Good looks and optimal efficiency for your DAW-based studio
By Darius Van Rhuehl
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
Gear-heads like shiny objects. We love things with lots of buttons, knobs, and flashing lights, so that by the time we’re done, our control room—whether it’s in a bedroom, den, basement, or professional studio—looks like the bridge of the Battlestar Galactica during a Cylon attack. The problem is that we get so caught up in buying the music-creation and recording gear, we tend to have nothing left over for necessities such as . . . oh, I don’t know . . . furniture—so equipment winds up being stacked precariously with wire tangles everywhere—and in such an environment, we tend to accomplish little.
Putting things in the right order is an important lesson for us creative types to learn. As my father always used to say, “You have to build the laboratory before you can make the monster.” (Thanks, Dad.) The secret to making a really gushy monster is to get all your left-brain tasks out of the way so the creative right brain can work uninterrupted. And as any mad scientist or audio professional knows (the two are mostly interchangeable), you need a work surface that not only holds your gear, but allows you to arrange it ergonomically. Plus, you also want your lair . . . I mean studio . . . to have the right look—one that inspires you and intimidates the local constabulary (and townspeople)—should they be foolish enough to enter the forbidden reaches of your inner sanctum. (No escaping destiny.)
To achieve the right combination of functionality and looks, Studio RTA offers the Producer Station. This workstation is mainly designed for computer DAWs with MIDI controllers or keyboard workstations.
Making preparations for the transference
Assembly is straightforward and the instructions are clear, plus you can get assembly tips and PDF copies of the instruction manuals at the Studio RTA website. If you take your time and don’t skip steps you’ll be in good shape. Once assembled, I found the build-quality to be solid and rattle-free. Two things that I did encounter during the assembly of the Producer Station were alignment issues with the rack rails and a lack of space for screwing in the CD holder. Don’t panic! Both of these have two very simple solutions. 1. To eliminate any rack alignment issues do the following: Before you completely tighten the four rack frames (labeled Frame A & B in the instructions), which act as supports for the main work surface, screw in some rack units first—then tighten the frames. Alignment issues are now non-existent. 2. Screw the CD holder into the top shelf before you install it on the desktop surface. Just follow these two tips and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
Put . . . ze candle . . . back!
The Producer Station offers an ergonomic solution for complicated setups. Supporting the 60" monitor shelf are side-by-side enclosures. One is a rack for outboard gear and the other is a secret bookshelf that revolves when you remove the candle, revealing a cavernous staircase . . . actually, the only thing that really qualifies as a secret passageway is a pullout shelf in the left compartment under the top shelf, which is a good place for track sheets and other sundries. There’s also a pullout drawer for your computer keyboard under the main work surface. Other than that, everything is out in the open. The racks on either side of your sitting position are for equipment of the set-and-forget variety or rackmountable computers. The lower shelf (foot-level) provides ample space for computer towers, should you choose not to go the rackmount route. The main surface of the desk gives you a 70" x 30" space to play with, and the 60" top shelf gives you plenty of options for monitors of both the computer and audio variety.
I found the Producer Station’s capacity for dual monitor displays and lots of rack gear to be a great setup for recording, mixing, and sequencing. It would also make a great editing station for video at a fraction of the cost of other dedicated video workstations.
If you’re one of those types I described in the opening paragraph—you know—the type who likes to spend more on the toys than utilitarian items, I recommend the Studio RTA Producer. You’ll find nothing better for the money—and with the money you save, you can buy more of the aforementioned shiny objects that we mad scientists love so much. Besides, they’ll look even shinier in a Studio RTA Recording Workstation.
Features & Specs
- CD racks hold up to 16 CDs
- Cord management system
- Steel frame construction for durability
- Rear privacy panel added for stability
- Overall dimensions: 72"W x 41"H x 30"D
- Top shelf: 60"W x 15-3/4"D
- Main work surface: 72"W x 30"D
- Slide-out keyboard shelf: 26-1/4" wide
- Pull-out upper shelf: 18-1/4"W x 11-3/4"D
- Bottom shelf: 72"W x 30"D