Rack rethink

When I moved into this house a year ago, I relegated a glass tiered equipment rack to the garage, and since then most of my gear (AV amp, Nova, CD/SACD, UHD players) has been placed on a strong wooden sideboard, horizontally arranged side by side. All bar my LP12 & Vertere phono amp which are placed on top of an acrylic plinth itself atop two conjoined Kallax units.

This was meant to be a temporary arrangement for the deck & amp, but I haven’t changed it, yet.

I have an incoming server (Bluesound Vault, probably) arriving soon, so my thoughts turned to housing it and one my disc spinners on the glass rack once retrieved and assembled.

Would the LP12 suffer anymore than it possibly is already by being placed on such a glass rack?

Is wooden of some kind preferable?

Hi Charles,

I can’t speak first hand for the Linn but my Xerxes was demonstrably improved when I went from Quadraspire to Naim Fraim. I wonder if a wall shelf, if possible, might be a good solution.

Regards,

Lindsay

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Glass may be easier to get horribly wrong than wood, but neither is always best.

For most kit, the difference between a decent rack and a well-built wooden sideboard should be fairly small (or zero in some opinions). If there is a big difference, it would suggest that something basic is wrong - wood reverberating or glass shelves ringing or boxes rattling on their feet or whatever.

LP12s are different. Linn’s guidance was always ‘light and rigid’ support, and to have a Trampolin if you had to put it on anything with lots of mass (like a sideboard). Some find that all they need, but others (even putting it atop a Fraim) find they need more isolation - if only because a wooden floor makes the needle bounce to every footstep.

In most situations where I have heard LP12s working at their best, the support has been simple - it’s a wall shelf. I use a Target shelf, but many use Quadraspire, Rega or Project shelves with turntables.

Are you currently playing the LP12 through the Nova?

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I would be cautious about putting network equipment on the same rack as sources, especially a turntable with its very sensitive low level signal. Better still, keep it away from the HiFi completely as it only needs a network connection to work.

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Just ordered a Fraim for my new Naim system and my LP 12 will sit a-top-it, as has been the case at every demo I’ve been to in every dealers demo room for the last 10 years.
Surely they can’t all be wrong🤷🏻‍♂️

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Yes, via a Vertere Phono 1 pre amp.

Do you mean a bracket mounted shelf attached to the wall?

I’ve never been a fan of that particular look, though two of my friends have them. In their case, it is to reduce footfall inference from wooden floors.
My own lounge is carpets & rugs.

Yes, good advice, which I’m hoping to be able to follow.
Thanks.

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I suspect that there are more modern LP12s atop Fraims than anything else, and I am certainly not suggesting that the combination is anything but excellent in principle. If I had the space for 2 full Fraim racks and a concrete floor (like the dealers’ listening rooms) I might well have bought Fraims myself. With a bouncy wooden floor, it wasn’t really an option for practical reasons, never mind SQ.

Of course, if I did have my LP12 on a Fraim, rather than obey Linn’s explicit advice, I would make sure it had either a Trampolin 2 (notwithstanding that they bring some compromises of their own) or some third-party isolation. Yours probably already has a Tramp 2 - mine did not and does not. For many, a Tramp is all the adapting their LP12 needs.

Without wanting to cast aspersions on any dealers, I also suspect that it makes more sense for them to sell Fraims than to try persuading someone to buy a £150 Project wall shelf to support their £20K LP12. Every time they try and succeed in that makes a sale with negligible gain for them, and every time they try and fail they risk the client deciding to get a turntable that is 100% happy on any decent rack - like a P10.

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I am a big fan of Nova and Atom, but they convert your LP12 signal into digital and back, which may not be ideal. Once you have sorted out something that sounds fine under the LP12, the purist recommendation would be to trade the Nova for a ND5XS2 (or NDX2 if you can) plus an old Supernait - eBay can be very helpful. However, that may be a step too far for your preferences.

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I believe you are quite correct on all counts, including the Trampolin2 of my own LP12 my dear Watson :face_with_monocle::slightly_smiling_face:

My listening room has a wooden floor and walls however as it is a wooden building (Suitably damped for noise, alarmed for security and heated for comfort).
It sits on a very solid 6” concrete base, making the floor a much safer platform than one hanging from the wall (tried, tested and found wanting).

Good luck with finding a solution that fits both your needs & ears and wallet for that matter.

I am currently considering drilling through the floor and raising a platform on legs that sit directly on the concrete base that my whole system will then sit on…:joy:

Yes the kind of thing made by Target etc.

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It’s a perennial (least since I’ve had the Nova and more latterly the LP12) niggling thought to swap out the Nova for an SN2 or 3 with NDX2 or ND5XS2.

As yet, I’ve resisted.

My LP12 does have a Trampolin2 fitted.

That’s pretty hardcore!

“Keep it simple” and 'If it’s not broke, don’t fix it" are good guidelines, but even better is 'try it yourself and listen to your ears".

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Purely fyi, eBay offers ND5XS2 £1700 or best offer and SN2 £1700 or best offer. A Nova looks to get about £3000.

Resistance is temporary, but temptation is eternal.

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Nick of Wimbledon, you are the devil! Less in disguise, and more in plain sight!

Seriously, do you think my LP12 would significantly benefit from the SN2 with Vertere attached as opposed to current Nova configuration.

I don’t actually prioritise streaming at all now, it’s CD, ripped content and vinyl in equal measure, so a streamer (the integrated one in the Nova or a standalone unit) feel surplus to my requirements.

I wouldn’t personally get too hung up on the fact that the Nova digitises the analogue input. It should be pretty neutral when done right, and if your ears tell you it sounds good, what does it matter?
On the other hand, the Supernait is without doubt a superior amp to the one in the Nova, so if vinyl is your priority it would be a good move. A SN3 has the added bonus of a built in MM phono stage, but a used SN2 would still be worthwhile.
If streaming is a lower priority an ND5XS2 should be plenty good enough. For streaming mostly just locally stored CD rips a used NDX or ND5XS might be enough, or even just a Bluesound Node or similar.

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That’s all good to know regarding relative merits of the Nova’s amp vs SN2/3. If I went down that road it would be the SN2, as I have MC cart, rendering the SN3 redundant in that particular regard.

As for streaming I’ve had a Bluesound Node 2i in the past and it was decent as a streamer. I’m about to acquire a Bluesound Vault, so I’ll see how that fares for ripped content and streaming. I presume it’s streamer is akin to the Node 2i.

The Vault is a very versatile little box. Whether its the same as the Node as a streamer I couldn’t say, but if you find that streaming sound quality becomes a higher priority in future you can easily add a better DAC to it.

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I’m becoming further drawn into pondering - what on this forum seems to have many differences of opinion and personal experience - the substantive differences between the Nova and the SN2 or SN3, purely in amplification.

As I’d be highly unlikely to be buying a new SN3, my chances of demoing one in my own home are next to zero. A s/h SN2 is my most likely choice.

I could blind buy a SN2 and compare it with my Nova for vinyl and CD playback. The Nova could be deployed elsewhere, maybe too. Or sold on.

Then there’s the DAC considerations to think about if I’m heading back to separates!