Spring has sprung in the Northwest, which means it's still raining, and possibly snowing with a few stellar sunny days thrown in for good measure. The trees are leafing out and there is that lovely dusting of pollen and fallen cherry blossoms on the cars. It's also that time of year I try to do a bit of cleaning and reorganizing around the studio. It's amazing what accumulates, what is "out of stock," and what has simply been sitting without use. I love working in a well lived-in studio space, but you know what I love even more? Working in a clean and tidy environment.
Here is a short checklist of some spring cleaning ideas.
1) Get New Sharpies. Seriously. What's better than a new fine point permanent marker? Also, it's a good time to throw out that stash of broken pens and pencils that has accumulated.
2) Restock Board/Artist Tape. Even if you don't have a console, it's handy for all sorts of things. For example, I will write the name of the song I am working on on a piece of board tape and stick it to each piece of outboard gear I am using for a mix and take a picture of it for recall purposes. All those pics go in a folder for reference later if needed. Modern!
3) Dust and Wipe Down All Studio Surfaces. Wow, your monitors are dusty! (You should probably do this more than once a year!)
4) Vacuum. (see above)
5) Organize and Label Patchbay. With new pieces of gear coming, and unused pieces going, the patchbay can get to be a mess. Organize it.
6) Reassess. Keep the gear you use and clear out what you do not. Yeah, I get it. It looks amazing to have tons of stuff in your rack, but seriously, if you haven't used it in two years, you probably aren't ever going to use it and someone else may benefit greatly from you lightening your load.
7) Fix or Ditch the Bin of Broken Headphones. And never leave these broken bastards out where musicians can find them!
8) Organize Old Hard Drives and Power Supplies. This could take until next Spring, so start now. I learned this lesson the hard way, so now the first thing I do with any new hard drive or piece of gear is label the corresponding power supply. Also the connectors on computers and drives change so quickly these days that if you want access to old files or sessions, make sure they are on a drive that's compatible with your current computer. Our editor, LC, recommends getting a SATA to USB powered adapter cable so you can pull troublesome raw drives out of their enclosures and plug them in directly; a trick that usually grants file access! Also, labeling the drive with its contents or sessions is an obvious win, but one that took me years to get in the habit of doing. Avoid this rat's nest of a nightmare if you can by being proactive!
9) Workflow Ergonomics Audit. Are you comfortable when you work? Is your sitting position painful or perfect? Are things where they should be when you reach for them? Can you make adjustments to crucial pieces of gear from your listening position? How you feel while you work is key to long-term health and productivity. Give it a little thought once a year and fix what is not working for you.
10) Make Sure Your Tape Op Subscription is Current. Please, thank you!
- Geoff Stanfield, Online Publisher