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Acoustically Unobtrusive Desks (Cost-effective/DIY)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Tristana's Avatar
 

Acoustically Unobtrusive Desks (Cost-effective/DIY)

I'm budgeting out building a new home studio from scratch (burglary...), and in the process have decided to pursue a new desk, as it was pointed out that my prior one was quite large and reflective.

What options would you recommend- be they commercial or DIY?

The only things I want my desk to hold are-
- Novation Launchkey 61 (36 5/8" / 93 cm in width)
- MOTU Ultralite mk4 (9.5" / 24 cm)
- Sennheiser HD600 Headphones
- Computer keyboard + Mouse on lower tier / slide-out tray

My instruments, audio monitors & computer monitor will be relegated to separate stands (or VESA mounted to a swivel/the wall for the latter)

- - - -

One consideration I've had would be to purchase an Ikea Fjällbo Laptop Stand for $60:
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/fjaellb...lack-30339735/

And to then put a 4ft / 122cm wide wood top on it, instead of the included one. There'd be about 4 inches of overhang past the Fjällbo frame on each side.

I'd remove the cubby that comes with the Fjällbo and instead install a vertically mounted sliding keyboard+mouse tray in the center. Main concern here is that the tray may be necessarily a bit low, but I do prefer a 27" typing keyboard height to the typical 29"+.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristana View Post
I'm budgeting out building a new home studio from scratch (burglary...), and in the process have decided to pursue a new desk, as it was pointed out that my prior one was quite large and reflective.

What options would you recommend- be they commercial or DIY?

The only things I want my desk to hold are-
- Novation Launchkey 61 (36 5/8" / 93 cm in width)
- MOTU Ultralite mk4 (9.5" / 24 cm)
- Sennheiser HD600 Headphones
- Computer keyboard + Mouse on lower tier / slide-out tray

My instruments, audio monitors & computer monitor will be relegated to separate stands (or VESA mounted to a swivel/the wall for the latter)

- - - -

One consideration I've had would be to purchase an Ikea Fjällbo Laptop Stand for $60:
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/fjaellb...lack-30339735/

And to then put a 4ft / 122cm wide wood top on it, instead of the included one. There'd be about 4 inches of overhang past the Fjällbo frame on each side.

I'd remove the cubby that comes with the Fjällbo and instead install a vertically mounted sliding keyboard+mouse tray in the center. Main concern here is that the tray may be necessarily a bit low, but I do prefer a 27" typing keyboard height to the typical 29"+.
I have two 20 space racks that I'm also using as speaker stands.

The MOTU and headphones can be stored there.

I use a bluetooth keyboard and trackball mounted on a piece of pegboard and work with them on my lap.

You could put your Launch key on one of those X shaped keyboard stand and that would be the only reflective surface which could be moved for mixing.

You didn't say anything about speakers or speaker stands which has me wondering if you're working completely on headphones in which case the desk reflections aren't an issue.

I've been working without a desk for years specifically to avoid the combfitering that comes with the reflections and I've found it to be a great choice.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Starlight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
You didn't say anything about speakers or speaker stands ...
You must have missed this, Mike:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristana View Post
My instruments, audio monitors & computer monitor will be relegated to separate stands (or VESA mounted to a swivel/the wall for the latter)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
I have two 20 space racks that I'm also using as speaker stands.

The MOTU and headphones can be stored there.
The Ultralite mk4 I'm after is half-rack which I think means I'd need another half-rack device to fit it in a typical 19" rack 1U row? Unless you mean sitting it on top of it. I do intend to have a short/small shelf for my eurorack gear to my right or left, which my interface might be able to find its home on as well. Having a piece of furniture where I can easily rackmount gear is dangerous for my gear-acquisition syndrome, though...

Quote:
I use a bluetooth keyboard and trackball mounted on a piece of pegboard and work with them on my lap.
I have a Corsair K63 lapboard, which is quite a comfortable commercial solution to what you're doing. Unfortunately my scoliosis+wrist issues make any extended lap-based computing a challenge but I can see how this'd work well for some.

I think there's also something psychologically to be said about 'sitting at a desk'- even a tiny facsimile of one- for productivity's sake.

Quote:
I've been working without a desk for years specifically to avoid the combfitering that comes with the reflections and I've found it to be a great choice.
Definitely want to work towards this! I saw a tour of EVE Audio's facilities, where-in they recorded an IR in an anechoic chamber with & without a small piece of plywood perpendicular to the mic... it was quite jarring how much the signal changed.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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If you want, the sketchup file for my DIY desk is available to download on my thread here:
Jason Foi Studio Design - Tuning

If not just keep any flat areas as small as possible or angle them 12 degeees
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Tristana's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
If you want, the sketchup file for my DIY desk is available to download on my thread here:
Jason Foi Studio Design - Tuning
Thanks for that! It's a really neat design, though probably beyond my current woodworking capabilities + tools (or lack there-of). Certainly would serve well as a purely control room/mixing/mastering station, but were I to put a MIDI keyboard on the angled bit for composition/production I think reaching over the mouse+keyboard might become cumbersome.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristana View Post
Thanks for that! It's a really neat design, though probably beyond my current woodworking capabilities + tools (or lack there-of). Certainly would serve well as a purely control room/mixing/mastering station, but were I to put a MIDI keyboard on the angled bit for composition/production I think reaching over the mouse+keyboard might become cumbersome.
I typically set the computer keyboard on the floor when playing the midi keyboard for long periods, and it has been pretty comfortable for me like that, but i am certainly far from being a skilled piano player. Unfortunately in a production/mixing room the desk will always be a compromise. Either comfort or acoustics seems to suffer. Good luck on your search!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristana View Post
The Ultralite mk4 I'm after is half-rack which I think means I'd need another half-rack device to fit it in a typical 19" rack 1U row? Unless you mean sitting it on top of it. I do intend to have a short/small shelf for my eurorack gear to my right or left, which my interface might be able to find its home on as well. Having a piece of furniture where I can easily rackmount gear is dangerous for my gear-acquisition syndrome, though...


I have a Corsair K63 lapboard, which is quite a comfortable commercial solution to what you're doing. Unfortunately my scoliosis+wrist issues make any extended lap-based computing a challenge but I can see how this'd work well for some.

I think there's also something psychologically to be said about 'sitting at a desk'- even a tiny facsimile of one- for productivity's sake.



Definitely want to work towards this! I saw a tour of EVE Audio's facilities, where-in they recorded an IR in an anechoic chamber with & without a small piece of plywood perpendicular to the mic... it was quite jarring how much the signal changed.

They make rack shelves. You could sit your half rack piece there and the headphones next to it.

Having a keyboard sitting on your lap doesn't mean it has to be lap height. It can have a base or cushion that elevates it to the identical height as a desk.

I would think that sitting upright or leaning forward over a desk would be more fatiguing than reclining which is what I do since I don't have to deal with being able to reach the desk.


When Bob Hodas tuned my room he moved my speakers 12 inches which changed the angle of the console reflections. All of a sudden mixes that I thought had plenty of high end lost their harshness and sounded dark because the comb filtering was gone. When I moved to a new space, I decided to eliminate the console completely for acoustics and recalls.

Bob has an explanation of the issues console reflections cause at bobhodas.com if you're interested in those details.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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To minimize costs further, I'm considering just sticking a 1" thick 1ft x 4ft pine plank on top of two legs from IKEA (ADILS would be cheapest at $16 for 4, though I'm considering a OLOV's at $60 for fine-tuning the height); finishing it for aesthetic purposes.

I'd then attach keyboard slides to the bottom of it to support either an MDF or Plywood tray for keyboard+mouse.

Probably not the right forum to ask, but I'm sure we have some craftspeople here- is this a terrible idea? Namely, is the weight of the keyboard tray- or pressure from playing the Launchkey- likely to cause the 1", 4ft board to bow/split due to the lack of a central support?
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Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristana View Post
To minimize costs further, I'm considering just sticking a 1" thick 1ft x 4ft pine plank on top of two legs from IKEA (ADILS would be cheapest at $16 for 4, though I'm considering a OLOV's at $60 for fine-tuning the height); finishing it for aesthetic purposes.

I'd then attach keyboard slides to the bottom of it to support either an MDF or Plywood tray for keyboard+mouse.

Probably not the right forum to ask, but I'm sure we have some craftspeople here- is this a terrible idea? Namely, is the weight of the keyboard tray- or pressure from playing the Launchkey- likely to cause the 1", 4ft board to bow/split due to the lack of a central support?
I don't think it will be a problem. Those X stands work fine and there's not even the piece of pine.

For $60 you could get this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...SABEgKPSPD_BwE

I'd add a piece of pegboard and secure the keyboard tray sliders to that.


My guess is that if you're using a trackball in the slider, you're going to need enough clearance that at optimal keyboard playing height the bottom of the tray is resting against your legs and it will be no different than mounting the keyboard and trackball on something and placing that on your legs.

Hopefully I'm wrong about that since you've said that's too low for your needs.


I think the open space under the stand, vs the X shaped stand is a good move either way. That will allow more options for how to sit than the X stand does.


Another option is moving the computer keyboard around. Put it on your lap or to the side for tracking. Slide the keyboard back on your piece of wood when not in use and place the computer keyboard on the front side which should be an optimal height.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
I don't think it will be a problem. Those X stands work fine and there's not even the piece of pine.

For $60 you could get this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...SABEgKPSPD_BwE

I'd add a piece of pegboard and secure the keyboard tray sliders to that.
Thanks for that, the frame seems like a better investment than the adjustable legs would be.


Quote:
My guess is that if you're using a trackball in the slider, you're going to need enough clearance that at optimal keyboard playing height the bottom of the tray is resting against your legs and it will be no different than mounting the keyboard and trackball on something and placing that on your legs.
Not a trackball, but a Logitech MX Master 2S which does have a high 2" profile (and a bit more clearance needed if my hand were to rest on the mouse under the desk). My spine has a lovely S-shape which puts my shoulders lower than most; the optimal typing/mouse height for me is somewhere around 25.5-26.5" whereas my knees/thighs come up somewhere around 22". The difference between those two, minus the thickness of the sliding tray being how much clearance I have for my legs. Adding a 3" buffer above the tray and using the thickest surface option (1" pine), this results in the music keyboard potentially resting on a surface that's 30.5" high. Definitely not ideal for performance- but certainly workable for my main use of the keyboard (noodling melodic & harmonic ideas before sequencing them).
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