After its annual cleaning, it’s time to reorganize my home studio. When putting my studio back together, it’s an ideal time to rearrange things, add new items, and get my studio working again. This blog series lets students follow me over the next 30-something days as I set up, solve issues, fix and build what’s needed, get frustrated, and make good and bad decisions to save money. I didn’t take the time to film these videos well; I just wanted to finish setting up my studio, so I grabbed my iPhone and started filming. I had to get my studio up and running as soon as possible for work.
The main issue with redesigning my studio is that I’m trying something new; I’ve changed how I use my studio. I did everything in the box, so I had a computer, computer monitors, a keyboard controller, headphones, and an audio interface. There’s a long story I won’t get into, but my desktop (Mac Pro) operating system was to old and no longer supported by apple. It was then that I started researching hardware synthesizers and stand-alone gear. Over the next few years, I would purchase a Yamaha MODX7, Roland FA06, AKAI Force, Behringer Deep Mind 12, Arturia MiniBrute2, Arturia Drumbrute, Korg Minilogue, Maschine+, and a NI S61 keyboard controller, to add to what I already had.
I had two sets of near-field monitors, a mixing board, and three video monitors to integrate into the system. While I used my synths one at a time on individual tracks, I wanted to start using everything simultaneously. I also wanted to switch the whole studio between sequenced by the computer or AKAI Force with a simple push of a button. I wanted to try something new and experiment with some outboard microphone preamplifiers and compressors, which now meant adding patch bays, first one, then two. Having a well-lit studio is very important when teaching online, so I wanted lots of lighting for the studio’s mood and when teaching. My studio started becoming complicated with five USB hubs, three power conditioners, and more cabling than you can imagine. In addition to that, the room is tiny. The question was how to fit all this in a small room so that everything could be turned on and used yet operate efficiently. These were issues I’d never dealt with before, and some problems I could quickly solve with a larger budget, which I didn’t have.
The more equipment you have, the more complicated your studio, and while larger studio setups can be fun, it increases the number of things that can go wrong. Some people prefer a minimal studio with the least amount of gear possible, which I understand entirely. However, if you like fiddling with buttons and knobs, hardware is the way to go; something about it is very satisfying; like playing a real instrument, hardware reacts differently.
So be warned, this video series is not a how-to series. It’s simply how I set things up in my studio. I’m sure there are better ways to do these things than how I’ve done them, but I’m thrilled with the result, at least for now. Thanks for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.