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48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
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Cover up your studio stuff!

8:00 pm Home Recording

One of the biggest threats to your studio equipment, and your instruments, comes from a humble source: good old-fashioned dust. This invisible menace can make your faders fickle and your knobs noisy with the passage of time. It’s a miracle substance that can work its way into the tiniest imaginable crevices, borne on unseen currents of air, attacking your gear day by day!

Do you see those spaces between the keys of your keyboard? And the spaces around the fader shafts of your mixer? To a piece of dust, these are huge portals to the inner workings of your equipment. The consequences of an infiltration can be major. How are you going to turn that guitar up for a lead part during a mixdown if the fader for that channel makes a loud SCRZCHCH noise as you move it?

A related problem that you may or may not have at your place is animal hair, blobs of fur that fairly leap off of Fluffy or Fido and make a beeline for your mixer controls. And please don’t tell me you let your pet sleep on your gear just because it’s warm! Pets and electronics make a bad combination. I once saw the inside of a VCR I owned whose ventilation fan had sucked in enough cat hair to make a whole ‘nother kitten. It wasn’t pretty. (And the VCR never worked again.)

Protect Your Investment

Sometimes when I visit someone else’s studio I am shocked - shocked! - to see guitars, keyboards, and mixers left just sitting there all day, like we leave the TV just sitting there all day. Have you looked at the dust that accumulates on your TV screen all the time? That’s the stuff I’m talking about. Do you want that in (and on) your expensive gear?

In my home studio, I have each guitar (and bass) on its own stand and covered with a stylish bath towel all the time, except when I am actually working in the studio. I have another towel covering the keys (and the pitch-bend knob at the very end) of the keyboard. My mixer and recorder have “front panels” that face straight upward and are thus “rained on” by dust and micro-debris hour after hour. Time for another towel! A washcloth does the job for the electronic drumset’s control unit. (If I ever put a hot tub in there I’m all set.)

Here are a few actual, unretouched photos of my personal home studio in “unoccupied” mode:

Note the “covered up” look, somewhat similar to the stuff you see in those houses nobody is going to be in for a year, but more colorful. The covering and uncovering process takes a few seconds, yes, but it’s worth it to prevent a devastating dust invasion. Don’t let this preventable problem be what finally goes wrong with your equipment!

Note: If your cat or other pet insists on sleeping on the more comfy horizontal towels, be sure to always put the towel back on the gear “fur side up”! If it gets turned over, you’ll apply a big load of dust and fur directly onto the equipment (very bad). My towels are marked as to top and bottom for this reason.

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One Response
  1. Jannie Sue :

    Date: June 28, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

    As usual, great advice. Thanks!

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