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Old 12-06-2008, 04:36 PM   #48
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,012

I'm going to step back for a minute here and make some general points about preparation and organization.

It is really important to have an organized studio. Set aside a day for this, and it will save you weeks in the coming year, not to mention immeasurable inspiration-killing frustration. You need to make it easy for yourself to be creative, and hard for yourself to get distracted.

Organized is a different thing from appearing tidy. Scoop up all your cables and tuners and notes and headphones and stuff them in a drawer and the room will appear tidy. And you will spend an hour of your next session untangling everything and finding what you need. Hide all your patch cables and tie them up in bundles behind the desk and things will appear tidy, and it will take you an hour to get behind there and patch in a "B" set of speakers or a new midi controller.

Organized means that the stuff that you need is easy to identify, easy to reach, and easy to do what you need to do with it. A well-organized studio might actually appear pretty messy, and if that's a problem with a significant other or some such, then you might need more than a day to figure out the right compromises. A studio is a workspace, like a garage or a woodworking shop.

There are three categories of stuff in your studio:

1. Stuff you need to access regularly, and that needs to be right at hand.
2. Stuff you only need to access rarely (a few times a year), that can be stored away.
3. Trash.

Notice that there is no category for stuff that might useful someday, or that you plan to work on when you have spare time. If it were useful, you'd have used it. If you had spare time, you'd already have worked on it. Here's a hint-- old magazines are trash. The useful wisdom in them is either already on the internet, or has been or will be published in book form for that day 3 years from now when you need to search for it. And when that day comes, the chances of your actually finding the article you needed in three years' worth of old magazines is nil. There is no Google for old magazines.

Bad cables are trash. If you're going to fix them, put them in a brown paper bag and do it this week. If the week goes by and you haven't fixed them, throw them away. Cables that crackle when touched, or that hum, or hiss, or that have to be plugged in at a certain angle to work have no place in a recording studio. Same with broken instruments, broken headphones, obsolete electronics, old speakers and computers, and so on.

If you have trash that has value, put it in all in a box, and write a date on it by which time you will sell it. If that date goes by, and you have not sold it, take the box of stuff down to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and make someone's day. But make the decision that you are running a studio, not a junk shop. Which is more important, to eliminate the distractions and time-wasters that get in the way of your music, or to squeeze the few extra bucks from your old soundcard?
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