Hifi Lowboard - Requirements

I need a new lowboard to accommodate my Naim and other hifi stuff. I am currently gathering requirements. What do you think is important for a good piece of hifi furniture? I have no idea what kind of wood would be best for such a project. Are there any other special requirements that influence the sound? Any ideas greatly appreciated…

I will need space for six boxes inside the lowboard (2 PSUs, streamer, server, power distribution, switch) and place the amp on top.

Not really anything regarding SQ, but you need to get cables in and out of it, so the back boards need holes in, or the ability to make them neatly, or no back boards. Plus, the depth needs to be sufficient for the units, plus cables

Sure, I am planning to leave the back open, 55cm width and 50 cm depth, 14 cm heigth for Naim equipement (2 PS555DR and 1 ND555) and 23cm for other equipment like roon core etc.

I would be putting the Roon Core and other networking equipment in a separate location, as per Roon’s recommendation. It will make both shelving and the inevitable mass of cables behind it easier to manage.


Interesting aspect. I was looking at an Antipodes K41 as a roon core and this has a direct Ethernet port to connect the streamer to. I thought placing the core beneath the streamer would reap sonic benefits.

Currently the roon core (NUC running ROCK) is in another room, but would like to tie the whole system together on my dedicated mains.

It may help sound quality to keep the boxes a little distance apart, rather than touching sides.

You could get enough heat in boxes with big transformers like PSUs to discolour the wood if it is pale.

Obviously, anything that isn’t properly flat could be non-ideal for shelves if it means a box can rock, so wood that is unlikely to warp appreciably would be good, and so would decently thick shelves.

If you want better isolation for electronic boxes than that, you can put them on isolation platforms and/ or clever feet, though most of us think that the audible benefits are small in most rooms and systems.

I will soon be doing something very similar for a house in Tasmania, which will be increasingly full of local wood. FWIW, I am for now leaning away from Huon Pine and Myrtle and the like and toward Tasmanian ‘Oak’ or one of the similar eucalyptus varieties.

There is, to put it gently, longstanding debate about whether this sort of thing gets any benefit at all from spikes versus rubbery feet versus just putting the wood on the floor. Many seem to conclude that the best answer for purists will vary depending on room and system (e.g. how heavy it all is, what modes of vibration are the bigger potential problems, room resonances an so on).

At a guess, being able to level it so that it won’t wobble on an imperfect floor may well be handy, but how much further you go with what is underneath it is up to you and hopefully won’t matter much.

Please show us the final result!


Many apologies if this seems obvious but rear panels on units more often than not, provide critical bracing to the overall build. Open backs are useful for gaining easy access to the rear of units etc and for ventilation, but it may affect stability.


Sure, but I will consult a carpenter to design a lowboard without a backplate or another smart solution to enable ventilation as well as cable management.


Will do. Thanks for Your useful reply.

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Dedicated HiFi racks manage not to collapse despite having no back, front, top or sides in most cases. You don’t need a back!

I was not aware that Roon recommends this. Where do they state this?

A request to Antipodes was answered that the streamer should directly be connected to the core (K41). I can‘t realise this by placing the core in a separate location.

As well as technical things such as cable routing and having proper spacing etc remember that its primarily a piece of furniture so design and aesthetics are important considerations. I’d rather have something that was a bit of a compromise on pure “hifi” elements to get something I can stand to look at…

Think about the design of something like a Fraim or the simracks and it should be fairly straightforward to recreate something that internally is structurally similar but Is encased in what appears to be a regular sideboard type unit. I’ve often thought that there would be a decent market for this sort of thing as hi fi racks are for the most part sinfully ugly… Be interested to see what you come up with keep us posted…

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You have been chatting with my wife, haven‘t You :wink:

Exactly, I would like to archive a compromise which looks great (therefore bespoke furniture by a carpenter) and adapt some hife-aspects as well (therefore gathering requirements for hifi-purpose). Thanks.

The OP I thought was talking about a piece of furniture made of wood, like a sideboard unit.
A dedicated hi fi rack is a different beast entirely.

Of course, but designing a piece of furniture with no back and/or front is hardly a great challenge for a competent cabinet maker.

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It was only a polite suggestion to the OP, nothing more.


Whatever the OP ends up with, if it is found that compromising on material and/or design has a detrimental effect on SQ, adding isolation platforms in the form of 3 Naim Cups and Balls + 8mm toughened, clear glass per shelf would be cheaper and less obtrusive than isolation platforms. Two Cups and Balls at the front and one at the rear would ensure the equipment is kept level. It’s what I did for my Quadraspire rack as a sort of poor man’s Fraim and seems to be a good halfway house IMHO.

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The issue for me is that you have an ND555 with two power supplies, making it a £34,000 source. £34,000!! That’s a lot of money, yet you are willing to compromise it by stuffing it in a cupboard where it’s almost certain that it won’t work at anything like its best. I’d choose between two options. 1. Put it on a proper rack; two stacks of Isoblue would look nice. 2. Swap the 555 for a new generation Linn Klimax DSM. You’d lose a mains lead and those two pesky burndies and still have great sound, possibly better. You could even swap the Aavik for a Linn Klimax power amp. It would all be so much smaller and far simpler to integrate into your space.

Thanks. Option 2 won‘t happen.

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