A while back, I was contacted by James Wall, from Audio Vault USA, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where their products are designed, engineered and manufactured. He inquired wether I would be interested in reviewing for Audiophilia some high-end audiophile quality furniture for my audio system. I explained that living in a NYC apartment, with limited space, I would not be able to simply swap out my large main cabinet for another, and that my current cabinet (Salamander Designs) is vertical and 7 feet tall. He answered, ‘no problem, we primarily make custom racks, so whatever you could use along side what you now have, we could make'. So after some back and forth, we agreed upon another vertical rack a bit over 3 feet tall, for my perusal: A customized Executive Series single-width vertical rack with two adjustable middle shelves, gold spikes on the bottom and a beautiful hand-crafted solid block of natural walnut, that came from a local Amish county in Indiana, 1.125” thick, for the top. The retail price: $2227.
That walnut block was so gorgeous that I became worried my wife would move the rack into the kitchen to use it as a chopping board—so I promptly placed my heavy VPI turntable on the top to claim it as home where it remained throughout this review. (It worked; no more hints about cooking and chopping boards!) I placed the new unit on the wooden floor to the left of my current cabinet so as to swap some of my audio components back and forth and be close enough to my power conditioner and wall outlet so that I would not have to worry about extending the lengths of power cords. This worked out splendidly.
More details of the construction and use:
Dimensions: 19.5” (W), 21.5” (D), 38” (H). The bottom shelf and the two inner shelves were black medium-density fiberboard (MDF), resting on finely constructed aluminum supports, all connected by four aluminum poles. The walnut top was attached to a 0.75” thick composite platform (same as an MDF shelf), a 0.2” thick shielding layer and it had an elegant metal sign ‘Audio Vault USA’ screwed tightly on two of its sides (front and back), one in silver, one in gold; you choose which faces front to match your equipment by picking up the wooden top and turning it around. (I chose the silver facing front for this review.) Efforts were made by Audio Vault (proprietary materials, conditioning) to help reduce resonance, vibration and even help block electromagnetic field distortion, and radio frequency interference. There were no separate screws and bolts to deal with for the units construction; I required no instructions to set it up; each inner shelf could be moved up or down the poles via a patented platform cam locking mechanism built into the aluminum supports using a tool that comes with the unit. This resulted in seriously stable shelves able to carry 400 pounds per shelf! So simple, strong, and practical. Of particular note is that the cabinet as a whole does not visually show off; instead it knows its place and helps your equipment be the centerpiece of attraction in your abode. That’s how I like it.
For the second shelf, I moved in my Mac-Mini player and its external power supply, for the third shelf I moved in a 3TB external hard drive (containing more music files for my Mac-Mini), and a large disk-ripper. Finally, on the bottom shelf I moved in my Apple AirPort Time Capsule and some other odds and ends that I did not need to see or touch. One very pleasant surprise came when I played vinyl: that top was so stable that the needle did not easily start skipping if my kids started jumping about the room as was usually the case; it took some serious jumping to get to that point. Meanwhile I now had several free shelves on my own Salamander Designs cabinet, and that was a real luxury. I could now place albums, or CDs (while ripping) on one of the free shelves, and headphones on another and new pieces of equipment that I was reviewing on yet another. This was a new world.
If you are looking for some solid, very stable (400 pounds per shelf), made in the USA high-end Audio furniture that won’t cost you more than your audio system, then look no further than Audio Vault USA. They will custom make what you require, include gorgeous Amish wood of various kinds (Walnut, Maple), and you can expand the units later on if need be as your needs/system grows. For me, what they constructed is a winner. Highly recommended.
Audio Vault USA
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46845
Source: Manufacturer Loan