Audio Cabinet Tamara 3 equipment support
- Alan Sircom
- Oct 2014
There’s a school of thought that suggests the equipment table itself has no influence over the sound of an audio system, and another that proclaims no system can be considered truly ‘sorted’ until its support is taken into account. Audio Cabinet offers a middle way.
The brand appeared on the UK audio scene at 2013’s Whittlebury Hall show. The company makes a bespoke and innovative equipment storage solution that is equally comfortable with hi-fi and home cinema systems.
The extremely clever part of the Audio Cabinet system is it contains the audio electronics ‘block’ into a pull-out rack called ‘Eazyturn’, which takes both cable and (more importantly) heat management into account. The rack sits on high-grade runners that mean you could hold up to 50kg per pull-out, rack. Then, the base of this pull-out rack incorporates a turntable (think ‘Lazy Susan’ rather than ‘Rega’), so the devices can be placed and wired up with ease and precision.
The racks themselves are 19” as standard, but don’t take front panel ‘ears’ into account (for example, amplifiers that have a larger front panel to give them a ‘pro audio’ look, such as Burmester and Audio Research). However, the bespoke nature of the Audio Cabinet concept implies a ‘no problem’ approach. If you wanted scalloped sides of the pull-out rack, to accommodate ‘ears’, that’s no problem; if you wanted a wider rack (within limits), that’s no problem either. Two pull-out racks… guess what? It can be done. There’s even an optional Russ Andrews four-gang power block, which can be screwed to the top of the pull-out rack.
Aside from the pull-out rack, there are a world of options open to the user. The solid hardwood/veneered top makes a perfect base of operations for at least two source components. Home cinema types can specify the centre portion to accommodate an acoustically-transparent front (to accommodate a centre-channel loudspeaker), and you can specify two Easyturn components, with the centre given over (as standard) to two drawers; the top designed for CD storage, and the bottom drawer… is actually two drawers in one, the uppermost is an internal slimline plush lined tray designed to keep all your remotes in one place, while the lower is extra CD storage. These are not mass CD storage cabinets, and will hold only a couple of hundred discs at most. There are also less wide Tamara 2 cabinets that hold either discs and Easyturn, or two Easyturn-sized rack systems.
Any big custom install rig, or large home cinema system, will likely have a ‘plant room’, where the electronics are held in fan-cooled 19in racks. Often, these are derivations of studio or dataserver racking systems. However, these are typically too big, ugly, and noisy for use out in the open. Audio Cabinet takes the concept into the home, using passive airflow systems to control heat (the Audio Cabinet people tested this with an old AV amplifier and a smoke bomb), and separate rear ports for power, speaker, and interconnect cables.
In truth, there’s not a lot more to say about the Tamara. It obeys the ‘first do no harm’ rule of audio design, by not undermining the sound of good equipment, even if it lacks the potentially performance-improving properties of any of the spike, spoke, pad, pod, platform, and puck purveyors (try saying that after half a dozen mojitos). It’s easy to load up, it neatly hides your equipment from view, and if you ever need to change anything, moving products out is extremely easy. What more do you need?
In sheer practical terms, the design of the Audio Cabinet limits its use with extremely thick, inflexible cables, or power cords with large Furutech plugs and sockets. At their most extreme, the inflexibility and size of some of the more exotic cables will push the pull-out rack forward on its runners, making closing the door of the Audio Cabinet difficult. In most cases, proper dressing of cables will overcome this problem, but some high-end cables are so inflexible, even dressing the cables might prove impossible. But, I suspect this is a problem that self-selects itself out of the equation; those using this kind of audio exotica are unlikely to want their audio equipment hidden away in a cabinet, no matter how well engineered.
Downsides? Well, it’s made to order, so the time from order to delivery and installation is measured in weeks rather than hours. And the end result is heavy. Bloody heavy. Our sample (one rack, one central two-and-a-bit drawer section, and a standard shelving unit behind doors, more than 1.7m wide, 600mm deep and 650mm tall) weighed in at a healthy 140kg, or 300lb in old money. Bear that in mind when thinking about using the Audio Cabinet on the top floor of an old Georgian townhouse with narrow staircases!
There’s a fairly big change happening in audio. It no longer needs to be on show. People want the performance of good audio, but are no longer willing to put up with its position of dominance in the room. One of the solutions to this is to get rid of dozens of components in favour of a one-box solution, but to others this is a compromise too far. Audio Cabinet provides a workable solution, by bringing ‘plant room’ convenience to the living room without sacrificing performance. You can keep all your existing audio equipment, without it turning your living room into a hi-fi shop. Highly recommended.
- Tamara 3 system (Supplied with one Easyturn unit as standard)
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 173.6x65x60cm
- Weight: c140kg (depending on number of Easyturn units)
- Price: from £1,995
- URL: www.audio-cabi.net
- Tel: +44(0)1582 450929
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