I normally don’t cover equipment racks at high-end audio shows, even though the MOC convention floor at High End 2022 in Munich was full of them. (Most of them were beautiful and intriguing and probably deserved more of my attention.) Ictra Design of Germany, however, is far more than just a rack manufacturer–they’re the Mercedes-Benz (or BMW or Audi) of equipment rack manufacturers.
Ictra Design is what happens when you unleash a couple of German engineers on rack design. In this case the two engineers are a married couple named Carsten and Inga Tragsdorf who specialize in mechanical engineering and apply their collective knowledge toward one objective: completely isolating the shelves of the rack from any type of micro-vibrations from the stand, the ground, or anything else in the immediate vicinity.
I suppose that sounds like a majority of high-end audio rack manufacturers. While making beautiful racks for expensive gear requires expert carpentry skills and beautiful materials, most rack builders attempt some sort of way to control vibrations in the rack structure–footers, suspended shelves, other approaches that are obvious to most audiophiles. Ictra Design takes this concept to the nth degree, with extraordinary attention to detail.
Here are a few examples of the Ictra Design solutions:
- The shelves are supported by see-saw structures that can balance two different components of two different weights–on the same shelf.
- Liquid tin is used, in conjunction with another alloy, as an internal layer to the shelves that can even out the mass of the shelf after material has been removed to accommodate the hardware.
- The build their own molds, such as the concrete molds in their new entry level line.
- Even the screws have silicon inserts to reduce the amount of micro-vibrations passed onto the shelves.
The further you dig into the Ictra Design racks, the more you broaden your own knowledge about physics. I’m not even close to being a physicist or a material engineer or even a toolmaker (another of Carsten Tragsdorf’s skills), but every concept that was explained to me made perfect sense–even though the ideas were truly innovative and even revolutionary. I was fascinated.
I first learned about Ictra Design from Doug White of The Voice That Is. He’s told me about Ictra Design for years now, ever since I covered some of his events in Philadelphia a few years ago. If you know Doug White, you know he has incredibly high standards when it comes to the equipment he sells. The hour or two I spent with the Tragsdorfs in Munich talking about equipment racks is one of the most illuminating discussions I’ve had in a long time.
Even if you don’t get that excited about high-end audio equipment racks, you’ll find that the Ictra Design products truly appeal to our inner audiophile, our desire to enjoy the finest things in life.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from HIGH END 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.