The best studio rack mounts provide you with a safe, accessible space to set up your equipment in your home studio.
Choosing the right studio rack mount is of utmost importance for home studio owners as it directly impacts the organization, efficiency, and overall functionality of their recording setup. A studio rack mount serves as the backbone for housing and organizing various audio equipment, such as preamps, audio interfaces, compressors, equalizers, and other fancy gear.
In short, a studio mount rack can help you minimize the clutter and chaos in your home studio, making your entire setup much more efficient and easier to operate.
If you’re a beginner to recording, it may seem reasonable just to place your equipment on shelves and go from there.
But here’s the thing…
Doing this compromises the very sound quality you are trying to produce.
Every piece of equipment has a vibration signature. Placing them on a shelf magnifies that signature.
Studio equipment also produces considerable heat. Placing them on a solid object of any type creates a barrier that reduces the exhaust of heat.
Take it from the professionals: the only way to combat these two critical concerns is to use a recording studio rack mount or studio rack cabinet.
Of course, a simple search on Amazon or your favorite music website will show there are tons of mounts to choose from, ranging from basic studio racks to very expensive cabinets.
We’ve reviewed and ranked the best rack mounts for studio equipment based on numerous key factors, including quality, size, style, and price.
You’ll also find a ton of useful information in this guide about the different types of rack mounts, sizing, how to properly install your gear, and more.
This guide has been fully updated for 2023, so you can be sure you’re getting the latest information on the best current products to help you make an informed buying decision.
And if you don’t feel like reading the whole guide, you can see my top pick for a rack mount here:
This 12-space studio rack can securely hold several pieces of gear of up to 115 pounds. The black powder-coat finish also makes it very durable and prevents it from chipping over time.
Read on for our complete guide to choosing the best studio rack mounts for your home setup…
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
What is the Rack Mount Size?
What I find interesting about the standard sizes in-studio rack mounts is the consistency that they employ.
The consistent element has created a market where rack-mounted equipment is restricted to the width of the traditional rack mount, 19-inches, with the height occupied by the module inside of the rack regulated in units. Each unit is 1.75 inches in height.
Many modules are built higher, with some reaching more than ten-units in size.
For the home recording studio, the largest device that you will use is likely four-units.
The Proper Order of Installation on Your Rack Mount
For most of us, our home studio does not include the advanced airflow systems found in production studios.
The unwritten rule is to keep the ambient temperature around your studio equipment below 85-degrees Fahrenheit.
Your home studio rack mount provides the area necessary to allow for heat dissipation.
The rack design configures 0.5 inches of open space between each unit and 0.24-inches of space on each side, allowing for air to flow naturally and cool the equipment.
The trick is to place a module that generates the most heat at the top of the rack creating a chimney type of effect that draws cool air from the bottom and sides of the rack. The order of installation, then, is determined by the module’s heat signature.
Here is the correct order of module installation in a home studio rack mount from top to bottom:
- The power conditioner regulates all power that runs through your equipment. Since all power runs through this module, the heat signature is significant and continuous
- The multi-channel mic preamp is filled with micro-circuitry that produces a tremendous amount of heat. Placing it near the top helps in establishing a chimney airflow effect that whisks away heat
- The headphone amp is a key component of the home studio system. It allows the operator to increase or decrease pure sounds coming through the device to get the perfect aural quality. The device generates little heat
- The monitor management system is a light-weight module that basically distributes the volume to create the stereo effect. Its heat signature is virtually non-existent
- The audio interface works to condition sound and removes noise through a series of in/out cables and switches. The process generates so little heat that the module is the perfect choice to occupy the bottom position of your rack
How to Install Equipment on Your Studio Rack Mount
Rack-mountable equipment has ears installed at the factory. These ears are placed appropriately to fit the standard frame.
Looking at the ears, you can see the tapped holes that match the holes drilled into your rack.
With an assist from another person, these modules are easy to install as you have someone to hold the equipment in place while making the attachment.
If you are alone, the process is more daunting. It is difficult, at best, to hold the equipment in place while screwing in the fasteners. Heavier modules may be simple for a modern Hercules to install but are nearly impossible for most of us.
Many first-time designers of their home studio lay their racks with the back to the floor and place the equipment into the rack, screwing them into place before setting the rack upright.
This technique works well during your initial efforts to construct your studio. If you are adding equipment later, using such a method would require you to disconnect all your existing equipment before laying the back of the rack on the floor.
Types of Studio Rack Mounts
The main types of rack mounts and studio rack cabinets for homes studios come in three categories, including:
- Basic studio racks are the cheapest available and works well in the home studio where the function is more valuable than fancy design
- The portable rack is designed for use by musicians and groups while on the road. Portable racks are more expensive as portability requires a stronger framework and reliable, lockable wheels
- The high-end studio rack is the most expensive on the market. I do not recommend these for a home studio due to the cost. These racks are insulated with a soundproofing material that does not conduct heat and therefore requires a silent fan to create airflow to protect your expensive equipment from heat damage
What are the Best Studio Rack Mounts?
Here are our picks for the best audio racks for a home studio environment:
- On-Stage RS7030 Rack Stand
- Odyssey Carpeted Studio Rack
- Samson SRK-12 Rack Stand
- StarTech.com Wall Mount Bracket
- KENUCO Vertical Wall Mountable Rack
- Procraft Equipment Rack
- StarTech.com 12U Open Frame Rack
This 12-space studio rack can securely hold several pieces of gear of up to 115 pounds. The black powder-coat finish also makes it very durable and prevents it from chipping over time.
What’s Inside: Support bars and braces with screw fasteners and additional rack screws to fasten up to 12 equipment modules.
Top Features: I am choosing the On-Stage RS7030 Rack Stand first because it is an excellent example of the bare-bones or basic approach to the issue of mounting home studio equipment.
The stand offers space for up to 12 units, so all your basic home studio equipment will fit with room to spare.
The steel tubing supports a maximum of 75 pounds of equipment without bending, and its angled style provides easy access for the user to every module.
The rack is usable anywhere in a studio or on stage. It can be placed beside a desk, on a platform, or elevated near musicians on stage for easy access during performance.
The frame is easy to assemble and can be broken down and reassembled in minutes with each gig stop.
What’s Inside: The rack-mount system is already assembled and ready to receive equipment. Unfortunately, the kit does not include rack screws, so you need to purchase those separately.
Top Features: Rated as a portable system, Odyssey URS08 8 Space Carpeted Studio Rack comes in only one size.
Though the design features a slanted front to allow easy access to equipment controls, the back is vertical, creating an ever-diminishing space for equipment. The bottom of the cubicle allows equipment up to 15.9 inches in depth while the top of the cabinet only allows 12-inches.
You should consider these dimensions while choosing your devices to ensure you have room.
The cabinet is completely enclosed with one-inch thick plywood making a sturdy structure in which to house your equipment.
The structure is 19 inches in height with apertures that accept up to eight devices.
The outside carpeting serves as an insulator and presents an attractive appearance.
The item is portable and wears well when shipped from one place to another. It is priced in the mid-range of the rack mount market.
Best Use: The Odyssey URS08 8 Space Carpeted Studio Rack is best used in a home studio environment and is small enough to be placed on the side of your desk for easy access to the control units. Some traveling musicians use the rack on stage as it has wheels and is portable. With its laptop computer-sized flat top, I have seen this rack used as a multifunctional podium in classrooms and churches.
The Samson SRK12 is a universal studio equipment rack designed to easily accommodate all of your rack-mounted gear. It's made from heavy-duty steel built to last and has fully enclosed side panels and front and rear rack rails. It's compatible with both US and metric screw thread sizes and both sets of screws are included.
What’s Inside: The kit comes in a flat pack that includes two steel side panels, a steel plate bottom and top panel, two steel rack posts, and a package of screws in both US and European sizes to accommodate equipment purchased from either source. The rack comes with four 3-inch casters and a single-space blank panel.
Top Features: The Samson SRK-12 Universal Equipment Rack Stand comes in four sizes including eight-unit, 12-unit, 16-unit, and 21-unit versions and is the costliest of the racks I considered for this list.
The rack accommodates the standard 19-inch equipment packages and has a consistent depth of 18 inches with an allowance of overlap beyond that if needed through the open back.
The casters are large enough to roll across carpet even when the rack is fully loaded.
I found this rack a pleasant surprise when using it in my home studio as the smaller eight-unit size fits beneath a desk, and the largest 21-rack size works well as a high-end rack that sits against a wall.
The rack-mount is easy to assemble with clear instructions and plenty of screws and cage nuts to support any equipment you wish to include.
When the casters are attached, this sturdy unit can handle up to 350 pounds of equipment. Removing the casters lets you upgrade to nearly 500 pounds.
Best Use: The best use for this rack mount system is in a home studio. Many musicians gravitate to this rack as the large casters allow easy movement across a stage, or from transport to the stage, and the casters are lockable once the rack is in place. The largest version is seeing use in customer service sites.
This sturdy studio rack allows you to safely wall mount your equipment to save space and make it more accessible. It's 14" deep and can handle up to 44 pounds of equipment.
What’s Inside: The kit includes a fully assembled wall-mountable rack system and the screws needed to mount the rack on the wall. Each kit also includes enough screws and cage nuts to install the highest number of rackable devices dependent on the size of the rack ordered.
Top Features: The StarTech.com Wall Mount Patch Panel Bracket comes in three sizes—6-unit, which can handle up to 44 pounds, 8-unit that takes as much as 80 pounds, and 12-unit, which handles 120 pounds of equipment.
These racks are constructed to be mounted on a wall. If you place them on a desk or other flat surface without mounting them, then the weight capability drastically drops.
Bear in mind when purchasing these racks that they are only 12 inches in depth. If your equipment is deeper than that, then it will not fit.
Remember, you also must allow for cable attachments in the rear of the devices, so the 12-inch limitation is further reduced, especially if you are using a high-grade stiff cable to shield from interference.
My recommendation when purchasing these racks is to find some four-inch mount extensions or build your own but cutting sections from a 4×4 block of wood. Using the extension allows you to use deeper equipment and makes it easy to attach or detach your cables.
Yes, there are convenient cutouts in the back of the rack where you can run your cables.
The advantages of these racks are that they are cheap, permanently installed, and look great when filled.
This low profile, highly durable wall rack can handle up to 75 pounds of gear, including studio equipment, server gear, telecommunications devices, and more. It offers open airflow to ensure gear is properly ventilated.
What’s Inside: The kit includes the rack, eight screws, eight connectors, four wall-mounting bolts, and an Allen wrench of the appropriate size.
Top Features: The KENUCO 19-Inch Steel Vertical Wall Mountable Rack is an original and unique product in the rack mount market. It is a step above the StarTech.com version that holds equipment in a vertical format, which allows you open access to the connections and controls.
The solid steel construction lets you hang up to 175 pounds of equipment in a small space within your home studio, freeing up more space in cramped studio environments.
The product costs nearly double that of the StarTech.com wall mount rack but more than makes up for it in convenience.
What’s Inside: The kit includes the rack and a set of screws and washers to attach up to four pieces of equipment.
Top Features: The Procraft 12-Inch Equipment Rack is one of the most portable racks on the market. Housing up to four units, this rack, when filled with equipment, is light enough to be carried by the leather strap conveniently attached to the top.
When using this rack, you will find yourself limited to mounting equipment that is only nine inches in depth.
The original intent that drove Procraft to create this rack was to perfect a commercial rack that would sit easily on a desk.
Of course, musicians and other performers found other advantages for its use as its visible presence on stages across the globe attest.
Some users find themselves removing the back rails to install deeper equipment.
The rack consists of an attractive birch plywood and sports a carpeted bottom to reduce vibrations wherever it is placed.
Best Use: The Procraft 12-Inch Equipment Rack is best used as a desktop rack in a home studio.
What’s Inside: The kit includes two support flanges, two post bars, and a structural support brace. It comes with 20 M5 screws and cage nuts, allowing you to install up to five devices immediately after assembly.
Top Features: The StarTech.com 12U Open Frame Rack comes in a variety of sizes—eight-unit, 12-unit, and 16-unit. I chose this rack because it is constructed with strong steel posts to support even the heaviest of equipment in a compact and limited space.
The modern design takes advantage of physical laws to provide the type of support that an entrepreneur appreciates.
The eight-unit rack stands a mere 24 inches in height, the rack takes up little room while providing easy access to the equipment for performers and producers alike.
The 12 and 18-unit racks stand 36 and 48 inches in height respectively and require placement other than under a desk.
Sturdier than the On-Stage rack stand, the rack supports up to 140 pounds of equipment without a grunt.
Coming in a hinged design, the rack is easily moved from one place to another.
Best Use: This rack is built for use in tight spaces, making it ideal for the small home studio. I recommend you consider purchasing it for your second generation of equipment, which is normally heavier than your beginning set of devices.
Rack Additional Equipment
I have included this section as information for any new home studio builders. The section includes essential rack gear for your home studio.
The NavePoint Cantilever Ventilated 10-Inch Shelf is a useful piece of equipment that takes up only one unit of space in your rack. Its ventilated design allows airflow, and it fills any of those ugly spaces you may have left between equipment while constructing your rack. If you need more depth, it also comes in a 14-inch version.
Another piece of equipment that covers an unused space is the PDU Power Strip Surge Protector. Instead of using a vulnerable external protector that may unplug or disconnect without notice, this protector fits directly into your rack.
The Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector serves the same purpose but is a bit more expensive.
The NavePoint 1U Blank Rack Mount Panel serves as a less costly cover for blank spaces and comes with a ventilated surface to encourage airflow for your studio equipment.
To add security along with the convenience of accessibility to your blank space, the NavePoint Server Cabinet Case Lockable Drawer works well to hold those small necessities that every home studio discovers. Pencils, pens, pads, and cards are among those things that litter desks in home studios. Mounting storage drawers in the blank space in your rack cleans your desk while organizing your extra studio equipment.
The DIY Alternative
There are two DIY YouTube videos by Richard diZerega, that I find interesting. They inform you how to build your studio equipment. If you are an avid DIY addict like I am, then you will enjoy these videos. The first is an instruction video on how to build a Studio Equipment Rack. The video includes the sizes of the parts, how to put them together, and how to mount your equipment easily.
The second video involves instruction on how to build a Studio Desk. In this video, Richard includes how to find the correct measurements for the design you favor, how to protect the surface, and how to adjust measurements to accommodate either square or angled rack mounts. After watching these videos, you will appreciate the time and effort that goes into constructing these essential pieces of home studio equipment. The challenge may influence you to purchase a ready-made product, or may, if you are anything like me, set you on the road toward building your own.
A Final Word
There are innumerable reasons for setting up a home studio.
Whether you’re looking to record music, do voiceover work, make a podcast, or do something else, having the right equipment is essential.
Whatever drives you to build a home studio, don’t get discouraged by the complexity you find there.
When you are stuck, go to My Voiceover Equipment to find an answer.
If you are looking for equipment beyond audio racks, then check out some of my other guides below for my analysis of those important pieces that add so much to your home studio: