Show us your studio

  • Hey guys, @Michael_dk had a great idea about a "show us your studio" thread, which I think would be really informative for users who are building their studios or want to get ideas for upgrading. This is kind of like db9091's idea about listing out his studio bits, but I think it would be great to just see what hardware everyone is using.


    Here's mine:


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    Absolutely crap room, Recording setup tucked away in a corner, meh. I have no acoustic foam or anything anywhere. It's a rented accommodation, like most places I live and the landlords are pretty strict about what I can and cannot do. In my current place, I cannot even stick nails in the wall to hang up the great pictures that my brother gave me. If I spoil anything, they will take it out of the hefty deposit I gave them, and I'm sure they will take more than the actual cost.



    At the heart of my studio is an RME Fireface 800. I've had it since 2007, nine years and still ticking. I'm so scared it'll die on me, but it hasn't failed me yet.


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    It is a great interface, very low latency and plenty of input and output options. Other than the four mic inputs (with decent preamps and phantom power on the front)...


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    It has loads of I/O on the back. Eight analog inputs, eight analog outs, SPDIF input out, midi in and out and options for inserting a word clock. It's great to have so many inputs when you are recording a full band, I still haven't run into a situation where I don't have enough I/O.


    The RME Fireface is hooked up to a Presonus Monitor Station V1, because I was too cheap to pony up for the V2. It's basically a monitor controller with two pairs of stereo inputs, an RCA input, three pairs of monitor outputs and two pairs of line outputs. It also has four headphone amps, which is great when you want to jam at home with friends without disturbing the neighbours. Lots of buttons and knobs for levelling your speakers, selecting stereo/mono, changing headphone gain, etc. Also has the option of having a main mix and a cue mix, which is great when your bandmates have different monitoring requirements. Including the headphone output on the Fireface, I can have three independent headphone mixes running at any time.


    Also has a talkback mic if you want to tell your bandmates that they suck 8o



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    The Presonus is hooked up to two sets of monitors. I just have three. The first is a pair of Dynaudio BM5A MKIs. These are great monitors, and I can highly recommend them. Good translation of bass, they glue the mids a bit, and the high end isn't harsh enough to make you want to quit recording.


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    The third monitor I have is what you call a "grotbox" for extremely low-fi listening. It's an Avantone Mixcube, whose design is based off the legendary Auratone Cubes. I only need one, since you want to be thinking about how someone who's listening from a cellphone or a laptop, or a stereo system parked away on a shelf in one corner of the room will perceive your sound. They are especially good at figuring out levels for the different instruments in a mix. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is getting into mixing and find that their main monitors are just so good that they are unable to balance everything the right way. I just have to cue the speaker output on the Presonus and set mono for the output option and I get a good representation of how everything sounds with a totally crap speaker :D And believe me, there are a lot of people who will hear your music for the first time this way.


    That's it for the output options, I wish I could get a second set of stereo monitors so that I can mix better,


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    Just trust me and get one of these or a single Auratone and you will love me for it :love:



    I have a couple of control surfaces for my studio, the first is a Presonus Faderport, very basic but handy in a small studio. Has all the basic transport controls you needs, as well as a motorised fader that is great for writing automation on tracks. It worked with Cubase, Samplitude and Logic, but they've since come out with a new version which I think has five motorised faders. More than enough for the hobby musician.



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    The other control surface I have is a Contour Shuttle Control Pro V2. This is great because you can assign anything in your DAW to each one of the buttons. Plus it has a nifty jog wheel to scrub through your projects. I had mapped mine for basic transport commands because I use it when I'm drumming primarily.



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    I want to incorporate synth sounds in certain parts of my recordings, so I have a Yamaha Motif XS rack. It has very good in-built sounds, which I use live, so I don't rely on my DAW synths because I want to replicate the sounds in my studio when I play live as well.


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    For drums, I rely on my trusted Roland TD-30K. It's a great kit, and I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants studio quality drum sounds on their recordings, but don't want to rely on programmed drums. Run it through a VST and it's like recording in the best drum studios in the world. Ok, maybe not the best, I still prefer the sound of an acoustic drumkit and they have so much more dynamics. But on a budget, this has proved to be a really sound, if expensive, investment. I recently recorded drums for an awesome track done by @waraba, hopefully he will release it when ready. My drumming is average, but with his track, it sounds bombastic! 8)


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    And of course, last but not least, the compulsory Kemper Profiling Amplifier photo!


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    I have it under the desk because I've been reamping for a demo that I've been working on for some time.


    I also use a B7K for bass recordings in the studio. Trust me, this is a wonderful tool to use on bass, I've heard from @sinmix that when you profile the pedal, you have to set the blend knob to either maximum or minimum or it doesn't profile correctly. Well, I like to use the blend when I record bass, it has a beautiful tone. One of the best tone sculptors for bass, it is really that good!


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    I almost forgot my selection of mics. I don't have a lot, and one is probably worthless, but here they are in all their glory.


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    The second one is a Shure SM58, the same mic that Randy Blythe used on one of the Lamb of God albums (not sure which one), of course with a tonne of processing. The third mic is a SE Electronic 2200IIc, the same mic that Amy Winehouse used on one of her recordings (well, she used the 2200a, and I sound nothing like Amy Winehouse). The first mic is some generic TC Helicon mic that I got with my Voicelive Rack vocal processor. I use that one live, but not in the studio. It's alright, has a different character, and since I got it with the processor, I don't mind keeping it. Has a nifty button to turn effects on or off on the Voicelive.


    And that is my humble studio! I'm sure some of our users have got killer ones (with acoustic treatment, no less) and I look forward to seeing your posts! Try to make it detailed, all those colourful picks definitely sway Internet trolls like me into buying more gear!


    In the immediate present, I want to see pics from @db9091, @Ingolf and @Michael_dk! Heck, Nicky, I want to see the status of @Monkey_Man 's studio as well, I'm dying to know where you are in your recording pursuits!


    Cheers and jeers!
    - Jimmy

  • Very nice @nightlight!! Actually I just picked up a used Monitor Station v1 like yours thanks to a post you did earlier about how much you liked it. I'm running my BX8's out, my Klipsch THX speakers and sub out, and I'm going to also send out to my Yamaha DXR12 so that I can control all the volumes in one location. Just got it a couple days ago so still learning it. Forgot about the mono setting until you mentioned it. Thanks for the tip!!

  • Very nice @nightlight!! Actually I just picked up a used Monitor Station v1 like yours thanks to a post you did earlier about how much you liked it. I'm running my BX8's out, my Klipsch THX speakers and sub out, and I'm going to also send out to my Yamaha DXR12 so that I can control all the volumes in one location. Just got it a couple days ago so still learning it. Forgot about the mono setting until you mentioned it. Thanks for the tip!!


    Yes, it is really invaluable, I find. Mono listening is something everyone must do for better mixes. Even if you have a pair of speakers, set the output to mono and then turn off one speaker. Works wonders to get your mixes the right level so that everything can be hear.


    really interesting Arvind , you have all tools needed for producing a full band ! I have more drums requests for you ;)

    Cool, Renaud, send me the tracks and I will try to do my best. Got nothing but time on my hands and your music is really good!

  • Cool idea and cool gear, Arvind! That was an interesting read, you seem to really know what you're after.


    My home studio is all about maximizing what I can do on a budget. Most of my stuff is second hand, B-stock, things I had lying around, loans or gifts. If you want to take a look around, try this link and click on the picture; here are some impressions.


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    This is my desk. Those three BCF2000s are linked by a Max4Live device called LaunchSync so that they stay side by side, i.e.: together those motorized faders control 24 consecutive tracks in Ableton Live. Thanks to a custom control script, all the usual controls for each track (sends, pan, arm/mute/solo) are easily accessible.


    The two Launchpads are also mutually linked, so that I can keep them side by side or lined up above each other to control a larger range of clips.


    I use the BCR2000 on the left to assign individual parameters from all over a given project ad hoc, versus the strict per-track layout of the BCFs. Very handy.


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    My audio interface (a Behringer UCM1820, continuing the bang-for-the-buck theme) is suspended under my desk for easy access. I was surprisingly hard to find a suitable rack mount for that. On the floor (not visible) is my old FCB1010, now replaced by the Kemper Remote. I use it for basic transport control in Ableton Live, very handy when you're tracking guitar.


    My studio PC is not actually in the room. It's an industrial workstation a friend managed to get me from his workplace: incredibly powerful (two Xeon processors, 64gb of RAM), but unfortunately also incredibly loud, with heavy-duty fans. Fortunately, due to the layout of our house, I was able to install it in the basement right next to this room, and run all cables (hdmi for the screens and a number of usb cables) through a narrow existing hole in the wall. The perfect setup.


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    I use this old digital piano as a master keyboard. It has fairly good weighted hammer action and built-in pedals, something that's harder to find in the dedicated "midi keyboard" category.


    The Arturia MicroBrute on the left is a recent acquisition. Fat analog tone for a nice price.


    We all know the little green fellow on the right. :)


    The Korg MS-20 in the middle is not what it seems: although it looks and functions exactly like the original synth, it is in fact a midi controller used to control Korg's own software emulation of the real thing! Even the patch cables do exactly what they do on the original. Korg only produced these for a short time so I'm very glad I managed to pick one up second-hand. In a way, it's the best of both worlds: it has the hands-on tweakability of a semi-modular synth, and the flexibility and DAW integration of a VSTi. It's also incredibly fun.


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    These are pure nostalgia. The Fostex 4-track on the bottom shelf was my first experience with multitracking; looking back, I did some fantastically fun stuff with it (bouncing like crazy to cram everything I could into those four tracks). Now I plan to teach my girls how to use it.


    I still use the Korg DDD-5 drum computer sometimes to control drum samples via midi; those square buttons have pretty good velocity sensitivity.


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    My metal guitars. :-) The white bag on the left contains a cute pink ukulele. The mic is an AKG Perception 200.


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    These are my other guitars and basses, again all of them collected from second-hand bargains. The orchestral cymbals on the bottom left are a flee-market find from 20 years ago; I sometimes use them for sound effects. They're incredibly powerful.


    The acoustic on the right is actually my dad's. It's about 45 years old, I would say. I learned to play the guitar on that one.


    Next to it is a Turkish tanbur. I got it for about 60 euros at an auction for a bankrupt music store. Three string courses, one with three and the others with two strings. Very hard to tune with those simple ungeared pegs, but it sounds amazing.


    I play the Theremin a little but I still have a long way to go to get it pitch perfect (here's one of my first attempts from a long time ago).


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    These Genelecs are pretty good. They're positioned about 20 cm too high but it's the only place I can put them, and they're tilted forward just right. The rest on this shelf is inspiration. :-)


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    A monochord I built with Champ d'Action, an Antwerp-based contemporary music ensemble. The copper thing in the middle is a simple pickup. Its string length (that wooden board is actually pretty long) makes it wonderfully twangy.


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    I don't know what that wooden instrument in the back is called. It's a gift from India and it makes a soft cooing sound when you swing it.


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    This is a Mogees contact microphone. It can be used to record acoustic instruments, but when combined with its dedicated VST, it can turn anything into a percussive instrument. I sometimes put it there and set up the VST so I can slap the piano for a deep BOOIIINNG sound. :-) What I love to do in this room is just set up all the different instruments in an Ableton Live project, and even make the Launchpads and my computer keyboard control their own sounds, and just move between them, improvising clips and layering.


    The Senheisser HD 535 on the right is so old the foam covering the speakers has completely disintegrated, but it still sounds good.


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    This wall keeps the room nice and dry -- acoustically that is. :-)

  • You're a total neat freak, Robrecht! Excellent, mate, and thank you for sharing.


    I use books too, but my shelves are 3 different crappy units that look terrible (really, really bad!).


    Heck, Nicky, I want to see the status of @Monkey_Man 's studio as well, I'm dying to know where you are in your recording pursuits!

    ... and there I was marvelling at how everyone in the world seems to have a camera these days thanks to 'phones, and I'm yet to own a camera, something I've wanted since I was 12. Once I'm done saving for and spending on music, I'll address this. Thanks for your interest, AJ.


    Also, thank you for so-comprehensively sharing your room matey!

  • Cool idea and cool gear, Arvind! That was an interesting read, you seem to really know what you're after.


    My home studio is all about maximizing what I can do on a budget. Most of my stuff is second hand, B-stock, things I had lying around, loans or gifts. If you want to take a look around, try this link and click on the picture; here are some impressions.


    Thank you! According to my parents and my friends, what I'm after seems to be an endless stream of gear that pushes ever so slightly toward penury with each passing year ;)


    Your room is way nicer than mine and your gear collection is impressive. So tidy too, I used to tie up my cables, but found that whenever I unplug them, I'd have to undo the ties, which takes far too long.


    I love the idea of bookshelves for acoustic treatment. Unfortunately, with my shift to Singapore, I couldn't carry my books (too voluminous) and made the shift to a Kindle. Easy to store, but nothing like having a physical book in your hand. Definitely doing something like that whenever I am able to swing a place of my own, thanks for the idea!


    I only have three guitars and a bass. A fourth guitar is on its way now, pretty satisfied with the collection. I don't have an acoustic though, a glaring hole in my collection. For now, I make do with my piezo-equipped RG.


    Do you do a lot of serious recording at your place, or mainly just trade ideas with your bandmates? I'm working on a 10-song demo in my studio that I plan to send out to some labels by March or April this year. See whether I have any prospects or not. Never tried it, but you know what they say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".



    ... and there I was marvelling at how everyone in the world seems to have a camera these days thanks to 'phones, and I'm yet to own a camera, something I've wanted since I was 12. Once I'm done saving for and spending on music, I'll address this. Thanks for your interest, AJ.
    Also, thank you for so-comprehensively sharing your room matey!

    Thanks, Nicky.


    It's smart to have a mobile phone without a camera and a data plan. in this age of mass obsurveillance, I often tell myself that if I can make it big enough to disconnect from my office and the world, I'm going to junk this POS phone. That whole Snowden expose was an eye opener, guy's a hero.


    Unfortunately, in my job, where we might be required to take photos or videos on the spot and send them to the office, and we're always on call, I'm forced to cling to it for dear life while I plot my escape.

  • LOL Thanks for that, AJ.


    I can't do wireless devices of any flavour - pootooth, WildFire, mini-microwave generators, base-station-style home 'phones and so on due to extreme ES. Even going to stick with my faulty old TV 'cause the remote's infra red, which is perfectly-fine.


    As I said, a camera's not an option 'til this decades-long music saga is more-or-less over. I can't wait; so many non-music things missing in my life!


    As for bookshelves filled with books, they're often misunderstood as being absorbent; they're essentially not. Diffusion of high mids and highs is the name of the game here, and for this, they're, in my experience, excellent. The best thing is that acoustic waves don't care how low-brow the books are or how pathetic the shelves look; you can buy the cheapest, crappiest second-hand throwouts possible. Of course, my books are all non-fiction classics. :D

  • Do you do a lot of serious recording at your place, or mainly just trade ideas with your bandmates?

    We've always made fairly decent demos of each song as a part of our writing process, going between live rehearsals and studio time at my place to work on the recording. Instead of trying to explain "what if this time we play that part four times, only the last time we go straight to the bridge" etc. (and then someone misunderstanding and having to start again), it's so much more direct and clear to simply use copy/paste or move around parts and immediately hear the result. That way, when we rehearse to hear how it works live, we already have a pretty good idea of what we're going to play.


    However, we've gradually been putting more and more effort into those demos, moving them more and more towards finished and polished recordings to be heard outside the band. One fully home-recorded song has already been featured on a sampler CD; in the future, we want to see how far we can take this and what parts of the process still have to be done in a professional studio.


    Listening in mono is a great tip, I should to that more, and I'll be looking for one (or a set) of those Avantone/Auratone speakers (preferably second-hand of course :-) ). At the moment, we just take semi-finished mixes and play them on our various sound systems/phones/car radios for a couple of days to see if any problems come up... :rolleyes:


    You're a total neat freak, Robrecht!

    So tidy too, I used to tie up my cables, but found that whenever I unplug them, I'd have to undo the ties, which takes far too long.


    To be honest, there are a lot of loose cables running under my desk. :) You can see some of them in the 360 view (click on the picture then drag to look around). But I do tend to run them behind/under/around things, like the piano or the desk, to keep the desktop itself tidy.

  • The evolution of my studio:


    1995: For recording my band.
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    1999: Opened up as a commercial project studio
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    2003: Moved into my basement, back to personal use
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    2007: Setting up in my new home.
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    Today: Recording gear stripped down to the bare minimum, guitars multiplying like rabbits.
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  • Can we blame the Kemper for that, Klapster?

    No, but you can definitely blame the Kemper for my downsizing of my amp collection!


    The mindset of simplifying my musical life by going digital cable for probably began with my Apollo Firewire purchase. I realized that both the hardware and DSP technology was finally good enough to work entirely in the box, and that the 1% differences between the UAD emulations and my hardware were finally good enough to get rid of my outboard gear. With the addition of the Unison mic pres, I also sold off my SCA Neve and API preamps and will never go back to outboard. I also don't need a fancy looking rig any more to impress clients. :D

  • Kick-ass!! Very different setups through the years, all cool. Nice armadillo too!

    That armadillo was with me through out my entire recording adventure, starting in 1985 with a Fostex X-15. A couple years ago, he finally fell apart and had to move on to greener pastures (or where ever armadillos live :) ). You can see his memorial, a small ceramic armadillo near my left speaker in front of my tube mic power supplies:


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  • Those are some amazing setups, Klappy! I couldn't spot the Kemper anywhere.

    It actually lives in my living room most of the time for easy access. I do more gigs than recording these days and I haul it back and forth for rehearsals, so it's constantly in and out of the house. The studio is upstairs and I have my Kemper mounted in a box with my speaker cabinet, so it only goes up into the studio for "official" recording projects. I usually use the Egnater for rough tracks and jamming in the studio, but I actually do more general playing downstairs on the KPA in 1/2 hour chunks. I've been meaning to get another KPA to live upstairs, but I'll probably wait until I'm involved in making another album for myself.

  • Well, I'd better put my mouth where my money was. No, wait....


    Anyway, here goes. A little context: I only record myself (my own songs), and rarely do any mixing (though I'm seriously considering mixing my next song myself - I have dabbled previously, and really like the process).
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    Above is the close view of my workstation.
    - Logic Pro X on the screen, with the latest project (I'm currently recording the bass track I've written for it)
    - Beneath the screen you will see (left to right):

    • Backup drives; one for bootable clones of my startup/system drive, the other for incremental backups with time machine.
    • My interface: Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP
    • The Slate VMS preamp (mic is in its case, so no pics of that :-)
    • Presonus Faderport. Wonderful little tool for automation during mixing.

    - In front of the screen are various guitar picks - jazz III, Ultex sharp, a bone pick, a mother-of-peral pick and a gibson heavy. yadda yadda - nice to have a couple of options within reach, though I mostly use just a couple of them. And always only one at a time.
    - To the left of the screen you'll see a single Avantone mixcube (auratone clone), just for mono stuff. Good transient response and smooth roll-off of bass frequencies (or so I hear). Haven't worked a lot with it yet.
    - Beneath that is my powerhouse computer - a Mac Mini from late 2012. Bought the quad-core i7 faster than you could say "huh???" when the crippled 2014-versions of the mini came out. Upgraded RAM (16 GB) and added an SSD as my system drive. I record to the internal "regular" hdd. It's only 5400 RPM, but I experience no problems. I'm sure it would be a problem if I were recording many tracks at once, but I just don't. Haven't ever recorded more than one at a time.
    - In front are my cans (uh huh huh): The Focal Spirit Pro for closed back (recording), and the Sennheiser HD600 for what mixing I do in headphones.
    - In front of the cans is the transcript (tab) of the bass part I'm recording. I am doing things properly this time, with a deliberately written bass part. Which I then have to learn, haha :-) (don't get me wrong, it was written by playing it on the bass, working it out section by section - but I also need to remember it). I wouldn't do this for the guitars; it's just that the bass is not my main instrument).
    - Next to the avantone on the shelf is a bunch of various paper notes etc, most of it not pertaining to music. But on top is a sheet on which I track the progress of the "pipeline" - stuff that is at least "vague song ideas", all the way to "released" (the waters are shallow in that end of the pool!)
    - The cyclopes behind the desk are my main monitors - Presonus Sceptre S6s
    - Peeking out under the desk is the Kemper remote - I recently sanitized my collection of profiles on the kemper. Now everything on the unit itself is arranged in performances - nothing in the browse pool. I hope to be a bit more tidy with things going forward.








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    Next up, right side of my workstation.


    - The bass I'm playing now, an American Fender Jaguar (it's full scale). Think it's called "standard".
    - On the wall in front of the panel is my main guitar, a PRS Custom 24 30th anniversary. Plays like buttah, and has wonderful tone.


    You can also see the acoustic panels I've made. Simply rigid rockwool (really rigid, not like the soft "rigid fiberglass") wrapped with fairly open fabric (ie. open-weave - but not as open as say burlap). There's no wooden frame or anything. The side panel is 5 cm (2 inches) thick - in the corner are two 10 cm (4 inch) thick broadband absorbers meant to reduce bass resonance. I don't really have enough for it to be effective, sadly. The same setup is on the left side (although complicated by having some kind of small pillar or old chimney thing in the corner, so they don't quite meet). The broadband absorbers simply stand on the floor, and on the right side, the side panel is resting on the little set of drawers; on the left side it rests on the broadband absorber which stands on the floor. As you will se in later pics, the back of the room also has broadband panels; each straddling a corner but not optimally, due to the placement of the window etc. These are resting on bookshelves.


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    Above, you can see the acoustic treatment on the left side.









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    Next up, the instrument rack. I realize now what a bad picture this is - you'll just have to take my word for what the instruments are :D


    Left to right:
    - In the case, a Les Paul Classic that I'm trying to sell, after I got
    - The guitar to the left in the rack: A PRS SE Chris Robertson signature with a 57/08 in the bridge and a P90 in the neck. Stellar guitar.
    - In the middle of the rack is a Fender Baja Telecaster
    - To the right in the rack is a PRS SE Angelus Custom acoustic. Also a wonderful guitar,
    - The case to the right of the rack contains a PRS Brent Mason signature. I've had the Tele in for adjustment (was horrible to set up) and had decided that when I got it back, either the Tele or the Brent Mason had to go. Well, I can'd bear to part with either. Even if I rarely play any of them at the time...


    In this badly overexposed picture, you might be able to make out a broadband absorber standing angled on the shelving, covering the corner of the room (as mentioned earlier).










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    Lastly, the back wall.
    Apart from the exercise ball (which I don't use nearly often enough) is an electrical piano. This is actually my girlfriend's (or fiancé, I should say). She started playing piano, but didn't really stick with it. I don't want her to sell it, because I want to use it for recording midi. Not that I've actually done it yet, but it's always nice to have the option (that's the lie I tell myself at least).


    There's also a vacuum cleaner, and a pair of lizard skin cowboy boots next to the bench. Neither of those are being used for musical purposes. Storage space is at a premium in a three-bedroom apartment, and I'm just lucky to have a girlfriend that lets me have a room like this mostly to myself! :-)


    To each side is a very awkwardly placed acoustic panel. In the upper right corner is the last broadband absorber (can't call 'em bass traps, but that's what they're meant as), angled across the room corner and placed on the shelving like the other one.





    That's my studio in a single post :-) Not pictured is (as noted) the slate VMS microphone, a couple of behringer control surfaces I never use, a two-octave midi keyboard (M-audio Axoim 25) and an SE Relexion Space (mic filter). I think that's more or less all.......