Custom Design's range has expanded recently to include several inventive approaches to the problem of balancing performance with good looks. This one is completely new on us, but we immediately took to it.

Those side cheeks are big chunks of solid oak, very neatly sawn, chamfered and finished, with a slot just wide enough to accommodate a glass shelf. Two screws drop down through the wood and glass and when nipped up clamp the whole assembly together.

Spikes mount directly under the screws and each assembly of shelf and two cheeks is free-standing on the one below, with spikes engaged in screw-heads. Simple, secure, stable and very smart. The 6mm-thick toughened glass should support a healthy weight, especially if (as is usual) the feet are near the edges.

A range of sizes

Different heights of cheek are available, with the maximum number of shelves only limited by the reach of your arm. A narrow, Cyrus-sized, version is also available.

Given that there is almost no isolation built into the rack we wouldn't strongly recommend it for supporting a turntable, but with digital sources and amps we had pretty good results.

Not as detailed, perhaps, as the relatively 'take-no-prisoners' Audiophile Base, it very slightly muddies the low midrange while the bass seems a touch less secure than some. On the other hand, higher frequencies are very clear and open.

You could always add some 'iRAP' damping plates (£100 each) to cut shelf resonance, but even as it stands this is a decent rack that looks, to our jaded eyes, like one of the most attractive bits of hi-fi furniture out there.