AFTER MUCH TIME spent with building

extensions or room renovations,
researching methods towards predictable
and reliable acoustics, and arranging the
necessary power requirements, the fruits
of your labours can soon be realised.
As you’ll no doubt be wishing to live
out your musical aspirations night and
day once your studio from scratch project
is completed, the strategic arrangement
of the individual components within a
studio is especially important. The old
saying, “a place for everything, and
everything in its place” will ring true here
in ensuring you a smooth running opera-
tion that’s unhampered by awkward
ergonomics that could possibly restrict
the creative process.
All those seemingly obvious consider-
ations, such as whether to place particu-
lar equipment to your right or left, should
be made now, before they’re forgotten
and it’s too late. A right-handed player, for
example, who tends to only potter
around with single-handed melodies at
best, will soon feel cramped and twisted
if their MIDI controller keyboard is placed
on the left of their workstation, and vice
versa for left-handed players.
Better still, indulge in a centralised
solution where your MIDI keyboard and
sequencing workstation are immediately
in front of you.
Feeling furnished
Sadly, proper studio furni-
ture can prove a costly
prospect, and the price of
custom-made furniture is perhaps pro-
hibitive for all but the most professional
installation. Until your numbers come up
in the National Lottery, ageing study
desks find a new lease of life, with the
split-level computer workstation being
the more practical alternative for manag-
ing dual computer screens, QWERTY and
MIDI keyboards, desktop synth modules,
and an anthology of sample CDs and FM
cover CDs.
IKEA’s Jerker workstation generated
much commotion since I recommended it
over a year ago in response to the first
Changing studios feature. Soon after that
issue had gone to press, production of
this very affordable, dual-level desk,
complete with unique swing-out shelves
to accommodate mixers and speakers,
ceased. It was later remodelled under the
same name, but wasn’t quite as versatile.
But now it seems the Jerker has returned
in all its original glory, starting at just
£139 for the basic unit (thanks to pres-
sure from Future Music readers, we’d like
to think). See www.ikea.co.uk for details.
Omnirax (www.omnirax.com) offer a
sophisticated array of classy furniture
systems, in particular, the remarkable
Omnirax F2, while Australian manufac-
turer, M Rack (www.mrack.com.au) feature
a variety of fixed and sliding shelf sys-
tems perfect for computer/MIDI set-ups.
One member of our forum
(http://forum.midiaddict.com) stumbled
across a wonderful unit by Studio RTA
that features three levels plus elevated
speaker platforms, known as the Saturn
Centre (www.studiorta.com). Although
originally shipped to her in Australia by
the now defunct US-based Mars Music, a
search for ‘Saturn Centre’ at
www.google.com reveals a number of
alternative online retailers.
On a more industrial front, with their
sturdy steel framework and minimalist
design are the Z-250 and ZM-WS34
workstations by QuikLok
(www.quiklok.com). Both models cater
for a large synth keyboard, computer
screen and audio monitors, while a cheap
two- or three-tier stand by QuikLok will
place a couple of synths and a hardware
sequencer within easy reach of the non-
computer centric composer.
Although not always feasible with so
much equipment demanding attention,
neck and eyestrain can be minimised by
maintaining an outstretched arm’s dis-
tance away from computer screens. Ele-
vate the monitor so that the top of the
screen is slightly below eyelevel, then
angle it slightly upwards, as one would
naturally choose to read a book or maga-
zine. And a quality chair, with plenty of
padding, and proper lumbar support, is a
good investment towards sustaining
those lengthy studio sessions.
Back in the rack
I quite often see rackmount-
able samplers sitting within
immediate reach on an adja-
cent bench, but things soon become
11o FutureMusic
STUDIO FROM SCRATCH
> Confused by the seemingly endless array of cables, connectors, racks and keys in your studio?
This month, we show you how to put it all together and hopefully find some order to the chaos… words |h|| loo|h
STUD O
FROM SCRATCH # 4: SETTING UP
>
“ALL THOSE OBVIOUS CONSIDERATIONS,
SUCH AS WHETHER TO PLACE GEAR TO THE
RIGHT OR LEFT, SHOULD BE MADE NOW”
FM131.t_scratch 6/12/02 8:50 pm Page 116
unsteady once additional pieces are
stacked on top of each other, in particular
the lighter single-spaced synth modules
and effects units that require manual
intervention frequently.
Most music shops and studio suppli-
ers, such as www.studiospares.com, will
be able to supply equipment racks with
enough space to meet your burgeoning
needs, and to give you scope to expand
your set-up in the future. More portable
options for people who swap between
the studio and the stage come in the
form of rack cases, such as the sturdy
SKB series (www.skbcases.com), com-
plete with handles and removable front
and rear covers. They stack neatly on top
of each other, and once castors are
attached, or if the stack of cases is placed
on, say, a TV stand with wheels, they’re
easily spun round to get to the rear.
Position each unit in your rack with
accessibility in mind. MIDI interfaces and
other such gear that only require a casual
glance to ensure everything’s in order
should be slipped into the upper or lower-
most slots. This leaves the prime spaces
free for the gear that’s going to get the
most hands-on action, such as samplers,
compressors, rack synths and the like.
Inside the back of the rack, group the
power leads together and affix them with
cable ties down one side of the rear of
the rack, and devote the other side to
your audio cables. This reduces the sus-
ceptibility of extraneous radiation from
the power leads reaching your precious
audio signal. Thankfully, many manufac-
turers have adopted the left-hand side of
their rack equipment for their power
requirements, making this practice of
separation relatively easy to maintain.
Baywatch
Finding yourself faced with a
plethora of microphones,
synthesizers, DI boxes,
effects and a severe limit of audio inputs
isn’t unusual, particularly as the typical
studio kit list soon outgrows even the
most ambitious mixer or soundcard
choice. Often not all items will be called
upon for a single session, and so all you
need is a convenient method of bringing
gear into the audio path as required.
The simple answer lies in the patch-
bay. This is a remote, rackmounted unit,
fed by cables running back to all your
equipment’s inputs and outputs. Depend-
ing on how the bay is set up, instruments
and mixer/soundcards can be linked
together in varying combinations using
cables aptly referred to as patch leads.
Otherwise, commonly used items can be
linked automatically within the patchbay
itself (known as normalised) until a plug
from an alternative source is inserted.
Anyone embarking on a fresh wiring
installation should seriously consider
installing a patchbay at the same time.
Popular models include the Behringer
Ultrapatch PX2000 (www.behringer.com)
and Studiospares’ own brand unit
(www.studiospares.com). Unbalanced
units should be fine for most applications
where MIDI-based instruments are con-
cerned. Incidentally, remember that
microphones are best plugged directly
into their own preamp or dedicated chan-
nel on your mixing desk.
New connections
Fitting out a new installa-
tion with its necessary
network of audio
FutureMusic 11'
TECHNIQUE
>
>
We me| mus|c par|ners lan Sm||h
and |au| S|mmons a coup|e o|
mon|hs aço when |hev showed us
round |he|r new|v conver|ed |o||
|ow |hev |e|| us abou| how |hev
squeezed a|| |he|r çear |n…
FM: You had the luxury of setting
up your gear from scratch, so
how did you decide where to put
everything?
I&P: We had an |dea where we’d pu|
|he desk |he lllA |erker |much
|a|ked abou| |n FM) and |ha| was
a|wavs ço|nç |o be a| |he end wa|| so
we wou|dn’| çe| |oo manv dodçv
re||ec||ons |rom |he s|op|nç wa||s
Our p|ans were near|v scuppered
when we assemb|ed |he desk |n |he
|o|| and rea||sed |here was qu||e |||er-
a||v ´mm c|earance above || on each
s|de 1a|k abou| a ||çh| |||' |emember
|o a|wavs çe| |hose measuremen|s
sor|ed ||rs|'
As |ar as |he racks ço |he eaves
|n |he |o|| made || a b|| d||||cu|| |o |||
our |rad|||ona| z|mmer 19-|nch racks
so we bu|chered one |n|o |wo
s|ra|çh| racks As vou can see mos|
|he çear has çone |n|o |hose
lecause |hev |os| |he|r suppor| a||er
we sawed |he racks |n ha|| |hev are
ac|ua||v on|v he|d upr|çh| bv |he |ac|
|ha| |here |s çear |n |here' |robab|v
no| a çrea| messaçe |o send ou| |o
vour readers bu| never m|nd'
FM: Have you moved anything
round since your initial set-up?
I&P: We d|d have racks on bo|h
s|des bu| we’re |n |he process o| çe|-
||nç r|d o| some hardware so || made
sense |o keep a|| |he rack çear w||h|n
reach on |he r|çh|-hand s|de 1ha|
|e|| a çap under |he eaves on |he |e||-
hand s|de wh|ch we’ve ||||ed w||h |our
she|v|nç un||s a|so |rom lllA wh|ch
we care|u||v chose |o ma|ch |he
|erker desk We shou|d have shares
|n |ha| p|ace wha| w||h |he amoun|
o| s|ud|o |urn||ure she|ves and cheap
ho|doçs we’ve bo|h bouçh| |here |n
|he |as| vear'
FM: Have you got any new gear
since, and how have you decided
where to put it?
I&P: 1he mon||ors are new and |hev
ço on |he |erker qu||e n|ce|v bu| on|v
on |he|r s|des l’m never sure
whe|her |he |wee|ers shou|d be on
|he |ns|de or ou|s|de l remember
|here be|nç some deba|e |n vour
maç over |orman Cook’s speakers
p|aced s|dewavs and can’| remember
|he ou|come l |h|nk evervone had
op|n|ons on bo|h'
FM: How did you cable everything
up together?
I&P: We a|readv had |wo pa|ch-
bavs… one |or |he svn|hs and one |or
|he ou|board 1he res| o| |he cab|es
|ra|| around |he back o| |he |erker
ra|her mess||v and ç|ve |he p|ace a
bad |ook We’|| see || we can do anv-
|h|nç abou| || bu| |o be hones| || was
so much e||or| |o çe| || a|| work|nç
we’re jus| p|eased || does work ra|her
|han worrv|nç how çood || |ooks
1he res| o| |he cab|es are h|dden
beh|nd |he racks as usua|
FM: How did you decide where to
put your monitors?
I&P: As men||oned above |he ||m-
||ed space mean |hev have |o be on
|he|r s|des We’re no| en||re|v happv
w||h |hem as |hev are a| |he
momen| a||houçh |hev do a||ow us
|o have a sma|| mon||or se|-up |or
our |C çames wh|ch we’re mad on
1o be hones| mos| o| our m|x|nç |s
done |hrouçh headphones anvwav
and ||’s on|v |he ||na| mas|er where
we use |he mon||ors anvwav
FM: And how have you planned
for extra space for your studio to
expand in the future?
I&P: l| anv|h|nç |he s|ud|o w||| prob-
ab|v çe| sma||er as we ço |ur|her |n|o
so||ware We’re se|||nç some o| our
hardware a| |he momen| so |ook
ou| |or our çear |n |he Reader ads'
A|so lan rea||v wan|s a |ra|nse| up |n
|he |o|| |he’s a b|ç k|d a| hear|) and
as ||’s h|s house he’|| have |he ||na|
sav on |ha| so who knows wha|’||
happen |n |he |u|ure' |us|c mak|nç
w||| a|wavs come ||rs| |o çames |or
me |houçh'
CASE STUDY #1
It’s a tight fit over at
Ian and Paul’s place
>
FM131.t_scratch 6/12/02 8:50 pm Page 117
cabling and connectors can quickly
add up on the budget. The cheapest
and lightest of the pre-made cables offer
poor rejection to interference, while their
sealed, moulded-type connectors often
fail in a relatively short time. The heavier
duty varieties should last a lifetime, the
only drawback being that they usually
command premium prices.
The more economic approach is to
purchase a large roll of high quality,
shielded audio cabling, and solder your
separately purchased connectors on
yourself. (For more information about
this, see our guide to cutting and solder-
ing your own cables in the walkthrough
on p121.) Cables can be cut precisely to
length, thus eliminating any unsightly
spaghetti-like formations protruding
from the rear of your racks. All stereo
cabling (including passive and active
speaker connections) should maintain
the same lengths across left and right
channels so preserving the signal evenly
and retaining tight stereo imaging.
Monitors
in position
Much of the impact your
chosen room layout will
have, as discussed so far, is on comfort
and convenience. From an acoustical
standpoint, where your monitors are
placed within the room will be far more
detrimental to your music productions
than say, the mounting order of rack gear.
Studio acoustics, in particular the
effect of the room’s dimensions, were dis-
cussed in great detail in the second part
of our Studio from scratch series (FM128,
see back issues on p34) where possible
remedies where given. Now it’s the mid
to high frequencies to consider.
In a perfect world, the direct sound
from your monitors should arrive at your
ears without any interference. However,
because your studio is of course enclosed
by walls, floors, ceilings and windows
that tend to reflect sound (albeit a frac-
tion of a second later due to the
increased distance the sound must
travel), the direct and indirect sound
waves interact to form a tonal signature
that’s unique to your room.
Any level setting and EQing you
apply to your music will obviously be
118 FutureMusic
STUDIO FROM SCRATCH
|ar|v lvrne appeared |n our Changing stu-
dios makeover |ea|ure a vear aço and we
|houçh| we’d rev|s|| h|m |o ||nd ou| more
abou| how he se| up h|s çear…
FM: Your set-up is squeezed in a corner of
the living room, so how have you decided
where to put everything?
MB: When l ||rs| moved |n|o |he ||a| dec|d|nç
where |o pu| || was easv enouçh… anvwhere
|here was space' A|so |he ||a| was |urn|shed
so |here were a coup|e o| |ab|es |ha| weren’|
used |or anv|h|nç e|se a||houçh || wasn’| |he
mos| com|or|ab|e se|-up As |or mon||ors l do
care abou| s|ereo separa||on and mak|nç sure
|o mon||or |rom |he r|çh| anç|e bu| as l was
us|nç headphones mos||v |and a cheap pa|r o|
|C speakers) |ha| d|dn’| ma||er |oo much'
FM: Have you moved anything round
since your initial set-up?
MB: 1he b|ç chançe came a||er do|nç Chang-
ing studios l wen| ou| and bouçh| some
cheap |ll and screws and made up a coup|e
o| un||s |or mv hardware l moved |he |C |n|o
a corner on a new desk and pu| mv new 1an-
nov |evea|s |recommended |o me bv vou
çuvs) on mv home-made s|ands e||her s|de
so when l s|| a| |he compu|er l çe| proper
s|ereo separa||on 1he un|| l made up |or mv
o|her çear sa| |o |he r|çh| o| |he |C desk l’ve
a|so bouçh| a |o|and |v-1010 and some new
so||ware mos| no|ab|v Or|on |ro
FM: Have you had any cabling problems ?
MB: l|’s hard |o avo|d a cab|e spaçhe||| junc-
||on 1he on|v wav |o çe| round || |s e||her buv-
|nç |o|s o| |hose cab|e ||es or use |ape |o
bund|e a |ew |oçe|her and separa|e |hem
|rom o|her cab|es As |or cab|es |o connec| up
mv çear l had a s|r|p o| wood w||h hooks on
na||ed |o |he wa|| and l hunç mv |eads on
|here l| was handv bu| |ooked pre||v horr|b|e
FM: You had your mixer on a stool and you
were sitting on a wooden kitchen chair…
has any of this changed?
MB: |ure çen|us don’| vou |h|nk` 1he ma|n
chançes are a new desk |or |he |C |a |a|r|v
cheap mode| bu| || w|||) and a sw|ve| cha|r l
s|||| have |he wooden |ll mon||or s|ands
bu| |hev’re |he r|çh| he|çh| s|urdv and l |h|nk
|hev |ook coo|… sor|
FM: And how have you planned for your
studio to expand in the future?
MB: l’m p|ann|nç |o |nves| a |o| more monev
|n mv se|-up soon poss|b|v around |arch
|when l ||n|sh mv Aud|o lnç|neer|nç course)
p|us l’ve moved |rom |he ||a| |n |easden and
l’m ||v|nç |n lu|on now l have |earn| a |o| |rom
co||eçe abou| se|||nç up a s|ud|o and sound-
proo||nç l’m |h|nk|nç o| mavbe se|||nç up a
lAW around mv |C so l’|| need a new sound-
card and l’|| probab|v çe| a con|ro| sur|ace o|
some k|nd
l| was recommended |o me |n Changing
studios |ha| l shou|d cons|der |rv|nç |o make
some cash |rom mv se|-up bv record|nç
bands or burn|nç m|x Cls |or l|s so l’m |h|nk-
|nç o| poss|b|v |ak|nç |he know|edçe l’ve
ça|ned |rom co||eçe and |ha| |nva|uab|e FM
adv|ce and se|||nç up a cheap record|nç s|ud|o
|or bands |n |he çaraçe here a| mv new house
1h|s wou|d obv|ous|v mean çe|||nç a more
respec|ab|e |ook|nç se|-up as we|| as buv|nç
more çear so l |h|nk l’|| be need|nç |o con|ac|
S|ud|ospares or a s|m||ar companv
l’m çonna çe| a |ew çood m|cs |hope|u||v)
and make sure mv |C-based svs|em |s re||ab|e
and |hen l can pu| mv produc||on sk|||s |o |he
|es| as we|| as hav|nç a ded|ca|ed p|ace |or mv
own record|nçs' l|nçers crossed'
>
>
Furniture
www|keacouk
wwws|ud|or|acom
wwwomn|raxcom
wwwmrackcomau
wwwqu|k|okcom
Patchbays
wwwbehr|nçercom
wwws|ud|osparescom
Racks
wwwskbcasescom
wwws|ud|osparescom
Cables and
connectors
wwws|ud|osparescom
Future Music forum
h||p//|orum
m|d|add|c|com
Still can’t find what
you’re looking for?
wwwçooç|ecom
CASE STUDY #2
“FROM AN ACOUSTIC STANDPOINT, WHERE YOUR MONITORS
ARE PLACED IN THE ROOM IS FAR MORE DETRIMENTAL TO
YOUR MUSIC THAN THE MOUNTING ORDER OF RACK GEAR
Marty’s studio before he
moved house again
>
USEFUL WEBSITES
FM131.t_scratch 6/12/02 8:50 pm Page 118
determined by what you hear, so you
ideally don’t want your room’s influ-
ences steering your mixes off course.
In particularly small rooms, early
reflections, below 20ms, can be a real
distraction as they will be causing major
anomalies in the mid- to high-frequency
response. To reduce susceptibility to this
sort of smearing, you need to make sure
your monitors are firing across the
longest wall-to-wall dimension, and you’ll
be less disturbed by the far rear wall
reflections. Sound travels at around
34.4cm/ms (or about one foot per ms),
so bearing in mind the return trip it takes,
the rear wall should be at least 10 feet
away to ensure early reflections are kept
above 20ms. (C’mon, do the maths!)
Apart from the obvious benefit of
maintaining an on-axis alignment
between you and the speaker drivers,
turning the toes of your monitors inwards
helps minimise reflections from the far
closer side walls. Acoustic tiles can be
placed in these areas, and on the ceiling
immediately above you to further dimin-
ish the earliest of the mid- to upper-
frequency reflections.
Lastly, watch out for further reflec-
tions from hard surfaces in the work area
itself, such as mixing desks, monitors and
the like. Dedicated stands or shelves can
assist here by raising your monitors to
your ear level.
One drawback with mounted shelves,
however, is that they encourage the
speaker to be pushed up hard against the
wall. While it may seem to be a good way
to boost the monitor’s natural bass out-
put, the increased low frequency perfor-
mance can prove unnatural and
irregularly balanced. For this reason, plac-
ing your monitors on floor stands, or spe-
cial shelves built into your studio
furniture and shifted a couple of feet
away from the wall behind, is a far better
way to go towards a more reliable, non-
hyped bass output.
In the spotlight
With the inevitable endless
hours to be spent working
away in the studio, thought
should be given to towards the room’s
lighting. Quality studio lighting can be
used to induce a creative vibe, but to do
so, it must be non-intrusive and practical.
During the day, windows tend to
inflict glare upon computer screens, mak-
ing them difficult to read without angling
it in different directions. Even in instances
where there is little or no direct sunlight,
equipment and furniture finishes can
fade, yellow or warp over time. Venetian
blinds, with their adjustable horizontal
slats, are a perfect solution for controlling
the natural lighting environment. Other-
wise, regular blinds or curtains do fine for
keeping sunlight out as required.
When it comes to artificial illumina-
tion, indirect lighting performs best.
‘Indirect’ meaning light that is directed
primarily upwards where it is diffused
and radiated back down from the ceiling.
The result is an inviting, soft and glare-
free light, highly suitable for working with
computer monitors and tiny equipment
LCDs. Your indirect lighting could consist
of ceiling fixtures or portable floor-
standing lamps, both of which benefit
120 FutureMusic
STUDIO FROM SCRATCH
>
lav|d 1hompson |s a Studio from
scratch reçu|ar who’s bu||| a shed |n
h|s back çarden |o house h|s s|ud|o
and |h|s mon|h we |ook a| how he
se| up h|s çear |rom scra|ch |n h|s
emp|v new shed…
FM: You had the luxury of setting
up your gear in an empty room so
how did you decide where to put
it all? Did you sketch it out?
DT: l| was a b|| o| |r|a| and error || a||
depends on how vou work lor
|ns|ance some peop|e m|çh| ||ke
|he|r mas|er kevboard on |he r|çh|
and some m|çh| ||ke || on |he |e|| l
persona||v bu||| a rack r|çh| down |he
m|dd|e o| |he room and l had mas|er
kevboard and compu|er on |he |e||
and m|x|nç desk on |he r|çh| and
|hen a|| mv racked s|u|| wen| |n |he
m|dd|e 1ha| wav everv|h|nç was |n
easv reach and ves l d|d make
abou| |hree p|an ske|ches o| || a|| and
l jus| p|cked |he one l |houçh| wou|d
work bes| l bu||| a|| mv racks and
desks ou| o| |ll
FM: Have you found you’ve had to
move anything round since the
initial set-up?
DT: /es l had mv mas|er kevboard
on |he r|çh| a| ||rs| bu| |hen rea||sed
|ha| l need mv r|çh| hand |o ||dd|e
abou| w||h mv samp|er so l swapped
|| round
FM: Have you got any new gear
since you moved in the shed, and
if so, how did you decide where
to put it?
DT: l recen||v bouçh| a locusr||e
|en|a |as recommended bv FM) and
a lA1 |esona|o 1hev wen| s|ra|çh|
|n|o mv rack as l’d made sure l had
enouçh room |or |u|ure expans|on
FM: How did you cable every-
thing up together?
DT: l |h|nk ||’s |a|r |o sav mos| s|ud|os’
cab||nç |s some|h|nç o| a mess and
m|ne |s no d|||eren| 1here are w|res
and cab|es evervwhere and |ook|nç
back l w|sh l’d |aken a b|| more ||me
|o keep || ||dv l have no pa|chbavs a|
|he momen| and |ha|’s some|h|nç l
keep mean|nç |o do |l |h|nk FMcan
he|p me |n |ha| depar|men| bv
mavbe do|nç a ||uç ln /our Cab|es
|roper|v |vpe |ea|ure)
FM: How did you decide where to
put your monitors?
DT: 1he on|v p|ace l cou|d pu| mv
mon||ors rea||v was e||her s|de o| mv
rack up on |he wa|| bu| sav|nç |ha|
|hev’re |n abou| |he per|ec| p|ace
FM’s mon||ors |ea|ure he|ped me
w||h |ha| one l m|çh| have a b|| o|
|roub|e |houçh || l wan|ed b|ççer
ones bu| a| |he momen| |hev’re ||ne
FM: And how have you planned to
have space for your studio to
expand in the future?
DT: l |h|nk l cou|d do w||h a pa|chbav
and l am p|ann|nç |o buv some new
çear nex| vear ||rs||v a new com-
pu|er and |he new lAOSS |ad 2
|hen mavbe a new sound modu|e A||
|h|s s|u|| w||| ||| |n mv s|ud|o ||ne
|here’s s|||| p|en|v o| room'
# You can hear the kind of music
David makes with his set-up at
www.peoplesound.com/artist/
marksandmay
CASE STUDY #3
Inside David’s shed
(inset) is a studio that
has room to grow
>
“IN SMALL ROOMS, EARLY REFLECTIONS BELOW 20MS
CAN BE A REAL DISTRACTION AS THEY WILL BE CAUSING
ANOMALIES IN THE MID- TO HIGH-FREQUENCY RESPONSE”
>
FM131.t_scratch 6/12/02 8:50 pm Page 120
highly when used in conjunction with a
dimmer circuit.
Strategically aimed low-voltage halo-
gen spotlights, either ceiling-mounted or
lamp-style, are perfect for highlighting
mixer controls and racked gear. Experi-
ment with bulbs of various wattages or
add a dimmer for the perfect balance of
direct/indirect light. While working solely
from just the light of a computer monitor
and blinking LEDs may be an exciting
way to explore your musical ideas away
from the mundane sight of the room
itself, it can be fatiguing. Ensuring the
wall directly behind your screen is par-
tially illuminated, so as to reduce the con-
trast between light and dark, helps to
alleviate this strain on your eyes. FM
FutureMusic 121
TECHNIQUE
NEXT MONTH
A|| ||red up and readv |o ço` Studio from
scratch conc|udes nex| mon|h when we’|| be
|ook|nç |n|o how vou can make vour s|ud|o
work |or vou and hope|u||v see some o| vour
or|ç|na| |nves|men| pav |or ||se|| We’|| a|so be
po|n||nç ou| some o| |he pros and cons o| run-
n|nç vour s|ud|o as a bus|ness
le|nç |ar removed |rom |he near bra|n surçeon-||ke sk||| requ|red |or de||ca|e |n|eçra|ed c|rcu|| and sur|ace moun| com-
ponen| work so|der|nç connec|ors |o cab|e ends |s a re|a||ve|v s|mp|e process requ|r|nç jus| a coup|e o| |nexpens|ve
|oo|s a s|eadv hand and spare a||ernoon
le|ore jo|n|nç vour cab|es |o vour connec|ors ||
pavs |o ||n |he cab|e ends ||rs| 1he ||nn|nç process
|nvo|ves app|v|nç a |h|n coa||nç o| so|der |o |he exposed
w|re 1h|s ensures re||ab|e e|ec|r|ca| con|ac| |n |he ||n|shed
jo|n| W|pe |he so|der|nç |ron ||p c|ean on |he damp
sponçe and app|v a sma|| coa||nç o| so|der |o |he |ron ||p
App|v |he |ron ||p |o |he exposed w|re and hea| || su|||-
c|en||v so |ha| |he so|der w||| ||ow |o || once app||ed
W||h |he so|der|nç |ron hea||nç |he exposed w|re
cab|e app|v |he so|der |o |he w|re ||se|| l| |he w|re |s
ho| enouçh |he so|der shou|d run |ree|v and coa| |he sur-
|ace |emove |he hea| and a||ow |he w|re |o coo| be|ore
hand||nç lon’| over|oad |he |ron ||p w||h so|der or |rv |o
|orce |he ho| so|der on |o a co|d sur|ace or vou r|sk mak|nç
a mess |rac||se vour so|der|nç |echn|que bv ||nn|nç scraps
o| cab|e un||| vou’re con||den| w||h |he process
S||p |he connec|or’s rear sec||on over |he cab|e end l|
vou |orçe| now vou’|| have |o undo a|| vour so|der
work |a|er' 0se |ape or a v|ce |o ho|d |he connec|or s||||
||ace |he ||nned w|re ||p |n|o |he appropr|a|e |uç |n |he con-
nec|or 0se |he so|der|nç |ron ||p |o hea| |he w|re and |uç
be|ore app|v|nç |he so|der |o encouraçe |he so|der |o ||ow
across |he a|readv ho| componen|s |or a qua|||v bond and
avo|d a poor connec||on known as a drv jo|n| C|ean |he ||p
reçu|ar|v w||h |he sponçe be|ore coa||nç || w||h |resh so|der
W||h some connec||ons |||ke |he sh|e|d o| a o:mm p|uç)
vou mav have |o pass |he bare w|re end |hrouçh an eve|e|
and |w|s| || back on ||se|| be|ore so|der|nç ln |h|s case
make sure |he componen| |s ho| enouçh |or |he so|der |o
||ow or |he jo|n| mav be e|ec|r|ca||v poor
SOLDERING YOUR OWN CABLES: A WALKTHROUGH GUIDE
|easure how |onç |he cab|e needs |o be and cu| |o
|enç|h A||ow |or enouçh cab|e |o accommoda|e |he
|ns|a||a||on/remova| o| equ|pmen| and anv |u|ure move-
men| o| |he rack |wh|ch mav be on whee|s |o ça|n access|-
b||||v |o |he rear) Wash vour hands |o preven| anv res|due
reduc|nç |he so|der’s a||rac||on |o |he me|a| sur|aces
0nscrew |he rear o| |he connec|or |o revea| |he e|ec-
|r|ca| con|ac|s 0se |he connec|or’s |avou| as a çu|de
when s|r|pp|nç |he |nsu|a||on |rom |he cab|es S|r|pp|nç can
be made eas|er bv runn|nç a b|ade around each cab|e’s c|r-
cum|erence |ak|nç care no| |o cu| |he de||ca|e w|res |ns|de
1w|s| |he exposed w|re ||ps w||h vour c|ean ||nçers
lnsure vou observe proper po|ar||v a| each connec-
|or or vour aud|o s|çna| w||| be |hrown ou| o| phase
W||h unba|anced connec||ons |he sh|e|d|nç a||aches |o |he
s|eeve and core |o |he ||p W||h ba|anced connec||ons
|here’|| be |wo cores |ha| mus| be |den||||ed |usua||v bv
co|our or s|r|p|nç) One a||aches |o |he ||p o| |he p|uç |he
o|her |o |he r|nç |eav|nç |he sh|e|d|nç |o a||ach |o |he
s|eeve `l| s|v|e connec|ors are |abe||ed 1 Sh|e|d 2 lo| ´
Co|d Wh|chever core vou dec|de |o ass|çn as |he ho| /||p or
co|d/r|nç mus| be repea|ed a| |he o|her end o| |he cab|e
1
Audio cable: s|nç|e core w||h sh|e|d
|or unba|anced connec||ons
|shown |n a|| s|eps be|ow) |wo
core w||h sh|e|d |or ba|anced con-
nec||ons |shown |n s|ep ´)
Audio connectors: quar|er-
|nch/o:mm 1S |1|p-S|eeve) |or
unba|anced mono quar|er-
|nch/o:mm 1|S |1|p-||nç-S|eeve)
|or ba|anced mono or unba|anced
s|ereo and/or |nser| `l| |or ba|-
anced mono
Vice or tape or ‘helping hands’
|shown) |o ho|d vour connec|ors |n
p|ace wh||e vou so|der
Wire stripper a||houçh sharp sc|s-
sors wou|d su|||ce
Wire cutters a||houçh sca|pe|
|shown) or kn||e wou|d be Ol |oo
Solder sucker use|u| |n |he
remova| o| excess so|der bu||d-up)
Solder |he ||ner 1mm w|re var|e|v
|s çenera||v eas|er |o manaçe
Soldering iron des|çned |or c|r-
cu|| board work around 20W w||h
a sma|| ||a|-anç|ed ||p
Soldering iron stand |op||ona| bu|
h|çh|v recommended)
Sponge |dampened w||h wa|er)
You’ll need…
1
2
3
4
5
6
2
3
4 5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
FM131.t_scratch 6/12/02 8:50 pm Page 121