Clara and I are building a retro Hi-Fi system. We love physical media, and it’s fun way to reconnect with music after losing something with streaming services. My dad always had a fully-stocked Hi-Fi, and he’s offered a bunch of it to start our setup. We’re also still going to Japan—maybe?—later this month and will be checking out second-hand stores, assuming we can get dual-voltage units.

The Kenwood LVD-290 Laserdisc player

But in doing my usual obsessive research the question has come up: what is the standard size for a Hi-Fi rack? Every article I’ve been able to find online references two specific dimensions, and a couple of other ones more vaguely:

  • 19-inch, or 483 mm, the size of a standard rack unit
  • 17-inch, or 432 mm
  • Mini, or 250 mm
  • Micro, smaller than those

But as with so many things, these are more of a guideline than an actual rule. Almost every device I’ve researched fits one of these widths instead:

  • 440 cm wide
  • 360 cm wide

My Kenwood Laserdisc player and Yamaha receiver are 440 cm, but many of the graphic equalisers and cassette decks I’ve been looking at are 360 cm; to say nothing about the wildly different depths.

I may or may not obsess over having matching things, so I’m figuring out whether I try and keep things the same 440 cm width, or I just have two stacks for the different sizes. If they’re stacked next to each other, I figure the difference in their sizes could be useful for airflow.

As long as they’re the same 1980s-90s angular black design as the aforementioned components above, I’ll be okay.