Having clean, usable power and the right lighting in a studio is a must! I've been in too many studios where you spend more time searching for an available plug socket than making music, or sitting under sterile lights not feeling the music. A studio needs to be an environment where you can create and feel the music without distractions, this is where getting little details right like suitable power and lighting can make your studio a home.
One aspect to take into account is the transfer of mains hum between your power cables and your audio cabling. Nothing worse than putting so much effort into building a studio space to find out everything you record has a nasty hum on. The simplest thing to do is to separate out your cable paths; this is sometimes easier said than done. If streams do need to cross, à la ghostbusters, then perpendicular is the ideal intersection, keeping any parallel cable runs to a minimum. In the case of my design, lighting was run in the ceiling, audio cables were kept to the floor, and power cables were in the middle ground. There were some exceptions to the rule, for instance, I like to plug my mics in at waist height, from the hip if you will, rather than getting on all fours trying to find the right input in the skirting. So in those cases, I would raise the audio cable run off the ground, simultaneously raising the power run by the same amount.
I placed two double sockets near the floor on the front wall, these would provide power for my TV monitor and two distribution units which would protect and power all my equipment, computer, and monitors. Another two sets of double sockets would be placed on each side wall, easily accessible at waist height. Powering synths, guitar amps and pedals, plus just being spare for anything else that might need to be plugged in.
The Control Panel
Next up was housing the fused switches I needed to control the ventilation system and underfloor heating. Having the ability to turn off the heat exchanger and condensate pump at will gave me control when I needed the room to be deadly silent. And as I'll talk about in a future week, I installed underfloor heating in the studio, housing the control panel in the same area as the ventilation controls made sense so I could adjust parameters at the same time.
Let there be light!
Lastly, we'll talk about lighting and getting the mood right. This, of course, is completely subjective, but I lean towards warm soft lighting rather than coloured LEDs. I contemplated installing a dimmer switch to have control over the brightness but I opted out as sometimes they can introduce a small buzzing noise, and I had the intention of placing some small lamps around the room for when I wanted a more intimate feel.
I installed two main lights in the studio, one long wall light on the right-hand side, and a hanging teardrop bulb from a pipe fixture that I couldn't remove near the left-hand side. Both these gave an even balance of light across the room and didn't reflect off screens or make it hard to see any writing or lights on equipment.
Until next time...
Frank Leonard Walker