I have a new control room currently under construction, and I'm trying to decide where to put the keyboard and mouse for the Mac (running Pro Tools). I'll have a D-Command control surface and dual monitors off to the side. Putting the keyboard on a tray below the control surface seems too low, and putting it on the countertop where the monitors are seems a little too high and inconvenient.

Keeping ergonomics and ease of access in mind, where's the best location for my keyboard?

  • iconshelf.com/ICONSHELF/ICONTRAY.html – user480 Feb 8 '11 at 4:30
  • @Gary: Welcome to audio.SE, and thanks for the link! Looks pretty cool, although a bit pricey. For future reference, posting an answer of nothing but a link is generally discouraged. I've converted it to a comment, but if you want to repost it as an answer with a bit of a description please feel free. Kim's answer below is a good example of incorporating links into an answer. – BenV Feb 8 '11 at 4:35
  • Hey Gary welcome to audio.SE. I used those trays before and they were really nice (not that specific model). When you say dual monitors to the side, you mean both to one side or one to each side? – jlebre Feb 8 '11 at 9:52
  • @jlebre: Both to one side. – BenV Feb 8 '11 at 14:32

I guess you are using a D-Control that doesn't have the keyboard built in. :)

Normally, you don't specifically have your head in the sweet spot when you need your keyboard actively, e.g. when entering track names. I find it pretty to have it slightly next to my control surface, but I normally don't work with a console a s big as the D-Control.

A solution that is often seen with these controllers, is that people get some kind of a drawer below the control surface. It's not that far below the surface, and as long as there is no additional tension in your wrists while using it due to the angle of your arms, and you don't plan on writing a novel behind your mixing desk, you should be OK in terms of ergonomics.

  • Yeah, unfortunately it's a D-Command (no keyboard), not a D-Control. I can only wish... – BenV Dec 10 '10 at 14:25

Since you're a Mac user, I would go for Apple's wireless keyboard. It's small and very portable, so it's easy to grab when you need it and easy to put away when you're done. It's light enough to rest comfortably on top of other devices, such as a MIDI keyboard or a control surface. And IMO it's great to type on too. Incidentally, I just saw this blog post on Boing Boing praising the keyboard today.


The best location for keyboards and mice is right in front of the monitors you'll be using, in any situation, be it graphics design, programming or audio editing.

This placing gives you the best place to see what you're doing without moving your head, straining your neck looking left or right as well as up and down.

  • 1
    Yes, but what about your mixing console that is in the way? – Pelle ten Cate Dec 12 '10 at 15:59
  • believe me if you put the keyboard in front of the console, only place to put the screen is behind the D-Command. Worked on a place with a nice 40" screen and I was still stretching my neck forward to edit. Really confortable when you are mixing and only refering to the global EDL but editing it's a no-no. And really, you shouldn't be needing the mixer that much if you are editing so does it hurt to face one side for that task? then you would be sitting ergonomically with everything at range! – jlebre Feb 10 '11 at 21:37

You can only have one large thing at ideal hand hight in front of you at once. I presume you'd rather have the faders than the keyboard in this position, which is what I would want as well.

If this is the case, then your best bet is to pick a second-best position for it. For convenience and ergonomics, my pick for this would be on a drawer under the console, since it's still in front of you and you can reach it from the chair without strain.

I've only sat down at a D-command desk a couple of times, but if you have one of those D-command desks with the pads in front of the faders, perhaps you could get a really thin keyboard to put there that wouldn't interfere with your wrists when playing with faders?


I would line them up the same way we did to our film consoles. Both screens to the side, keyboard and mouse right in front of them. I would do it on the right hand side of the console as you can still access the cool softkey features with a slight move of the arm.

That way you can keep your "edit" area clear of the desk, and still be able to do use of it. If you have something of the sort of an L shaped desk with your D-Command, the angle of the desk will allow you to be in front of the D-Command mixing and being able to peak on the EDL as an overview or some automation playlists that you might have.

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