Matt C

Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« on: May 21, 2018, 10:32:24 PM »
I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on how you like arranging equipment in a control room for comfort and ease of use, especially if you've dealt with any of the specific issues I outlined below.  I'm planning a new space for my control room and having a hard time deciding on a good layout for all the equipment.  I'll have more space and more flexibility than I currently have so I'm trying hard to weight my different options. I regularly do both analog and digital recording/mixing sessions.

I've got:
24 channel analog console
2" tape machine
roughly 45 RU worth of rack gear.
A computer for my DAW

A few things on my mind are:

- I'm tempted to put things at a height that would be comfortable for standing while working instead of sitting all day. But it seems awkward to be standing and talking to other people in the room who are lower down on the couch.

- My console is sitting on a big plain desk.  Regarding placement of the computer keyboard and mouse, I'm not sure if I'd prefer putting then on a tiny platform on top of the console (sitting just above the faders), or making the desk bigger so they can sit on the desk in front of the console, or maybe making some kind of little portable rolling cart for them.

- Related to above, are people here using wireless keyboards and mice? And if so, how obnoxious is the battery changing regimen?

- I want the rack gear to be placed in a way that allows adjustment without moving too far away from the normal listening position.  Right now everything is in a single 7' tall rack immediately to one side of the console.  I'm considering changing it to a couple lower racks either underneath the console desk (which seems like the best use of space, but would make my sitting arrangement a little cramped), or a "producer's desk" type thing immediately to the right of my sitting position.


leitmo

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 06:54:47 AM »
I assume you use mixer to ride faders, tweak EQ, sends/returns and  not only for summing. Then it will be the central point of your control room being more important than keyboard and mouse as you won't be staring at screen or messing with keyboard when mixing. Just keep in mind to use monitor stands well above console's meter bridge.

Wireless keyboard and mouse on auxiliary table would be great. I use wireless Bluetooth mouse without USB dongle and battery powered, I charge it via USB twice a month. No more AAA batteries please. When you are done with editing and plugin tewaking you just leave table aside and use keyboard as transport control.

You have a ton of outboard. I only have a couple of 12u racks at left side. I can tweak knobs without moving from sweet spot. It has its pros and cons. I sometimes love to sit on the floor and tweak EQ and compressor from a new perspective, then sit in the sweet spot and compare.

What about 4 x 12u racks. Two on the left, two on the right just to keep symmetry? Some studios have their racks organized by type (dynamics rack, eq racks, FX racks). My workflow is different and I prefer racks organized by chain (compressor + eq) so no need to use a ton of patchbay cables. Just patch in chain 1, chain 2 or chain 3.

I strongly recommend tweaking outboard without looking at what knob you are twisting. Just need to learn hardware layout.

I recently was tempted on leaving chair and mix sitting on a stool but it would imply raising monitor stands, computer screen and DAW controller. If you are just moving to a new place get a cheap stool (or put your chair on a flightcase) and give it a try. New perspective is usually strange and good at first but you must think in long term. A stool (or a certain uncomfortable position) propitiate frequent breaks and this is good for keeping perspective on mixing and let ears breath. On the other hand clients could look at you funny because of frequent breaks

shot

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2018, 11:33:14 AM »
I was rebuilding my control room year ago, and also had problem how to fit analog console alongside computer screen and keyboard. It was a problem since my previous console was much smaller.
Let's face it - we all work most of the time on our computer screens. So my decision is that I had to have my screen in the optimum position.  In order to have that, I had custom built metal stand for my console so that I can flush it into the desk. The desk is also custom made, and though it looks as if the console is flushed into the desk, it's actually two separate objects. First we did a stand for the console and then we made metal frame for the desk to fit around the console.
Desk's upper shelf is also held by metal frame and it's a part of the whole installation. Important part of this metal frame is the back plate (25mm plywood) that is strong enough to hold the computer screen arm. I went searching all the local computer shops to find this exact flexible arm. It can move on all the axis and it stretches aprox. 75 centimeters from the wall.
This arm was the key thing in this instalation! When I'm mixing analog I can throw it all the way up and tilt the screen downwards, so I almost have screen above my head. That way I can focus on the console. And when I'm working in the box, my screen can be almost laying at the console. This is nice since I can have my head in natural position looking a bit downwards and avoid neck pain (I had that in my previous setup almost daily since the screen was in in level with my eyes).
I think two of the best investments in my control room were screen arm and comfortable chairs!

:)

Luka

here are some pics

john12ax7

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2018, 06:20:16 AM »
Building some custom furniture would be ideal.  If there is room do a sliding shelf underneath for the keyboard and mouse. And having multiple shorter racks and / or producers bay(s) in the desk where all the essentials are at arm's length.

Matt C

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2018, 06:57:23 PM »
Building some custom furniture would be ideal.  If there is room do a sliding shelf underneath for the keyboard and mouse. And having multiple shorter racks and / or producers bay(s) in the desk where all the essentials are at arm's length.

I actually have a sliding keyboard tray right now and it sort of drives me crazy, that's one of the things that got me thinking about all this in the first place.  When the keyboard is at a comfortable height, it means the surface of the console is uncomfortably high.  That's why I'm trying to imagine something custom made to put those closer to equal heights.

Mbira

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2018, 12:53:26 PM »
I recently picked up a sit/stand desk.  I really like it!  I try and make a point to be standing at least 5-10 minutes every hour.  I do composing, and editing standing, and when I need to be in my sweet spot, I just push a button and the desk comes down and I sit.  The whole thing cost $500.  Well worth the money! 
Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com

totoxraymond

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2018, 10:41:09 AM »
I actually have a sliding keyboard tray right now and it sort of drives me crazy, that's one of the things that got me thinking about all this in the first place.  When the keyboard is at a comfortable height, it means the surface of the console is uncomfortably high.  That's why I'm trying to imagine something custom made to put those closer to equal heights.


Hi,

Last week i've seen a very clever arrangement on the "grand MA2" (DMX controller) where the armrest slides towards you to reveal the keyboard underneath.

I'm definitely going to build one for my desk! ;D


Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 03:45:14 AM »
i built my effects/treatment rack high up on the wall and tilted down - about 35 degrees - à la 'lunar module control panel' - it's great ergonomically - EVERY piece of gear is within striking distance from a sitting position including 3 rows of 96pp patchbay

abbey road d enfer

Re: Control Room Ergonomics and Arrangement
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2018, 01:01:17 AM »
- My console is sitting on a big plain desk.  Regarding placement of the computer keyboard and mouse, I'm not sure if I'd prefer putting then on a tiny platform on top of the console (sitting just above the faders), or making the desk bigger so they can sit on the desk in front of the console, or maybe making some kind of little portable rolling cart for them.
I used to have my PC, keyboard, mouse and screen on a rolling cart, that ended up being always at the same place, on my right, at right angle from the desk. When I changed for my current dual-screen set-up (40" + 24"), I changed for a fixed desk.

Quote
- Related to above, are people here using wireless keyboards and mice? And if so, how obnoxious is the battery changing regimen?
I need changing batteries so seldom I almost forget about them; seems they last about two years. Not worth worrying about.

Quote
-  I'm considering changing it to a couple lower racks either underneath the console desk (which seems like the best use of space, but would make my sitting arrangement a little cramped), or a "producer's desk" type thing immediately to the right of my sitting position.
That's what I have, a small 10U rack with the FX that need tweaking (mostly reverbs and modulation); the rest is in a big 45U thing. I must admit most of the FX in there (parametric EQ's and comps) find less and less practical usage, to the benefit of plug-ins. Only the preamps and the patchbay are in daily use.
At a time, I had a rolling cart that could be put under the desk; I didn't like it much.
I would suggest you use a drawing software and draw a plan of your space and turn around the equipment. I always do that before moving furniture (I use Draftsight, but many other can do).
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

 

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