Setting up your workspace

So I have real struggles setting up my studio so that it is comfortable to work with. I have a zed14 mixer and then a few boxes (OT, DFAM, typhon, swarm, DB-01). I really struggle trying to arrange everything so that cables etc don’t get in the way and everything is easily accessible. What tips and tricks do people have? Do I need some stands? Racks? A custom desk? When my desk is messy it really doesn’t help me to be creative…

Velcro! This kind:

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For non-destructive cable management I mean.

You need , at least, a second shelf high enough to pass the cables of the gear on your desk (first shelf) underneath it.

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I like Jaspers stands (Not my studio)

Although the visible cable mess might irk you.


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that’s not so much stuff, really. you should be able to find a way to make it work without too much trouble. a photo of your space would help, so we could make suggestions. also have you looked at the setups thread? I know it’s huge but there’s some great ideas in there.

but sight unseen I’d say if a flat desk isn’t working for you, here’s some usual tricks:

  • laptop or DJ stand(s) to angle/elevate devices “in the back” or behind your front-most gear
  • two-tier keyboard stand (with a piece of wood or two to set stuff on)
  • a keyboard tray for your desk; leave some gear on the desk and others in the keyboard tray to slide in/out as needed

also… are the cables getting in the way of reaching things or you just don’t like the mess? one downside with the mixer you have is that everything plugs into the top. so cables stick up, and could get in your way of reaching gear behind the mixer. right-angle cables (or adaptors) could help this, in lieu of swapping out your mixer for another.

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A simple two-tier computer desk with a few additional clamp-on laptop/mic stands can cover a lot of ground. I keep this core setup fixed and bring in auxiliary machines as needed.

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Tons of examples here (and check the old setups thread too if it s not enough): Your Setups

I personally prefer a standing setup, not sitting.

I recently added a Jaspers stand in the studio. I should have done that long ago.

Also setting fx boxes through a patchbay was really a game changer for me!

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Having both is the best case scenario.

Angled stands for any gear after the first row is helpful. This can also help hide cables by having them run under/through the stands.

If you can fit a panel of wood on the back of your desk it gives you something to hide the cables behind.

Also, drill holes in your desk in a few key places to let you route cables down and under the desk. Attach the cables to the bottom and back of your desk.

If you use a computer, a sliding keyboard tray under the desk frees up space.

Also a rolling chair with “roller blade” style wheels can help you move around easier to be in front of the gear you’re focusing on.

Ultimately simplifying your setup helps too.

I won’t even open the can of worms I made for myself here :grimacing:

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As others have said, the two keys I have found are elevating some of the gear (stands, racks, etc). It helps hide cables and keeps your boxes closer together. Also inexpensive, non-destructive cable management tools. Zip ties, velcro, there is all kinds of stuff. You might also consider just not having everything hooked up all the time. I don’t ever try to use all my pieces of hardware in every tune.

Tiers, angles, and the ability to move things around in minor ways.

Anything higher will, by default, be further away. So to keep it ergonomic, that higher tier should also be at a steeper angle than the one below it.

Also, having some space so that things not in use can easily be scooted slightly forward or backward, in order to better the ergonomics of the things that are in use, is helpful.

And a chair that turns, so that you can set up your instruments in a radius, rather than a flat wide plane.

Keep tools to be used often in conjunction with one another next to one another. Set up “zones” that allow you to stay in one position of your workplace while working.

My setup has 3 zones.
Left is DJ zone.
Middle is programming zone (OT1 controlling Typhon, Twister controlling OT2, plus computer).
Right is deep synthesis zone (Pro 2 and Pro 2 controlling other VSTi), with a second mouse pad next to it if needed.

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My chair moves to the zone I need to be in. The OTs are not only raised but angled forward with additional feet, they are also stabilized with heavy rubber. It’s difficult to tell in the photo but the OTs are actually very close to the front of the table.

I can push the Typhon and Twister beneath then when I have to do a lot of computer kb+mouse work. I can move the kb+mouse when I need to focus on the OTs/Typhon/Twister performance setup.
MS is used mobile with battery, so is just there to remind me to use it once in a while.

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Thanks everyone. Here is a pic of what I’ve got as I start to hook it all back together. I’m thinking a nice stand for the mixer is a requirement and some angled stands for the small monosynths. I’ll have the OT and DFAM at the front and centre. Any recommendations for stands? Also, the Swarm is very slippy on the desk! Any experienced synth heads got a solution for that??

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At first glance, I would ditch the mixer and mix in the OT. It has 4 inputs. 2 for Typhon (bc typhon stereo fx are so good!), 1 for Erica baseline, 1 for Swarm (with inline attenuator).

If you are unwilling to ditch the mixer, put it off to the side in one of the rear corners near the monitors. It’s not a giant console that needs to be centered for monitoring live fader tweaks going to a tape machine. You can still reach it and keep your cranium in a good listening position.

I would either use a short and stable riser that has tilt for the OT, and put the 3 smaller boxes in front of it. Or use that riser for the least use box.
Either way, 3 up front, 1 behind,

One of my MicroLimiters had slippery feet. These helped a lot. You can cut them to size and use them on various tools.

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I use a version of this type of stand and like it a lot. They are customizable to a degree so you can have as many rows as the weight rating allows (for grooveboxes, that shouldn’t be an issue), and can arrange them as needed.

I actually cut mine down to have a narrower stand because that’s what fits best in my space. For the price ($175USD for a three-tiered stand), they’re definitely worth it.

Looking at OPs specific setup, I think an angled desktop stand would do the trick. You can try making one yourself with parts from a hardware store, or buy something (like this one) for fairly reasonable prices. Only issue with buying prefabricated ones is they may not fit perfectly, but a homemade one may not either.

I think you’re right, ditch the mixer for now and focus on the other stuff. By the way, what is the inline attenuator needed for? I’ve not plugged the Swarm in yet, is the output level very hot?

Yea I believe it is modular level, so you’ll need to trim it down to line level.

Koma makes some affordable attenuator cables that would help.

Chewing gum.

Also get rid of the book…

Yr making music, not revising.

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This variety pack has served me well and I have plenty left over for other gear in the future. They can be removed easily but don’t come off on accident. 3M makes quality sticky things in my experience.

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