Best Gear/Hardware investment for your studio?

Hello Composers, which are the best “gear/hardware” investments you ever made for your studio (not counting your computer)? :slight_smile:

I’ll share my top 3:

  • External SSD Drives
    I have no idea how I managed before with those slow spinning disc drives. The loading speed of my sample libraries is 1/10 what it used to be.
  • TEControl Breath Controller
    I love all kinds of expression control in the actual performance/recording (not programming afterwards) and a breath controller is amazing for this.
  • Elgato Streamdeck
    What a wonderful little device! I can now have my most used keyboard shortcuts, and even macros (multi-actions) available as single buttons with LED-displays showing colors and text for optimal clarity!

I second the External SSD Drive. I just upgraded to a 2TB drive and love it.

I recently purchased an Apollo 8 interface and even though it is a little overkill, I love plugging my external synths directly into it and bypassing the need for a hardware mixer. The thunderbolt connection is great.

External monitor. I recently purchased a used 27" Thunderbolt display for about $400. Love it!

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+1 for the Elgato Streamdeck

I’ll add a gaming mouse to assign shortcuts and save time, I’m using the Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse

Another thing that people overlook is an ergonomic chair. As composers, we’re spending 10+ hours per day, sometimes up to 18h / day working in front of our computers which can lead to back problems. I can’t recommend enough the Herman Miller Aeron chair.

It’s not cheap (about 1000$), but it’s the best investment I made in my studio and my back never hurts after a full day of work. I bought a used one for 500$ and it was in perfect condition, after all, it’s just a chair :slight_smile:

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Hi everyone. Here are my thoughts.

  • As previoulsly mentioned. SSD drives are a must! There’s no way around that now. All my sample libraries run from them. (I have copies of my libraries on HDD as backup if, God forbid, something happens and I need a copy).

  • Proper UPS/Surge Protector. The bigger the better. Saved me a lot of grief when electricity decides to ‘just go’.

  • This one is not Gear/Hardware but definitely an investment - learn how to use CueDb. For those who may not know it, CueDb is a browser based, Project Management system for Composers, Directors and Producers. Saves you a lot of time, keeps things organized and your don’t have to scroll through a ton of Director’s notes via email.

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Loved your “list of tips” post Navid, and wow I can truly resonate with the networking/making friends and simply be a nice person tip. It doesn’t matter how great of a composer/producer you are if you can not get along with people, and find and strengthen connections in the industry.

I would like more SSD libraries, but I’m not sure my USB-bandwidth could take any more. I have like 20 devices running on USB since I basically have a music and video production studio in one.

I guess I would need to get like a SSD bay running on Thunderbolt next.

UPS/Surge protector. How long power failures can those keep running on? Is it like quickly backup and save and then turn off, or can you continue to work for a while?

CueDB…never heard of. But I am a huge fan of good structure. Part of the fact I decided to create this community as I found social media and FB to be simply too chaotic, random and full of distractions. I will definitely look that up, do every party need a paid account to use it?

second hand dell server r710 for 300$ with 192 Gb of RAM and VEP7.0
a little Gigabyte network switch,some 2TeraByte HDD for the server
a little time to setup the network and install software and let’s go to another dimension

Hi Mikael how are you?
Thank you so much for liking my list. Really appreciate it. I’m a strong believer that your ‘network’ is your ‘net worth’. At the end of the day we are dealing with people to people relationships.

That SSD bay running Thunderbolt sounds like a plan. :+1::+1:

Regarding UPS it depends on how big the battery in it is, how long you have the UPS (usually 3 years seems like the limit for me before the battery becomes unreliable) and also how many devices are connected to the UPS. When power goes out I usually will have up to 4-5 minutes to save/shutdown everything. I rather do that than continuously work while the alarm on the UPS sounds off (the’re very loud).

CueDB is free but is also has a Donate button. It takes a short time to learn (would recommend doing that before using it with clients) but once you start project management gets a whole lot easier. You can check it out here (you have to create an account with email/password)


Wait, can you get a server for 300 dollars? That paired with VEP must be like magic, wow! Is it very technical to setup up everything? What OS is on the server?

I think I have neglected UPS because here in Sweden we have one the most reliable electricity infrastructure in the world. It’s also one of the most stable in terms of holding the same frequency (50Hz in Europe). I have had 2 power failures in like 20 years. :stuck_out_tongue:

That CueDB looks very interesting, will read a bit more about it, thank you very much for sharing.

That’s a great topic @Mikael!

I would like share this one with you, and I do believe everyone heard about it already, BUT in my opinion, you can have the best equipment / studio in the world, if you don’t know how to use it, or just don’t know how to use it best, no mix will sound great after all.


If you go into a professional studio, you always will find this, most likely the “Auratones”, but at the end of day, especially a mastering engineer will always have some kind of a crapy speaker.

I would put this one on my Top 1, because I know, if my mix doesn’t kick me on this one, it won’t kick me somewhere else. That is fact.

Remember Thriller, Bad etc. from Michael Jackson? The recording and mixing engineer was Bruce Swedien, and he told in one of the “soundonsound” that he mixed like 70/80% of the time on that “Auratones” in mono. So if you didn’t try it yet, try it now and you will never go back…especially in the beginning it really hurts your ear and your ego in first place! You thought you made the best mixes in town? Without this speaker, you most likely didn’t.

Take care guys,
Alexey (JLX) :wink:

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yes i have the server for 300$
at the first time i thought it was a joke so i have call the seller to send me picture
and i asked again for the price
that’s true and i think you can find good deal on ebay for server like mine


A good long term investment for me has been my studio chair, and recently my standing desk. Hoping these will allow me to keep making music well into old age.

I also bought a cello recently and that’s been a great source of inspiration. I’m using it more for sound design at the moment but I’d like to learn to play ‘properly’ in the future.

Also really enjoying my ROLI block, its given me a much more expressive way of playing.


Great Info Nacvid …Wow… Just about to do another Film (short) with a director ive done quite a bit with…
CueDB looks like the Shiznit ! Im def going to try and utilise it…

And Mike, As for the Elgato Streamdeck … wow… Reasonably priced also…
I rememeber in the 00’s waiting for that Optimas OLED keyboard… Waiting… Waiting… Then price … OUCH!

And for some gear investment for the studio… All im sure will be covered, so I must consider what possibly isnt considered…
A bar fridge.

To add… Definitely agreed needing a good chair. Im actually looking for one, however, what can make it difficult is the ones I like have arm rests , be good if they could fold down…
Makes it easier to Play Bass/Guitar… And slip under the studio desk…

Oh, theres another… Studio Desk’s… When you find one right for you, it seems to help with the writing process… For me anyway.


I did a studio rebuild (actually a new room ) in my house from September of 2017 into Jan 2018…

Three biggest investments that made things come together …

  1. Calibrated measurement mic and REW diagnostic software to find out what your room was actually doing acoustically…

  2. New monitor system … Dynaudio BM6As with matching Sub …

  3. Primeacoustics commercial acoustics package ( London 12A)

So what came out of this …

Room is really quiet

Stereo field is razor sharp not slurred.

bottom end is really tight with great definition …

nothing is Veiled …

Translates very well …

Used my BMC-2
Monitoring and mastering controller from TC helicon…

also tested with my Burl B2 Bomber DAC …

I think I cried when I heard the room the first time…

next investment will be a Clarity-M …Hardware LUFS 7" Monitoring Display … takes S/PDIF off my monitor controller and provides numbers for streaming , film and television media…

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I will do a video sometime on my YT channel showing how I use the Elgato Streamdeck, and what key commands I currently have assigned. But remember, you can do multi-actions on 1 key with this. Which is basically adding functionality to Logic, since Logic does not have macros natively yet.

I even thought about getting a gaming mouse next time I buy a new one, simply because I would like a couple of extra buttons that I can assign.

Funny, gaming devices, yet we composers and creative people love them :stuck_out_tongue:

As for studio desk, I would love to some day get a standing desk solution like the setup @will_m showed in another thread.


Ill def check out the Elagato…
I do use iPhone and iPad with logic remote, but in conjunction with this it’d be killer…

Also , this is the desk I have … Incredible build quality… Built like a tank… It can be pulled apart and put together without things degrading… It really is superb for my setup…
Though i dont use the racks , Ive got two 14 unit flor racks, so its perfect for a 4 monitor setup…
And in Australia, its $569… Amazing Value…

In the middle of getting all my Keyboards, Modules and other outboard back in the mix…
Might update with a photo when done…



Looks good, but isn’t that monitor shelf kind of high? I heard tilting your head upwards can give neck problems.

Yeah, I used to use Logic Remote, but tactile buttons can not be beat. I don’t need to look down, I FEEL them! :smiley:

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My eye level is generally above the lower monitors, also a great listening position…
I really dont have to tilt my head to much…
3 are for logic, Top Left is for my Mackie d8b… Though 3 monitors have been upgraded…
I kept the cinema display which duties are for plugs and video (Now Top Right)

To add, Because I do singing , play guitar , bass ect… Logic Remote is very handy…
Bathroom rev FTW!

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Bathroom reverb lol, awesome! :stuck_out_tongue:
I’ve seen many composers have a setup so you tilt your head slightly down, like when playing piano and having sheet music. I heard that is better for you, but my monitors are also on a shelf. Im thinking long term, that’s why I plan on some day get a standing desk. I worked hard labor for 6 years so my back is already very strained from that.

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  1. Reflection-free zone 2.1 monitor system/room. Nothing particularly high-end (Yamaha HS8 + DIY 15" sub with digital amp) mounted in a faceted wall of cabinets with MDF doors basically, but avoiding undesired reflections altogether (rather than trying to absorb them) brings stereo imaging to another level. With calibration, it’s linear to +/- 1 dB from 25 Hz to 20kHz, with -3 dB @ 20 Hz, which I just haven’t bothered trying to straighten out yet. So, now it’s just my own ears I don’t trust… :wink:

  2. SSDs for all sample libraries. No more coffee breaks and forgetting what you were about to do when loading up projects and instruments.

  3. Overclocked 14 core i9 workstation, in a sound insulated machine room. It can handle LOTS of plugins and tracks, and also heavy single-threaded plugins (like some synths), so I rarely have to worry about CPU load at all. Still practically inaudible at low loads, and fairly quiet on full load.

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