Massif Audio Design racks incoming, and......

Mike Lavigne

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These Massif Audio racks looks very well made. I have always liked wood racks even though I had a negative experience with Zoethecus. Those were flimsy and had over damped shelves. Here are two photos of my racks. I designed both, but only built the first one. The second one was built by a local furniture maker. Both are extremely solid and heavy but are modified from what is being discussed here by the addition of stainless steel platforms under the components to add even more mass.

Mike's racks will look great in his room. Nice thread.


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nice job Peter. they look organic and 'right'.
 
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Rumpole

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stackable seems like a reasonable thing for wood racks, since there is not joining and unjoining going on to cause any looseness. but to me these are amp stands, not a rack. and there is no adjustability. the spaces are fixed. i do see you could view it as modular. solid? a different question. hard to know from the picture. clearly only gravity is keeping them stacked, nothing is attached.
Modular in the sense that if I wanted to move a streamer or other source from one room to another, I should be able to move the shelf with the component to the other room, and stack it on top of the rack in that room. But yeah, I'm looking for advice on whether this is a good approach, and if Timbernation makes good products, or if there are reasons this is a bad idea.
 

PeterA

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nice job Peter. they look organic and 'right'.

Thank you Mike. I am enjoying the discussion about techniques. I do not know much about woodworking, but am fascinated by what can be done by someone with real skill and creativity.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Modular in the sense that if I wanted to move a streamer or other source from one room to another, I should be able to move the shelf with the component to the other room, and stack it on top of the rack in that room. But yeah, I'm looking for advice on whether this is a good approach, and if Timbernation makes good products, or if there are reasons this is a bad idea.
"stackable" and "Timbernation's quality" are two separate questions. i only know Timbernation by what i read on this thread. so i will leave that there. can't say.

stackable to me does solve some issues and can work. there are quality racks that use that approach. but if you are stacking, then the product itself has to be very well engineered to stack solidly. there is a performance reason most racks have cross bracing and some serious tech or considerable mass.

so stackable with an already pedestrian build level to my mind would not fly. it would likely not compliment high performance expectations.
 
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Johan K

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when you have as much gear as i have it's daunting to consider (the $$$'s for) beautiful high end audio racks. for over a decade i've been very satisfied with my cost effective and solid performing Adona Zero GXT racks; i have 4 of them. and this past year i added a used Finite Element Pagoda rack for my Ampex MR-70 tape preamps.

i'm excited to say i've found a rack builder in Canada who has completed and should ship to me in about a week, a set of three racks for me to replace all my current racks. while not exactly cheap, it's not too crazy after i sell my still current model Adona Zero GXT racks. i'm getting one four shelf single (22" x 19") rack for my MR-70 tape pre's, and twin three shelf double (42" x 19") racks for the rest of my source gear. these racks are solid hardwood and absolutely beautiful. i think in my all-hardwood maple paneled listening room the look should be stunning.

the racks are from Massif Audio Design in Ontario, Canada. i'm also auditioning one of their record weights, this one is solid Lignum. i've been using it now for over a month and love it everywhere i try it. more on that later.

the solid hardwood shelves are about 1.75 inches thick maple, and the 3" thick legs are solid Bubinga. all clear stained. footers will be Nordost Sort Fut w/Sort locks. 3 sets of 4 of these gems (not cheap...ouch!!!). with the (1) high mass and (2) solid build, along with (3) the Nordost footer system, i expect my rack performance to improve, and the aesthetics to be much more enjoyable to live with.

so far i only have pictures of the single rack assembled.......i choose the clear maple stain to allow my gear which is mostly dark or black to stand out on the shelves. right now with my black granite shelving the gear blends in and you hardly see some of it.

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Congratulations Mike! Looks beautiful ;) !

/ Jk
 

Mike Lavigne

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"stackable" and "Timbernation's quality" are two separate questions. i only know Timbernation by what i read on this thread. so i will leave that there. can't say.

stackable to me does solve some issues and can work. there are quality racks that use that approach. but if you are stacking, then the product itself has to be very well engineered to stack solidly. there is a performance reason most racks have cross bracing and some serious tech or considerable mass.

so stackable with an already pedestrian build level to my mind would not fly. it would likely not compliment high performance expectations.
thinking about this more, i wanted to add that there is a school of thought that lightweight 'budget store' racks, or even sparsely built quality racks might allow for more energy in the music as they don't dampen the gear. my concern is that racks with casual build quality will cause unpredictable levels of smear and tonal shifts.......the gear will sing along with the music obscuring nuance......but that is just how i see it. then there is the school of mass top loaded even 'clamping' of gear or using stacked impedance layers, sandboxes and such.

not all gear is affected equally by particular racks either. might be good to ask the gear manufacturer what rack approach works best. sometimes things can be learned that way.

far be it from me to know what path works or does not work. the subject is too complex. and obviously any rack is only part of the equation when your consider how each floor and rack footer (or gear footer or separate platform) might change the equation.

YMMV.
 
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PeterA

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thinking about this more, i wanted to add that there is a school of thought that lightweight 'budget store' racks, or even sparsely built quality racks might allow for more energy in the music as they don't dampen the gear. my concern is that racks with casual build quality will cause unpredictable levels of smear and tonal shifts.......the gear will sing along with the music obscuring nuance......but that is just how i see it. then there is the school of mass top loaded even 'clamping' of gear or using stacked impedance layers, sandboxes and such.

not all gear is affected equally by particular racks either. might be good to ask the gear manufacturer what rack approach works best. sometimes things can be learned that way.

far be it from me to know what path works or does not work. the subject is too complex. and obviously any rack is only part of the equation when your consider how each floor and rack footer (or gear footer or separate platform) might change the equation.

YMMV.

This is a very complex subject. I learned by experimenting. I started with Zoethecus and maple platforms with brass footers. Then I built my own birch ply rack, then added Vibraplane pneumatic platforms, than steel plates to mass load the air bladders, then steel plates on wood racks, then fine tuning the steel plates to control resonances. All this stuff is pretty audible. I like adjustability to fine tune the presentation to taste following whatever values and goals one has.

Mike, I think you are fond of writing that "everything matters". I think that is true.
 

jazdoc

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Best part about Massif…Trevor is a mensch and a true music fan. Seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of metal. Not many manufacturers can discuss the relative merits of Cannibal Corpse and Opeth :cool:
 

T Boost

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Porsche

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nice dude, just got his big record weight Friday, nicely done
 
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T Boost

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Best part about Massif…Trevor is a mensch and a true music fan. Seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of metal. Not many manufacturers can discuss the relative merits of Cannibal Corpse and Opeth :cool:
I read this to my wife, and the room wasn't large enough for her over the top eye roll.
 

Salectric

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The Massif racks look fantastic. No question about that. But how do they sound compared to other well-regarded racks like HRS, SRA and Critical Mass?

A few years ago I built a high-mass wood rack modeled on a Box Furniture double-width 3-shelf design. Solid sapele vertical and horizontal members, and the shelves are double layer Baltic Birch plywood. Same dimensions and same materials or very close. My rack looks pretty nice but it sounds awful. Dead with a capital D. After that I bought a real Box Furniture rack and it sounds great. On paper they should sound similar but they don’t at all. So how do you decide whether a given wood rack design will sound good or dead?
 

Mike Lavigne

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The Massif racks look fantastic. No question about that. But how do they sound compared to other well-regarded racks like HRS, SRA and Critical Mass?

A few years ago I built a high-mass wood rack modeled on a Box Furniture double-width 3-shelf design. Solid sapele vertical and horizontal members, and the shelves are double layer Baltic Birch plywood. Same dimensions and same materials or very close. My rack looks pretty nice but it sounds awful. Dead with a capital D. After that I bought a real Box Furniture rack and it sounds great. On paper they should sound similar but they don’t at all. So how do you decide whether a given wood rack design will sound good or dead?
a fair question and reasonable concern.

personally my choice of Massif was after my friend jazdoc bought it and was happy. and i did read what i could about it, noticed dealers carried it, the record weights were used by many including Fremer, all of which is anecdotal to a degree. so i then decided to add the Nordost Sort Fut footers to my order. and now we read some feedback on this thread from Massif rack owners.

my approach to racks was to buy and live with the Adona for more than a decade since i wanted a solid rack to allow me to treat the individual pieces on solid shelves. the Adona was preceded by 6-7 years with the Grand Prix Audio Monaco racks, those were preceded by Zoethecus racks.

the GPA was good but i got frustrated by the 'system' of always having to putz with the individual shelf tuning. and the very high cost. so i switched approaches. the Adona has delivered totally for me. but wanted something that looked better and was less busy and more cohesive looking. maybe also just a time for a change. it does not hurt that the Massif are beautiful, and Trevor is a pleasure to work with. i've flirted with buying one of the high cost brands of racks but for my system it would end up being $50k+ maybe $100k + and i'm skeptical it would improve on my approach of treating individual pieces. my approach will not be inhibited by the Massif. i might need to modify here and there.....but that's how i roll anyway.

until i have the 3 Massif racks in room it's all speculation. i do feel i've done enough homework to feel comfortable. i expect an upgrade musically. stay tuned.
 
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Kingsrule

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Not sure about the Sort Fut footers. They look great but I tried them under several speakers and they made everything sound dead.
Hopefully they work here
 

T Boost

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Not sure about the Sort Fut footers. They look great but I tried them under several speakers and they made everything sound dead.
Hopefully they work here
Each rack I’ve heard them under has sounded impressive. Sonic Artistry in Toronto swears by them.
 
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Nathanu

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The Massif racks are beautiful — enjoy them! It is nice to see wood racks receive some love and respect in this thread. I went in a similar but different direction with SRA which does not offer the same unique wood selections and artistry as Massif but I liked the simplicity of the aesthetic. When I needed a second, smaller rack, I looked for a more modest price point and was able to match the appearance very closely from Timbernation. I don’t know if it matches the functional results of SRA (or Massif) but it works for me.

IMG_4123.jpeg
 

T Boost

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The Massif racks are beautiful — enjoy them! It is nice to see wood racks receive some love and respect in this thread. I went in a similar but different direction with SRA which does not offer the same unique wood selections and artistry as Massif but I liked the simplicity of the aesthetic. When I needed a second, smaller rack, I looked for a more modest price point and was able to match the appearance very closely from Timbernation. I don’t know if it matches the functional results of SRA (or Massif) but it works for me.

View attachment 119819
FWIW Im a big fan of SRA racks, they've just always been out of my price range.
 
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jeffreybehr

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Mine, all north-American walnut. 2023Apr18DSCF2627_Rack 6_1500h.jpg
2023Apr19_DSC0546_Rack 7_1500h.jpg
 

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