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I purchased an "audio" desk that featured a central rack mountable section with shelf space above for video monitors. Not taking into consideration the height, I soon began to realize that the video monitors are set to high for comfort. This desk is very similar to the one I own: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Omnirax-Force-12-Professional-Workstation-548081-i1173438.gc

Notice how you would have to tilt your neck upwards in order to see the monitors?

I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions for a future purchase. I'm not looking for an Argosy desk or anything crazy. I was thinking of getting a normal business desk and either mounting speakers or getting stands. What are you thoughts and recommendations?

Thanks!

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Aside from a very select few makers, most "studio furniture" that is available in stores tends to be really crummy stuff in my opinion. They are usually just glorified particleboard computer desks with a few music-y things tacked on.

Quiklok makes a WS workstation setup that is essentially a skeleton frame that you can adjust quite a bit. Add pieces, attachments, etc.

And if you're looking for something more turnkey, these guys make the only over-the-counter units I've ever seen that look as though they are actually designed for musicians with some real thought put into them. http://www.mrack.com.au/

I can't think of many others that are worth looking at. Specialty ergonomic desks are awesome but super expensive. Looking up (or down) at your screen is really bad for your back and neck and will lead to fatigue and pain. Eye level should be about at the top of the screen. Unfortunately most studio furniture makers don't take any of this stuff into account at all.

You obviously can't lower your screens, but could you raise your chair at all? Even a few inches could make a big difference on the neck.

Personally, I prefer to work standing up most of the time, with little breaks of sitting to change it up. I use a $109 "bar table" from IKEA that is the perfect height and I just mounted a $20 IKEA tabletop I had laying around. It's pretty great. I use a tall drafters chair/stool for when I want to sit. In my case now, my computer screen sits way to low because I'm standing up so I needed to raise it rather than lower it. IKEA again. A $20 CD shelf thingy now acts as my "meter bridge" and keeps my monitor at perfect height. My actual monitors (speakers) are on little stands of their own so those were never an issue.

Standing is awesome if you have back problems, burns calories and improves productivity. I urge people to give it a shot.

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I've found that most studio furniture is way overpriced. The Argosy stuff is really nice, but at that price you could hire a skilled carpenter to build you whatever you want; which is what we did at a place I used to work at. We just provided him with a sketch and some hardware for racks and got a couple nice custom DAW desks.

At home I used to use an Ikea Jerker desk (not my desk but you get the point) for my DAW/equipment with a rack underneath for years. For the money it was an awesome purchase. You could adjust the shelves to whatever height works with your cpu and speaker monitors. Unfortunately I think they've been discontinued. But I imagine they show up on Craigslist a lot.

Since then, I've built my own desk. Which is basically a large sheet of birch plywood from Home Depot sitting on a couple audio racks. Not as nice as an Argosy, but it left me with more money to spend on other things.

  • +1 for the Jerker. Very flexible. They even made swing-out speaker shelves for them. Best desk ever, can't believe they discontinued it. I have a bunch of the add-ons and attachments still but I tossed them frame and top before they stopped making them. Bummed. Their new answer to it is the Fredrik, but it doesn't even come close. – theodorejordan Jan 19 '11 at 22:31
  • We have these in a couple of our rooms at the studio and I love 'em! Unfortunately like you said, they have been discontinued. – MikeQuell Jan 19 '11 at 22:39
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I went from an Omnirax Coda EX (which I hated) to an Ikea Galant desk:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S19852113

I currently have a 60" long desk and will be adding extensions to bring it to 90" long. I have 2 Dell 24" monitors mounted on Ergotron monitor arms. My speakers are now on floor-standing speaker stands I am much happier and more comfortable with this set up than the studio furniture type desks. The only thing I lose is rack space, but I don't have a lot of rack gear anyway.

  • I like the idea of using adjustable monitor arms. I'm leaning towards a setup similar to what you have, Chuck. – MikeQuell Jan 20 '11 at 19:12
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I like to have a big desk with lots of space for paperwork, my laptop and a cup of coffee. So we have big desks (200cm x 90cm) with elevation. We bought them used from an architect at about 600-700$ a piece plus some ergonomic chairs. They are really nice and the surface is a lot more scratch resistant than what you get from IKEA. We probably couldn't afford them if we had to buy them new, so we were lucky...

We have the speakers on stands, except the center speaker, which is in a box on a small IKEA kitchen table with a plasma screen on top. Not the best solution in the world, but it is a compromise between ergonomics and correct speaker position.

Here is a picture:

alt text http://lydtilfilm.dk/studiob.jpg

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The best desk I've ever had wasn't a desk at all, but a kitchen table. LOTS of space, nice and sturdy... stupid small offices. Now I'm using the bottom half of an Ikea Mikael Corner Workstation with an additional sheet of plywood to give me a bit more surface area. It's less than ideal, being in the corner, but you work with what you've got.

As far as on-desk monitor stands, on the cheap, a couple square pavers separated with adhesive rubber feet, and you've got some excellent decoupling. You can probably find pavers for free on Craigslist, even.

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