Having recently moved into a new home (new for my fiancée and I for the house was originally built in the 1930's) it became clear that a number of my home theater components and equipment racks from my previous reference theater were not going to work in my new space. At first blush, the idea of doing away with my beloved Middle Atlantic rack system was not something I welcomed, though after a few days of trying to make it work in my new space I knew it was time for something new.
I'll be the first to admit that I generally don't like home theater furniture and racks for I think they're downright ugly 99 percent of the time; which is why for the past four years my equipment and equipment rack has resided in a custom built closet in order to hide everything from view. Well, this go around things are a bit different as I quickly learned that not only were my components to be visible they were going to have to live between my left and right main speakers.
I scoured the Internet for a suitable and stylish home theater cabinet, one that fit my needs as well as my budget not to mention my fiancée's mandate that our living room not resemble the back storeroom at Best Buy. After days of searching I decided upon the Vent cabinet from Omni+.
Omni+, an offshoot of OmniMount, specializes in more designer friendly home theater solutions and furniture. Omni+ employs designers like the famous Karim Rashid to create stylish, furniture grade solutions for your home theater equipment and living space.
The Vent cabinet is a decidedly mid-century looking affair, low slung, wide with a vintage teak finish and wood slat doors. To my eyes, it's one of the sexier equipment cabinets I've seen in a long, long time. The Vent retails for $999.95 and can be purchased directly from Omni+' own website. The cabinet comes fully assembled in a very ridged box complete with custom foam inserts to ensure a safe journey to your home.
The Vent cabinet measures in at 65-inches wide by 22-inches tall and 22-inches deep and weighs a very respectable 160 pounds. Behind the two, wood-slat sliding doors rest two adjustable shelves capable of holding up to 40 pounds apiece, perfect for source components or lighter pre-amps. The bottom shelf or base of the Vent can support up to 150 pounds, which makes it ideal for power amplifiers (shy of anything bearing the Krell name) and large receivers. The top of the Vent cabinet can support up to 150 pounds as well and is perfectly sized to accommodate flat panel displays up to 73-inches. 65-inch HDTVs look tailor made resting atop the Vent on their table stand. The Vent features semi-hidden casters that help with maneuvering the large consol once you've loaded it up with gear and there are four "flip" doors located across the back that help with wire and cable management.
I review a lot of gear so it was important to me that the Vent be versatile in the size and shape of equipment it was able to accommodate as well as look good in the process. Within 24 hours of the Vent's arrival to my new home I loaded it up with a Mark Levinson No 533 power amplifier, Mark Levinson No 326S preamplifier, Sony Blu-ray player, Onkyo TX-NR708 receiver, Dish Network DVR and AppleTV with plenty of room to spare if I'm honest. I had to remove the back bottom "flip" doors to accommodate for the No 533's slightly longer depth, which was easy enough to do and with the front doors closed I don't even notice their absence. I could easily fit another source or two inside as well as a few Blu-ray discs if I wanted to without running into space or heat issues. Speaking of heat the Vent is actually an open architecture design, one designed to allow air to move freely through it keeping your components, even when stacked on top of each other, cool. Another nice thing about the Vent's wood-slat doors is that remote signals still reach your components inside without having to result to using IR repeaters or control systems.
Read The High Points, Low Points, and Conclusion on Page 2
• The Vent isn't quite wide enough inside to accommodate two standard components side-by-side, resulting in potentially having to stack components atop one another. I skirted this issue by placing smaller, non-standard components, such as my AppleTV and Dish Network DVR, next to standard width components.
• Large, or longer than average components, like my Mark Levinson No 533 amplifier or my Anthem Statement P5 before that hang out the back of the Vent. Personally, it doesn't bother me for the amps' feet all rest on the Vent's bottom shelf but it's something to take note of.
• While the Vent's teak veneer is very attractive it's also easy to dent if you're not careful when moving heavy or large equipment in and out of the cabinet. I use an old dishtowel underneath my components when moving them around inside the cabinet to protect against any possible accidents.
• The Vent's casters, while welcomed and needed, seem to only like to roll in certain directions mainly front and back versus side to side. I recommend positioning the Vent pretty much where you know it's going to stay before putting any gear inside for once it's loaded up it's difficult to maneuver.