I hate how the Mac G5 is too big to mount in a 19'' rack sideways unless you cut off its handles. And no one seems to make a rackmount case that you can fill with the parts of a gutted G5 like you can with a G4. Sure, there are a number of solutions available to rack a G5 vertically, but doing so eats up at least 12RU of height. My two temperature-controlled, noise-reducing Isobox enclosures have 16RU interiors. Therefore, placing a G5 in one would leave me with only 4RU of space, not enough for my Pro Tools interfaces. (I don't care how quiet Apple tells me the G5 is; the sucker's too loud to place uncovered in a control room.) Check out Redco's very elegant solution to this problem.

Redco combines a rack shelf with rack rails turned 90 deg such that the G5 sits vertically (in its normal configuration) on the shelf. One rack rail is added horizontally to the bottom-front edge of that shelf, and another rack rail is mounted horizontally 19'' above the first. Bingo. With the G5 sitting on one side of the shelf, the space to the other side of the G5 can be used to rackmount 5RU worth of gear-vertically. That's two 192 interfaces and a MIDI interface; or four Apogee ROSETTA 800's and a BIG BEN; or a bunch of rackmount hard drives; or even a second G5. And with something like my 16-space Isobox, there're still four rack-spaces left. How cool is that!!!

I know that Marathon Computer (Mac-racking specialists) have a similar system. But if you add in their (optional) vertical gear racking capability, Marathon's system costs almost $100 more than Redco's, and you only get 4RU of vertical rackspace. Also, I know from personal experience that Marathon's customer service is pretty much nonexistent. On the other hand, Redco, who wired up my last two studios, have exemplary support.

When the G5 Vertical Rackmount arrived from Redco, I was surprised at how flat it was packed. It turns out that the rack shelf (with its 2RU-height ears) is not a one-piece affair (like Middle Atlantic's are, for example); I wish it were. Instead, you have to build up the shelf using #8 bolts and nuts. #6 bolts are also supplied for the G5 securing clips. I think Redco should standardize on #8 bolts for everything instead of providing two sizes of hardware that you need to sort before assembly. Nevertheless, it took me less than ten minutes to put together the whole thing. The aforementioned securing clips hold the G5 down onto the shelf by the G5's handles. This is great for semi-mobile applications-like in a rack that you wheel around-but I wouldn't trust these to a flightcase that might get jostled a little too much for the small clips to prevent a heavy computer from breaking free. I didn't feel I needed the clips in my application. Along with the two-sided instruction sheet, Redco supplies a very useful paper guide calibrated in Rack Units to help you mount the top rail in the correct position relative to the bottom rail. That's thoughtful assembly assistance to go with thoughtful design and engineering. The fine folks at Redco manufacture an awesome G5 rack that makes up for the G5's rack-unfriendly design. Oh, and by the way, you can use this racking scheme with just about any computer that's 20 inches or less in height. I'm sold! ($149 MSRP; www.redco.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More