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Author Topic: Equipment ergonomics  (Read 29122 times)

Viitalahde

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Equipment ergonomics
« on: May 22, 2009, 05:33:45 pm »

I'm curious to hear how many of you guys have a small, tilted rack in front of you instead of a full-blown desk/table. Out of my memory, I recall at least Mark Chalecki and Steve Berson to have such set-ups.

I used to have a set-up like that in the beginning, now I share a part of a big desk with the mixing guys. Now that I seem to occupy the room all day long, I'm wondering if it'd make any sense to go back to the small rack in front, I kinda miss it.

Pros/cons?
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
http://www.virtalahde.com
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livingstone

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 07:06:14 pm »

Hi Jaako,

i used to have just one rack in front of me for some time, then with more gears i needed two, in front of me two, and the when my partner joined me we also had the neve vinyl transfert desk/rack
so then it was one in front and 2 by the side at 45
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frederic alstadt
www.angstrom-mastering.com



__________no time_______no sound_________

jdg

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2009, 07:14:06 pm »

i tried the racks at the side at one point, but i found i actually noticed them more there, then right in front.

then there are the "racks behind you" people....
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john mcCaig
-Mothery Earworks Clarifold Audipure

Dave Davis

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 07:21:31 pm »

At my old job I had one of these and I loved it - http://www.argosyconsole.com/argosy_ravenh10.html

totally re-invented the room, and improved a lot of things - it forced me to rethink everything, and was a huge improvement over my former "everything in front of me at eye level" desk.  I put the patchbays (switched to modern DB25 backs, with custom cabling (cut 200 lbs off the floor), tie lines and interfaces on one side.  On the other I put outboard, transports, and put the computer in the next room.  Monitors off the back edge of the desk, below eye level, leaving the small top free for controllers and such (which we had a number of).  If  I were build a new room, especially around my ULN8, this is the approach I'd use again for sure.  But my needs are VERY minimal - variables that would change that:

- slant racks like that have unequally usable spaces (eg bottom spaces can't accommodate deep fear as well as top ones).

- if you need more than 10 spaces/side you'll need a top-cab, and at that point I'm not sure you're getting much benefit.  I guess you could put transports in some straight racks to the front or sides...

- if you need a big desktop!

-d-
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2009, 10:31:04 pm »

Odd man out as usual, but I'm quite happy with my giant custom built U-shaped Mothership.
Most everything within reach without leaving the sweet spot, and plenty of "producers desk" room.
(fwiw the lowly KRKs were temporary.) JT
index.php/fa/12316/0/
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Terra Nova Mastering
Celebrating 20 years of Mastering!

Viitalahde

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2009, 05:26:19 am »

Frederic, after starting the topic, I actually thought of two tilted racks in the sides, low enough, but high enough to reach without looking at the knobs. That combined with a very minimal desk in front for keyboard, perhaps.. Dunno. That would be pretty close to a desk, on the other hand.

I used to be out of the sweet spot when editing (DAW on the side in the 1st room), but in the long run that was pretty confusing.

A brainfart idea would be to have a rack that would be for working standing up. I do that sometimes when I'm alone and in a good mood. I do what I do and then sit down to have a good listen.
 
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
http://www.virtalahde.com
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Viitalahde

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2009, 06:21:01 am »

Dave, that Argosy console looks good. I'm sitting right now in my chair and thinking how great it'd be if the racks were on the sides like that. Definately something to consider. I'd have them custom made - I know a great carpenter who could do something for my requirements.

Keep it coming, good stuff and very inspriring. One reason I want to get rid of empty surfaces is that I have a stupid habit of collecting all kinds of crap on the table. No table = no crap.
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
http://www.virtalahde.com
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Rick O'neil

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2009, 07:03:35 am »

i suffer from this affliction every six months
one night i thought the meter bridge in my console was "interfering" with the sound  a little bit on an ultra mono  sounding recording

i made my mind up that the 5.1 wave i was waiting to wash over us was not coming , pulled out my festooll circular saw , put an metal cutting blade in it and 40 minutes later viola .. no top heavy meter bridge  !

 i have the stuff i touch  as an instinct  reaction at my finger tips and the rest of the  rig is either down lower  at my side , or over to each side  in  a few other large racks

i would love to have nothing in front of me but i cannot see my way through "how to do it "
tonights iphone shot  index.php/fa/12326/0/
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Rick
turtlerockmastering.com
"i think we went to different schools together"

TotalSonic

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2009, 08:09:54 am »

When I was at Europadisk I came into a studio whose layout had been designed by the previous engineer (who had to make compromises to what he actually wanted due to budget constraints) - with a tall desk (you needed to either stand or use a chair with the same height of a bar stool) that only had room for a couple computer monitors (one of them fitting in a sunken well) and a Neve DTC.  So the only controls for monitoring directly in front of you were on 16bit digital attenuators.  There were a few pieces of rack gear in a tall rack the back of the room, and a Neumann analog transfer console (with lathe controls, analog monitoring controls and a few processors in it) to the right.  

I hated the ergonomics there - it was awkward and required a good bit of moving around to do nearly anything.  I ended up moving one of the computer monitors (that had just tied to the office database and wasn't actually necessary for mastering) off the desk and put a small rack there with a few analog processors and a simple Coleman monitor controller - helped a lot.  But when I moved into my own room I wanted things directly in front of me as much as possible without having a big ol' desk between me and the speakers.

I had seen pics of Ed Littman's and Dave McNair's old studios where they had used a simple 14 space slanted rack by Quiklok for "front and center" and liked the fact that it was both minimalist and inexpensive.  Considering my budget at the time I was opening my own place didn't have room to include something like a Sterling Modular desk - and that the size of my room made me want to keep the size of any "desk" smaller as well - made me go with this solution.   Since then I've added another lower 10 space rack again by Quiklok to the right to accommodate some additional processors.

Here's a fairly recent shot of me at work:
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/47/l_4562ed4671ba496cad214035ea28dea1.jpg

I just replaced my clunky old DAW desk (to the left) with a sleek minimalist design by Versatables.  It's similar to other minimalist DAW stands by Sterling Modular and Sound Anchors - but at half the price and with more off the shelf options.  Really nice build quality and quick shipping as well (I got it a week and a half after I placed the order online).  I'll try and get some shots of this posted sometime soon.    http://www.versatables.com/pages/products/spacesaver/dfc1103 .php

http://images.versatables.com/office/dlfc_main.jpg

Anyway - I don't think my desk-less setup is for everyone.  Bob Weston (of Chicago Mastering Service) stopped by one day and asked me whether I got a back ache leaning forward to tweak processors - which I don't (with a good bit of thanks to the Aeron chair for this) - but at 5'7" I'm relatively short, I'm skinny, and I tend to be "squirmy," often still sitting like a kid would.  I think someone with a bigger frame would often prefer a desk over a setup like mine.

Sometimes I think of changing to a desk myself (I know both Ed Littman and Dave McNair are using Sterling Modular desks now instead of the Quiklok) - but I do in fact like the transparency of the setup (i.e. changing my DAW desk recently to something with a smaller footprint did in fact make a noticeable improvement in my monitoring) - while it still lets me have things in front of me where I want them to be - although admittedly there are times when I have to lean a little further forward to tweak my Sontec (at the top of the center rack) than I would prefer.  For now though the money that would possibly go for a custom desk is ear marked for an analog insert controller - which at this time is a much bigger priority - and for now I'm happy with my setup as it is.

Best regards,
Steve Berson  

dave-G

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2009, 09:40:54 am »

Rick O'neil wrote on Sat, 23 May 2009 07:03

tonights iphone shot  index.php/fa/12326/0/


Ooh. This is a good one for 'name that gear'

Is that a Unicomp above the Avalon?  And a Quad-Eight compressor in the right side-rack?  

And I see you're a member of the SCSBKS Secret Crane Song Black Knob Society


On-topic, I've been really happy with the Sterling Modular console I've got my stuff in.

-dave
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DAVE GREENBERG
SONOPOD MASTERING

mastertone

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2009, 01:41:02 pm »

Im quite happy with my DIY sterling'ish desk.
Mdf boards and paint. Went nuts with the circular saw one weekend.

I wont changed it until i get a bigger room.
http://mastertone.se/Crapshot_1.jpg

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Jonas Ekstrom
Mastertone Mastering
www.mastertone.se

TotalSonic

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2009, 01:51:44 pm »

mastertone wrote on Sat, 23 May 2009 13:41

Im quite happy with my DIY sterling'ish desk.
Mdf boards and paint. Went nuts with the circular saw one weekend.

I wont changed it until i get a bigger room.




Looks nice.  I've got that same exact space heater for my studio as well!

Best regards,
Steve Berson

jdg

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2009, 02:14:48 pm »

TotalSonic wrote on Sat, 23 May 2009 10:51

I've got that same exact space heater for my studio as well!



me 2

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john mcCaig
-Mothery Earworks Clarifold Audipure

compasspnt

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2009, 02:55:22 pm »

When we first moved here to Compass Point (in The Bahamas) in 1992, we brought with us two containers full of equipment and furniture.

I had two of those oil-filled space heaters in there as well.

Now bear in mind that it almost never gets below about 65 degrees F here.

So there are no heaters on the island.


I rolled out one of those space heaters, and asked the studio tech what he thought it was.

He looked it over carefully, and decided it was some sort of reverb device.
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mcsnare

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Re: Equipment ergonomics
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2009, 03:31:42 pm »

Maybe you could sell it on Ebay as a rare EMI 249. In non working condition of course.

Dave
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