View RSS Feed


Lazy Man's DIY Equipment Rack - No Hand Tools Required

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to purchase a legitimate audio equipment rack for the first time in my life and retire the old coffee table I have been using for longer than I care to discuss. After scouring the web for over a week I finally narrowed my choices down to one model. So I called my local dealer up with credit card in hand to place an order for a Finite Elemente Pagode Signature in Maple wood finish. The nice gentlemen on the phone was quick to point out how great a unit it was but the turn around time on them was measured in MONTH's from the manufacturer. Being the impatient audiophile that I am I wasn't about to make a sacrifice on another manufacturers offering in the same price range or restart my search over again now that I was fully bit by the upgrade bug.

After a few days of cursing and spitting I decided I was going to build my own rack. Using the knowledge that I gained while doing research for a manufactured audio rack I was able to come up with a design of my own that borrowed various component features from the racks I researched previously as well as a few of my own ideas.

Already knowing that I don't have a very impressive carpenters tool chest around the house I knew that I had to pick products that would be easy to assemble and not require too much elbow grease on my behalf to accomplish the goal. At the same time, I also know that I don't like making many sacrifices when it comes to this hobby so what ever I decided to build had to do more than just look pretty, it had to work very well at isolating my equipment.

So prior to assembling all the new parts that arrived for my new rack I was very determined to find out just how good/bad my current coffee table was at isolating the equipment that has been sitting on it all this time. So again I was faced with the reality of knowing that I don't have a very impressive list of electronics/software capable of measuring the vibration found in the old table. After another round of cursing and spitting I remembered a piece of equipment that I did have on hand (literally); an Apple i-Phone 4S. This little bugger has a built-in Accelerometer and lucky for me my 4S model comes with chip capable of measuring on all 3 AXIS's which would be perfect for this project with the right APP for the job. Granted, the i-Phone isn't the most accurate instrument for this task but it's better than the alternative which was going into this build project blind with no baseline numbers to compare my new equipment rack to.

This has been a fun and very interesting project and I am pleased with how it turned out. I feel that the measurement data listed below speaks for itself as to how well the new equipment rack performs its primary function, especially compared to the old coffee table (Except the Y Axis, for some reason??). Thus far, listening tests are convincing to say the least with increased SQ in seemingly every category one could describe. Wow!

Now that I have covered a bit of the background leading up to this project I'll move on to the good parts.


2 X Hard Maple Wood Butcher Blocks (2" Thick X 18" Wide X 36" Long)
2 X Grade A Granite Surface Plates (2" Thick X 6" Wide X 18" Long)
8 X "Cork" Yoga Blocks (Yes...Yoga)(3" Thick X 6" Wide X 9" Long)
1 X 16oz can of Minwax Wipe-on Poly (For unfinished as delivered Butcher Blocks)
1 X Bag of Lint Free Rags (See Above)
2 X Sheets of 220 Grit Sandpaper (See Above)
4 X Herbie's Audio Lab - Deluxe Superior Decoupling Spikes
4 X Herbie's Audio Lab - Titanium Hush Puckies
4 X Solid Tech - Disk's of Silence "Isolation bases"
4 X Solid Tech - IsoClear "Isolation bases"

Tools/Instruments Needed: (Optional)

- Bubble Level (For leveling rack during assembly)
- Saw Horses (For staining butcher blocks)

New Equipment Rack Diagram:


New Equipment Rack Build Complete:


Accelerometer Testing device/software/methods used for line graph generation:

i-Phone 4S
Wavefront Labs - Accelerometer Data Pro APP @ iTunes Store
---No Filter settings used within APP
---Capture Mode - Raw Data Output to .CSV file
---Sampling Frequency - 1 HZ (Samples Per Second)

Data Gathering Method

In all cases, the i-Phone was lying flat on its back (Screen Up), located in dead center of object being tested

In all cases, the same reference song was played back during measurement session at volume level (30) on Ayre k5-xeMP Preamp

As a point of reference, Level 30 on Preamp generated a measured MAX SPL within the testing room during reference song playback of 95db (measurement acquired using JL Audio SPL Meter APP for i-Phone)

In all cases, reference song used was - Track02 "Nutshell" from Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies Album, 4:19sec long (250 Samples)

In all cases, Test co-coordinator "me" left the room immediately after data gathering button within APP was engaged and playback of reference song began. I did not return until song was over to limit floor generated vibrations caused by my body weight.

Equipment/Objects Measured:

Ayre QB9 DAC - Top Center of Chassis
Ayre K5-xeMP Preamp - Top Center of Chassis
Floor of listening room - Directly below center of coffee table - Plank Pine Wood Type, 1st Floor above basement
Old coffee table - Center of table top - 15" H X 23" W X 56" L, Pine Wood Type, 1" Thick, Standard round wooden legs
Assembled New Rack - Center of rack top shelf - Center of rack bottom shelf

Old Coffee Table Pic:


Accelerometer Testing Results:

Can't quite put my finger on why the Y AXIS of the old coffee table was so good. It seems to beat the new equipment rack in that area still.

blogs/cjf/attachments/1229-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-newracktest-bottom_floor.png blogs/cjf/attachments/1230-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-newracktest-bottom.png blogs/cjf/attachments/1227-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-newracktest-top_bottom.png
blogs/cjf/attachments/1231-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-dac_chassis-tests.png blogs/cjf/attachments/1226-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-newracktest-top_floor.png blogs/cjf/attachments/1228-lazy-mans-diy-equipment-rack-no-hand-tools-required-newracktest-top.png

Recently, I just completed the build of a matching amplifier rack as well. I bought another butcher block which measures 20" W X 24" L to accommodate the size of my next Amp purchase, which as of now, is slated to be a PASS Labs X350.5. The feet at the base of the slab are the same as before:

4 X Herbie's Audio Lab - Deluxe Superior Decoupling Spikes
4 X Herbie's Audio Lab - Titanium Hush Puckies

The feet are mounted Inverted this time around as it was too difficult to try and mount them with the cones facing down due to space restrictions since its so close to the main rack. According to the Herbie's Audio Lab website this is a suitable mounting position and I am pleased with the results.



  1. heycarlos's Avatar
    great project! can you outline the total cost of materials?
  2. cjf's Avatar
    Hello and thanks for your interest in the project. Listed below is a cost break down of the components:

    $437.16 Maple Butcher Blocks (X2)
    $107.60 Cork Yoga Blocks (X8) ---Amazon
    $93.97 Granite Surface Plates (X2) ---Amazon
    $150.00 Solid Tech Isoclear (X 1 Set) ---Audio Advisor
    $350.00 Solid Tech Disks of Silence (X 1 Set) ---Audio Advisor
    $65.96 Herbie's Hush Puckies (titanium) (X4) ---Herbies Audio Lab
    $129.96 Deluxe Superior Decoupling Spike (X4) ---Herbies Audio Lab

    Total $1350 (slightly less than this but rounded up to account for wood stain materials)

    If you have any questions please feel free
  3. cjf's Avatar
    Just adding a few additional comments to the build:

    In the near future I may purchase X 2 additional Granite surface plates to sandwich between the 1st and 2nd layers of the cork yoga blocks as an experiment to see if that lowers the Y-Axis acceleration values of the current setup. Doing this will also add an additional 25+ lbs to each side of the rack and help, I feel, anchor the cork blocks in place more so than they already are.

    In most cases it appears that the Y-Axis seen in the charts of the current new setup produced smoother and more stable lines despite having higher numerical values of acceleration compared to the original table. My thoughts on this are that its more important for these lines to be smooth rather than what the actual acceleration value is reporting. So, I guess what I'm saying is that its probably not the end of the world that these Y-Axis values turned out numerically higher than the original setup did and that the addition of X 2 extra granite slabs is more to satisfy my curiosity than a necessity.

    Also, I added a set of Herbies Audio Lab SuperSonic Stabilizers to the top of each of the components which seem to work well and I may purchase an additional set in the future to add additional mass to the chassis of the audio equipment.

    Thanks for reading
  4. cjf's Avatar
    Added new Amp Rack build notes
  5. jmdesignz2's Avatar
    are these all simply stacked together?
    I suppose one could blu-tack all of the block together? Or use silicon glue?
  6. cjf's Avatar
    Hello and thanks for your interest in my post.

    Yes the cork blocks are just stacked with no adhesive. They are held in place by the combination of weight from the granite slabs and upper butcher block located above them (approx 45lbs per side). I think adhesive could be used between the blocks if desired but I have not found a need to do so in my setup.
  7. Conrad65's Avatar
    Nice work.....I was also recently looking for something similar and came across Finite Element Pagode.....basically money no object hifi support furniture.....I was after something for my turntable. I eventually settled on a marble plinth and bed-side table as an interim solution, which seems to work well and was very cost effective!
  8. cjf's Avatar
    Thanks for your interest in the post and sharing your experiences.
  9. esldude's Avatar
    Very nice project here. I knew someone with a very similar setup with everything stacked and held by weight. Unfortunately horseplay by grand kids resulted in a collision and spilling all the equipment on the floor. It was very heavy and bruised up one of the children pretty badly though no serious injury. Equipment suffered some scarring and a couple of broken vacuum tubes. So something to keep in mind.

    Even minimal adhesives between something with this surface area would hold it together very well. I can also picture some ways to have no touching between loose components and yet prevent any movement from crashes beyond a fraction of an inch.
  10. cjf's Avatar
    Hello, thanks for taking a look at the project and posting your experience.

    I wouldn't doubt that a good bump would topple the rack but its surprisingly sturdy with a bit over 150lbs of total mass holding it in place. The bass of the pointed feet that rest on the bottom of lower butcher block are about 1" in circumference and support all the mass above it. I don't have allot of visitors so not much worry in my case of horseplay disrupting the structure but its certainly something to consider for those who do have frequent visitors that may bump into it.

    I've done the glass of water trick resting on the top butch block while stomping my feet a few inches away from the rack and didn't see any signs of disturbance in the water so its definitely effective at mitigating vibration.
  11. esldude's Avatar
    Oh I think what you did, the principles behind it, etc. were all excellent, and have no doubt it is very effective. The water in the glass is a great simple test of that. My friends rack was much like yours other than the springs involved. And it never occurred to me about bumping it over, as with the weight it isn't like you bump it lightly and it fall over. But when it fell, it was a pretty good crash. The kids must have fell hard into it at a full run, and they hit a corner otherwise it still probably wouldn't have moved enough to matter.

    I would think the way you constructed it the top shelf has the most isolation from floor-born vibration. It is like a series of low frequency filters cascaded.
  12. odelay's Avatar
    Beautiful bit of kit. Nice work :-)
  13. cjf's Avatar
    Thanks for taking the time to look at my post and for the kind words :)
  14. Ellsworth's Avatar
    Nice work. Great to see a reasonably priced DIY project.
  15. cjf's Avatar
    Thanks for taking the time to visit. Maybe others will keep this option in mind before dropping big bucks. As you can see its looks pretty straightforward to assemble and works like a charm to boot :)