Although most people investing in quality audio and video systems love the performance of the gear, they don't always love its look. Audio and media storage cabinets solve this dilemma by offering glass or wooden doors, hiding the equipment from view. Other audio racks are purposefully designed to showcase the equipment, using an open design and glass shelves. Whichever you prefer, issues of proper ventilation, capacity and the ability to control the equipment are all common factors.
1Internal Volume: Audio/video equipment is more than just the components. Speaker wires, HDMI cables and power cords protrude from the back of the gear, necessitating the right amount of depth behind the components. Use caution when shopping for ostensible A/V furniture from a company that makes beds, vanities and coffee tables, as such a manufacturer might not consider these practical issues when planning the internal volume of each shelf. True A/V cabinets offer perforated back panels to make it easier to create more room. At the very least, the cabinet should provide a series of openings to pass cables through. Measure your equipment prior to looking at A/V cabinets to ensure your stuff will actually fit.
2Thermal Management: Thermal management with enclosed A/V cabinets involves active and passive measures taken by the furniture maker, ensuring your gear isn't cooking while under normal use. Cooling fans aid in venting hot air from around components, allowing you to keep the cabinet doors closed without concern. Some cabinets offer removable glass or wood inserts on the front doors, allowing you to replace them with speaker grille cloth a mesh insert. Also, make sure there enough shelves to house all your components without having to stack them on top of one another. Adjustable shelves combined with sufficient internal cabinet space aid with this requirement. Hot components will transfer this heat directly up and into other pieces of equipment, causing premature failure over time.
3Control: The vast majority of A/V components are controlled by infrared signals. Unless you use an open equipment rack, this may cause a problem since IR requires line-of-sight. IR repeater kits involve the use of a sensor, distribution block and emitters to relay signals from outside of the cabinet to each piece of equipment, allowing closed-door control. Each flasher adheres directly over the IR sensor on each piece of equipment, making operation as easy as if the device is sitting on an open shelf. Other IR signal kits convert the signal into a radio frequency, transmitting it through cabinet doors to a receiver inside the cabinet.
4Shelf Capacity: Most wooden cabinets easily support audio equipment and media on their shelves. However, particleboard and glass shelving might not have the same weight capacity, flexing and cracking under excessive load. To prevent structural problems with the furniture and prevent a heavy amplifier from crashing to the floor, it's very important you examine the capacity of each shelf and compare it to what you intend to place on those shelves prior to investing.