Nervous about setting heaviest item not on lowest shelf?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Strat-Mangler, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    My amp weighs close to 90 pounds. I'm considering buying a VTI 6-shelf audio rack rated at a max of 220 pounds per glass shelf. I'll be nowhere near the rack's total capacity of 350 pounds.

    Would you nevertheless be nervous about placing the amp on the 2nd or 3rd shelf from the top?
     
  2. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Yes and No:
    No: If you are worried about stability and it is going on a hard floor where it will be easy to roll the unit should you need to. You will need to be aware of the high mass at the top, grab it by one of the middle poles, roll it slowly and stand close to it.

    Yes: Due to equipment ventilation issues. The shelves at the bottom of A/V units typical have larger spacing between shelves to allow proper ventilation and airflow around the equipment placed there. You should look at the minimum clearance requirements for your amplifier. I doubt very much the shelves close to the top will have anywhere near the recommended clearance. You'd risk overheating your amp.
     
  3. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    Location:
    Germany
    heavy amps always on the floor (amp stand) or on the lowest shelf. By the way, I would never place a tube amp in the rack.
     
    macster likes this.
  4. BillWojo

    BillWojo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington, NJ
    I could never bring myself to placing a 90 lb amp on a glass shelf. Some where on AK is a picture of a glass shelf rack where the top shelf shattered and it took all the shelves below it out. Nothing but gear and broken glass in a pile. It was a horror show.

    BillWojo
     
  5. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Nothing to do with overheating, moving it around, or anything else. My only concern is simply about the possibility of the glass shelf breaking and causing the amp to fall from a highest distance than a couple of inches.
     
  6. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Although seemingly alarming, were the shelves specifically rated to support much more than the weight of the amp?

    It might seem like common sense, but I've witnessed some truly boneheaded moves by some not too swift people over the years and placing a heavy object on shelves without checking the weight capacity is much much more wouldn't surprise me.

    EDIT : Did a quick search and found the thread. The brand was Tech Craft and the Adcom amp weighed 50 pounds. Every current Tech Craft model is rated really really low at 40 pounds weight capacity or so. Now, it's possible that yesteryear's models supported more and the OP did mention he verified the weight capacity (though never mentioned a #) prior to putting his amp on such a shelf but considering the current brand's habit of having low weight capacity for its shelves, my guess is the shelves used by that person easily could've been rated only very slightly higher than the 50 pounds his amp weighed. In such a case, I would consider that to be a boneheaded move.

    In my specific brand/model example, the shelves are rated at 2.5x the weight of the amp.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  7. Blank Frank

    Blank Frank King of Carrot Flowers

    Dunno about that particular rack, but my Custom Design Milan has glass shelves (with some additional use of their I-Rap "acoustic steel" isolation thingies under the amp and the SACD/CD player), which are, according to the relevant British Standard, able to support at least 50kg; my amp is 37kg. The amp is on the bottom shelf, but that was more to save me or my friendly dealer having to lift it too far.

    Custom were aware of the weight and overall size of the amp when the rack was ordered; they've been using that reinforced glass for many years now without problems, aside from some severe customer stupidity.

    If you're concerned, check with the rack manufacturer.
     
  8. justanotherhifienthusiast

    justanotherhifienthusiast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    If the manufacture of the shelf says each one can support 220lb and your amp is only 90 it’s pretty safe to say it will be fine. I doubt it will even flex at all.

    I’m a little confused though. If the rack has a maximum support weight if total of 350, and each shelf can support 220lb, the math would say the rack has... 1.5 shelves? Maybe the bottom shelf can support the grunt of the 350lb weight?

    It would make sense that the bottom one is sturdier and could support more weight. But in your words you said each shelf can suppose 220lb. Flawless furniture grade becomes prohibitly expensive after a certain thickness, mainly due to the complexity of working with glass of sufficient thickness to support massive weights.

    Don’t know about the VTI rack but unless the legs are basically solid pieces of metal, and the glass is pretty damn thick (which would also mean it’s mega $$$) I would not trust a 90lb amp on the top shelf of it. Stuff like those tv consoles with glass shelves are NOT okay to stick even 80lb of equipment on even the bottom shelf before you see it start to flex.

    That being said, if the rack does is sturdy in the way I described, it should be fine to put a ton of weight on each shelf, glass or not. It’s just those designs are rare because I’d the complexity involved in engineering an inherently strong glass rack.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  9. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ct.
    I remember seeing pics of that disaster many years ago. Funny how it's still in my memory and I've had no desire to bring home a glass shelf audio rack since then no matter what the rating. Safety first here, no glass shelves and no amps without dc protection are 2 rules that I don't bend here.
     
  10. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    The panes of glass themselves can support up to 220 pounds each but the structural integrity of the stand would be compromised at anything more than 350 pounds total.

    As for the heaviest items, structurally-speaking, racks made of wood (for instance) are commonly made so the top and bottom shelves can accept the most weight. With glass, it's typically (but not always) distributed evenly and there are more options as to what will go where.

    The reason for my wanting to set the amp higher than the bottom shelf is due to my son who is 1-year old and I would like for him to not have access to this high-priced piece of equipment, nevermind the tubes which are very expensive as well but also run very very hot. My current setup allows for that but I need more space to put additional components and can't do so horizontally, hence why I'm looking at a rack where I can stack these components vertically instead while keeping my amp out of reach of little fingers. ;)

    For the record, this is the specific rack I'm looking into.

    NGR406 Audio Rack - VTI Manufacturing

    By the way, I love your avatar. Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service (voiced by Phil Hartman)? :D
     
  11. BrentB

    BrentB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    I am kinda with you there. Glass is not even a solid material. It is a liquid that has cooled to a solid state. I feel much safer with a solid like wood or steel.
     
  12. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Not to beat a dead horse, I looked up your shelf unit just now and I still would be very concerned about overheating due to the smaller spacing between the upper shelves. The bottom shelf has a 13" space, the second shelf is 9", and the upper two are 7".

    But to address your concern about breakage, when I am able to work I am an architect and I deal with glass issues all of the time. Tempered glass which is used on this type of shelf is very strong and if it is rated for 220 pounds, it should be able to easily support 90 pounds. Tempered glass is susceptible to breakage if the edge is damaged. Either before you get it, during installation or if something dings the edge moderately hard. This damage will often result in a crack being generated at the edge radiating inward which grows over time. The other situation that can cause issues for tempered glass is if the tempered glass is restrained in a frame and is subjected to high heat. There are millions of glass shelving units and breakage is rare, but it does occasionally happen.

    My system rack is 46" wide with a triangular support system, 2 legs in front, 1 in the rear. This is nearly twice as wide as the VTI unit you cite. The tempered glass shelves on my unit are rated for 100 lbs. I have my Anthem Receiver and Parasound Integrated amp on the lower shelf and their total weight is 60 lbs. The shelves on your unit are around 3/8" thick tempered glass which is very strong. Just avoid damaging the edges of the shelves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  13. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    This changes my opinion about stability. Your 1 year old my someday use the poles on your shelving unit as an assist to standing up. With the heavier weight near the top this may make it top heavy and subject to being pulled over. I would consider securing the rear center leg to the wall with a metal strap secured to a wall stud.
     
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  14. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    That's why I prefer to make my own racks. As a test my wife and I (+350pound together) jumped and danced together on the rack. It didn't budge and it's only held together with glue (wood). My equipment is nowhere near as heavy as yours though. I would put some weight on most shelves and see how the rack holds up. If there is any movement when you try to rock it I would be very carefull to proceed.
     
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  15. SirAngus

    SirAngus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    I had the EGR series 4 shelf with a 65# Denon receiver on the bottom shelf rated at 150#. The other series with glass shelves rated at #220 per shelf appear to all rest on the frame were the cheaper unit I had the middle shelves rested on shelf clips. The tempered 220# shelves are also thicker so I’d feel okay doing it.
    Glass Weight Load Calculator | Dulles Glass and Mirror
    I’d just check the edges of the glass to be sure they are smooth and polished. With that said, I’ve seen on four occasions, tempered glass shower doors shatter.
     
  16. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Thank you very much for your thoughts on the glass shelves.

    About the overheating concern, the shelves are removable and I was already going to remove one shelf to create additional clearance.
     
  17. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    That was my experience as well. Barely closed the door and it exploded. It was a surprise, as you can imagine.

    Thanks for the feedback on your experience with VTI racks. I appreciate it greatly.
     
  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Wish I had woodworking skills but since I don't and due to how wooden ones strong enough and filling my criteria are in the thousands, that isn't an option.
     
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  19. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Location:
    Brooklyn
    I would not put a heavy tube amp in a glass rack, ever.
     
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  20. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Well, it sounds like the rack should be able to handle the weight. However, I personally wouldn't do it and that's because the result of a failure is catastrophic. A failure can result if the glass is damaged or if there is a manufacturing defect of some kind, which may not be visible. Shouldn't happen probably but again I would guard against the worst-case scenario if that is bad enough, and a 90lb tube amp falling from a decent height onto another shelf or shelves would qualify.
     
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  21. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    In the absence of a legit reason to place it higher, I would feel more comfortable with it on the bottom shelf. What constitutes a legitimate reason is subjective and could simply be for aesthetics or ease of access to controls. I tend to look at things from a risk reward perspective and for me the risk would not be worth the reward but if it is for you, I say go for it and just inspect the shelf carefully before placement.
     
  22. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pisa, Italy
    Do you have pictures of that? You know, just to rest assured my audiophile fears are not the worst case in Europe... :winkgrin::winkgrin::winkgrin:
     
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  23. SirAngus

    SirAngus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Since you are going to remove a shelf maybe you could double up under the amp.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
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  24. Blank Frank

    Blank Frank King of Carrot Flowers

    That's not a terribly helpful way of thinking about it, as you could say the same for metals and igneous or metamorphic rock (do you have problems with steel, granite, slate or marble, all of which I've used in supports at one time or another).
     
  25. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    The glass will hold the weight. I have my tube amp on the 4th of 7 shelves. It would be best to have the amp on the floor beside the rack. I'm guessing that is not an option. For me I simply had no choice. The equipment is in the room behind the listening room and cable lengths and other obstacles I have my tube amp and preamp side by side on that shelf. Heat build up would be a problem I have a fan with a variable speed control. I also have a temperature sensor (1 of 4) sitting between the amps the display is in plain sight from the sitting area and I can always glance to make sure the temperature is fine. In the winter never above 95f and in the summer never above 105f, this is the space between the amps right on top gets a bit warmer .
     

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