Globe & Mail Review 1995
Design Icons by Gerald Levitch
High-design hi-fi stand
Most equipment cabinets marketed by hi-fi stores are boring, usually with hideous glass doors
You can spend more than $100,000 on a “high-end” hi-fi system these days – indeed, there are actually a couple of hi-fi loudspeaker systems that, alone, sell for nearly $100,000. But that’s just the speakers. To fire them up, you’d still need a power amplifier (and maybe more than one) for $10,000 or even twice that amount. Then you’d need a pre-amplifier, which gives you the necessary selector switches and controls; that could cost you another $10K.
Add an equally pricey FM-radio tuner, a cassette deck, and an up-market turntable for the old LP records. And if cost is no object, you can buy a compact disc player that’s split into it’s own component parts – a transport system for mechanically spinning the discs and a separate digital decoder to perform the electronic duties – at $5000 or more a piece!
By now, if you’ve been paying attention, you should have spotted the classic problem with component stereo systems: Where do you put all of these bits and pieces of mix-and-match equipment? What’s missing is a suitably glamourous, well-designed piece of furniture to raise them all off the floor and preferably stack them, so that they occupy the smallest possible footprint of floor space.
Such a design needs to be well- ventilated, so that the heat built up by dozens of transistors, and even old-fashioned vacuum tubes, can be dissipated. Likewise, it should have a convenient opening at the rear, allowing the wires and cables to be dressed and funneled out neatly, while at the same time assuring easy access to all the rear mounted plugs.
Most equipment cabinets marketed by hi-fi stores tend to be unbelievably boring. They’re usually made of some sort of composition board painted black with hideous little glass doors, typically with magnetic catches, which often don’t quite catch because the doors themselves aren’t quite aligned.
A few High-end suppliers offer dinky little metal frames that support puny wooden shelves: A seven-year-old kid could probably make something more substantial, and more esthetically appealing, with Lego set. Ordinary bookshelves aren’t deep enough, and the kind of shelving marketed by Ikea look nice but usually lack the proper ventilation or rear access.
Happily, Toronto based and a Willowdale company, Design Progression, have filled this niche by creating probably the first truly high-style hi-fi equipment stand.
A 74” (190cm) tall, triangular-shaped column with a squared top is supported at its base with a wedge-shaped foot. The column itself is made of a perforated steel screen bisecting four, stain-black-finished shelves. The equipment rests unenclosed, and properly ventilated, on the shelves.
Large holes in the centre metal screen allow cables to exit while hiding them from view.
For very serious hi-fi buffs, the matching source table can be filled with sand to deaden it acoustically. The component stand in charcoal-grey birds-eye maple with the sand-blasted acrylic centre column retails for $1295. Other wood veneers include natural birds-eye maple, and oak; painted finishes include concrete fleck and dark blue/green fleck for $895.
This may sound steep to someone who’s just spent $1500 on a store-special low-end hi-fi. But for the kind of enthusiasts who likely to spend twice that much just on their speaker cables, the price of the Design Progression component stand is a drop in the proverbial bucket.