Newest iHi-Fi Audio Rack Images Released

The new cantilevered-shelf  IsoVybra Audio Rack makes your audio system look great and your music sound better.

The new cantilevered-shelf  IsoVybra Audio Rack makes your audio system look great and your music sound better.

It’s like getting sonograms of our second baby.  Today I received the first photo-realistic 3D CAD renderings of the new IsoVybra Max Audio Rack.  This is a critical milestone and a most exciting moment because everyone, from Customers, to Designers, iHi-Fi Associates, and the Media -- can see for the first time just what has been percolating back in engineering.  IsoVybra is another gorgeous Rack that helps your audio system look great and sound the very best it can.

A designer can’t fully appreciate what he’s creating until we can see it “as if in real life.”  Even though I’ve been visualizing this product for months, I’m astounded to actually see my brainchild in the flesh.  Or in the metal and wood, I should say.  The cantilevered shelf suspension achieves a rack that gives maximum visibility to all components.  With components displayed on open shelves, it shows off any audio system to best advantage.  The next renderings will include some component outlines.

Partial Features List: 

Lower Price Points -- with less in basic materials and manufacturing processes, we can make the structurally simpler IsoVybra product line available for lower cost than the high-end Masiv product line with a minimum of compromise.  

Variable Height -- The base model is nominally 48 inches tall.  It can be ordered shorter if you want fewer shelves and a lower profile.  Standard increments of 6 inches include 42, 36, and even 30 inches using the 40 mm profile shown.

Variable Shelves -- from one, to as many as you can fit in, up to a practical maximum of possibly six with really skinny components.  Shelf position is infinitely adjustable vertically on the column.  Several gorgeous and beautiful-sounding woods are optional.  The standard material is Bamboo Composite (like counter top.)  An Ebonized Ash is planned.

Anti-vibration -- Built-in anti-vibration damping at two levels greatly enhances all components’ audio performance.  The shelves are each suspended on molecular-engineered polymer discs that efficiently quash most structure-borne vibration between and among components and coming up from the floor.  The standard feet also contain another special-polymer disc to break the vibration path into the whole rack.

Optional Swivel Feet enable tilt-and-swivel fine screw adjustments to level the Rack perfectly and compensate for floor unevenness while also breaking the path of external structure born vibration.  Any of the feet offered eliminate any need for spikes with carpet or hard floors.

Cable Management -- a groove for cables is built into the front of the Column.  This is best dedicated for signal wiring running between components.  On the back of the column, several cable-tie mounts provide for neat routing of AC power cables.

Mechanical Grounding -- If heavier grounding is desired, weighty materials can be added inside the hollow Base Members.  This lowers the center of gravity and also provides grounding mass to further resist unwanted component movement.  The more still your components and their internal works remain, the more the natural musical qualities are preserved.

Other Options -- planned options include a weighted wood Sandbox that nestles into the Base.  That area could include a Base Shelf or wood Fascia or simply be dedicated to power distribution or conditioning gear and the external component power supplies that have become prevalent with smaller computer audio components.

Black Frame -- the extruded frame components may be ordered in black color rather than natural aluminum.

Kit or Assembled -- three levels of assembly are offered, from a completely dis-assembled kit for the very mechanically inclined, to a partially assembled form, to a near-fully assembled model.  Shelves are shipped separately and slid onto the Frame Column at the final destination.

This Max version of the cantilevered IsoVybra Rack is the largest standard model available.  It’s suitable for the largest and heaviest of legacy-style components.  The IsoVybra product line spans 6 distinct scales that descend through heights from 48 inches (nominal) down through 42, and 36 using the frame shown here.  With smaller frame profiles, heights run from 30 inches, to 24, and even 18 inches for a desktop model.  Development was started at the top.  The smaller models to follow are already in development and will become available in time.

We’ll be releasing initial audio rack production through iHi-Fi’s upcoming crowdfunding campaigns.  The first few of each Audio Rack Model will sell there.  They are instant collectors’ items, each branded with a reserved logo and special serial number series.  Watch for further developments here on the iHi-Fi Blog.

Your thoughts?  Click to comment.

Hi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.   Custom Audio Furnishings design, manufacture, distribution and sales.

 

New IsoVybra Audio Rack Near Release

3D CAD image of new iHi-Fi IsoVybra Audio Rack.  Can you see the two levels of vibration damping suspension?

Break every path vibration can take to jiggle your gear and you’ll enjoy the best audio system enhancement you can add for small money.  When I put Herbie’s Audio Lab vibration dampers under my speakers, the result was like getting a whole new system that cost multiples of what I had invested.  Suddenly, there is this new audio-enhancing damping treatment I can't live without.

Literally everything we listen for in music quality jumps a few notches upward all at once -- soundstage expands, instruments focus, timbres become clearer and more complex, speed of attack and decay improve, and in sum, the illusion of reproducing the original performance becomes far more convincing.  Vibration damping can be obscenely quick, easy and cheap compared to other attempts to make your music sound better.  I’ll dedicate a post to damping soon.  But first . . .

What’s good for my ears is good for the world’s ears, so we suspend our rack shelves and speaker stands on vibration dampers that deliver fabulous performance.

At iHi-Fi, we’re proud to leak a second 48-inch, 5-shelf Audio Rack is imminent, with a whole different, forward look.  Like the recent Masiv Audio Rack design (our first, with vibration damping,) it’s built from industrial framing system components and premium hardwood.  This new IsoVybra type also benefits from 30+ years of design experience.  It includes acoustic enhancement through vibration control at two levels.  We believe any audio system will instantly sound better on this Rack.  Anti-vibration suspension is maintained at two levels, at the floor and for each shelf.  You can also easily add a third level at your components if you want the ultimate in acoustic isolation for your whole system.  

The new IsoVybra product line’s concept uses a cantilevered shelf suspension.  The basic approach is scalable in 6 inch increments -- from 48 inches, to 42, 36, 30, 24, and 18 -- from a large floor-standing model that houses any big system down to a desktop version for teeny computer audio components.  The 80/20 Inc., structural backbone works from top to bottom across all scales as it proves aluminum extrusion can be a gorgeous companion to premium hardwood and engineered wood composites.

In addition, the six scales of IsoVybra all have matching speaker stands for monitors if you run them.  We’re doing an adjustable height stand at the end for desktops.  Like our Racks, our Stands make it simple, easy, and visually attractive to include vibration damping.   Unless someone tells you where it is, you’ll never notice anything is there until the music plays.

The motive for a new design is even greater simplicity, scalability, and lower cost across both lines.  The original 48-inch Masiv Rack line is retained for the high end and 42, 36, and 30-inch versions will be offered for larger legacy systems and a traditional look.  The new IsoVybra line fits all systems from big legacy setups through the most compact new digital audio gear such as iFi.  The look is modern and high tech.

The original iHi-Fi Masiv Audi Rack is semi-custom, offering a host of user definable features.  Speaker stands can be fitted to any monitor to create this custom look.

The original iHi-Fi Masiv Audi Rack is semi-custom, offering a host of user definable features.  Speaker stands can be fitted to any monitor to create this custom look.

In the end, iHi-Fi has a rack and matching speaker stands for everyone, covering all price tiers and tastes from traditional fine furniture to forward, modern decor.  All are built with fit, finish, and quality that will make any audio lover proud to display a system on an iHi-Fi Rack and matching Speaker Stands.  Please forgive the somewhat rough, low res 3D CAD view in this post.  We are working up the photorealistic renderings right now but I just could not wait to put out some news. 

More Soon.

Your Thoughts?  Click to comment.

iHi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.  Custom Audio Furnishings design, manufacture, and sales.

Audioengine Announces a Bluetooth Receiver?

The new Audioengine B1 Bluetooth receiver comes with some excellent features that make it a stand-out.

Interesting.

That’s my basic first response to the new Audioengine B1.  Not “Yay,” just “Interesting.”  The B1 indicates the state of the market, I think, but it doesn’t excite me.  I mean, I have a D2 and a W3.  When would I use a B1?  And for what?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a died in the wool Audioengine fan since iHi-Fi is all about using computer audio to help people get the best music quality for the most affordable cost.  But I have written before about the inescapable music quality compromises that come in the bargain when you accept the convenience of Bluetooth.  Nothing has changed.   

See these previous posts on Bluetooth --

Does Bluetooth Really Work for Wireless Speakers?

WiFi or Bluetooth Speakers: Which do the Smart Money Get?

Bluetooth still underperforms with music because it was never intended to carry music of any quality.  Just ring tones, at best, and game sounds.  Yes, a high fidelity codec called AptX was developed as an afterthought.  But you don’t get AptX in the devices that have your music in them.  With AptX on only the receiving end, the whole shebang dumbs down to A2DP quality that sucks for music.  It’s that simple.  You get a potentially high-resolution channel carrying lossy music poorly, a short distance, across the room.

The coming shift to quality-over-convenience has not fulminated sufficiently to bloom yet.  The masses still don’t know what great sounding music sounds like so they don’t care and Bluetooth (without the AptX codec) ships in every portable device that is built.  Phone makers don’t care about music quality like they care about photo resolution.  AptX will never, ever make it to the transmitting side until high-res sound gets to be “a thing” like sharp photos got to be “a thing.”

I’m beginning to understand I’m an Auditory type in a world full of Visuals and undoubtedly in the minority.  I’m also just as visual as any Visual Type but also intensely auditory.  It’s the cross I bear.  Wrong planet, maybe.

At this point, the masses still listen to the collection of lossy downloads they paid the Mega Fruit a dollar a piece for.  Bluetooth is good enough for that.  But immediately my mind goes to “At a dollar a track they could buy an awful lot of fabulous digital music.”  Something bugs me about seeing people settle like that.  But it’s their apathy and I don’t have to buy into it.  I rebel over corporate greed and exploitation.  Next they will exploit people with 24 bits, I suppose.  So I say as I write this on my MacBook Pro.  Which means maybe music business, like war, makes strange bedfellows.

Audioengine is to be commended for adding a twist of flavor to the B1.  Now folks who want to accept the limitations of Bluetooth as a music channel can do that with an Audioengine device that compensates to some degree by up sampling to 24-bit playback depth.  Probably sounds somewhat better with that amount of error correction tacked on.  But upsampled music is not more like the original performance.  It just has some artificial sweetener added.  

Another worthwhile feature -- Bluetooth pairing has been made extremely simple and hassle-free.  Whew, that is definitely good news.  Pairing can otherwise be a nightmare with Bluetooth.

Since I don’t have my B1 review device yet I can’t comment yet on how it actually sounds.  Reputedly, it sounds better than other Bluetooth devices due to the distinguishing DAC enhancement.  As a business strategy, the B1 is as brilliant as can be, considering that using Bluetooth for music is a fundamental compromise accepting, once again, convenience over musical fidelity.  Bottom line, if it sounds good enough to you, that’s good enough for you.  Probably still good enough for the white earbud crowd in general.

Audioengine claims (and I willingly accept) that they have cleverly extended the range from to way too short to less too short, which is also a bonus and a selling point and a unique feature.  But their crowd pleaser B1 will never break out of the lossy neighborhood where it was born.

At the bottom line, this is kind of a moral dilemma for me.  Will I sleep well if I sell the B1?  At this point I just don’t know if I can make myself do all the work to post the catalog entry.  People who accept lesser music quality because it’s convenient are not my tribe so in that probably lies the answer.  I ruminate.

This is the first thing Audioengine has done that gives me the slightest pause.  Or maybe I should say the first thing they have built I would never listen to by choice.  How it washes over the longer term remains to be seen.  

Don’t fire me, Audioengine, I’m still your biggest fan.  I don’t blame you for making a smart business decision in the midst of industry pressure to use Bluetooth.  Just because I’m a rebellious moralist, I don’t expect my suppliers to be that way.  

Can you feel my pain?

One last thing.  If you get a B1, for Pete's sake, don't use it sitting on top your speaker.  From the standpoint of vibration control, that's a major faux pas.  You'll get better results if you put it almost anywhere else.  Keep it away from speakers to avoid sound distortion.

Or maybe you don't care.

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iHi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.