Audio Video Equipment Racks - More Than Just A Storage Place For Your Gear!

by Andrew Ghigo - Date: 2007-05-13 - Word Count: 617 Share This!

A Guide to AV Equipment Racks

While you can place your audio and video system components almost anywhere, yet it is recommended that these systems be installed in a fixed dedicated enclosure, or component rack.

Keeping system components in an appropriate equipment rack will help you ensure the safety of your equipment, while making the system easy to access for service and future growth.

It is true that in its simplest form, inexpensive rack systems are merely a cabinet with shelves to take your AV equipment. Yet today's rack mounting solutions have evolved far beyond the simple enclosure designed to stack your gear. Rather, the more elaborate and expensive racking solutions found in advanced home theater installations form a system in itself; these include accessories for power distribution, thermal protection, and cable management.

Furthermore, while the traditional standard 19-inch rack would often take a more industrial look, yet many manufactures have started to offer rack options that complement any decor. There is a never-ending list of equipment rack designs of all shapes and sizes, for use in media-closets, in the home theater on their own, or embedded within some piece of furniture or cabinet.

And there is more... You can find equipment racks that come with support shelves on rails that can be pulled out for ease of equipment handling and maintenance.

Others would even allow you to pull out the whole shelving assembly and rotate it a full 180 degrees for ease of access to the back panel of system components.

Some audio video racks may be even mounted direct in a wooden cabinet to integrate better with the rest of the home theater room decor, while others may be either floor standing or rolled on castors.

This vast range of rack solutions for audio and video gear available from both large and small suppliers means that there is always a solution to suit your needs, but…

Selecting Audio/Video Equipment Racks

Selecting a suitable rack for your audio and video requirements can turn out to be a time-consuming and tedious process. Partly the culprit is the vast selection of rack solutions available on the market. However, this does not have to be so!

Here are some tips that should prove useful when selecting an equipment rack.

Future Proofing your Installation: An equipment rack is like your projection screen - it is not something that you have to replace every few years, as is the case with AV electronics. If chosen properly, a component rack will last a lifetime. Choose a rack solution that will take all your present equipment while still allowing for possible future expansion.

Support Features: Look for an equipment rack that includes adequate cable management and enough space for a suitable AC distribution system with surge protection on the individual outlets.

Equipment Access: The ideal component rack should give you full access to both the front and rear panels, so all wiring and controls are easily accessible.

Ventilation: Another important issue is satisfactory ventilation. This is of prime importance especially with fully enclosed equipment racks. However, even with an open-frame equipment rack, having all your gear centrally in one location tends to result in a higher air temperature around your system components. The use of suitable ventilation through correct thermal management - whether passive or active - is thus essential for the correct operation of your equipment.

This article is an excerpt from a series of informative guides appearing on Practical Home Theater Guide under the 'Equipment Racks' section of the site.

Items discussed include standard 19-inch rack anatomy, rack selection, equipment rack mounting tips, thermal management in rack enclosures, and available audio/video equipment rack solutions for home theater applications.

To read the full guides appearing on the site, please follow the links given at the end of this article.

Related Tags: equipment racks, rack enclosures, audio video cabinets, av equipment racks, home theater equipment stands

Andrew Ghigo: Editor & Publisher Practical Home Theater Guide []
The full article is available under the Equipment Racks section of the site at

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