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Making a sane studio
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Making a sane studio
I've got a big studio problem. Namely, that it's all over the place. On desks, on floors, in multiple rooms... Clutter and wires is what I've got.

Can anyone point me to a good guide (website, book, whatever) or just your own personal experience of how to set this up in an organized and functional manner? I'm not talking acoustics or anything...more patchbays and electrics. I guess my end goal is to be able to reach over and play any little noise box that I have without having to unplug other things and re-route all of the sound ins and outs to my computer. It just takes too damn long and kills the creative flow.

I was in similar-ish hell until a couple of months ago. Basically, place your sitting position in the sweet-spot of your speakers and build the rest around it. I have a medium-sized mixing desk that takes pride of place, everything else is at table-height as much possible.

And yes, patchbays are very useful - try to make yours accessible rather than close to the floor, placing anything too high / too low / too far away is a disincentive for using it. If it means buying furniture and stands so be it. Good luck.
Soy Sos

My number one thing has got to be clean, well labeled patch bays.
I just really think about where I want stuff and work out how to put it there.
this will probably be a long ramble.. bear with me...

i'm more or less obsessed w/ergonomics and have spent a vast amount of time arranging and re-arranging things and organizing a patch bay and making things close to me that i use most.

at various times i've been forced for one reason or another to sell off some gear and i always find that i'm refocused (though missing 1 or more things i had to sell) and i become more productive... but i really missed my waldorf MWXT when i had to sell (some 8 years or so ago) and at that point was left w/a mixer, an FX unit and a yamaha A4000 + and my mac and a Dell laptop to run audiomulch. it was simple. streamlined and i got to know the yamaha really well and made many tracks just inside the yamaha (sequenced by logic) and even more inside the laptop using audiomulch.

later on i reclaimed a MW XT and started getting into modular stuff w/modcan smile i moved 3 times and my studio was either half in a kitchen/dining room space or in my tiny bedroom. it was good that i only had a few things then because i had no room for any of it. a few times i rolled over to turn off the alarm clock and stick my hand into some cables behind the patch bay. good times.

always, had a simple desk and small rack and a slant rack. mixer was in the slant rack on the desk to the left and the monitor for my computer was in front of me on a little riser w/room underneath.

this worked well as there just wasn't a lot of gear and i was right up close to everything i used.

now, i have a handful of synths that i love and the modular has increased more than i ever expected it would smile and so has my patchbay.

for a while i had just the synths i was using on a given project hooked up and then i'd have a few snakes connected to the patch bay in case i wanted to use something else. that way the work area wasn't cluttered. this works well if you are working on an album project because you just have the 2 or 3 things you are using right near you and all the other stuff that you aren't is on a shelf in the back of the room out of sight. worked well for a while..

but i found that after i finished a project i wanted everything there again so i could start making more sounds and experimenting w/patching everything together and making a big racket or having this thing clock that thing etc.

so i ended up adding to the patch bay and building a desk and putting the things i use most often in front of me and the other things off to the side though still all plugged into the patch bay so it's all at the ready when i decide i need it.

sometimes i still feel disorganized and i hate the mess of cables but none of it is in the way it's just in sight.

i'd love a nice argosy desk w/the slanted racks and smattering of desktop space but i don't expect i'll be able to get one any time soon. so i made a desk using some ikea parts and added some 2x4's and 4x4's to support it better and a couple six space racks on top. as far as ergonomics go it works out well. but honestly i think the best set up would be to have 2 set ups. one for jamming w/machines and one for more deliberate production/mixing etc. so i'd love a bigger space! lol.

my suggestion is to take it all apart.. put the gear where you want it look at it for a while.. move things around.. then once you are sure.. cable it all up again. it's a PITA but for me it sort of helps clear up my brain a little and refocus.

anything you never use just put away or sell. focus on the stuff you find inspiring and like to use.

if you check my site. there are some pics there.
Patchbay is the key.

patchbay all the way, am still planning mine!
+1 on the patch bay advice. really helps and you can do some creative things w/one especially if you have some things normalled.

building/finding the right desk is a plus as well
i use a digital mixer with heavy routing abilities - yamaha dm1000 - minimizes the number of patch bays - i still have 96 points
also makes a great feedback loop control structure
and i put it out of the way - i.e. not in the speaker field - since i mix mostly in the box
i have an 88 key controller center front with keyboard mouse then 2 lcd monitors set behind the speaker projection plane - gives me the best sweet spot and pretty good access
i'm really setup for a wide range of work - not just personal - so changing at the touch of a button is very important to me
I have a pretty big system, and I can understand how difficult it can be to manage it all. However, this is the system that works for me.

I only have 3patchbays. The top patchbay is full of sampler inputs, FX/sonic maximizers etc and comp ins and outs. Second patchbay is all my synth and sampler outputs, while the bottom patchbay has all of my inputs to channels on my console, as well as Aux sends, and group outputs. I am going to need a fourth one to hardwire my Akai DR4, as right now, it has to go through the front of the patchbay to get my group signals. Because I can have various changes made to my patch system, I have a printed PDF file of where everything is located, so guests in the studio can simply look at what inputs need to go to what outputs and patch accordingly!

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