Most of us are happy to spend the majority of our days in our recording studios working either by ourselves or with collaborators crafting the next production. For those who live for producing great content it is essential that our studios are comfortable environments to work in, as whether we like it or not, we can end up spending long periods of time in them. Studios that aren’t comfortable can fatigue us quickly, which can go onto have a negative impact on our productivity and outcome of work. How then can we make our studios comfortable spaces to be creative in?
It takes some imagination and determination to get a studio to be a comfortable space to work in. Spend some time and effort and you’ll be amazed at how a few minor tweaks to your creative space can make massive improvements, not only to how you work in your studio but also how long you can work in them as well. That said, we are not advocating working long periods of time without breaks as that would also have a similar negative impact, but by making some improvements, we can make our studios a more comfortable work environment.
In this article I share several ways I’ve made my own recording studio a pleasant environment for me to work in which helps me and my clients be comfortable and productive in long studio sessions.
There’s no denying that audio engineers generally spend large portions of their days sitting at their workstation. Sitting for long periods really is par of the course in audio production but don’t assume that the chair you are currently using is the right chair for you. You’ve got to be aware that spending most of your working day sitting can cause you significant back problems, which can impact your quality of life in the future. It is essential to get a chair that is not only comfortable to sit on but one that provides your body frame with exceptional support while promoting good posture. Don’t gamble the future of your lower back on cheap office chairs as they can overtime do you more harm that good.
Read: Back Pain, Posture And RSI - What Can We Do? - In this article we share several ways we can reduce the risk of RSI in our recording studios which covers the topic of how we should be sitting at our workstations in greater detail.
Studios that don’t have good ventilation or air flow can quickly feel quite stuffy to be in which can make you feel lethargic. Studios need all their doors and windows closed to contain and exclude sound, but a sealed box will not permit fresh air to enter. If your studio doesn’t have good ventilation built into the structure then you should crack a window at points in the day when you can, or open doors between tracking sessions to let some fresh air circulate around your studio.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the perfect room temperature. I personally prefer my studio to be on the cooler side as warm rooms can make me feel a bit lethargic which affects my focus. That said, I’ve worked with many people who prefer working in warm rooms.
If you know you prefer a warm room then put a small heater in place. If like me you prefer your studio to be on the cooler side then you may need to look into installing an air conditioning system, which aren’t always cheap to install but they are well worth the investment if having total control over the temperate of your studio is one way of making your studio more comfortable for you to be in for long periods of time. I didn’t realise how much I needed my air con system until it blew up last year. When I got it fixed I was able to maintain a steady 18°C in my studio which helped me to apply myself better to my work for longer periods of time.
Being able to reach your main tools and studio interfaces with ease without putting any part of your body or limbs under any unnecessary repetitive stress is important. Your computer keyboard and mouse should be appropriately placed relative to your sitting position and should be at a perfect height for your arms and wrists. Your monitor controller or audio interfaces need to be easily accessible and your computer display set at a height that enables you to not only see it clearly but also set at a position which means your neck isn’t at awkward angles.
Studio gear ergonomics can easily be sorted to fit your preference with a considered approach to your desk and studio racks. It’s important to work out what you need access to most of the time and have that gear within a comfortable arm’s reach. Purpose made studio desks are a great way to ensure this…
Read: Back Pain, Posture And RSI - What Can We Do? - In this article we share several ways we can reduce the risk of RSI in our recording studios.
Last year I was starting to get some lower back trouble. I worked out that the cause was stretching and leaning to reach my outboard compressors. I had to break this cycle as the pain was slowly getting worse as the weeks passed. The fix was to simply rearrange my rack, moving my go to outboard processors out from the bottom of the rack up to the top of the unit making them much easier for me to reach from my main sitting position…
Read: Studio Hack - Watch How You Can Easily Modify A Studio Rack To Face Gear Upwards & Hold More Outboard Gear On A Budget - In this article we show you how to take a standard "off the shelf" studio rack and modify it to give you extra rack space and to get some of your gear positioned in a more accessible face-up position.
Never underestimate how a well considered lighting system can make you and others feel in your studio. Many love natural light flooding in to their creative spaces, others, like me, prefer to have their studios closed off from the outside world. I chose not to have any windows in my studio for sound isolation reasons, I needed to find a smart way of lighting my studio. We chose a main downlighting system that worked exceptionally well but the room lacked a sense of vibrance that natural light often brings into a room.
To get around this I installed around 25 meters of coloured 5050 LED strip under the electrical trunking which runs the perimeter of the studio as well as around some of the wall mounted acoustic panels. These provide me a palette of colours I can switch between easily to make the room feel creative.
I often have these set to light blue to give the impression of daylight, though if I get tired of this colour temperature I switch to a purple or green glow for fun. These LEDs are a great way of changing up the vibe of the room without having to redecorate! The key to getting LED strips to look good in a room is to hide them in dark shadow areas so that you can’t see the LED lights themselves. I feel if you can see the LEDs then the illusion is ruined. The LEDs also reduce shadows caused by the ceiling downlights which I feel gives the room a sense of extra space.
Clean, Tidy And Organise Your Studio Regularly
I live by the mantra “A tidy home is a tidy mind”, and for me the same applies to my studio. Everyday when I finish up of an evening I tidy up my studio putting everything back in its rightful place. I also run a cloth around so that it is clean and ready to rock and roll the next day. It’s easy for studios to get messy and stay that way for days if not weeks on end. It takes me five minutes to run a cloth around cleaning up any little coffee spills on surfaces, empty the bin and pick up any rubbish that’s fallen on the floor. If I don’t keep my studio clean and tidy it quickly ends up swimming in dust which distracts me when I start a working day.
How Do You Make Your Studio A Comfortable Place To Be Creative In?
There are several simple ways of making your studio a more comfortable environment to work and be creative in. Do you have some other ideas that you use in your studio? If so, please share them in the comments below.