newlash09

Any ideas or pointers to building a media cabinet

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Hi all..

My kit is usually lying on the carpet,  as it is my daughters bedroom and I have to pack up everything before I go. 

And this ritual of plugging and unplugging every 4 months is getting a bit tiring. So Iam planning on getting a cabinet built for the entire kit, so it stays switched off, but in place when I embark on my sail. 

Any pointers or important things I need to bear in mind when getting one, will be hugely helpful.. and come cable management ideas too :)

And some pics of your cabinets would be most welcome and enlightening to embark on my own design. Thanks in advance.

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Biggest issue is making sure there is enough air flow for the valve amps. You need to also leave enough height above each, as they can get seriously hot. If it can be moved (on castors or similar) then I'd suggest something with an open back that can be moved up against the wall when not in use, but gives you plenty of airflow when you pull it away from the wall a little..

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Posted (edited)

Plenty wide, plenty deep, plenty strong, plenty space in between, open back.

My best advice re cable management is to manage not to worry about how they look - just keep power cables away from signal cables and give each cable it's own space, i.e. don't bunch them together.

I had this one, below, made by a local carpenter, in a very rare moment of domesticity. I'd be quite happy with an assortment of vintage / antique tables and chairs to rest it all on...

system blog.jpg

Edited by savvypaul
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Super Wammer

Given you have to pack everything away in between your nautical travels .....how about a flight case - could be on wheels etc with a removable lid and modify it to have a removable front too, vents in the other sides/base etc .....not pretty but very functional for your needs

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18 minutes ago, MF 1000 said:

Given you have to pack everything away in between your nautical travels .....how about a flight case - could be on wheels etc with a removable lid and modify it to have a removable front too, vents in the other sides/base etc .....not pretty but very functional for your needs

Hi MF1000.

Unfortunately I can't carry my stuff with me on my sails. So it stays home. Iam thinking of giving the boxes a permanent home to call their own, instead if being shoved under my daughters bed every time I leave. Besides, this constant plugging and unplugging is also becoming a hassle, as the complexity of the system keeps evolving. Thus, my idea to get a cabinet built. Thanks 

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Super Wammer

You have such a diverse range of kit, I’m not quite sure where you’d start.  For example, some people put their Devialet on the wall.  Conversely most people leave a Krell power amp on the floor or a low, dedicated stand.  If you had a system of standard sized separates it would be fairly straightforward, but I’m not sure there’s an obvious answer (to me)!

There’s bound to someone with more imagination along shortly!

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If you google image search "Ikea hack hifi" you might find some inspiration from hifi users who have turned Ikea items of furniture into hifi storage. 

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I had a hifi cabinet made some years ago.

It has wooden doors so when not in use all hifi is hidden and they also help to keep dust out during periods of inactivity. Initially made with a (removable) back panel, this had to be removed completely when the equipment changed and as you say, the system became more complicated, but the initial discussion included making the cabinet strong enough without the rear panel attached. The suggestion to slide it closer to the wall when you are away seems sensible and again will keep more dust out. When in use the doors can remain open allowing cooling if its location allows.

Kit can sit on the bottom level, any one of 4 adjustable height or removable shelves, and the top. The shelf adjustment is with little metal pin things, two per side, that have individual metal sockets which works quite well - rather than those ladder things you see on bookshelves. As the makers were skilled cabinet makers, all four of the pins line up keeping the shelves level! Quite obvious that they should I suppose, but important to mention as I bought a ready made cabinet before that and the shelves wobbled a bit as one row of supports was at a slightly different height to the other three - it went back.

When I had less kit, one bit was a valve amp which ran hot, and I used a spare shelf above it angled steeply upward (by using the next higher locating pins at the front) to try to convect the heat away. It worked ok but the valve amp did not stay long.

The disadvantage of a cabinet with closed sides is that it is a pig to change wires. Thats because its difficult to push a connector or mains plug on from the rear while reaching round to the front to stop it sliding of the shelf. Very long arms required! For locking plugs the only way is to slide the cabinet forward which is also a pig!  Mine moves reasonably easily, sliding over the carpet, but with some big amps I had, weighed well in excess of 100kg and I needed flattened cardboard boxes under the front edge to help it slide. Currently I am using a pair of bel canto power amps with their on/off switches mounted on the back - who thought that one up? - but it is just manageable.
 

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3 hours ago, listenup said:

I had a hifi cabinet made some years ago.

It has wooden doors so when not in use all hifi is hidden and they also help to keep dust out during periods of inactivity. Initially made with a (removable) back panel, this had to be removed completely when the equipment changed and as you say, the system became more complicated, but the initial discussion included making the cabinet strong enough without the rear panel attached. The suggestion to slide it closer to the wall when you are away seems sensible and again will keep more dust out. When in use the doors can remain open allowing cooling if its location allows.

Kit can sit on the bottom level, any one of 4 adjustable height or removable shelves, and the top. The shelf adjustment is with little metal pin things, two per side, that have individual metal sockets which works quite well - rather than those ladder things you see on bookshelves. As the makers were skilled cabinet makers, all four of the pins line up keeping the shelves level! Quite obvious that they should I suppose, but important to mention as I bought a ready made cabinet before that and the shelves wobbled a bit as one row of supports was at a slightly different height to the other three - it went back.

When I had less kit, one bit was a valve amp which ran hot, and I used a spare shelf above it angled steeply upward (by using the next higher locating pins at the front) to try to convect the heat away. It worked ok but the valve amp did not stay long.

The disadvantage of a cabinet with closed sides is that it is a pig to change wires. Thats because its difficult to push a connector or mains plug on from the rear while reaching round to the front to stop it sliding of the shelf. Very long arms required! For locking plugs the only way is to slide the cabinet forward which is also a pig!  Mine moves reasonably easily, sliding over the carpet, but with some big amps I had, weighed well in excess of 100kg and I needed flattened cardboard boxes under the front edge to help it slide. Currently I am using a pair of bel canto power amps with their on/off switches mounted on the back - who thought that one up? - but it is just manageable.
 

Wow...Thanks a ton for taking the time to write such a lengthy reply with some great suggestions "listen up. Very much appreciate it :)

When rabski mentioned mounting the entire rack on castors,  the idea of being able to slide it forward and against the wall appealed to me, as it would be easier to swap cables etc. But the idea of removable doors didn't strike me. Since the kit will be lying for 4 months unused at a time, some doors to keep the dust out is a great idea. 

And as suggested regarding the weight, the total weight of the kit going on the rack will be 300kgs without considering the TT, which I will be adding at a future stage. So will need a heavy base on the carpet on which the castors can slide safely with all that weight.

And weight apart, I also have the heat problem.. apart from the preamp, everything generates a lot of heat. Including the tube dac. So have to figure a way to channel this away without effecting the components. 

At the moment I plan to proceed as under mentioned:

1. Heavy base on the floor on which castors can  roll safely. 

2. Heavy duty castors at the bottom of the rack..

3. Front,  sides and back open design. With removable doors.

4. High enough shelves to provide sufficient ventilation.

5. Will not care about cabling etiquette.  But will keep the power and interconnect cables as far away as possible. 

Thanks all for all your suggestions :)

I was tempted to build some thing like the below. But now realize that it might not work in my scenario with lots of weight and loads of heat .

But Iam still smitten by how neat and beautiful it looks :)

IMGP8606.thumb.JPG.0477119cb055982548fcea1914067ea3.JPG

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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)

That was my Blok rack that I sold to Brook, and they make them in various colours and heights.

https://www.blokdirect.com/collections/hifi-stands-and-vinyl-storage

Nothing to stop you getting a pair at your required height (they also do custom shelf heights) and then getting a pair of steel framed dolly's made to sit them on (25mmx40mm steel box frame, 12mm plywood top and castors). That way you get a nice looking rack/pair of racks, that is movable. 

Edited by Lurch
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32 minutes ago, Lurch said:

That was my Blok rack that I sold to Brook, and they make them in various colours and heights.

https://www.blokdirect.com/collections/hifi-stands-and-vinyl-storage

Nothing to stop you getting a pair at your required height (they also do custom shelf heights) and then getting a pair of steel framed dolly's made to sit them on (25mmx40mm steel box frame, 12mm plywood top and castors). That way you get a nice looking rack/pair of racks, that is movable. 

Thanks a lot Lurch:)

Iam not from the UK, so sadly can't go for the blokdirect rack. But thanks for suggesting the sizes of metal steel frames to hold the entire rack and it's weight. I can get that fabricated with castors, and then build my rack in it. Thanks :)

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Super Wammer

That size would only be suitable (with a 1.6mm wall minimum) if you were doing 2 smaller rack dolly's. For a full width single rack I would suggest a minimum of 2mm walled 45x45 box to manage the all up weight, unless you run a 6 wheeled dolly to stop centre sag. 

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1 hour ago, Lurch said:

That size would only be suitable (with a 1.6mm wall minimum) if you were doing 2 smaller rack dolly's. For a full width single rack I would suggest a minimum of 2mm walled 45x45 box to manage the all up weight, unless you run a 6 wheeled dolly to stop centre sag. 

Thanks again Lurch :)

I guess I will go with the 2mm walled 45x45mm square framing and will also add 6 casters to evenly distribute the load, and prevent sagging in the middle. 

Now Iam just wondering about the kind of base support I should place on the thick carpet flooring, on which at least a 300kg rack can safely move on casters :)

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Consider Teflon coated discs as an option instead of castors. These have low friction so slide on the carpet avoiding need for a base. Should work even with that weight, they were designed to move heavy furniture .

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Posted (edited)

Hi @newlash09, I thought I'd share a couple of pics of my custom-made equipment unit in case they're useful or inspire something.  I drew up the design for a free-standing metal frame and gave it to a local welder.   Then I just laid the scaffold plank shelves on top, using blue tack to keep them in place.  I quite like the rough edges for now, but eventually I'll sand them properly, or get some reclaimed hardwood if I can afford it.  

IMG_2790.JPG

IMG_2795.JPG

Edited by jas0_0
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