5 minute read
Home and project music studios have been around for over 30 years, having gathered real momentum shortly after the introduction of MIDI. We’re not going to dissect the vast technical depths of MIDI but one cannot understate the huge impact of MIDI and how it revolutionised music-making. With the power of MIDI, producers of all abilities could program, or record in real-time, a musical performance, and because the information was captured digitally, infinite edits were possible without degradation. Unlike recording to tape, the user could also change sounds with ease during any point of the process. MIDI-equipped instruments facilitated simpler collaboration, giving the masses the ability to create and playback complex musical arrangements at home.
The nineteen-inch rack standard
Between the 80s and 90s, alongside keyboards, synthesizers were also available in a nineteen-inch rackmount version at a significantly lower cost than their full-fledged counterparts. It was no longer necessary to have several keyboards taking up valuable studio space as rack modules were stacked neatly in a case with unsightly cables hidden inside. In many project studios, this was the centrepiece, not only containing synths but also samplers, effect processors, mixers, pre-amps etc.
The only additional hardware required was a computer, often the humble Atari 1040, a controller keyboard, studio monitors/mixer and a desk to work from.
With a widely adopted standard, setting up a studio was straightforward. Of course, drum machines and MPCs devices of that era were available in a desktop form as they are today.
Rise of the computer
Towards the end of the nineties, with PCs becoming more powerful, soft synths started to emerge with lots of producers selling their rack-based studios in favour of an exclusively computer-based setup.
In no time rackmounts became a rarity, music production was becoming simplified and even more accessible!
Over the last fifteen years, the tabletop format has become increasingly popular, some would argue the dominant form. It is impossible to pinpoint what triggered this change, with opinions divided, but a common consensus is that there is nothing quite like the intimacy of hardware. The inevitable advancements in technology have also brought down manufacturing costs making these products even more accessible.
As a result, the home studio has again evolved dramatically, bringing new challenges. Gone away is a standard format with synths and drum machines coming in all shapes and sizes. On top of that, you have the increasing popularity of euro rack modular systems in the mix, although the latter does follow a standard footprint. Taking a considered approach to organising your creative space, will deliver significant returns in comfort, aesthetics, and productivity.
Racks or stands are necessary for positioning gear ergonomically with the added benefit of allowing more equipment to fit onto a small table or desk. There are notable examples of DIY racks and stands, but not everyone has the time, tools, or drive to build their studio furniture. And that’s where specialists such as KVgear come in.
A desktop stand returns countless benefits, the most obvious are:
- Equipment positioned at optimal angle
- Better visibility of panel graphics
- Reduces user stoop and neck strain
- Improved workflow
- Free up desk space – when using multi-tier stands.
- Untidy cables are easily hidden
- Your studio radiates a more professional and organized appearance.
If you are serious about making music or want to create a polished video for your social channels, the KVgear range of stands will cover almost any scenario. The following examples are a great starting point to optimising your studio space, and with the many optional accessories, you will find the perfect combination for your needs. Once you start exploring KVgear, it becomes evident how much thought has gone into their design, all thanks to the unmatched talent of mechanical engineer, product designer, synth fanatic, and founder of KVgear - Mike Rafferty.
Click the images below to find out more about each product
The Adapt line of stands (Adapt L1, Adapt L2) is the largest form factor from KVgear, available in a single or double tier, these stands hold larger footprint gear. Adjustable Adapt Wings and Adapt Wings TALL allow you to optimize the position, provide additional support, or act as a “kickback” support for heavier items. The telescopic connecting tube adjusts between 159 to 257mm, offering unrivalled width flexibility. A range of additional options are available including a longer telescopic tube, stand risers, trays, Adapt Wings, and an add-on upper tier.
Just like its bigger sibling Adapt, the Utility line of stands (Utility M1, Utility M2, Utility M3) adopts the same style and design footprint but is suitable for small to medium-sized gear. Three flavours in the range vary from single to triple-tier, have the same width adjustment flexibility, and are also compatible with the optional accessories available for Adapt.
Designed initially for KORG volcas, the Volc-45 stand range includes two, three and four tier models. An extra upper tier can be added to any Volc-45 stand. And by adding long telescoping tubes and volca Trays, the stand can become double wide to hold twice as many volcas. With your volcas poised at a 45-degree angle, your setup will take on the appearance of a mini super synth.
The Boo line of stands (Boo1, Boo2, Boo3) was designed initially with the Roland Boutique synths in mind but is also compatible with other products, including volcas. Available in single, double, and triple-tier, Boo stands can hold mini-key controller keyboards, euro rack synths, and sequencers up to 105mm deep. On the upper tier of Boo stands, gear up to 170 mm can hang over the back edge of the stand. The same adjustable telescopic tube found in other stands allows for a variety of widths of 159 to 257mm. Additional accessories can also be employed to increase compatibility with smaller or larger products.
Unlike other tabletop stands in the line-up, SubPiggy is a bespoke accessory for Moog Sub, Subsequent, and Phatty synths. SubPiggy’s design will keep everything in reach without affecting access to your Moog synth. The stand's side panels, are attached without causing any damage, directly on the synth using existing fixings. This provides a rail with adjustable arms for mounting modules, effects pedals, even a tablet computer. With optional arms available, you can create your perfect Moog setup.