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Help with building new Recording Desk

Discussion in 'Recording' started by JBsound, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but if not I hope it gets moved to the right one.

    I am about to build a rack/desk for my recording gear to complement and built in desk/bookshelf at my house. Please look at my plans and give me some suggestions. I'm not really sure about dimensions, etc. I've just tried to look at some others and draw something out.

    Thanks ahead of time for the awesome ideas!

    Jeremy(Dead Link Removed)
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    You need to build in more symmetry into your plan. You should not be closer to one wall than the other and there should be a sense of balance on both sides. Being stuck into the corner on the left side as your drawing indicates is going to create some serious bass problems. Remember that corners increase bass response due to boundary effects. You going to have one heck of a time getting your left right balance accurately in that set up. Try to get your set up more to the middle of the room with the same amount of space on both sides. Also I see a problem with being stuffed up against the wall in front of where you will be mixing. For the same reason (boundery effects) it would be better if you could move at least a couple of feet of of that wall if possible. One other thing I noticed is that 4” overhang on your equipment rack… That is going to make it hard to see your gear that is placed at the top of the rack. If you need that depth for the surface on top, make the rack deeper so you will have easier access to the equipment at the top of the rack.. Other than those things, it looks pretty good. …….. Kurt
  3. JBsound

    JBsound Guest


    Thanks for the reply! I can't really do much about the wall/symmetry right now. I didn't show it, but on the right side of the existing desk, there is our back door, then wall. And the desk/bookshelf was custom built in when the house was built back in the day. I am renting the house probably for another year and a half to 2 years. I could put absorptive material behind my monitors if that would help. I am kind of stuck in this position right now though.

    As for the overhang, I was worried about that too. I just included it because I didn't know if it was ok to have the bottom of the rack sticking out further than than the front edge of the desk's top surface (due to the tilt). I'm also not sure what the standard tilt is.

    Thanks alot for the help, keep it coming!

  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Hey Jeremy:

    I am in the middle of a similar project, and it has been a real long road! I live in the mid-west, and started this project in the middle of the winter! All my woodworking goes on in the garage, and it has been so cold, that I have not made much progress! I go to put on coats of polyurethane, and it has the consistency of hair gel due to the cold...hehe...oh well, things are warming up now, so I am making some better progress as of late.

    My designs are hand-drawn on paper, and I guess I could scan them and post them...

    My setup is made from 9-ply oak plywood, and looks really great when stained and polyurethaned. I am then using solid oak trim pieces, and all brass connectors.

    I have made 2 twelve-space racks to go on either side of my sitting position. My original plan was to build them into the desk as is shown in your plan, but after some more thought, I decided to make them "free-floating", and designed them to be stand-alone with heavy-duty casters so that I can roll them out to get behind them and re-wire, etc. If they are built-in, I think it will be difficult to get behind them for any reason, plus if they are stand-alone, I can always use them later if I decide to trash the desk!

    Next, I have 2 six-space racks that sit on top of the desk on either side of my mixing position, angled-in for a better viewing position. I was originally going to build these in as part of desk, but later decided to put rubber feet on them, and just keep them as "free-standing" to give me some more versatility.

    My desk top is approximately 4 feet x 6 feet, so it is a bit larger than your desk, and when finished, it will definately be labor of love! I realized early on in this project that I was not the furniture-builder that I thought I was! There are so many "hiccups" and "whoops" on this thing, it is just amazing! :) Oh well, it gives it "personality"!!! :) )
  5. JBsound

    JBsound Guest


    Good to hear someone else is going through this too! I'd love to see some pics or some plans.

    I think I am going to make that rack more "freestanding", meaning that I'll probably only attatch it to the surface desk in a way that it can be removed.

    Are your racks slanted?

    Keep me updated.

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jeremy said;
    Are you saying that the wall with the door on your right is the same distance from your seating/ listening position as the left wall? If that is the case then that is ok. Set up so your speakers are evenly spaced between the two boundaries. You must do this. There is no way around it. Symmetry is of paramount importance. Before you get too far into this do some research in your area and locate a source for Owens Corning 703 or 705 fiberglass insulation product. Acoustic foam works also but the 703/705 has a better fire rating. Safer to use in a tight set up. Line the walls behind your speakers and along both sides your listening position with the fiberglass. You can cover the fiberglass with fire retardant acoustic fabric. If you can build a frame to suspend the fiberglass 4" off the walls that will make it more efficient but in your situation it looks like, at least on the wall behind your speakers, that won't be possible without sacrificing too much space. You should talk with Wes and Ethan in the Studio Acoustics forum here at RO. They know a lot more about this than I do.

    As far as the angle of the racks, just build what will make it easy to see your gear. I don't think there is a standard angle prescribed. You could build a toe kick into them if you wish, like in common kitchen cabinets but most studio racks don't have this feature. Kurt
  7. JBsound

    JBsound Guest


    I've actually checked the acoustic absorption situation out a lot recently. A couple of months ago I completely covered a 4x6 closet with a combination of foam (3" thick) and fiberglass to create a very "dead" vocal room.

    Right now I am in the process of purchasing some 1" and 2" 703 to build some bass traps and mid/high absorption panels so that I can track drums in the living room.

    As far as the monitoring situation, the left speaker is 15" from the wall on the side while the right speaker is 4'6" from the wall. I should not that both are have a shelf above that partially cover them and have shelf/walls on each side, equally spaced for both, that that almost go as far out as the speaker. The speakers are about 3" from the rear wall. The desk and bookshelf combinations goes from floor to ceiling and is a pretty substantial built in piece. If you want I can take a picture. There is really no way to shift the monitor situation over. I could cover the whole cavity created by the desk/bookshelf/wall in which the monitors sit with fabric covered 703. Would this help? And I could also hang some treatment on the side walls.

    Kurt, also about the desk: I was thinking of making the 4" overhang a 3" overhang, with the top space or two or three in the rack being taken up with a board and/or a 1 space rack light and a 1 space power supply/conditioner? Do you think that would be enough down to see my equipment?

  8. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member


    No, actually, although I wish I had done so. I am such a *lame* furniture builder, that everything is at right angles, and the whole desk looks very "boxy" and square. This gives the whole thing a very amateur appearance, but I guess that is because I am an amateur!

    Since the entire desk is made from oak laminate (plywood), it requires trim around all the edges, otherwise, you could see all the layers, and it would just look bad without trim. I have yet to find any nice looking trim that will bend so I can make some rounded corners on the main desktop, but that again is probably due to my inexperience.

    I finished assembling the 6-space racks last night, and then finished cutting and staining all the trim pieces. I will begin the long polyurathane process today (3 coats, 1 per day, then 72 hours to completely cure = 6 days!).

    I am now beginning the work on the actual desktop...I had no idea it was this much work, or would take me this long! (It *is* worth it though!)

    I will try to get some pictures posted in the next day or so...
  9. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    I am getting close to the end of my "evil" desk-building project. It has been a real pain in the neck!!!

    The desk itself is finished, I am now just moving the equipment over, and re-wiring everything. I have rewired the entire studio using Mogami cable and Neutrik ends...another *huge* task!!! I am so sick of soldering, I could just puke! My fingers are raw from twisting strands of wires together prior to soldering them...

    I am still working on the wiring, and then I have to tidy up all the cables and separate the AC power cables from the audio cables, etc. I think I still have about 15 cables left to go, but ran out of cable last night, so I need to order some more.

    Next comes finishing the acoustic treatments, and then I should be close to being back in business!!!

    Here is a link to my JOKE website (DON'T LAUGH when you see the main page, it is really just a joke) Notice that there is no contact info anywhere...no phone numbers or email addresses, nothing. I don't really use this (yet) to get business, just working on some new html tricks...

    Go to the Studio Pictures link to see the building of the desk...Once completed, I will post a finished picture along with a before/after shot!


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