Pro Audio Files

Tips for Organizing and Labeling in the Studio

There are so many miscellaneous items you need in a recording studio. Many of them are pretty small and get easily tangled.

I find that clutter really screws with my head on a session. For instance, I use a lot of guitar pedals. Not at the same time, but different pedals for different sounds.

A lot of pedals come with specific power supplies. Nothing inspires screaming at the top of your lungs like trying to separate a bunch of tangled power supply cables.

I recently reached my limit and thought of the obvious. Maybe there was a way to have them all in one container, but keep them separated? I wondered if there was a simple household item to help me with this?

Well, yes there was! Ziplock sandwich bags. By placing each power supply in a ziplock bag it keeps them peacefully separated.

Buy the freezer bag version that has a zip top. They also have a white area on one side so you can label it. I got my Sharpie out and wrote the name of each power supply on the bag.

Can I just tell you how much peace has been bestowed upon my heart?

What’s in a Label

I’ve also taken this a step further and used a label maker to name each power cable. I also include important inforomation on each power supply such as brand and voltage. This can prevent you or an inexperienced intern from plugging an 18v supply into your Klon.

The main box I use to house the power supplies is a plastic shoe box from Iris.

Patchwork

I did a similar thing with all my patch cables. I don’t have space for one of those fancy wall hangers for cables. All of my cables go into boxes.

The problem I have when putting them all together is the cables are all different lengths.

When I needed to find a long cable it was difficult. So, I bought the larger size Ziplock freezer bags to place groups of cables in. This way, I can fit quite a few of the same size into one bag. Don’t forget to get that Sharpie out and label!

Now I find every patch cable I’m looking for. It’s a miracle.

Pedals

I also bought a bunch of those same Iris boxes to house all my guitar pedals. Of course I used my trusty label maker to label the category of effects in each box. Then I listed each effect.

Tip: I used two different colors of labels. I used white for category and black for pedal. This just makes it easer for your eyes to quickly find their way around.

Think of your studio as a library. Sometimes, you want to take out a book on The Gravitational Pull of Black Holes. Imagine you walk in and they just point to a stack of books in no order.

It’s going to take you that much longer to understand the deepest truths of the universe. The horror!

This and That

There are also all kinds of little gadgets and parts that you may not need on a daily basis but need to keep handy.

I bought some of these storage containers from Amazon:

Not only does this save you time finding things. But, it also saves you time putting things away. You’re basically designating a spot for everything you have. It makes cleaning up easier than ever.

Hide and Seek

Over the past month I’ve been looking for a few cables I just couldn’t find. It was driving me nuts. I was pretty sure they didn’t just disappear.

They were in an unmarked box. Every time I needed them, it was when I was running out the door for a session. I didn’t really have time to go bobbing for apples.

I got to the point where I had to make sure this would never happen again. You know, kind of like how we’re going to feel in four years? Well, for many of us that’s right now.

Fixer Upper

Fortunately, when it comes to organizing the studio there’s an easier fix. There can at least be peace and order within our own walls. No I’m not talking abut building no wall! Not now, not never!

I’m finding that an organized studio allows for more creativity. I may get an idea and need to record it as quickly as possible. If I’m searching for pedals, microphones, cables, picks, etc., it’s starting to rain on my parade.

At this point, I start cursing to myself out loud and may need a time out. For around $200 or less (depending on how much stuff you have) you can get storage containers from Iris and a label maker from Brother.

Think of it as a life investment.

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com
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