The best ideas are the simple ones: CP cases have provided a solution to a problem you may not have realised you had. Of course, you need to be a rack user to benefit. Let's presume you are: your rack will be holding all your effects units and synth modules. However, chances are you've got a cassette deck or two, a DAT machine, a power amp or something else that doesn't conform — they weren't designed with studio use in mind. How nice to be able to get whatever it might be out of the way and in the rack with everything else. Enter CP Cases, well-known providers of quality rack-mounting hardware and custom flight-cases of distinction. Their latest range is a series of 19-inch conversion kits. I had the kit which nominally occupies 3U of rack space for review, and found that, due to the struts used in the kit's construction, usable space is more like 2U. This is fine, since it mounts the item with plenty of space to allow for air flow — an important consideration, especially if you're racking up a power amp. The other two kits take up 2U and 4U of space respectively.
The kit consists of two black stove enamelled side panels, made from 2mm steel, four zinc cross members, eight screws and a roll of sticky-backed rubber strip — a straightforward collection of bits, but all manufactured to CP's usual high standards of construction. There were no instructions with the kit I received, but assembly is fairly obvious.
The side panels are marked to indicate right and left, but their orientation should be apparent by the need to have the rack ears pointing in the correct direction. There are two long horizontal slots across the bottom of each panel, and it is here that we fix two of the cross members, using four of the screws. These will ideally be clamped either side of the front pair of feet on the unit being racked, or tight into both sets of front and rear feet. There are also several vertical slots, and the two remaining cross members are affixed here, thus stopping movement in all directions. Place the cross members with the moulded screw receptor flanges facing downwards (or upwards for the vertical members — stop that sniggering!), and fasten the screws in from the outside of the panel. The rubber strip is stuck along the length of the cross member in order to provide a little more friction and to stop the item from being scratched.
The system was great for the CD player, DAT machine and power amp I tried, but not so great for some half-rack units I have lying around my studio: perhaps CP could come up with a similar flexible system to allow this type of device to be mounted with similar style. However, by a little juggling of the cross members I was able to securely rack a 19-inch wide digital delay that, due to the ravages of time, had lost its ears, and a pair of Boss micro-rack processors using just the one kit. In one fell swoop, it solved a couple of my problems — and it looks pretty good too.
If you haven't got a rack yet, CP do a rather versatile and reasonably priced item called the Rak-Kit, which can be free-standing, wall-mounted or whatever, and will hold up to 31U worth of gear, depending on how you use it. The 19-inch Conversion Kit is available from CP Cases, or dealers such as Studio Spares ((Contact Details)
Rack Conversion kit: 2U, £34.55; 3U, £37.60; 4U, £39.66. Prices include VAT.
CP Cases, (Contact Details)