The Stands: Bello and BDI
Now a quick word on stands. I had to do a bit of hunting to find stands that would fit the requirements of my specific equipment. In particular, I needed a TV stand with a tall bottom shelf to hold my "Bigfoot" Rocket center speaker, and a component rack with shelves at least 20 inches deep (big enough to hold my B&K power amp) and with open sides for proper airflow (needed for both the power amp and Media Center PC). Here's what I found.
For the TV stand, I went with the Bello AVS-2563. Its default construction features two glass shelves below the television shelf; the solution to my problem was to build it without the middle shelf. This created a bottom opening 14 inches tall, more than big enough for my unusually large 12-inch-high center speaker.
I tried to find a matching Bello stand for my audio/video components, but nothing fit the bill. Instead, I turned to the BDI Axis 8022. The glass shelves on this five-shelf stand (six if you count the top) are 40 inches wide and 19 inches deep; with overhang on the front and back, the shelves are just big enough for my biggest components and all the cables sticking out the back. It has a nice cable-management system, although I have so many cables that I really can't use it. Visually, it's a good match to the Bello TV stand.
I purchased both of these stands online, at Racks and Stands. These are not cheapie racks; they ran around $750 each. Fortunately, Racks and Stands offered free shipping, which offset the price a tad. The stands arrived in good condition on the back of a Yellow Freight truck. Unfortunately, the BDI stand came with two left sides, so I had to wait for a replacement side from the factory, which took about a week. Considering the solid construction, assembly was surprisingly simple and easy, taking about 20 minutes per stand.