Having now secured the system of my Naim dreams, I need to make the final adjustments to wring out the last ounce of performance, now I have a sonic delivery across the music board to die for. As Hungry Halibut quite rightly pointed out, my kit might very well be better served on better support than a basic-as-it-comes very old Quadraspire brawn / brains pairing.
My question is this, has anyone experience of the real-world benefits of better racks than the Quadraspire I have, and most specifically, which options have this learned group found that is best for sound quality uplift? Whilst I am well aware of Fraim, the constant tightening of components and adjustment of the ball-bearings under glass seems to have put a lot of people off, especially those now apparently downsizing… I would like to go for an option that delivers best sonics, looks good and not too much concern for price. Has anyone tried Quadraspire X Reference or Bassocontinuo racks against Frame? Should I just go with a lovely Isoblue stack and save a packet?
Thank you all!
Is Quadraspire that bad?
Some places, like C……… in the Leicester area, stock Quadraspire, Fraim, Isoblue and Simrack. Could always check out their opinion…
Once you’ve had Fraim for a year, and tightened it up a couple of times, it will stay pretty much tight going forward, and just needs a check in the annual strip down. It does sound great, but is big, needs very careful setting up and is a challenge to keep clean.
Isoblue is probably the best of the others and is much easier to live with. I wouldn’t say Fraim was better than Isoblue, just different. Both are significantly better than standard Quadraspire, and in my experience better than SVT. The X reference is absolutely massive and costs more than Fraim anyway.
Of course, the rack of choice is Ercol.
Thank you, good suggestion… Burnt my bridges rather there with that one unfortunately…
The Isoblue does look spectacular, particularly with the sensational figuring of the ‘Special Branch’ editions, and I really like the price point and all that wonderful, natural wood encasing Salisbury’s finest…
Brilliant! Very helpful observations indeed and yes, the Ercol knocks it out of the park…
Many thanks indeed!
Maybe mine is suboptimal but I’ve not heard of the need to constantly tighten or adjust. Apart from a couple of strip downs over the past few years, I haven’t felt the need to touch my Fraim.
No adjustments required with SimRack.
Like that Sim Rack. FWIW I have a Solid Steel rack S3-4
At least one user has posted a pic of the X Reference. It is huge though. The shelves are the same size as regular Quadraspire shelves and then there is the X frame outside of that.
I’ve used Quadraspire for twenty years and properly set up on heavy spike shoes, it performed very good in my opinion. I considered the Bronze top shelf upgrade but my dealer said it looks nice but does absolutely nothing.
Racks like Fraim or Isoblue may offer additional benefits. Though they may not be suitable in all geographic locations where they are prone to tumble down in earthquakes (no idea where you’re located). Plus the whole idea of an “annual rebuild” may be a deal breaker (certainly is to me).
Another brand competing with Quadraspire with superficially similar design is ADK from Japan. Same uprights but flush fitting top bolt. Solid ash instead of MDF or bamboo. A slight recess for cables on the shelf rears.
If you look online, there is a wide variety of manufacturers making exitoc racks, both ugly and beautiful. Performance-wise, probably better to go with a known quantity. You know what you’re getting with Quadraspire, Isoblue, Fraim.
Before Fraim there was Hutter which seemed to get used quite frequently with Naim. However it no longer seems to be sold in the U.K. and I mention it because it is possible to buy second hand and like Isoblue it is simpler, more compact and more like wood furniture than Fraim. I used to have Hutter racks but found an improvement when I went over to Fraim.
I cannot really see how one can evaluate the performance of a rack, especially in comparison with another: either you have two or more racks lined up with the same kit on them, or else the time taken to disassemble one, assemble another and put the gear on it is enough to make you forget what you’ve heard.
Relying on memory is futile; what we probably do is trust some looks or the general concept of the rack. The idea of decoupling the shelves is surely convincing to the mind, but a long discussion already took place here about a minimal point of contact being the best way to dispel energy.
I’ve kept gear on a sideboard, on heavy Guizu racks, on cheap Ikea furniture; I was never able to tell a difference. How could I?
Choose something that satisfies your aesthetics and is audiophile enough to give you peace of mind. You’ll never know whether, and how, a rack sounds better than another.
Solid Sounds (in Yorkshire) make wooden equipment racks.
I have no experience of their racks, but I do have one of their LP12 plinths (Wenge wood, now a protected species), which is beautifully made, so I have no hesitation in recommending them. Real craftsmen will never go out of business!
I had a run of the mill ‘Soundstyle’ rack for some years, made of steel with glass shelves. About 20(?) years ago I replaced it with Quadraspire which I still have. My kit was not so very different then, save for 102/180 instead of 272/250 now but it certainly seemed a ‘better’ presentation at the time.
Tricky to audition alternatives though, as already pointed out!
Hifi racks ltd make excellent racks from solid wood. There solid and chunky and make several varieties. My favourite is the podium reference. I think for what they are they are great value and need no fettling.
Naim Fraim is a big upgrade and don’t need much attention ones set up,3 legs and 3 steel balls is so smart it never rattles.
Remembering Mana days, that was a nightmare.
Another vote for the 'blue here. I actually auditioned this make directly against Quadraspire years ago and found it significantly better for SQ.
Plus, it doesn’t look like a lot of tea trays balanced on skinny rods.