when fully loaded, compared to some so-called high-end equipment rack
offerings. It's far from the prettiest rack I've seen nor is it the
most technologically advanced, on paper, relying heavily on natural
woods and brass. However, it's one of the few racks I've encountered
and/or auditioned that did seem to impact and better a system's
performance albeit on a very small, but still noticeable scale. Your
eyes, ears and budget will have to be the final judge but if you're in
the market for a solidly built, natural looking equipment rack for your
growing system I highly recommend checking out the Samson V.1 from