Emergency! All hands on deck! You know the feeling, audiophiles. You’ve just launched a stylus, the digital box just crapped out, or you just blew a tweeter changing interconnects without switching off. Happily, nothing like that here, but I was out of rack space. I hear you significant others laughing, but for OCD types like me, with three pieces of gear to review without a home and with deadlines looming, well, panic stations! Not even time to call the Canadian Target, Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) or Massif Audio Design (MAD) reps (my three favourite racks) to wangle a rack at an accommodation price. I want it now! And I’m in beautiful, but somewhat sleepy Victoria, BC.
I headed down to Atlas Audio and Video where I knew they sold great high end kit but also showcase some gorgeous racks. No MAD or HRS, but they did have Target and some very lovely Salamander Designs racks on display. Karl Sigman wrote a review of one of their racks in Audiophilia and did a tour of the factory. Because of the strong US dollar, the price of Salamander’s Archetype System stand made me flinch. Atlas’ very nice owner took pity on me and let me have the stand at his cost. Thank you, William. Cost was still a mouthful, but the stand is so beautifully made and my need was great, so I got out the card.
Unpacking the wood and hardware was the cost's tell. The stand is simple but made beautifully. The hardware works smoothly and effectively. Quality machining and lovely carpentry. My rack is in maple (also available in walnut, cherry and black ash).
Racks and platforms serve two masters, beauty or efficacy, rarely both. MAD and Salamander serve the former. They produce lookers. Sexy, woody, gorgeous. HRS racks are designed to eliminate unwanted vibration in a scientific way. The company did a presentation I attended a few years ago. The difference between pretty and science was significant. Science costs. Pretty, too, when using MAD’s ultra exotic woods. But if I had the time and dosh, I’d lavish my system with HRS.
That said, I’m extremely happy with my Salamander stand. The mass and stability it provides ensures vibration-free performance and the gear looks wonderful in it.
If you’ve become a regular reader of Audiophilia reviews, you know I didn't put it together (thx Jan). Unpacking to listening took about an hour. The threaded steel rods are substantial, making the five American hardwood shelves fully adjustable — the majority of time was screwing the fasteners and using the supplied level. Rubber feet make it difficult to slide the rack around, so pick your spot and stick to it.
The great science-based platforms will drop the noise floor of the soundstage and clean up the presentation — like the proverbial veil(s) lifted I heard at the HRS presentation or from the crazy expensive but splendid Kinetic Systems’ Vibraplane platform. I’m not sure the Salamander makes a significant difference to the sound, but it looks amazing and is comforting to know the equipment is on solid ground, is level and has appropriate ventilation. Recommended.
Flexibility of infinite vertical adjustment
Designed to enhance sonic performance by isolating audio/video components from vibration
Open architecture allows for superior component venting and simple cable management
Modular, stackable concept allows easy adjustment and retrofitting as need change
Accessories provide additional storage options and functionality (spikes available)
Dimensions: 23" W x 36” H x 16” D
Further Information: Salamander Designs