Solidsteel S3-5 Audio Rack

ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
edited May 8 in 2 Channel Audio
At last, the thread for my new Solidsteel S3-5 Audio Rack! Huge thanks again to Douglas Connection for the great deal. Anyone looking into a Solidsteel rack, please consider supporting our forum vendor and contacting @helipilotdoug!

The S3-5 retails for $999 and features some additional niceties over the entry level 5 shelf Solidsteel S2-5 model at $500. For the additional $500 you get thicker shelves with rounded corners, columns filled with a "damping material", and plastic discs that the columns sit against which "insulate" them from touching the shelves directly. While I don't have experience with the S2-5, the additional perks of the S3-5 are quite nice. The rounded corners and thicker shelves are visually more appealing, and the plastic discs aided in assembly. The pre-filled "damping material" could be a positive or negative, depending on your point of view. Yes, $500 more for only a few more features is a tough pill to swallow. However, I think it's important to mention that these racks are made in Italy, not China. So therefore your price points are obviously going to be higher.

Moving on to the assembly process and build quality. Everything arrived intact due to the excellent packaging layout. Even though the box had some distress from the shipping process and looked like it had been dropped a few times, everything inside was in perfect shape and free of any damage.

Opening the box, the first thing we see is the assembly instructions/manual and warranty info card, boasting a 5 year warranty against manufacturing defects.

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Underneath the top layer of foam, all of the hardware is nicely laid out and protected for transit.

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Close up of the nice quality bolts used to link the columns together.

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Close look at the female threaded sections of the upper and lower end caps/footers. Look Ma, no thread burrs! These all had a good weight to them and felt solid and high quality when handled. Very nice.

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Taking a look at the end of one of the columns, we can again see the high quality threads and a glimpse at the "damping material" inside.

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The damping material appears to be a closed cell foam product, not unlike the material used in the packaging to keep the hardware safe in transit. It doesn't appear to be a damping material that adds weight or mass, but rather one to reduce/eliminate unwanted aural resonances from occurring. This is where the pre-filled material could be considered unwanted or undesired. If you're looking to fill these with sand or lead shot, I don't believe that you'd be able to due to this foam material already being inside.

The columns themselves are quite light, and each MDF shelf is very heavy. Total assembled weight of the rack is roughly 75lbs empty.

Each shelf is individually bagged to prevent damage from friction during shipping. The wood has a nice textured laminate which is more robust than other forms of veneered MDF that I've seen. This surface should be resistant to scuffs/scratches and at the same time very easy to dust off in the future.

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The assembly process is super straight forward. You basically assemble it upside down and then flip it over once you're finished. Each column gets held to the other, and to the shelf, by the double threaded metal bolts shown earlier. The plastic discs are valuable here, as they protect/insulate the columns from pressing directly into the MDF. This way you can tighten them down fairly aggressively with your hand and not worry about them marring the finish of the shelf, and at the same time making it difficult to over tighten. Any excessive pressure will be diffused through the plastic disc instead of directly into the wood. This made the assembly process really enjoyable and effortless.

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It was not really possible to see this on the included visual Ikea style assembly instructions, but I noticed each bolt shaft has two different lengths of threads. I'm not sure it matters what orientation you use during assembly, but I would advise trying to keep it all uniform. I kept all of the shorter threads "up" and the longer threads down when I assembled it.

I've tried to illustrate the thread length difference here. It's subtle, but noticeable.

Longer side:

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Shorter side:

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After completing the assembly I flipped it upright and held it, while my wife helped position the Herbie's giant decoupling glider footers so that as I lowered it down, the spikes would rest into their respective cups. This part was definitely a two person job!

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Then, I extended out each of the adjustable spikes so that they would be fully pressed into their cups. This was very easy to do by hand, and resulted in a level rack according to my bubble level.

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Final position showing completed assembly. The process to put this rack together was very straightforward, and easily done in under an hour. All of the tolerances for the hardware, threads, pre-drilled holes, column uniformity, shelf quality, etc. were great. No quality control issues at all.

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Comments

  • HermitismHermitism Posts: 1,923
    Well done. Nice job with great pictures. DK did an excellent job writing that for you! (and that was meant as a compliment)
    2.0 - Marantz NA8005 | Polk LSiM703 | PS Audio: Duet, Power Port Classic, PerfectWave AC5 x3 PC | Wireworld Equinox 7 IC | Sanus UF30 | OC703 Panels

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  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,380
    Very nice review, Drew! Rack looks amazing. Glad this all worked out for you.
  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,297
    The Solid Steel Rack looks perfect for you! Congrats!
    SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • HermitismHermitism Posts: 1,923
    Clipdat wrote: »
    The S3-5 retails for $999 and features some additional niceties over the entry level 5 shelf Solidsteel S2-5 model at $500. For the additional $500 you get thicker shelves with rounded corners, columns filled with a "damping material", and plastic discs that the columns sit against which "insulate" them from touching the shelves directly.
    You've got me thinking. I wonder if someone was so inclined, if they could build a hybrid Solidsteel rack. If someone wanted a rack with the intent of mass loading it, I wonder if they could buy the S2 series which doesn't have the dampening material inside, fill it with lead/sand and then special order those isolation discs that the columns sit against and install them in the S2 series for added benefit. Assuming they would fit. It still wouldn't have the niceties of the S3 series but would be sort of like a S2.5 series.

    2.0 - Marantz NA8005 | Polk LSiM703 | PS Audio: Duet, Power Port Classic, PerfectWave AC5 x3 PC | Wireworld Equinox 7 IC | Sanus UF30 | OC703 Panels

    6.1 - Pio Elite SC-05 | Pio BDP-51FD | Polk: RTi8, CSi5, F/Xi3, CSi3 | HSU Research VTF-2 MK4 | Monster HTS 5000 | DCF124BW x3 SC | Pangea: AC-9SE x2, 14SE, 14 PC | AQ Chocolate x2 HDMI | M850SW | PS Audio Power Port Classic x2 | OC703 Panels
  • dolbyddolbyd Posts: 269
    Great review man. Looks great.
    I think the quality and value of that rack make it very appealing at its price point.
    Nice that it doesn’t take a week to get assembled and level.
    Do you think it would work well with a bigger power amp on the lower shelves? I’m sure it would stick out the back some but it looks to be stable enough.

    Main room- RTiA9 x4, CSiA6, in ceiling Atmos RT-70 x4, SVS PC 4000 x2, Marantz 7704, OPPO 203, Emotiva XPA-5 Gen2, Emotiva X-500,X-150, Sony 75" 940E, Panasonic Plasma VT50,PS Audio Power Port X2, Perfect Wave AC-5 x4

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  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,978
    Nice Review Drew!

    I saw several at LSAF this year and help loaded up Marvin's Audio Rack that he bought from Doug. I may someday upgrade to it or something.

    Doug offer a pretty sweet deal on one of these at LSAF so he didn't have to take another one home or ship one out, but lucky for me my Vehicle was so full I knew it wouldn't fit.
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    edited May 8
    My understanding is that all the parts are interchangeable, making the system modular between ranges. For example you could even add in one shelf of the S5 series, for example the very top one, just for your turntable:

    Abig_S5-5BK.jpg

    While keeping the other shelves the standard flat variety, which is what I needed to be able to fit my amps and preamps on one shelf.
    Hermitism wrote: »
    [You've got me thinking. I wonder if someone was so inclined, if they could build a hybrid Solidsteel rack. If someone wanted a rack with the intent of mass loading it, I wonder if they could buy the S2 series which doesn't have the dampening material inside, fill it with lead/sand and then special order those isolation discs that the columns sit against and install them in the S2 series for added benefit. Assuming they would fit. It still wouldn't have the niceties of the S3 series but would be sort of like a S2.5 series.

    Got Dayens?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    edited May 8
    Each shelf is rated to support 150lbs (which seems a bit crazy to me, but it's written right on the paperwork), so I don't think there would be any issue with large power amps.
    dolbyd wrote: »
    Do you think it would work well with a bigger power amp on the lower shelves? I’m sure it would stick out the back some but it looks to be stable enough.

    Got Dayens?
  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,615
    Good review I am impressed!

    There’s a solid steel above this one, no? I thought I saw one with chrome legs
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
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  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    Yep, the next series up is the Hyperspike series: http://solidsteel.it/hyperspike-series-high-end-audio-racks/

    (1000x1000)_fmax_Solidsteel_HF_4.png
    Joey_V wrote: »
    Good review I am impressed!

    There’s a solid steel above this one, no? I thought I saw one with chrome legs

    Got Dayens?
  • helipilotdoughelipilotdoug Posts: 1,178
    Nice review Drew! Glad to hear you are happy with the Solidsteel S3-5 rack. At LSAF I set up the HF-3 rack and the HF-A amp stands in our room, and am very impressed with the quality. Also had a S5-4 rack and sold it to one of the exhibitors who set it up and we were both very impressed with the look and quality.
    Sunfire Theater Grand IV
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature
    SRS 2.1TL
    SDA 2BTL's
    CSiA6
    FXiA4
    FXiA6
    SDA 2A's
    Monitor 10A's

    http://www.douglasconnection.com
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    edited October 15
    And how'd you like leveling the spikes and getting those all perfect? Doesn't it feel a lot more solid once you get those nuts on the spikes locked down? I thought so at least.
    Got Dayens?
  • helipilotdoughelipilotdoug Posts: 1,178
    verb wrote: »
    Just finished my S3-4 rack. I have to agree with all of Drew's comments above. First impression when picking up the box is, man this thing is heavy!

    As mentioned above, build quality is top-notch. Very easy assembly.
    My new Solidsteel Rack! Thank you Doug for a top quality product! :smile:

    Glad you like it Dave. Solidsteel does build excellent racks! :)
    Sunfire Theater Grand IV
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature
    SRS 2.1TL
    SDA 2BTL's
    CSiA6
    FXiA4
    FXiA6
    SDA 2A's
    Monitor 10A's

    http://www.douglasconnection.com
  • verbverb Posts: 3,321
    Clipdat wrote: »
    And how'd you like leveling the spikes and getting those all perfect? Doesn't it feel a lot more solid once you get those nuts on the spikes locked down? I thought so at least.

    Actually haven’t done that part yet. Until I do some furniture re-arranging in the basement. Gotta get the SRS’s in the best spot.

    But yes they look robust. The lock nut looks like it’ll do the trick.
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, VTL 2.5 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
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