Hazardous recording


I’m sure that you are all moderately intelligent people and do not often fling yourselves into potentially fatal situations through being clumsy, mindless, and far too complacent and confident in your own homes. This is a challenge I face every day.
In a recent scientific study, I discovered that the majority of my dangerous activities occurred in my home studio, and mostly involved trailing cables and moving far too excitedly in a confined space. So, I thought I’d address the problems and conclude with solutions and steps I have taken to remedy my impromptu acrobatics.
Trailing cables
In many silver screen jungle epics, the impenetrable jungle and its unforgiving terrain is usually depicted by having the lead roll struggle through and constantly trip over vines and roots on the ground. Remove the trees, put up some tacky artwork, and that’s pretty much my home studio. The net of cables on the floor are made up of loose cables that will allow your feet to pick them up and move them anywhere freely, and cables under much more tension that would rather drag you to your death than yield a few inches.

Guitars and other obstacles
Once I finish my guitar track, I leave the guitar propped up against something close to me. When the bass track is done, I leave the bass propped up against something close to me. When I need to drag out the MIDI keyboard, I place it on a stand, or chair, or in a web of cables suspended several feet off the ground somehow. Once I’m finished with it, it stays where it is. At this point I invariably have to get round to the drums, leave the room, answer the phone, or move somewhere for some reason. You can see what’s going to happen next.

Fast, erratic movement
I have a drum part to play. My drums are not near the computer. Therefore, I must put on my headphones (another dangerous cable around neck height), set a fairly long pre-roll (never long enough), and get behind my drums in the fastest, most reckless way possible in order to be ready for the start of the song. With all the aforementioned chaos laid out between me and my destination, this is going to end in tears…as in tears in my ligaments.


Cable tidy – an impossibly simple and useful solution. They sell them in hardware stores, but the Hosa brand music application ones are much cheaper in my experience.

4-Guitar Stand – I know this was the simple solution all along, but I have seen many studios without guitar stands. You can also get wall-mounted guitar hangers, but that means getting out of my chair, walking to the wall, and carefully placing the guitar into the hanger. Pfft.
USB control surface – I know there are iPad/iPhone apps that allow you to control your software via wi-fi, but I find that wi-fi interrupts my DAW, so I always keep it switched off during recording. Plus, apps are a good idea, but in practice they are a bit fiddly and sometimes due to the touch screen, I find myself accidentally pressing things. The Korg nanoKontrol 2 is a slim, lightweight controller that can hang by its cord from my drum rack. It’s simple, effective, and has brought me a lot of happiness. As I’m short on USB sockets, I plug my nanokontrol (along with my iLok, the MIDI keyboard, and a few other gadgets) into a USB hub, which conveniently turns 1 socket into 4 sockets.

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