THE HAPPY ACCIDENT
As some of you know, I am all about creative recycling, so when I found an empty AMEK console frame in my school’s basement several years ago, I put wheels on it and laid a mid-seventies Raindirk (and later a Mackie mixer) on top. It was not the prettiest picture, but the end result was a console we could stand at – similar to how live mixers work – and I’ve found it works very well in a classroom environment. Students are more comfortable in numbers when no one person is in the ‘hot seat.’
Many of my ‘designs’ start out as quirky temporary solutions that turned into ‘happy accidents,’ so when our school started talking about a control room upgrade, I asked them to consider a work surface that supported stand-up operation. I have both stand-up and sit-down work benches in my shop as well.
NPR coincidentally did a piece about the ‘vertical office’ in May of 2012 – about how standing instead of sitting at your desk is better for you – just as I was about to move my happy accident to a new location…
We already have a control surface in furniture by Sound Construction and Design. Like most off-the-shelf solutions, it is designed for sit-down operation. The ‘desk area’ is flanked by – and mounted on – a pair of equipment racks. While space efficient and structurally sound, the racks are intended for minimally accessed equipment such as an I/O interface. Rack location and height may not be well suited to ‘conventional analog devices ,’ a.k.a. gear with knobs that can’t tolerate a strike by a wayward roll-around chair.
We are going to experiment with raising the existing furniture up to see how instructors and students respond to the alternative. If it works out, we’ll compare the cost of ordering custom furniture versus having a local cabinet maker aesthetically modify the existing furniture.
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