Footers or platform isolation

sbo6

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Much good content on this forum (thanks to all) but I couldn't seem to find anything specific to whether folks preferred an isolation rack / platform over footers let alone any compares of one versus the other (there are many choices as we all know). Some use both.

For my situation I'm looking into replacing my DIY baltic birch mass loaded rack and amp stands with mfr. racks (Grand Prix, Adona etc. candidates). Focus would initially be on my amp stands whereby my amps are on CS2 footers - to sell the CS2s + add $$ and buy SRA stands or go for something more affordable like aforementioned Grand Prix Audio stands and keep the amps on the CS2 footers. Which is better, I have no idea.

Feedback is very much appreciated.
 

tima

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I"ve tried a variety of footer products over the years - footers are something of a product of the month piece of equipment. Typically they are off-the-rack one size fits all. Currently the CS2 is 'hot' on this board. How long ago were Stillpoints this years model? The IsoAcoustics Gaia product was popular on another board I watch. There are others. The one constant seems a continual increase in price - I'm surprised at how much some of these cost.

Whatever you set your components on will change their resonance frequency and usually their sound. The 'idea' is to isolate a component from mechanical vibrations from below and provide an exit path for energy coming from the component itself. Most do one of these things, some do both, a few do both really well.

I got off the footer train when I switched to SRA racks and platforms for my amps. I had their Ohio-Class amp stands for several years then upgraded to the Virginia Class platforms. SRA's component specific design is exactly that - built for the exact unit it will support. And, as long as the size of the platform does not change, they will modify (no cost) the platform if you change components. I also have two SRA Scuttle racks. These too can be updated if any of your mounted equipment changes. Relatilve to footers these are not inexpensive products but they are life-time products. If it wasn't SRA, I'd look at HRS. Member @jfrech has GPA and speaks well of it. (Links go to my reviews.)
 
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the sound of Tao

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All tweaks tend to ultimately be flavour of the month, in the end there is only so much advice that anyone can give to anyone else since the nature of tweaks always seem to be so context specific in their outcome.

Rather than prescribing one fixed universal panacea it probably might be better for users to work towards trying explain the characteristic nature of any tweak and perhaps then the best usage scenario in the use of that tweak. It is a challenging area of exploration for sure.

I’ve liked the qualities of the SRA products that I’ve heard but I am not convinced that you can’t go with even more control with footers or creating a more flexible individually tailored approach and more individually finesse your response to take more ultimate control over the outcome.

Good platforms remind me of good quality automatic coffee makers (omg yes… more coffee analogies :eek:)… working with more tailored individual responses like using footers and mixed with additional constrained layer approaches in resonant damping is more like using a manual lever coffee machine… perhaps more of a scary art with more potential trip hazards.

Either way you take your risks and you pays your money… off the rack tailored solutions can be great but they are what they are and it’s all ultimately just one part of the mix… we can succeed or miss in so many ways. We each take our own best individual shot in these things and that’s about it really.
 
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PeterA

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I think it is a matter of approach and what you’re trying to get out of the components. I have tried various aftermarket footers. They all change the sound of the system. Just like aftermarket power cords. I decided to return to the default of what was delivered by the manufacturer and use the stock footers and stock power cords. All these things tune the system to a preference so it is a very individual pursuit.

I now use an inexpensive very carefully chosen industrial power cord and my components rest on their stock footers on my DIY rack and amp stand solution. The rack was designed to be very solid and aesthetically pleasing in the room. It is mass loaded with steel plates under each component that were carefully tuned for a sound which I found to be the most natural.

In the end, it is a very subjective pursuit. One tries something that he thinks is best at the time and keeps it until he finds something he prefers more. My solution is flexible and allows me to experiment. Others prefer a ready-made industry solution.

My friend just bought a bunch of HRS racks and likes them very much. They seem very well-made and the system sounds better.
 

tima

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I’ve liked the qualities of the SRA products that I’ve heard but I am not convinced that you can’t go with even more control with footers or creating a more flexible individually tailored approach and more individually finesse your response to take more ultimate control over the outcome.

Perhaps you're not familiar with them Graham, or prefer something else. SRA is the ultimate in an individually tailored approach as each platform is built for a specific component. Each rack shelf support is built for the exact components it will hold.
 

the sound of Tao

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Perhaps you're not familiar with them Graham, or prefer something else. SRA is the ultimate in an individually tailored approach as each platform is built for a specific component. Each rack shelf support is built for the exact components it will hold.
I do think it is realistically about preference rather than anything else Tim, tweaks are kind of like that. I’ve heard SRA amp stands underneath some 300B amps that a friend lent me a few years ago and I very much liked the way they worked up on the SRA platforms over them sitting on their own feet. I also think the SRA racks look great. But I’m unsure how we can ever determine anything is ultimate in this really. There are just so many variables and each outcome is just one assumed response to what is best whether it’s determined by the manufacturer of a rack or something we come up with ourselves using any combinations of footers or constrained layer damping or any other resonance solution.

In truth if people are happy with the infrastructure approach that they have that is for me the best outcome. A life spent constantly changing tweaks and never being sure is for me the scariest outcome of all, we all go through it for a bit but the tweak nervosa can become a kind of self flagellating audio fixation for sure. Good that any of us have survived it and come out of it on the other side sane and unscathed… well mostly :eek: :)
 
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PeterA

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Much good content on this forum (thanks to all) but I couldn't seem to find anything specific to whether folks preferred an isolation rack / platform over footers let alone any compares of one versus the other (there are many choices as we all know). Some use both.

For my situation I'm looking into replacing my DIY baltic birch mass loaded rack and amp stands with mfr. racks (Grand Prix, Adona etc. candidates). Focus would initially be on my amp stands whereby my amps are on CS2 footers - to sell the CS2s + add $$ and buy SRA stands or go for something more affordable like aforementioned Grand Prix Audio stands and keep the amps on the CS2 footers. Which is better, I have no idea.

Feedback is very much appreciated.

I just realized that I kind of suggested in my post above exactly what you are trying to get away from. Perhaps you could share what you don't like about your DIY mass loaded rack and amp stands. Also, why you are considering selling the CS2s. How would you describe the sound of each and the sound you are hoping to get from an audiophile rack system.

I do not think you can go wrong with a solid steel rack like those from Adona and the stock component footers to start with. Some have then added specialty footers or isolation platforms to such racks for different effects. Though not always easy, it helps to be able to understand and articulate what you don't like about something and then have some idea of what you want to achieve by changing. This can guide you as you listen to alternatives. If you have a friend getting a rack, it's great to be there when it arrives to do before and after comparisons. Same with footers.

In my case, I found that my former DIY baltic birch rack was too damped which is why I added the steel plates for mass loading and for a more natural tonal balance. I then designed a larger rack of solid wood without all the glues and laminates and differently tuned steel plates. The audiophile footers and some platforms that I have tried have either overdamped the sound and sucked the life out of it, or they have enhanced certain frequencies to spotlight details. Either way, the balance was not right and they moved the sound away from what I think of as natural.
 

sbnx

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Here is my 2c for what that is worth.

Like a lot of people on this forum I have tried a lot of footers --Sorbothane, Teflon, stillpoints, Sort Cone, CS2, EVP, Wood blocks, GrandPrix cones/shelf and probably some others that I can't remember. I recently purchased a few sets of the RevOpods which seem to provide the best of several ideas in one package. I really like how they can be used to fully level the component.

I fully believe what Tima said. The rack should isolate the components from the vibration of the floor etc. The shelf should be able to absorb/dissipate the vibration of the component and the footer needs to transfer the vibration to the shelf.

IMO "squishy" footers kill the dynamics and sound like Vaseline has been applied to the sound. The CS2 footers didn't work so well for me with just the Artesania rack as it is not "dead" enough to stop vibration from traveling from the rack up the footer. I can't prove this but I think this is why they work so well with the the critical mass rack -- it is dead, dead, dead. I have purchased a few shelves that absorb/dissipate vibration and will retry the CS2 whith it to see what that does.

Adona seems to have the right idea behind their rack and it is fairly affordable. So does Grand Prix but probably a little pricier. i do like the concept of the SRA amp stands. I also like the new Gryphon racks.

Wood has natural damping properties. Some types more than others. For example, I think Maple would be a good choice for the footer part as it is pretty dense and will transmit the vibration. I don't think Maple is such a good choice for the shelf. But, as you already have wood shelves you could get some maple blocks and put them under your components and give it a listen. This is pretty cheap. (as a note don't put the blocks under the component feet. Put them in contact with the underside of the chassis.)
 

sbo6

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I just realized that I kind of suggested in my post above exactly what you are trying to get away from. Perhaps you could share what you don't like about your DIY mass loaded rack and amp stands. Also, why you are considering selling the CS2s. How would you describe the sound of each and the sound you are hoping to get from an audiophile rack system.

I do not think you can go wrong with a solid steel rack like those from Adona and the stock component footers to start with. Some have then added specialty footers or isolation platforms to such racks for different effects. Though not always easy, it helps to be able to understand and articulate what you don't like about something and then have some idea of what you want to achieve by changing. This can guide you as you listen to alternatives. If you have a friend getting a rack, it's great to be there when it arrives to do before and after comparisons. Same with footers.

In my case, I found that my former DIY baltic birch rack was too damped which is why I added the steel plates for mass loading and for a more natural tonal balance. I then designed a larger rack of solid wood without all the glues and laminates and differently tuned steel plates. The audiophile footers and some platforms that I have tried have either overdamped the sound and sucked the life out of it, or they have enhanced certain frequencies to spotlight details. Either way, the balance was not right and they moved the sound away from what I think of as natural.
Lots of great feedback, thank you all. What I find fascinating is how we all come at it and assess the problem in different ways with, as expected different expectations.

Peter - I hear the "what don't you like" question quite a bit in forums and I'm sure it's quite applicable for many. For me, after many years upgrading I feel I've reached a level of realism that I am very happy with. This occurred after procuring the Vivids and the Audionet preamp and amps. That said - there is always better, no one truly reaches sonic nirvana IMO and that's OK, because we can still enjoy music without reaching that ultimate level (IMO it's all about the music). But if I'm truly being honest, I'm looking for more of everything - more clarity, more realism, more dynamics, better spacial cues, better 3 dimensionality, etc. I think many of us are (the journey being more fun than the destination and all that :) ). And I believe in balance in a system, there's always a weakest link. In my case, I think it's either my power conditioning (I have an Audioquest Niagara 3000) and / or it's my racks, although I have CS2 footers under most gear.

Specific to my DIY Baltic Birch rack - It was certainly better than the previous VTI rack I had (biggest difference if memory serves was everything sounded simply more settled, less strained). Since that compare I've mass loaded the columns with steel shot and upgraded to high quality Track System SS spikes (pic below). I haven't noticed it sounding overdamped, but everything is relative so who knows. Also, I do like where you were going with Adona - they seem to be well built, engineering - focused, good looking and fairly affordable. another is Grand Prix Monaco as sbnx suggested. IMG_20220323_105430242.jpg
 

Steve Williams

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Keep your Center Stage footers and pair them with Joe's CMS racks. The two together are as good a system of isolation that I have ever used
 
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tima

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There are just so many variables and each outcome is just one assumed response to what is best whether it’s determined by the manufacturer of a rack or something we come up with ourselves using any combinations of footers or constrained layer damping or any other resonance solution.

Sure, YMMV is always a safe response, but imo it is not a directed answer.

There is quite a bit of audio furniture designed primarily to support equipment with perhaps a passing nod to some form of mitigation. House hold furniture as well. If that is the position one finds themselves in, then footers may add some functionality. Of the footers I've tried, ranging from cones to rolling balls, to viscoelastics, to different constrained layers, each will do something to alter sound yet over time they reveal some inadequacy, or some other footer becomes appealing because it is different. I believe it takes time, at least a few months, to evaluate the sonic results of any vibration mitigation solution. Quick A/B comparisons can be misleading.

The OP asked about footers vs racks and platforms. I believe there is a consistency of experience as drawn across time, based on my own experience and reports and reviews from others. Racks and platforms designed to address vibration mitigation are more consistently better long term performers than footers.

Then again, ymmv. ;)
 
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Steve Williams

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Sure, YMMV is always a safe response, but imo it is not a directed answer.



The OP asked about footers vs racks and platforms. I believe there is a consistency of experience as drawn across time, based on my own experience and reports and reviews from others. Racks and platforms designed to address vibration mitigation are more consistently better long term performers than footers.

Then again, ymmv. ;)
I do agree with you except when the footers are based on the same fundamental laws of physics as the platforms such that they operate synergistically resulting in a big uptick in performance. But of course I’m biased as I represent the company.
 

the sound of Tao

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Sure, YMMV is always a safe response, but imo it is not a directed answer.

There is quite a bit of audio furniture designed primarily to support equipment with perhaps a passing nod to some form of mitigation. House hold furniture as well. If that is the position one finds themselves in, then footers may add some functionality. Of the footers I've tried, ranging from cones to rolling balls, to viscoelastics, to different constrained layers, each will do something to alter sound yet over time they reveal some inadequacy, or some other footer becomes appealing because it is different. I believe it takes time, at least a few months, to evaluate the sonic results of any vibration mitigation solution. Quick A/B comparisons can be misleading.

The OP asked about footers vs racks and platforms. I believe there is a consistency of experience as drawn across time, based on my own experience and reports and reviews from others. Racks and platforms designed to address vibration mitigation are more consistently better long term performers than footers.

Then again, ymmv. ;)
Tim I agree with your original contention that this can just simply be about preference. I’m also thorough and trial gear through time and don't do short A/B compares and I do like to live with gear through time and in day to day usage to understand all the implications of outcomes better.

I come from an industry where you are required to formally validate your assessment strategy and I’ve always thought the relatively poorly structured and sometimes downright random approach displayed in the reviewing of audio gear to be a great weakness in its approach… when assessing subjective data it takes an even more rigorous approach to validate findings (unlike simple objective assessment which tends to be much easier to verify in terms of things being higher performing or worse) and subjective evaluation usually needs to be developed around writing a clear rubrik of assessment outcomes gradings and weightings.

Tim the finding below wouldn’t likely survive the first step of even a fairly basic assessment audit and simply is too generalised and based in subjective preferences that aren’t really sufficiently evidenced here.

“I believe there is a consistency of experience as drawn across time, based on my own experience and reports and reviews from others. Racks and platforms designed to address vibration mitigation are more consistently better long term performers than footers.

I’d love to challenge the audio review industry to be more rigorous and develop (and regularly review) their assessment tools for assessing and validating the audio review process and in the making of subjective determinations and perhaps even working towards developing a set of standards in the industry… I know it’s not a regulated industry that you are in but really it would be good to see more clarity and structure in general of the audio review process. I believe we’d all be winners in that.

Below are an example of simple assessment principles and rules of evidence that perhaps would be good for the industry to consider.

The delivery of assessment strategies and assessment principles designed to ensure that there is reliability, flexibility, validity, and fairness.

Reliability refers to the extent to which there is a degree of consistency and accuracy in the assessment outcome. Meaning, the evidence presented is consistently interpreted and results are comparable, regardless of the assessor conducting the assessment.

Validity
and reliability share a number of characteristics. Both assessments are based on four dimensions of competency and both use a process that integrates knowledge and skills demonstrated with practical application.

Flexibility - assessment reflects being based on the specific assessment needs.

Fairness - This approach is conducted through careful consideration of the assessment needed and characteristics and the capacity to make reasonable judgments when required.

Rules of evidence:

We need to reach an appropriate balance when delivering assessment outcome and to do that the evidence collected should meet rules of evidence.

Valid – this refers to the extent to which the assessment outcome is supported by evidence. Evidence is considered valid when assessment performance matches the performance required in a competency standard. Assessors should be able to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and attributes described in an outlined criteria of competency and any associated assessment requirements.

We all tend to make a range of subjective evaluations regularly here and showing an understanding of the reasonable limits in the scope of our findings is actually what makes a determination more valid. But as always very much YMMV.


 
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tima

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I’d love to challenge the audio review industry to be more rigorous and develop (and regularly review) their assessment tools for assessing and validating the audio review process and in the making of subjective determinations and perhaps even working towards developing a set of standards in the industry… I know it’s not a regulated industry that you are in but really it would be good to see more clarity and structure in general of the audio review process. I believe we’d all be winners in that.

Below are an example of simple assessment principles and rules of evidence that perhaps would be good for the industry to consider.

The delivery of assessment strategies and assessment principles designed to ensure that there is reliability, flexibility, validity, and fairness.

Reliability refers to the extent to which there is a degree of consistency and accuracy in the assessment outcome. Meaning, the evidence presented is consistently interpreted and results are comparable, regardless of the assessor conducting the assessment.

Validity
and reliability share a number of characteristics. Both assessments are based on four dimensions of competency and both use a process that integrates knowledge and skills demonstrated with practical application.

Flexibility - assessment reflects being based on the specific assessment needs.

Fairness - This approach is conducted through careful consideration of the assessment needed and characteristics and the capacity to make reasonable judgments when required.

Rules of evidence:

We need to reach an appropriate balance when delivering assessment outcome and to do that the evidence collected should meet rules of evidence.

Valid – this refers to the extent to which the assessment outcome is supported by evidence. Evidence is considered valid when assessment performance matches the performance required in a competency standard. Assessors should be able to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and attributes described in an outlined criteria of competency and any associated assessment requirements.

We all tend to make a range of subjective evaluations regularly here and showing an understanding of the reasonable limits in the scope of our findings is actually what makes a determination more valid. But as always very much YMMV.

Is this your own original work? Or did you copy it without attribution from here:

Although I'm said to be an industry participant, I was not aware of being a member of an 'audio reviewing industry'. Perhaps I am. Your quote from my post is not from a published review but (unlike some posts here) it is an attempt to answer the forum question posed by the OP. But if I am such a member of a reviewing 'industry', thank goodness it is unregulated. :D

Audio review publishers are private enterprises. Each of the three I've written for has their own rules and guidelines. If you are seriously seeking to hold audio reviews to your need for rules of evidence and principles of assessment, I suggest taking your suggestions straight to publishers and editors. Success will certainly lead to more theater and meta level forum discussion, though likely fewer and more boring reviews. And, by the way, I'd like a 1000% increase in payment for my work.

You are certainly welcome to critique directly any of my published work or forum posts. Understand that my published work is vetted for accuracy by the manufacturer and passes through a professional editor. I gave links to a couple reviews and I'm findable on the Web. Taking a sentence or two and claiming non-compliance with some opprobrium copied from somewhere else is not generally convincing -- at least not to me. You need a stronger case and some justification.

Regarding substance...
Stating "it's all a matter of personal preference" is not useable information for someone seeking advice. Using that claim as an argument against specific suggestions is a non-argument. To make a contribution, offer your own alternatives. And have a nice day ... fall is starting where you are, isn't it? :)
 
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the sound of Tao

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Hi Tim,
Apologies I did fail to put attribution. I was on the run between meetings and it was something on my phone and had to hand… this is fairly much the standard outline from the registered training organisation guidelines here and we use these day to day as a basic part of compliance.

Having industry standards is usually considered beneficial in most industries and often works for the betterment of the industry.

Sometimes it is tiresome to have to work to rules but yes having standards in assessment are important and ensures in that our getting our work done we act fairly in how we assess. This also usually moderates across for a broader range of perspectives in best practice as well.

I appreciate you might not want to work to some industry developed guidelines in your own assessment practice and that is fine… autumn is lovely here cheers
 
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tima

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You [sic] appreciate don’t want to be assessed in your own assessment practice and that is fine

Au contraire -- never said that and actually invite critique as I did with you. Play fair. It is boring having to defend myself against falsehoods and takes us further off track.

The standards industry advocates for and sells compliance. Standards are touted by those who've bought a piece of paper. Some standards can be beneficial eg, 33-1/3.

I believe there is a consistency of experience as drawn across time, based on my own experience and reports and reviews from others. Racks and platforms designed to address vibration mitigation are more consistently better long term performers than footers.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Au contraire -- never said that and actually invite critique as I did with you. Play fair. It is boring having to defend myself against falsehoods and takes us further off track.

The standards industry advocates for and sells compliance. Standards are touted by those who've bought a piece of paper. Some standards can be beneficial eg, 33-1/3.
Tim we write endlessly about how things sound… so understanding how we perceive and how we assess and what we value is a fantastic opportunity to learn as well as for us to share a range of perspectives in understanding the value of subjectivity.

Your framing this as some kind of personal attack and it’s simply not. My challenge to you came out of you being dismissive of the validly simple assertion (for me) that extraordinary diversity in personal preference and working within a variety of contexts in a near infinite range of systems makes simplistic absolutes and framing universal solutions such as racks are going be better long term performers than footers just a way too general determination.

I’ve always been supportive on your observations on the quality of SRA products but also having another view on outcome is not always good for others I guess. For me it’s not important who is right really but perhaps there is some wisdom in not getting too caught up and parsing the life out of others ways of viewing and in respecting then a range of rightness. Either way it’s unlikely either of us would want to waste the kind of energy involved in arguing endlessly our way down till there is just one right answer on something like racks v footers. Too much time already spent on the rack I fear.
 
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joelavrencikCMS

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Much good content on this forum (thanks to all) but I couldn't seem to find anything specific to whether folks preferred an isolation rack / platform over footers let alone any compares of one versus the other (there are many choices as we all know). Some use both.

For my situation I'm looking into replacing my DIY baltic birch mass loaded rack and amp stands with mfr. racks (Grand Prix, Adona etc. candidates). Focus would initially be on my amp stands whereby my amps are on CS2 footers - to sell the CS2s + add $$ and buy SRA stands or go for something more affordable like aforementioned Grand Prix Audio stands and keep the amps on the CS2 footers. Which is better, I have no idea.

Feedback is very much appreciated.
I hope you don't mind me jumping in. You mentioned CS2 footers, so I thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I gave an opinion.

Based on your budget and the choices you voiced, I'd recommend the Grand Prix stands with the footers. I've heard it and you'll be very happy with the results, imo

All the Best

Joe
 

joelavrencikCMS

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I hope you don't mind me jumping in. You mentioned CS2 footers, so I thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I gave an opinion.

Based on your budget and the choices you voiced, I'd recommend the Grand Prix stands with the footers. I've heard it and you'll be very happy with the results, imo

All the Best

Joe
And, you really only need the basic stand with the acrylic shelves....nothing fancy required.
 
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sbo6

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And, you really only need the basic stand with the acrylic shelves....nothing fancy required.
Thanks for your feedback. Eventually I would like to step up to your rack to complement the footers.
 
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