Recording Studio Furniture: The Control Room

The control room – the location of your mixing console – is the most important room in the studio because it serves two purposes: impress the clients, and give you a critical listening post from which to mix.

So, it’s important you get the recording studio furniture perfect. You need furniture for the engineer(s) and high-end furniture for visitors, plus functional items and decorative items. Do plenty of browsing on the internet to look for the right styles and colours of furniture.

The couch – leather or fabric?

If you’ve got a small studio, settle for the biggest single couch you can fit in and try to place it centrally at the back. If you have a larger studio go for two or three two-seater couches. Chairs take up too much room, so unless you have a huge studio, or a small space to fill, avoid them.

Ideally you want your recording studio furniture to absorb sound rather than reflect it. In this sense, softer fabric is better than leather and wood. The only downside is that fabric is harder to clean, and (depending on the type of clientele you have), could start to show its age quickly. I had a fabric couch, and fortunately it never got spilled on.

If your studio is flash enough to serve clients lunch, then go for leather – it will accumulate stains – and get good quality or it will crack quickly.

Coffee tables and side tables

A coffee table works well in some spaces, but bear in mind that they can be easily tripped over, and things get dropped on them. Glass is not a good idea – it’s easy to break, and can quite often rattle if the music is loud. The other problem with a coffee table is that it presents a highly reflective surface in the middle of the floor. You can counter this with a diffuser or other absorptive feature behind the couch.

Side tables are perfect in a recording studio, and can be located next to the couch arms. This gives a writing surface for agency creatives, and a place to put phones.

A small moveable coffee table in conjunction with side tables also works.

The engineers’ chairs

You are going to be spending a lot of time in the engineer’s chair, so get an ergonomic chair with the most adjustments possible. You should ideally have two chairs so that a client can sit near the desk. You may occasionally get clients that don’t just want to look at the back of your head the whole time, or will want to direct talent in the studio (session musicians or voiceover artists) so they will need to be near the talkback mic in the desk.

Choosing your recording studio furniture

Make sure you look around online for your furniture. You can get great stuff even at budget furniture places, but seeing as it’s your business, some high-end furniture will give the best impression in your recording studio.

Choosing a recording studio chair – the ultimate guide

The chair is the central point of command and the type of chair you choose will be influenced by whether you have a large studio with a lot of outboard gear or a small studio where everything is either located within arm’s reach, or is all done within the computer. This is the ultimate guide to choosing a chair for your recording studio’s control room.

As you are going to be sitting in this chair for perhaps up to 15 hours a day (yes, I’ve been there), comfort is paramount, but don’t be fooled by expensive ergonomic chairs because they may not provide you value for money.

Your ergonomics while using recording studio equipment are important. What you’ll hear many ergonomics specialists say is that you should have your chair at the right position for your desk, and that you should sit with the correct posture so that you don’t get fatigued. I’ll tell you, with my ten years of engineering experience, that this is wrong. Sitting in any position, whether it’s the most efficient or least efficient, for 15 hours, is not good for you. The human body is not designed to sit in a chair in the first place!

Adjustability is key

Primarily you will be sitting slightly hunched over with your arms partially extended to use the desk or computer. This is not good for your shoulders or neck, but it’s worse if you do this in the same position every day. Therefore the ability to adjust your chair up and down, and tilt the seat slightly forwards or backwards is important. Every day you should change the position of your chair slightly – a couple of inches higher one day, tilted forwards slightly the next day, drop it the day after that, and so on. Even within the day itself you can change the position of your chair if you are feeling fatigued.

If another engineer is likely to be using your chair, can you adjust it back to your settings quickly and easily?

Size

Chairs with a large, high back may obscure the view of the studio from clients who are sitting on a couch at the back of the control room.

You will have to consider the physical size of the engineer that will be using the chair. Is the chair robust enough to take their weight? Is it wide enough? Is the base stable enough? Can you get it through the door?

How many chairs do you need?

Do you have clients in your control room? Do you have an assistant engineer? You will almost certainly have a couch or other kind of comfortable chairs at the back of the control room, but what about people that want to get in on the action up at the desk?

Budgeting – how much should you spend?

A chair will not directly earn you money, but it is important. Obviously, if you are uncomfortable, you will not work as well, so that is the primary factor. There is also a visual element (if you own a studio where clients are paying a large hourly rate). If you need to purchase two or more chairs, costs can climb steeply, and then you have to consider Read the rest of this entry »