22 You Should Have Been There By My Side: Studio Sidecar Build
Updated: Jun 4
Studio Sidecar Design
Remember a few blog posts back, when talking about audio connections, I hinted at the concept of always preparing for expansion? Well, that's exactly what I didn't do with my studio desk! I started to realise I was running out of rack space (why is new gear always so tempting?), and, to be fair, the studio could do with some more surfaces and cupboards/drawers to put equipment on or in.
I began looking at suitable sidecar expansions, however, most of them were too tall for the height of my desk, which was custom made for my short-ass. I wanted to be able to tuck the sidecar under the desk if I needed more floor space, but also a table top for storing equipment on. I liked the look of the Output Sidecar, as it was made from plywood which would suit the style of the rest of my studio. I considered ordering this and chopping down the legs as far as they would go to try and lower the height. Unfortunately there was a 12 week lead time, so I decided the next best thing to do would be to rip off the design, customise the dimensions, and build it myself.
As with all good builds, its starts with meticulous designing and measuring. I made sure everything would slot together down to the millimetre. I could then also order custom sized plywood panels to keep cutting down to a minimum.
The Build Process
Work began by cutting the sidecar shapes with a jigsaw, and routing out the joining slots.
A dry assemble run at every stage, just to make sure everything is working as it should and if any amendments need to be made they can be before it's too late! First check was the sides and top..
...next the bottom and back were added.
Next is the divider between the cupboard and the rack section.
All together now!
On goes the cupboard door, with a bit of back and forth and adjustments of the hinges to get it sitting and opening correctly. I used soft close hinges for this job, just to give that professional feel, and the last thing you want is a door slamming while you're recording.
Once it was fully dry assembled, all the parts could be sanded and given several coats of Danish oil. You can see I smoothed over any edges, especially the top edge, as unfortunately some of the plywood chipped during the cutting process, however I like the look!
Here's a video just to show the action of the cupboard door and headphone/cable rail inside.
Next the rack ears could go on... checking that rack equipment does fit inside!
The Finished Sidecar
And here is the final product, with an additional LED strip to help luminate the outboard gear within the rack. You can see it neatly tucks under the studio desk as well. All in all it cost £220, saving me almost £200.
Having now used the sidecar for a good few months, I wish I had increased the front angle slightly from 10 degrees to 15, maybe even 20. Just so I can read the equipment slightly more easily. But apart from that, it is treating me very well!
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