Salamander Archetype 5.0 A/V Rack

Salamander Archetype 5.0 A/V Rack from side

When you start to accumulate a solid number of components one of the first things you want to purchase is a audiophile-quality rack to place them on.  Ascetics are important, as is shelf spacing and most importantly, build quality.  Unfortunately, there aren’t too many audiophile A/V racks that land in the sub $300 range.  The Salamander Archtype system is one of the very few “budget” racks that can be found.  It comes in both 3 and 5 shelf variations and features “infinitely adjustable shelves” to accommodate your every racking whim.

The Middle Ground

The Salamander Archtype system is based around 4 threaded poles and the corresponding number of wooden shelves.  The base color black is by far the cheapest option.  The maple, cherry and walnut variations can cost as much as $100 to $150 more.  The shelves are held in place by a simple rubber buffer, washer and bolt combination on each upper and lower side of the wood slab.  This is where the “infinite adjustability” comes into play.  You can raise or lower each corner of each shelf as you please, however this does not come without its own inherent consequences.  I found that accurately leveling each shelf can be quite a chore.  Luckily a complementary level can be found within the packaging of the Salamander Archetype 5.0, but even with this balancing luxury, getting all of the shelving to line up exactly right can be an act of steadfast patience.  And when all was said and done, I still found myself staring at the unit thinking, “is this perfectly aligned?”…. the world may never know for sure.

Salamander Archetype 5.0 A/V Rack in box

A quick google search let me know that putting the Archtype together was going to take some time.  Indeed, each bolt needed to be ran down varying lengths of the threaded rod…X4.

Salamander Archetype 5.0 A/V Rack Rods in box

While my initial shelf attempt did include a subtle mistake which cost me some additional time, from start to finish this construction project took me exactly 1 hour, 14 minutes and 28 seconds.  No small task, even by IKEA standards.  Granted most of this time is spent redundantly moving the bolts over the rods and not sweating vigorously over instructions in an unknown language from a kit with more parts than a long island iced tea.

 The Top Shelf

Salamander Archetype 5.0 A/V Rack

When all is said and done, the Salamander Archetype 5.0 rack is quite sturdy.  It is definitely heavy for it’s size and the shelving does not wiggle up or down.  The rubber feet provided are adequate and the overall finish is quite pleasing to the eye.  One thing I did notice, as you might expect from the design, is that you can rotate the top shelf around a little bit if you try.  Tightening the bolts around the shelving can alleviate some of this movement, but without some type of construction on the sides or a back, this is always going to be a mild drawback to the open design.  On the plus side, there is plenty of room to let your components aerate.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a component rack and don’t want to drop more than $500 in order to get it, the Salamader Archtype system may be a good place to start looking. Despite a lengthy construction time, it does offer a sturdy place to stack your audio components and plenty of open space to access your equipment and dissipate heat.

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