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Ideal workstation mockup for API's The Box 2
Old 29th January 2020
Here for the gear

Ideal workstation mockup for API's The Box 2

Hi all,
I've been frustrated by not finding what I want/need in a workstation desk for API's The Box 2. There just does not seem to be a workstation design on ANY of the furniture maker sites for guys like me: the Composer/Engineer/Producer. During the compose phase, I write on piano, play drums on the piano keys, lay down strings, horns and what not. During the engineering phase, I track drums, guitar, bass and vocals. During production on my DAW I automate with the help of a touch-sensitive motorized fader box like the Presonus Faderport16. And I want to be able to do all of this while sitting in the sweetspot, without having to reach way out to adjust the console, or pivot to another spot to play piano. I want it all right there at the workstation.

No current workstation solutions provide for this. So I've spent some time drafting mockups using an existing workstation (the Sit-Stand Elite Studio Desk by AZ Studio Workstations), and quite a bit of time using an adjustable shelf system to dial in what I believe are the ideal dimensions for the ideal workstation. I want to get some feedback. I'm attaching 3 Photoshop mockups. Here they are, and below is my description of functionality and measurements. I would appreciate feedback from others looking for a similar working situation.

Specs for the workstation:
  1. Two 45” wide pull-out trays.
  2. The desktop surface itself should spread to 63” or so in the back to allow wider monitor placement.
  3. Desktop front inset cutaway: 5” back
  4. Mouse/keyboard tray: 17” deep (so you don’t view the piano below when the mouse tray is fully extended out). The big benefit of having an extending mouse/keyboard tray: you can sit further back from your monitors. This is the position you’ll be sitting in when you’re mixing in your DAW, as is the case with the API Box 2. So a big plus to be able to sit further back from the desk top.
  5. Piano tray: a) 12” deep; b) Recess it back 5” further when closed to allow more knee room when the piano tray is closed — allowing you to be even closer to console (when the mouse tray is closed). c) Adjustable piano shelf height = 4" to 5.75”. For the guy who wants to bring down the height of the desktop, get a lower profile piano controller. Again, another way to bring the desk top height DOWN. In this case, by almost 2”. d) Recess the center front section of the piano tray back 3" (as pictured below, but with a wider recessed section than I show).

I have measured this stuff. Real world, using an adjustable shelf system. I am 5’ 9”. Piano tray underside at 23.5 inches works well for me - and that’s not even assuming a recessed tray mid-section. When you want to work at the console, you close all trays (including the piano tray, which, as noted, will close an additional 5” inward) and you’ll be able to lower the desk by a few or more inches.

Between all of this, an adjustable sit-stand motor, and an adjustable chair, virtually every user can find the height that works comfortably for them.

Example: with a piano tray bottom height of 23.5”, a recessed center-section of the piano tray, and using a lower profile controller piano, the desktop height would be 32.5”. When you close the piano tray and mouse tray, you’ll be able to lower the desk top down to 30.5” or perhaps even less and still be comfortable. This is the beauty of the sit-stand motor. One touch and you’re there.

With this design, everything is in reach -- from piano, to mouse, to keyboard, to my motorized fader box, to the faders and knobs of The Box 2, I’ll be sitting in the listening sweet spot all the while. No more reaching out excessively over a keyboard and mouse to reach the console behind them. And lord knows, we want a motorized fader there in front too.

Lastly, a few requests:
  1. Need to be able to clamp a sizable video monitor arm that will hold a 32” monitor.
  2. Cable management system for console cables: e.g., robust hooks on the back underside.
  3. Cable management system under the desktop: to manage: midi, power, usb cables as trays are opened and closed. Something which avoids drooping cables underneath when the trays are closed.

I would love to get some feedback. Thanks.
Old 29th January 2020
Lives for gear
John_McEnroe's Avatar

Only thing that jumps out at me is that you are going to be looking waaay up at your computer screen, which I would find fatiguing over prolonged periods. If you’re dead set on having both your midi controller and the Box directly in front of you I don’t really see a way around that.
Old 29th January 2020
Here for the gear

Your concern is understandable, but it turns out not to be true when you factor in your distance from the screen when working with the mouse tray extended the full 12” out.

Quick summary overview (see details below):
  • Distance between your eyeballs and the screen: 55"
  • Horizontal line between your eyes and the screen: 6” above the bottom edge of the monitor.
  • Mouse tray at a very comfortable height.

Now the details:

Workstation Component Heights:
  • I’m 5’9”. Underside of the piano tray will be 22” from the floor. (Keeping in mind it has the cut out, allowing more leg room. The tray could actually go down to 21.5”, but I’m being conservative).
  • Tray thickness: 1”
  • Top of piano tray: 23”
  • Piano shelf height: 4” (I’m choosing to go with a reasonably low profile midi controller, as opposed to my vintage EPS sampler which is a mild clunker.)
  • Bottom of mouse tray: 27”
  • Surface of mouse tray: 28”
  • Mouse tray shelf height: 3”
  • Bottom of desk top: 31”
  • Top surface of desk top: 32.5” (assuming 1.5” thick desk top)
  • Height of the back edge of the API Box: 13” + 32.5” = 45.5”
  • Height of the bottom edge of my video monitor screen: 46” (I will position it directly behind the back top edge of the console with essentially no bevel showing).

Next: Widths and Depths:
  • Depth of API The Box 2: 26.4”
  • Depth of Workstation Desk (e.g., AZ’s Elite Sit-Stand Studio Desk): 31.5”
  • Depth of front edge cutout in the desktop: 5”
  • Room left over for depth for console: 31.5” minus 5” = 26.5”
  • Change desktop depth to 35” to allow 4” for video monitor mounting clamp. The monitor will sit directly above the top back edge of the console. Added bonus of a deeper desk is you can achieve greater spread of your monitors.
  • Distance from front edge of desk (not the recessed, edge, but the furthest protruding side edges of the desk) to the video monitor: 35.5”
  • Mouse tray extends 12”
  • Distance from front edge of extended mouse tray to video monitor: 35.5” + 12” = 47.5”
  • Distance between your eyes and the monitor: 55”
  • With my chair in its heighest position (not very high) of 20” seat surface height, the mouse tray at the same height of 28” (comfortable position to work on a keyboard and mouse, btw), the horizontal line height from my eyes to the monitor: 50”
  • So my eyes are 4” above the bottom of the screen. Sitting at a distance of 55” from a (32”) monitor.
  • And this is a motorized Sit-Stand workstation: you have room with your chair at it's highest setting to lower the workstation 2" with the press of a preset button. Your eyes are now 6" above the bottom of the screen. Super comfortable screen viewing position.

I think this is a reasonable viewing angle when working with the mouse tray fully extended out. I’m open to feedback, please. Thanks.
Old 30th January 2020
Lives for gear
t_d's Avatar
i had a 4-channel box with a sterling modular plan B desk for it. worked great. my only complaint about it, and one of my few complaints with the box, is that the box *is* tall and i had to have my computer monitor (iMac) a little too far away. clients thought i was crazy, too.. "how can you see that!?!". if API made the angle on the box a little lower the computer could sit closer.

fast forward to 2020 and i just installed a box 2. since sterling doesn't (yet?) make a plan B conversion for the wider box and would charge an insane amount of money for a couple pieces of wood if they did, i set out to modify my existing plan B, successfully and that's where the box 2 sits. the computer is in the same place and i've been using a 15" flat USB monitor sitting in front of me almost like a laptop screen as a 2nd monitor for my system, sharing windows between it and the iMac depending what i need closer.

because i was able to modify my sterling desk i do have another idea to do so that would lower the box by about an inch and a half, which would allow more visibility of the iMac.

anyway, my point is, don't underestimate how far away a computer screen has to be with the box.. taking into consideration speaker placement and interference. i could have the iMac closer and higher but it would interfere too much with my monitors.
Old 2nd February 2020
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by t_d View Post
i had a 4-channel box with a sterling modular plan B desk for it. worked great. my only complaint about it, and one of my few complaints with the box, is that the box *is* tall and i had to have my computer monitor (iMac) a little too far away. clients thought i was crazy, too.. "how can you see that!?!". if API made the angle on the box a little lower the computer could sit closer.

anyway, my point is, don't underestimate how far away a computer screen has to be with the box.. taking into consideration speaker placement and interference. i could have the iMac closer and higher but it would interfere too much with my monitors.
I have been considering those very issues. Thank you for your feedback! I agree that the Box should sit lower. Bring that back ridge down.

Just yesterday I considered that very issue of the video monitor causing speaker interference. Now I'm considering using a very large monitor and mounting it on the wall. How else can you really avoid this issue? It really is a challenge.

Thank you again!
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
once a roadie's Avatar

I have a similar on going issue with a different small console, which I have moved to the side of my desk. It works ok but I too came to the conclusion a giant video monitor might be the only way to go if you want everything in front. I also use an iMac in my setup.
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear

The API could probably have been shorter in height if not for the internal PSU. The whole mixer could be recessed in a desk about 2", but that could impede access to the DI inputs on the front. I have my v2 in a hollowed out, slightly modified Argosy, that formerly housed either a Yamaha PM2000's or two 02R's. It fits quite nicely, with 13.5" of extra space that could be split on either side of the API. On one side I have a stack of UAD Satellites, the other just random whatever- capo's, picks, cd's, etc...

The top shelf of the Argosy is just the perfect height for the API (13.5"), so it doesn't look ridiculous, and works well enough as a video monitor/speaker stand. The armrest adds 6-7" between me and API. Even with that, I find it is still a relatively comfortable reach to all controls for an average sized human - especially compared to a large format console.

I have tried an 88 key controller in front of this setup. That's great for playing and hearing in the sweet spot, but with that armrest and the keys, if you have to tweak the mixer frequently it sucks. That's where that hideaway keyboard tray would be handy. Now I have the keyboard off to the side or put away. If I were composing full time, I would probably get a completely different desk and have the music keyboard in front, and the API off to my right. Oddly enough, I think that might be an ideal setup but I'm too committed to my current arrangement to try it right now.

I am using an old 40" LED TV as a 1080p monitor, and it's 42" away and eye level. I would prefer it lower, but it works. In photos the height of the API looks a little weird. In practice I don't think it's an issue at all.

If I were you, I'd call a local carpenter and see what he/she could do for about 1000-1500 bucks. You may be surprised. You might also consider taking delivery of the mixer and getting a feel for the size and ergonomics before you buy or build something. Reading the dimensions gives you an idea, but sitting in front of it you might change your mind on a few things.

Last edited by mark714; 4 weeks ago at 06:06 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear

Would standing up to play help ?

Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac
Does anyone know

If there are legs for the api box 2
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