Is the room you create music in important to you?

#1

I have noticed that my environment affect what I’m doing to a much larger degree than I would have thought, and that I can deliberately “manipulate” myself into a certain behaviour by moving things around. It could be something as simple as making sure the charger for my PlayStation controllers is placed outside of my reach from the couch, while moving the guitar closer. That is all it takes for me to play the guitar instead of video games when I feel lazy and just want to kill some time.

Anyways, around Christmas we decided to give our music room an overhaul (it is close to finally being done now!). We spent quite some time thinking of what we liked about our old room, and what we could change to “nudge” us in the direction of being more creative/productive. So just out of curiousity, are your surroundings important for you when when you work on music?

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#2

Hm, good question. Besides the sleeping room, kitchen and bath room (which all three disqualify for making music in them) there is only one “everything else” living room for me.
But what I try is to have two musical setups in that room. In one edge the music-making stuff that is fully preconfigured and ready to play (based on my mac) with currently stage piano, Alpha and Linnstrument and in the other the tech experimentation side with my main computer and currently the Morphs and the Pico.
Imho this already helps a lot to distinguish between “fiddling mode” and making music - not only from a mind set but physically, another edge of the room.

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#3

I think it’s important what’s around you, especially if aesthetics is important. A nice environment makes it easier to have a nice feeling, stimulating creativity. I just moved to a new apartment with my son, efter getting divorced. Now I can have all my gears up and ready anytime I wanna play or make new music. I’m into what @NothanUmber says about the living room is for everything else. I also had it split into a “stage area” for playing and a “studio area” for creating, composing and tech work. There’s also room for my son’s Nord Piano 4 if we want to play together, but most of the time it stays in his room. It feels nice to live in an apartment built around creating and playing music, sharing the same interests. Here’s some pix:

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#4

We also have two «zones», one for playing and creating music, and one Cubase zone for mixing and editing. They used to be in separate rooms, but now they will be physically close and connected via a MADI cable.

We have everything connected to our audio interface on separate channels so that we can route anything to anything in the audio interface mixing software instead of having to physically mess with the cabling. Same general idea with midi where everything is routed via an iConnect Midi4+.

We generally put a lot of effort into keeping things as simple as we can. The computer is not necessary for us to play our instruments. And all of them can be recorded without the computer, as well. So any idea that pops up during a jam or whatever can be quickly captured with a single button press.

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#5

I absolutely do think its important … and something Ive not done very well…I’ve tended to (regretfully) focused way to much on functional/logistical convenience.

so, I setup my studio in our shared ‘office space’, which made a lot of sense, as thats where my main computer was - I also had a lot of desk space, shelves (I fitted tilting shelves for keyboards etc), and storage. Logistically, it makes a lot of sense… everything is setup ‘ready to go’

BUT, I find it a bit too ‘sterile’, and also because i do a lot of software development in the same space, i think that affects how I view the space, even when trying to make music.
(I look enviously at all those with small music making spaces, with plants and lovely lighting :slight_smile: )

I did try to create another area in an small ‘attic’ type space, I found it a bit impractical, but it certainly had a better vibe to it… but in the end I got fed up, carrying stuff up n down, and banging my head on the beams …

so , still not quite sure what to do… for now I keep tweaking the office space,
but I think long term, I need to either revamp office space entirely(*) , or do re-think the attic space and how i could use it… and possibly my approach to music, e.g. move away from the 'everything connected/available approach.

its a fascinating topic, and one as i say, I really under appreciated until recently.

(*) this would require some considerations and considerations about how this can work for my partner too.

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#6

When we first toured the house we planned to buy, some 21 years ago, we wandered through it and took note of all the stuff that was good vs. all the stuff that wasn’t. New paint and carpets in the upstairs and new tile in the kitchen? Great… but then we went down into the basement.

The house was built in 1969 and the basement was hand-converted by the owners into a “rumpus room.” There was avocado/yellow thick pile shag carpet that was so old and filthy it actually felt slimy, hideous wood paneling, sloppily built and out-of-code interior walls… but the piece de resistance was the one room that was left over when they’d run out of money. Bare drywall on one side, bare concrete foundation on the other, one tiny window, no drywall on the ceiling and bits of polyester insulation hanging down from between the studs in places, dirty concrete floor.

My wife poked her head in, looked around, and said to me brightly, “And THIS can be your STUDIO!”

I’ve been in here ever since. No money for a complete remodel (certainly not after turning the rumpus room habitable!), but I’ve patched a few things up. I have noticed over the years that even small improvements – laying down carpet, securing the polyester, improving the lighting – improve my workflow and comfort level.

Still, I think that if I ever had a pretty space like the one pictured above, I’d be too busy admiring it and too afraid to make a mess to actually get any music done. :sweat_smile:

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#7

A couple of years ago I repurposed our dining room into a home office, and this doubles up as my music room. We got a custom built desk/cabinet/shelving built into two sides of the room. I’ve since added an Ikea unit for my modular to sit on, and now need to add some space for my Continuum, and at some point another keyboard.

The real downside is speaker placement. I have a pair of Genelecs positioned for working at my desk, but the modular sits perpendicular to that space, and the keyboard will on the other wall. Do I need to go quad or add another pair and a mixer to switch them around? The other issue I have is resonance with the wooden furniture due to the positioning of the monitors.

I’ll add a few photos later on.

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#8

Great topic. I’ve been fortunate to have my own music space for many years. The config has changed as gear and my vibe has changed. At one time, the “office” desk and computer was also in that space. It’s been a definite improvement to move it out, even if the two areas are still not too far away from each other. It’s a different kind of “work”, and the music space is definitely a music space.

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#9

The fact that we are two people working simultaneously makes a practical layout a bit extra difficult. If we place our gear towards the walls, then we end up sitting with our backs towards each other. So in our new room layout we placed a table in the middle of the room with our most used instruments and chairs on opposing sides. That way we are facing each other while working. Some stuff will still have to be spread out against the walls, though.

I’ll also post some pictures. Btw, your room looks great, @Micael. Looks like it has a nice, uncluttered vibe to it.

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#10

Thanks, @Kai.:grinning: For me it’s important to build the details of the room slowly. For now I’m thinking about details like curtains, carpets, art posters, lighting and how design stimulates creativity. I think it’s not just a question of ”good taste” but rather what makes you feel in certain ways, to get into that altered state of Consciousness called creativity. It’s like translating your soul into three dimensional rooms and objects to capture a mood or feeling… I think it’s a good thing being intuitive here…

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#11

yeah, I think this is another instance of practicality vs feel…
in my office things are against walls, because it makes the most efficient use of space, no issues with trailing cables.

but i think facing a wall (unless its got a window perhaps) I think feels a bit ‘closed in’…

I experimented with sitting in the middle of the floor to play, and that definitely felt better, but ultimately I found it a bit uncomfortable for longer periods of time
( perhaps I needed to take up yoga too loosen up :slight_smile: )

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#12

Yay! We are finally finished with our new and improved music room now. Some pictures:


The green wall is one side of a new vocal booth we have made. It splits the room into two parts. The other side is now a small, cozy library of sorts.

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#13

that looks really cool, and inviting - inspiring too!

btw: what are you using as your modular stand? as does it ‘work’ if your sitting down, or more for standing operation? (I need to find something similar, as I’d prefer mine off the desk)

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#14

Wow, that’s really looking good! I can imagine there’s a lot of thinking behind the result. How did you manage to hide all cables so well? Is it sound absorbers on the walls? Great work, @Kai!:pray:t2::grinning:

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#15

I saw it in the window display of a local music store. They used it to display a pedal board, but apparently it is a guitar amp stand. No name or model number and I’m unable to find it online. This one looks similar, but the L-shaped shelves on mine are 6-7cm taller, so not sure if this one would hold a 3 tier eurorack: https://www.amazon.com/Proline-PL7000-Adjustable-Stand-Black/dp/B002EOYBK0

Mine is sturdy and a comfortable height when sitting down, but much too low when standing.

@Micael Yeah, hiding the cables took a bit of work. :slight_smile: We use digital multichannel cables where possible and cables of apropriate lengths to avoid unnecessary coils, etc. The table happened to have an inner glass plate that we removed. So there is a hole down to the lowest tier where all the power supplies and cables go. We then covered the hole with a black sheet of foamcore. So all the cabling for the table is out of sight but still easily acessible when need be.

And yes, bass traps (Mondos from RealTraps) that we covered with fabric (we haven’t covered the ones behind the modular yet, so that is how they look uncovered). The green discs are acoustic tiles made from reindeer moss(!) I don’t know if they are the ideal choice performance wise, but at least they make the room smell fresh and nice. :slight_smile:

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