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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.