Cayetano Castellano of Artesania Audio arraigned our exclusive world first review of their all-new four shelf Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system with the special turntable platform. It took quite some R&D to finish the suspended system design of the Artesania Audio Prestige model, as this completely upgraded system evolved from the top-of-the-line Reference model. The trickled down technology of the Reference series incorporates its advantages, yet with the absence of the shelves. All the components are suspended and float in the air, yet still offer the rigidity and stability of the shelf system. The double design structure of the Prestige equipment rack is still the same as with their Reference model. It this in the way each shelve can be used if needed that has changed. Along the dealing with the resonances and micro vibrations, the Artesania Audio Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system also implements the freedom of air circulation. This provides electronics to operate within their desired working temperature to continue in offering stable performance and durability.
The Rack Impact
As a dedicated audiophile, music lover and reviewer, I have spent many years tweaking out my reference system by auditioning many kinds of audio racks, footers, and isolation platforms. Not only did many of these audio racks not improve the sound of my reference system, but interestingly many of them actually produced negative effects. Some of them managed to literally kill the sound instead of raising it to the better level. While unpacking of the Artesania Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system I had a feeling this had to be something very different. From the first encounter, this audio rack gave a strong feeling of serious design and engineering with very high build quality. It was properly designed as an audio rack that can deal with stopping the incoming and outgoing resonances.
This audio rack is substantial! It took two grown man in moving it and setting it up. With the included turntable platform, Artesania Prestige weights a hefty 200 pounds! The feeling of sophistication continued with the fine setup details. This platform needs some time with adjusting as each shelf has to be leveled to the exact height for each component. Prestige actually doesn't work like a typical audio rack shelf, but four feet can be adjusted and move around to let it fit and levitate almost anything. It takes a bit of time for the proper setup, but it is still relatively easy to get everything setup correctly. I do recommend having someone with you to aid in stacking the equipment on the Prestige feet.
The Listening Part
Artesania Audio Prestige Suspended Audio Rack SystemAfter all adjustments and setup completed, it was finally the time for the listening. Artesania Prestige audio rack system went through testing with a wide array of musical material. With this rack I really wanted to explore the performance from all the angles. The first thing I noticed straight away was the increased level of transparency. The Artesania Prestige instantly allowed more micro-details to emerge effortlessly and let music to be embraced with more emotions. Keith Greeninger's special Event is among my favorite easy listening albums. This is a nice album to set and show the pace of the music. It was quite intriguing to hear the difference between using regular audio furniture and the Artesania Audio Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system. This was not a small difference, but more like being exposed to a ‘night versus day' version. The soundstage widened, with the size of sound atmosphere and soundscape audible appearing in all directions. This felt like a completely new league of performance that had nothing to do with a mediocre impact of some audio rack designed only for aesthetic pleasure. The increased details within the performance of my tube based reference DAC with the Artesania platform brought much more emotional burst and it took more than a few strikes of pencil notes to capture the experiences. Keith Greeninger's voice had more power and soul. Instruments were more noticeable in both detail and clear presentation. Micro dynamics were so much more lifelike whilst the music became more internally "breathing". It felt as if the music evolved more than when I previous heard it. This was a more involving musical experience. Technical aspects and typical hi-fi feelings were absence. Hmmm, very interesting and at the same time quite intriguing!
Hans Theessink and Terry Evans's album Delta Time was bestowed some inherited richness. Listening to this album with my audio equipment placed on the Artesania only helped music to come more alive, more transparent and more effortless. Theessink's voice and foot stamps were filling the room with a crescendo-like feeling and details such as the floor he is stamping on showed impressive increase in the realism. The feelings and emotions of the album were flowing with much more energy. The layers of music seemed less complex and reproduction felt closer to life-like experience. It got under my skin with much ease when my reference setup was being used. Artesania seems to possess the ability to deal with resonances in the way that makes music sounds closer to its origin as the artists intended.
Daft Punk Random Access Memories (studio edition) did indeed give life back to the music. With other racks, this music sets my whole room in motion with too much bass and reduced midrange. When listening to "Give Life Back To Music," the Artesania Prestige eliminated the bass boom and the midrange became more glowing. The lower frequency dynamics become enjoyable and actually starting to put a smile on my face. Finally! The previously harsh upper frequencies were gone with the wind. This clearly shows how very important it is to decouple your equipment in the proper way. I didn't even know that this album can be so transparent. Certainly the Artesania Prestige rack is an elaborated foray into the epicenter of the hubris of resonances and micro vibrations.
Further on within my listening tests the 1612 Italian Vespers just grew into something even more magical. The sheer size and level of details in this recording become of the grand scale. Voices spring free and become much more potent in their three dimensionality. The organ was projected in the proper size and with the natural resonant power. It felt like transitions from pitch black silence to the huge dynamics was as fast as blink of an eye and thrown at you without the glitz of holding anything back. Was it a lucid reconstruction? It wasn't real, but felt so avidly real! Artesania Prestige equipment rack raised the level of performance to the new level! No matter what sort of music I've played during my time with Artesania, my listening notes repeatedly produced the same patterns. Music simply became more alive, more naturally open and with the details. There were many more focus points in recreation to the entire musical event. This rack system somehow organically allows your audio components to work in the way they were designed. I dare you to try this rack system and experience these improvements. You won't be let down, but thrilled.
If we learned something in our audio journey with all the mileage, then it has to be one major thing in the enjoying of our beloved music besides the critical room and loudspeaker interface: "There is no way around it with making things right!" You'll need to deal with the proper decoupling down the path of creating a true balanced system at some point. Coming to a certain point in the task at hand in refining one's audio system, you need to approach the resonances and vibrations with seriousness in order to achieve a truly musical and balanced system. Just for the fun of the experiment, I tried to put a cheap turntable on the special upper dedicated platform. And guess what happened!? The change was big... and good. The little old table just came back to life with the Artesania platform underneath it. What an awesome experience this was! Simple and effective.
There standard dampers proven to be quite good when placed on top of the Verity Audio Fidelio Encores. They made the Fidelio's sounding bigger and more open. Similar effect repeated with their use on digital sources. Placing one on top the CD drive just above were the digital circuit is underneath made sound more richer with highlighting the blacker backgrounds, better spacing between the instruments and a more precise/focused bass. Again, a no brainer as it worked. But do keep in mind that everything Artesania makes is quite heavy. This includes their dampers.
Artesania Audio Prestige Suspended Audio RackThe Artesania Rack looks elegant and combines excellent built quality and single-minded purpose. Most important of all, it possesses the ability to improve the overall sonic performance of any separate component or system as whole. I went to great lengths in my reviewing process to use a very diverse set of equipment, such as solid-state amplifiers and preamplifiers, tube-based amplifiers and preamplifiers, solid-state and tube-based integrated amplifiers, and solid-state and tube-based digital-to-analog converters. I wanted to test if the results would be the same across all products. Regardless of what type of gear was placed on the Artesania Audio Rack System, the same sublime effects took place and changed the performance with real advantages in sound performance. There is no reservation in recommending the Artesania Rack for raising the performance of virtually any system or sole component. There were no implicit negative sonic performance disturbances caused by the rack itself. This is an audio rack system that works as a sublime partner. It raises the overall performance of your equipment. Artesania Audio's Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system is a device with which one can start building his/her system. This might be seen as an investment upon this segment, but in the long run you'll be in a position of saving some serious funds by not needing to swap out gear so often or using other expensive tweaks in hopes for achieving better performance. Too often, and too easily, we forget about the money being spent on products upgrades. Not only for the core audio products, but also for fine tweaks.
For anyone trying out the Artesania Audio rack system, listening to music without it may be a painful experience. Some things in audio work to a great extent, yet others simply don't. Artesania Audio's Prestige Suspended Audio Rack system offers a distinctive change without need of other special, and usually very expensive, tweaks. It simply works with the music.