LOS ANGELES (PTA) — I met with Jim Whithorne of Butcher Block Acoustics on Sunday afternoon, just before the wrap of the show. During my visit, Mr. Whithorne gave me a guided tour through their rapidly growing product line, along with a stroll through the short history of the company, as they celebrate their one year anniversary.
Butch Block Acoustics is an Anaheim, California based company that makes audio platforms and racks right here in the good ole’ USA. Things are moving quickly for Butcher Block Acoustics as they were showing last year at T.H.E. SHOW 2018 in Irvine, with only twelve flat turntable platforms in the product lineup. In that same year they attended Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018, and more recently AXPONA 2019 with a product line that included turntable stands and full-fledged audio racks. Just launched at AXPONA and now making its West Coast debut, is the new Rigid Rack from Butcher Block Acoustics.
The Rigid Rack is special in that it grew into the product you see now by sourcing the ideas for it’s design needs from audio show attendees. Mr. Whithorne made it a point to ask anyone who visited his booths, “What are you looking for in an audio rack?” — and then took notes. Features like “full-shelf-space”, “open-air design”, along with more sought-after shelf depths.
The look of the Rigid Rack however comes entirely from the mind of Jim Whithorne who knew up front that he wanted a modern Danish-like design, with tapered legs and minimalist build. They come in various widths from 24”-30”-36”-42”-48” and 60”, in both 18” and 20” shelf depths, and available in two species of wood: Maple and Walnut. The target goal for product assembly and shipping is same or next day, as the rack components will all be pre-cut and finished in factory awaiting your order.
Mr. Whithorne initially predicted the 24” four-shelf model to be the most popular, but when the show going public was presented with a full 60” unit, the multitude of incoming orders for the larger sizes was indeed a surprise.
The Rigid Rack design includes four fastener connecting points, along with glue-welding — per shelf, per bracket, per side. Along with the top and bottom of each side-supporting bracket being attached (via fasteners) to the top and bottom shelves. This all adds up to a rack that is extremely stable and sturdy for the long haul. Finishing is a non-toxic urethane based clear-coat that is not waterproof. The reason for this porosity is to allow the wood to breathe, require little to no maintenance, and perform sonically less like a reflector and more like an absorber. This is truly an audio purpose built product. This is not the same oiled butch-block you can source at the kitchen supply.
A new product to the lineup, showing first here at THE SHOW 2019, was the Zero Dust turntable platform with included self-aligning dust cover. Specific to the Zero Dust is how an integrated channel is milled into the top-face of the platform to accept and self-align its dust cover. This new platform builds on Butcher Block Acoustics existing turntable platform lineup. Each of which includes threaded inserts to accommodate a variety of spikes, rubber or silicone feet.
If you are concerned with a 60” span of lumber being strong enough to hold your heaviest gear, be assured, a glue-welded board is much stronger than a pure-cut solid board of the same dimension. Furthermore, Butcher Block Acoustics sources their expertly glue-welded butcher-block from a fourth-generation family owned company that has been in business since the year 1818. ←That is not a typo, it says 1818. Jim Whithorne has been a longtime partner of theirs on the west coast for over 40 years. To learn more about Jim’s partner company and ‘block supplier Wood Welded West company, click HERE.