November 2011 Paul Rigby, Hi-Fi World (UK)
The AVID Isorak is a simple to build, modular isolation shelving system. Constructed from either 30mm black or 26mm oak veneered MDF, the shelves can be supplied on three or four legs (black or silver) of varying lengths, providing a bespoke unit.
The secure-slot design simplifies stacking, you just rest one shelf upon another. Each set of legs rests on the legs below, separate by a large ball bearing providing isolation. Finally each shelf provides resonance dissipation slots plus a 'tidy' hole for cabling.
Listening began with my Icon CD-X1 CD player, perched upon a simple MDF table. Spinning the King Crimson-esque tones of Polyphony's 'Without Introduction', it was no surprise to hear a forward, sometimes bright series of upper frequencies. In fact, treble flailed about like a tree in a storm, losing direction and precision while bass sounded like a hillside full of sheep - woolly. More, the lack of structure allowed it to bleed into other frequency areas robbing the lead guitar of much of its impact.
Placing the CD-X1 on the Isorak, the most startling improvement was the bass which was tighter, snapping into view for the first time and providing a fuller, more complex arrangement. Upper frequencies relaxed into a richer, more flowing aspect while vocals were less edgy. Synth work now offered a more sweeping aspect with newer, more delicate elements being noticeable for the first time.
Comparing my admittedly much cheaper reference shelving, the Atacama Equinox, with the Isorak was fascinating. Despite the excellence of the Equinox design, it should have sounded less capable, and that proved the case. It sounded airy but less secure than the Isorak which provided a greater bass presence plus a richer, more mature tone to the upper frequencies, plus more surety and confidence. By comparison, the Equinox sounded like a kid on his first day at school; slightly nervous and unsure of his footing.
Well designed, easy to assemble, move and modify and producing top quality sound, the Isorak is a no-brainer if you're looking for an isolation shelving system.