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The Best Media Furniture for Your Home Audio System

A media console should show off your system so that it looks good, it might even inspire a few family listening sessions.

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The modern stereo record console — not to be confused with Symbol Audio’s $20,000 model — was introduced by Magnavox in 1958. The “Concert Grand” phonograph and record console combined a powerful 100-watt amplifier, record player and pair of loudspeakers housed in a beautiful mid-century walnut cabinet. Magnavox created a revolution with the product before being acquired by Philips in 1974.

When Japanese mid-fi audio components flooded the market in the 1970s, the stereo console was relegated to basements and garages of millions of homes, where they would sit until an episode of “Mad Men” made them cool again; and suddenly, they become very expensive on eBay. Today, retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Design Within Reach and Target have jumped on the console trend, and the majority of companies who manufacture equipment racks for high-end audio components have actually missed the boat, choosing to stick with expensive equipment racks designed for “dedicated” listening rooms and the solitary audiophile experience, instead.

So does it matter what you put your stereo on? Does the music sound any different? The truth is that every object resonates at a different frequency. Vibration is the enemy of better sound quality. Turntables, in particular, need to be isolated for optimum performance. Glass shelves became a thing in the 1980s and, from a sound quality perspective, add a layer of brightness to the sound that can be disconcerting.

The ideal piece of furniture for any audio system needs to be inert, ventilated and easy to access for cable management. Most companies still don’t understand the importance of proper ventilation and the reality that not every component is wireless. A media console should also make your system look good; it might even inspire a few family listening sessions in the era of technological isolation and streaming servitude.

Below, we've broken our favorite media future into three different categories. There are media consoles, which are large and multi-purposed. There are vinyl stands that are specifically designed to hold your turntable and vinyl collection. And then there are audio racks, which are more designed to house other high-end audio components.

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Andover Audio SpinStand Turntable Stand
SpinStand
Line Phono Turntable Station Turntable Stand
Symbol Audio Luxe Turntable Stand
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Symbol Audio Unison Record Stand
Symbol Audio
Ikea Kallax
Ikea
CB2 Mill Console Table
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Maggie Media Console
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West Elm Mid-Century Media Console
West Elm
CB2 Suspend II Media Console
CB2
BDI Corridor 8177
BDI
Industrial Storage Shallow Media Console (44")
West Elm
Herman Miller Nelson Platform Bench
Herman Miller
Pangea Audio Vulcan Audio Rack
Now 15% off
Sonax Cranley Wide Enclosed Component Stand
Luka Cabinet
Casterly
BDI Mirage Audio Tower
The Best Speaker Stands for Your Bookshelf Speakers
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Tucker Bowe

Speaker stands do several jobs. They hold your speakers in place, prevent them from shaking, to make them sound their best. They elevate your speakers to the proper listening height — your ear level. They allow you to place your speakers anywhere in the room (not just on a piece of furniture). And they allow you to show off your speakers for those who want to make a statement.

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