South Korea’s Codia Acoustic Design has become more of a mainstay in the North American audio scene in recent years, thanks to products like the Stage 1000 rack being reviewed here today. Bernard Li of Charisma Audio graciously loaned us this 4-level shelf unit, which retails for $1800.
Now I’ll admit, for me that’s a lot of money for a shelf, even if it is a stylish piece of furniture. But in audiophile terms, it’s basically a mid-priced unit. You could easily spend less, but you could easily spend a lot more. If you have, say, $10k or more invested in your shelf-mounted components, you’d be likely to consider a stand of this calibre to support them. If that’s you, read on…
The Codia arrives well-packed, in a single box – it’s not overly bulky, but it is fairly heavy (around 75 lbs). Upon opening the box, the pieces inside are logically arranged so that you’re immediately comfortable with the job of assembling it. No instructions are provided, they really aren’t needed. This is not a 7-hour Ikea assembly ordeal! Thankfully. Give it 20 minutes or so, and you’re done.
The quality of the product offering is also immediately evident. The shelves are beautifully machined from Baltic birch plywood – as many of us know, not all Baltic is created equally – and Codia has sourced the best Baltic that I’ve personally seen. Likewise, the aluminum and steel hardware bits are very well-machined, not only to fit perfectly, but to look good too. My stand was naturally finished, other finishes (and black aluminum rods) are also available. The washers are teflon, and those vertical rods are solid aluminum – they’re not hollow. This means the stand has considerable mass and rigidity – it’s not a high-mass design, but it is very solid. The Birch shelves have unique machined (routed) slats that mimic Codia’s acoustic room treatment panels; these are said to control shelf-borne resonances, and reflections between shelf and component. This approach makes sense to me- though it isn’t the only way to skin a cat, it seems very effective.
The Stage 1000 design uses fixed-length collars between the shelves, so the ‘shelf height’ is not adjustable. That’s not exactly true: at the time of purchase, you can order the stand with various lengths for the collars, in fact you can have any combination of 18cm, 24cm and 30cm. Nice touch that allows some customization. The shelves are oversized, and the spacing on my sample was generous – with two sets of 24cm collars and one set of 30cm collars. Even with three very large components and an oversized turntable, this rack in one of the taller configurations can hold them all without a problem. I liked that it’s open on all sides, this gives easy access to your gear (sides and back), makes cleaning easy, and also improves cooling – when you consider the slatted shelves, there’s really no restriction on airflow from any direction. In a sense the design is minimalist: it’s not a ‘statement’ piece of furniture, and your s.o. may or may not approve, but I think it is quite attractive, as audio shelving goes. It has smooth, clean lines. Certainly nothing in the styling or execution says budget, or ‘cheap’. My spouse agreed, and she’s very design conscious.
Putting the Stage 1000 together was a breeze, and using it was just as enjoyable. The shelves were big enough to accommodate my “big ‘table” (Perpetual TT-2, footprint 23″ x 19″), and levelling was also straightforward and achieved without a lot of fuss or frustration – seriously, all stands should have oversized, knurled feet adjusters like this. In fact, the Codia performed extremely well with the Perpetual, which is a non-suspended turntable needing a pretty solid (or heavy) support. Actually it uses magnetic-levitation feet, so you could say it’s somewhat suspended. Subjective tests showed that no vibration travelling from the floor, or elsewhere on the stand, was reaching my stylus. Effect from footfalls was non-existent – however, my basement floor is laminate on solid concrete, so this was to be expected.
Overall, the unit does exactly what you expect: it supports your components perfectly. All shelves are planed flat and level. There is ample room for nearly all oversized gear – large monoblock amps are probably the only exception, two likely won’t fit on the same shelf.
The decision to sell our house meant packing up my entire system, so the review time I had with the Codia was about a month and a half. Certainly long enough to get to know and like the piece, very much. Compared to the various commercial and DIY shelves that I’ve used over the years, I found the Codia to perform superbly. I tried to talk my better half into keeping it, but it wasn’t in the cards. We moved at the end of the summer, and our new place doesn’t have a dedicated space for my gear. Well, it does, but it’s not “dedicated enough” to include room for real audio furniture! At the moment, my gear actually sits on a sideboard table…sad, but true. If your gear and budget affords a beautifully made and very functional rack of this type, I would highly recommend checking out the Codia Stage 1000.
Codia Acoustic Design Stage 1000 Audio Shelf Unit
Price $1800 US.
Review loan courtesy of Charisma Audio