This is not so much a review as it is just to
tell you about a cool product.
Like most consumers, I want to have a
dedicated place to put my hi-fi equipment.
There are lots of equipment racks out there,
varying in price from a few hundred dollars up to thousands. They are
generally very attractive, but the problem I have is that the shelves of
most of the commercial equipment racks are not high enough to accommodate
the various kinds of components that I have. Secondly, they are often
enclosed cabinets, and since I like tubes, many of my components need very
good ventilation. Third, some of my stuff is very heavy, and I get nervous
about putting a hundred pound component, that cost me a ton of money, on
shelves that don't appear to be very solid.
So, I looked around for alternatives, and came
upon a company called Anthro.
Anthro makes heavy duty carts of all sizes,
that are made for home and corporate office use.
They are very utilitarian in appearance,
because they are totally customizable. You can choose the width, the height,
the depth, how many shelves you want, casters or no casters, and there are
plenty of accessories (including a cable manager). Also, they are incredibly
solid, and will hold any hi-fi component that exists. The shelves are open,
so there are no ventilation issues. Heavy duty casters allow moving the cart
away from the wall to clean behind it, or to work with component
Anthro really looked like it had what I
wanted, so I ordered some a few years ago. The first one had seven 30" wide
shelves. Once assembled, it was six feet tall. I still use that one in my
home theater lab, and it holds everything, including three DVD players, an
SSP, a five channel power amplifier, a two-channel power amplifier, a video
processor, and other accessories.
The whole thing with all the components weighs
around a thousand pounds. Huge casters allow me to roll it out so I can
adjust connections. I customized the shelf height so it would accommodate
all my tall components. Such a product just does not exist in the
conventional consumer hi-fi equipment rack market.
The Anthro 24" Cart
Recently, I needed more rack space in one of
the labs to accommodate some new reference equipment. So, I ordered the 24"
Anthro Cart. Again, it worked out so well, I decided it was time to tell our
readers about these carts.
It comes with one 18" deep and one 29" deep
shelf. Normally, one would put the deeper shelf on top, but I decided to put
the deep shelf on the second level, so that I would have easy access to the
volume control of the Lamm L2 Reference Preamplifier that would reside there
(see photo at top and the one below). I measured the height of the Lamm (two
chassis), plus the vibration pods that separated them, plus several inches
of space. I attached the shelf accordingly.
Along with the cart ($299), I ordered what Anthro
calls a CPU Rollout Shelf ($139.95 option). I call it an amplifier stand. It is 20" wide and
23" deep, and will hold 240 pounds. It comes with a handle and also a
set of nice caster wheels, so you can roll that heavy amplifier into place
independently of the Anthro
As you can see in the above photo, I put one
of the Lamm M2.2 monoblock power amplifiers on a custom stand that I bought
some time ago, but it would fit on the Anthro stand if I put it there.
However, I have two Lamm monoblocks, so the Anthro amplifier stand will be
used for something else later on, most likely a big two-channel amplifier.
That's another 24" Anthro cart to the right of
the Lamm monoblock. I put my analysis computer on
that one. It is in the Bone color.
So, with this setup, you could put your CD and
DVD players on top, the SSP on the second shelf, and a multi-channel power
amplifier on the roll-out stand.
You have to assemble the carts yourself, but
they come with everything you need, including the screwdriver, and it is
easy. For the 24" cart, it will take you about an hour.
A diagram of the cart is shown on the right.
You attach the shelves to the tubing by using
a bracket that bolts to the tube and to the shelf. The attachment is very,
very solid, as you can see in the photos below.
The caster wheels are wide, so they work
reasonably well on short length carpets, which I have in one lab. However,
with deep carpets, which I did not try, the included casters will likely be
more difficult, especially if the rack is full of equipment. In that case,
you might want to consider the optional 5" casters ($152.95).
You can order larger carts if you like, with
up to 72" wide shelves, if you wanted to have something that would hold
everything including CDs and DVDs.
You can also order drawers to hold remote
controls, and even a cable manager, both shown below.
The carts can be ordered in black, bone (light
tan), gray, or wood grain.
Here is a photo of the Anthro Cart I use in
the home theater lab.
Anthro Carts are an extremely useful
alternative to current consumer hi-fi equipment racks, of which many are
simply not strong enough to hold the massive components available today. The
carts are comparatively inexpensive, easy to assemble, customizable, and
will hold any and every hi-fi component you want to stack on them.
- John E. Johnson, Jr. -