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Sanus NFA 245 First Impressions and Build Quality

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Face it, when people call you to talk about their great home theater or 2-channel audio room they just set up, they rarely tell you about the piece of furniture they store all their gear on.  In fact, most of the rooms I help folks set up use either an old piece of furniture or some other make-shift AV stand and sink all their AV budget into their gear.  While I certainly understand wanting to get the best gear for your money, I have found that having a high quality AV stand to store your gear in can be the finishing touch that takes the room from the "man room in the basement" to the family theater that you or your spouse will be proud to include on the home tour next time guests are over.  Not to mention that stands like the NFA245 are designed to not only look great, but to also help ensure that gear is in optimum operating conditions that will prolong the life of your equipment and improve its performance.

The NFA 245 is the five-shelf entry in the Sanus Systems Natural AV Foundations Series.  It is designed and marketed as an audio stand, but as you will see in this review, it also has Home Theater applications thanks to its height.  The stand is a fairly contemporary design made from real hardwood, glass, and steel rods and should look great in just about any room in your house.  Three different wood finishes are available (Mocha, Black & Cherry), making it easy to match the stand to your furniture.  The Natural AV Foundations Series stands are great looking solutions for storing your A/V components that will give them plenty of air flow and compliment the look of your gear.

First Impressions

The Sanus NFA 245 comes double boxed; the outer box measures approximately 4' x 2.5' and weighs about 80 pounds.  While the size is a little awkward, it is not so heavy that I couldn't carry it upstairs to the theater alone.  After cutting away the straps and getting to the stand itself, the first impressive thing I noticed was the 3/4" hardwood construction, rather than the typical laminate over MDF. As someone who does a good bit of woodworking, I'm always amazed at just how much better real wood feels and looks than even the best laminate over MDF.  While the metal support rods and glass shelves add to the stand's contemporary feel, the deep mocha finish (and I'm sure Black or Cherry as well) on the real hardwood really warm up the feel of this piece and allows it to fit nicely into just about any decorating style.

Assembly and Build Quality

Assembly couldn't have been easier.  The carton contains everything you need for assembly including:  the front and back wooden pieces; 4 glass shelves plus the top glass shelf; 2 different sized graphite finished steel rods; 6 decorative end pieces; bolts, an assortment of washers, and the Allen wrench required for assembly.  The instructions consist of four pages of diagrams, with detail drawings identifying which pieces go where.  The whole assembly process took me about 30 minutes.

Wire ManagementAs I unpacked the stand, the real wood felt and looked great.  The back wooden piece of the unit is only about 6.5" wide and gives the unit a 3-leg look.  The back piece also contains eight holes (2 at the bottom of each of the 4 shelves) to feed wires into the wire management system included with this stand.  The glass shelves came in a separate box with plenty of padding and paper to protect them during shipping.  Each of the 4 shelves is made of 5mm smoked tempered glass and felt plenty solid enough for the components they were intended to hold.  The top shelf is 8mm thick smoked tempered glass with the rear corners cut at angles to allow placement in a corner if needed.

End Piece DetailAssembly basically consists of connecting the wooden front and back pieces using the graphite finished steel rods with the associated decorative end pieces, bolts, and washers.  One person could assemble the stand alone, but I recruited my 12-year-old daughter to assist me, which made the job of lining up the rods with the holes and getting washers in place a bit easier.  Assembly is very straightforward; the only thing that might cause confusion is the two different size steel rods (the three for the bottom and three for the top are slightly shorter than the three under the middle shelves).

After the stand is assembled and your components are loaded, the included wire management system is a remarkably simple design.  It is a sheet of black, flexible plastic that is inserted into vertical grooves on either side of the back of the unit.  Once inserted into the grooves, it forms a U shaped channel behind the back of the stand to hide your wires and connectors.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Soundman posts on May 27, 2009 14:37
Dezoris, post: 531948
Gary!

Where are the pictures?

The stock photo blows and all I can see is a foot, and parts of the back of the unit on the pictures attached.

Yeah, Anyone have a better picture of this thing?
Dezoris posts on March 02, 2009 21:24
Gary!

Where are the pictures?

The stock photo blows and all I can see is a foot, and parts of the back of the unit on the pictures attached.
cwall99 posts on March 02, 2009 11:01
Sorry, I lied…

… I have the NF206, not the NFA 245.

Still, the review pretty much applies exactly to my stand, too.

Okay, it wasn't a lie. I just got excited to almost see my rack reviewed right here at the center of the AV universe.
cwall99 posts on March 02, 2009 09:58
I have this one too…

… I just got mine about five or six weeks ago, and, like the previous poster said, it is a breeze to put together. I did pretty well with the interconnects through the holes, though, as I started to get close to the end of the process, the holes going into the back of the shelf where my receiver is, were getting pretty full.

It does sway slightly, especially if I'm standing there, pressing buttons on my receiver (a Pioneer VSX-82TXS - or whatever). It's on the second to top shelf (I wanted a tall stand so I could finally put my turntable out and not worry about my two-year old daughter playing with it).

But, with that heavy load of the turntable up high, and no real counter-weights at the bottom, it does feel a little top heavy.

I think it could be an inch or so deeper, too, to give you a bit more room in back to plug in banana plugs and interconnects. Some of mine have to make a pretty severe Z between the holes in the back piece and the places where they plug into my receiver.

Casters would have been nice as I had to do most of my connections with the receiver about a foot further out from where it now sits, but I know that would have added to the stability issue.

Still, it's good looking, and the top shelf lines up perfectly with the top of my old-ish (fall, 2002) Sony 57-inch RPTV.

Best part? I only paid about $200, with about $45 shipping, for mine. I ordered it on Wednesday, and it was sitting by my back door that Friday (and that was after the shipping method I elected to use promised an 8 to 12 business day turnaround).

Nice rack. Not perfect, but in this economy, I'm not complaining.

I guess, though, to stabilize the weight issue, what I really ought to do is buy a bunch of massive amps, put them on the bottom shelves, and then use my receiver as a pre-amp. I'm sure my wife would go for that.
davidtwotrees posts on March 02, 2009 08:09
I've owned this exact rack for a number of years, and the reviewer was spot on. It is an excellent addition to my home theatre rig, and has seen dozens of pieces of gear go in and out of the system. It is solidly built, graceful, and attractive. It has had a couple of amps that weighed in excess of 60 pounds on it. I found the cable management holes to be just fine, and only when the analog sacd bundle goes through does one of them become tight with wiring. I have the black satin finish and it looks sharp with black gear, and my silver lacquer Canton speakers. I bought mine open box for under $250. D2T
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