Buying a budget rack (Odyssey CRS20W review)

I have already accumulated a lot of music making gear and I know there are several more workflows and sounds that I want to explore. When thinking about how to best use the limited space available for a bed room studio, I started looking into the possibility of adding a rack cabinet. I was looking specifically for a slanted, 20u rack with wheels. Below is a quick summary of what I found.

After some research on what is available in the budget space (I didn’t want to spend too much money on it since my music making adventures are far from paying them selves off yet) I realized that the market (at least here in the US) is dominated by 3 brands. Raxxess, Middle Atlantic and Odyssey.

I had previous experience with Odyssey from using their DJ desktop rack, which is a well built product that should be the subject of another article… The other two I didn’t know.

Though they are all relatively cheap (for a rack that is), Middle Atlantic has the cheapest offering with a 20u rack usually selling for around $160. This is black laminated MDF boards with rails in a very simple, straight design. Middle Atlantic also have higher quality racks where build quality and materials are much higher rank, but I’m only talking about the budget level racks here. The closest to what I was looking for was a $220 oak laminated slanted one with wheels. My main reason for sorting it out was the oak laminate. I wanted a black cab.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/RK20

Raxxess has a 18u cabinet available for around $190. Those racks are laminate over fiber board with 19″ rails attached. My main reason for not going with the Raxxess was that I couldn’t find a 20u slanted one. Also, some user reviews talked about how the build quality was really poor.

Amazon: Raxxess ERS18 Slant Studio Rack wCasters 18 Space Black Oak

Which brings us to the Odyssey. This is the most expensive of the common budget makers, with a 20u rack usually going for around $210-$230. For this you get a slanted, carpeted cab with casters. It comes assembled and the build quality feels sturdy and reliable. The wheels are smooth and since the cab itself is pretty light weight (not so much as to feel wobbly or flimsy), moving it around is very easy. This can be important if you’re limited on space like me and you often need access to the back to patch around cables. Also, the carpeting helps bring the volume of fans and other noise down wich is important if your a bed room musician. Other family members will thank you.

Amazon: Odyssey CRS20W 20 Space Carpeted Studio Rack With Wheels

In summary, I’m really pleased with the quality and design of the Odyssey. If you’re looking for a budget rack for your home / bed room studio, I highly recommend it.

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