Solidsteel Hyperspike HY-4 Equipment Rack Review
Mark Gusew finds that not all hi-fi racks are created equal…
High-End Equipment Rack
AUD $3,899 RRP
Let's get back to basics. It's not smart to put your precious hi-fi system on the floor, and sticking it on a sideboard or cheap coffee table isn't going to get it sounding anywhere near its best. That's why a dedicated hi-fi rack makes a lot of sense – but the question is, which one?
Well here's one suggestion and its products are designed and manufactured in Montesilvano, Italy. Solidsteel has been going for three decades and makes purpose-designed supports for audiovisual and pro audio. Its vast portfolio contains over ninety individual models. The HY-4 you see here hails from the top-tier Hyperspike series; it's modular so comes with a choice of levels or shelves to suit the application. I've seen a number of the single-level stands being used for heavy power amplifiers, often big monoblocks sitting close to the loudspeakers in high-end stereo installations. The HY-4 costs a not inconsiderable $3,899 for four shelves and four legs to safely store a variety of sources and amplifiers.
The modular tiers feature down-facing spikes sitting in up-facing cups, both made from stainless steel that's machined and polished to a smooth and shiny finish that doesn't show finger marks. The standard height of the shelves is 185mm, with one also at 285mm height for larger items or components that require extra ventilation. They're firmly attached into solid 600x500mm MDF boards that are 30mm thick and coated in an anti-resonance finish. Each shelf is about 15kg in weight, and takes no less than 70kg each according to the manufacturer. The spike-in-cup design affords a measure of vibration isolation, with the spikes facing downwards towards the floor, acting as mechanical diodes. Shelves can be ordered with frame legs from 145mm to 325mm long to suit your needs.
All components came safely boxed in easy-to-handle flat packs, their weight distributed into manageable smaller boxes, rather than being in a single large and heavy carton. Assembly was easier than expected, as it is effectively four separate shelves that stack upon one another; simply screw the four legs into the pre-made holes in the boards. The bottom shelf has an adjustable length for levelling on an uneven floor. A floor-protecting cup is supplied for placing the rack onto hard floor surfaces. The shelves are big enough for most hi-fi components, with space around them for air circulation and cabling – even bulkier amplifiers were a breeze to position. The black painted surface of the shelves is hard-wearing, although care should be taken to avoid dragging a heavy component across it. Overall quality is impressive; it's certainly furniture-grade and adds to the neatness of any audio system – and the Italian styling is first class.
How do you grade an equipment rack for its sound quality? Well, I came away confident that the Solidsteel rack contributed to my reference system's overall performance significantly, and I am sure that many audio manufacturers – and indeed exhibitors at hi-fi shows – will agree. Due to its top-class design, and its weight and overall rigidity, there was no discernible colouration from the HY-4. This held true even when listening at high volume levels, or playing music with particularly heavy bass. It seemed well able to sink unwanted vibrations. I placed constrained layer pucks under the feet of my components, and the effect was exactly as expected.
Imaging proved rock-solid, and I was greeted by an expansive soundstage that extended well beyond the loudspeakers. Bass was taut and punchy, yet there was plenty of it when required. In the midband, I could detect no added colouration or blurring, or any other artefacts that distorted the sound. Indeed, every component I tried sounded quite special on this rack – confirming my findings when I auditioned systems using them at the 2019 StereoNET Melbourne Hi-Fi Show.
Solidsteel CEO, Gaetano Conti (2019 StereoNET Melbourne Hi-Fi Show)
Thumbs aloft for Solidsteel's HY-4, then. Yes, it's expensive but it offers a tangible sonic upgrade to standard, non-hi-fi furniture and also a good deal of purpose-designed stuff too. I found it to be very well engineered – modular, strong and attractive, it provided good isolation and let my hi-fi give off its best. Well worth an audition, if you're after a serious system support.
For more information, visit Solidsteel.
Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early ’80s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now splits his time between professional reviewing and AV consultancy.