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Thread June 13, 2015 editorial: comments

  • 8 replies
  • 6 participants
  • 1,471 views
  • 6 followers
Topic June 13, 2015 editorial: comments

What a Mess!

I’m not the most organized person in the world — far from it actually. Unfortunately for me, my home studio reflects that. The current incarnation of my studio is not even that old. It’s only been a couple of years since I moved to a new house, and in the process had to tear down my old setup and rebuild it in the new space.

When that occurred, I was bound and determined to make the setup less haphazard — less like a work in progress that’s constantly evolving — and more like a well-thought out recording space. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard, as I was setting up a studio with a lot less hardware than my previous one. Gone was the giant rack. Gone was the power amp. Gone were the outboard synth modules that had been sitting in the rack gathering dust, as well as the multiple patchbays that I used to connect everything together with.

Still, I do have some hardware that I was (and still am) using, like an audio interface, a summing box/monitor controller, a few mic preamps, a MIDI controller, and a couple of sets of monitors. And they all required cables: AC cables, audio cables, mic cables, MIDI cables, USB and FireWire cables, etc. I was determined to set the cables up the right way, with audio cables perpendicular to the power cables wherever possible to minimize signal interference. I even used a lot of cable ties and organizers, and labeled my cables.

When I finished my new setup, I was pleased. Although it still didn’t have the perfect neatness of professionally installed studio, it looked a lot better than in its previous incarnation.

But alas, that didn’t last. The back of my rack now looks like a licorice spaghetti factory, and there are stray cables and small accessories all over the studio. For me, at least, being creative and being neat don’t go together very well. Part of my problem is that as a gear reviewer, I’m constantly setting up and taking down new equipment, and thus connecting and reconnecting stuff on the back side of the rack. But that’s just part of it, when I’m in the heat of a recording project, I’m pulling out instruments, setting up microphones, looking for capos or slides or 1/8”-to-1/4” adapters or whatever — and creating a mess in the process. Sure, I clean up when I’m done, but the level of organization seems to diminish incrementally over time.

I suspect that there are others like me with “neatness” problems in their studio. I bet we can all benefit by sharing tips on keeping organized. How do you manage your cables? How do you store your accessories? Where do you keep your mics and cables?

I’ll get the ball rolling with something that has actually worked well for me organizationally: I bought a bunch of inexpensive plastic storage boxes, and use them to store extra accessories like spare cables, connectors, adapters, DI boxes, guitar strings, and so forth. I organized the boxes into categories, labeled them, and keep them on a shelf. They have helped me keep my studio clutter from really getting out of hand.

So, how do you keep your studio organized and uncluttered? I’m looking forward to your ideas and suggestions.

Have a great week.

Mike Levine
U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine
2
I retired recently and found a "solution," sort of, to the studio clutter problem. I just quit music completely! I still buy a CD now and then but that's it.
3
Hi Mike:
Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions as to how to keep your "home studio" organized. You know why? Because I'm in the same boat as you. I've tried and tried (over many years) to keep my workplace from looking like a fisherman's utility closet. To no avail. I, like yourself, have either given away or tossed out a lot of outdated equipment, rewired and re-cabled, used those cable ties, etc. As you are all too familiar, deadlines and the inevitable challenges of the stress of day-to-day life, has a way of cancelling out all of those frequent, self-promises of keeping the studio neat and tidy.

To make matters worst, all of my friends with home studios have the same problem. The one good thing that I have taken away from all of the disorganization, is that my studio is not nearly as bad as many of my friends. Some comfort, huh? In any event, I will keep coming back to this thread to see if someone comes up with suggestions that I (we?) will follow (fastidiously). And, therein lies the rub ("fastidious").

Your article really hit home, Mike.

Griff
4
Yeah, basically everything NYCGRIFF said!

I was behind my rack of stuff earlier this week, cursing everything and everyone for the rat's nest that's back there. And cursing myself for trying to keep the cables tidy--but then not leaving myself enough slack to pull stuff out when I needed to get to it.

Just accept it, Mike. And know that it comes with your "chosen" (as if you had a real choice in the matter) passion.

Now, all that said...I'll be more than happy to take those hardware modules off your hands, since you don't need them anymore! I have $16 burning a hole in my pocket. I'm prepared to go as high as $19, if necessary!

Steve
5
When it comes to clutter I have found one solution. I use my old Craftsman rolling tool box to hold most of my stuff; patch cables, mic clips, tuning lugs, adapters and mics. It has five drawers of varying depths which run from tray-like to about 6 inches deep. It holds most everything I need during sessions in one location. The beauty of it is that it is all organized and labelled so I find things quickly and it has wheels. The top is a nice work station and it slides to reveal bins to store hodgepodge items such as adapters and whatever. I keep desiccant in the drawers to reduce humidity and protect the mics. The downside is that it is a tool box and looks like one so I covered it with stickers and now it looks stupid. That's what I was going for.
6
Also, cables reels to hold those twenty footers. Just connect them together and reel away!
7
Quote:
Now, all that said...I'll be more than happy to take those hardware modules off your hands, since you don't need them anymore! I have $16 burning a hole in my pocket. I'm prepared to go as high as $19, if necessary!

:mdr:
Quote:
I will keep coming back to this thread to see if someone comes up with suggestions that I (we?) will follow (fastidiously). And, therein lies the rub ("fastidious").

I hear you Griff. But lo and behold, Jack has come up with some good ideas!
Quote:
Also, cables reels to hold those twenty footers. Just connect them together and reel away!

I have seen those used for live situations, but it hadn't occurred to me to try one in the studio. Good suggestions, Jack. Thanks. Keep 'em coming folks! :-)
8
I have the most basic setup possible, a pc , an eternal sound card, a few pairs of monitors and a few guitar fx processors, (pods Boss etc) I completely rebuild my workspace every few months but do a decent tidy up every sunday. My biggest annoyance is my guitar leads and headphone cables, within seconds of sitting down always seem to find their way under the wheels of my office type chair! Its a real nuisance.. every time I swivel on the chair or go to stand up, I either pull the lead from my guitar, or my headphones get pulled from my head, resulting in a lot of swearing, Its so disheartening and a real buzz killer, when set up to record the perfect guitar track. I`m looking down here a the moment and my guitar lead has just lodged again , and I hevent picked up the guitar yet!
9
Quote:
within seconds of sitting down always seem to find their way under the wheels of my office type chair!

I have the exact same problem. It's as if the cables are trying to find their way under the chair's wheels. It's uncanny.