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For producing music, the individual hardware demands of each producer vary dramatically. For those who only use a keyboard and headphones, a coffee table could do. Producers with hardware will need something more specialized.
Generally speaking, a studio desk is a large, multi-level desk with gear rack support. As a result of these simple requirements, hundreds of options for studio desks can be found at any music retailer. Rather than you spending days browsing store-to-store, I decided to buy (then return) a dozen different studio desks to see how my workflow improved.
Without further ado, here are my five best studio desks for music production.
Quicklook – Best Studio Desks 2020
- Studio RTA Producer Station – Best for full-sized pianos
- Output Platform – Best Overall & Best Styling
- WS7500 Studio Desk – Best for Beginners
- Zaor Miza X2 – Best for Professionals
- Omnirax Force 24 Studio Desk – Best for A/V production
Table of Contents
- What to look for?
- Studio RTA Producer Station
- Output Platform
- WS7500 Studio Desk
- Zaor Miza X2
- Omnirax Force 24 Studio Desk
- Compare Desk Dimensions
What to Look For in a Studio Desk?
When looking for a studio desk, you have to weigh personal preferences, affordability, size, and many other factors. For me, these five traits are the most important aspects to a proper studio desk: adjustable height, hardware compatibility, durable construction, angled monitor stands/extra top shelf height, and multiple desk levels. If you take each of those five into account when selecting a desk, you can better ensure that you’ll make the right decision.
While not all desks are adjustable, having the ability to change the height can be incredibly useful for production. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle without feeling in strain on your hands. For producers with multiple instruments, this is even more important to get right. For example, an MPC and a MIDI keyboard controller will have different optimal playing angles. Rather than dealing with hand-cramps or trying to jerry-rig a riser, one can simply adjust the vertical height of the desk.
Make sure that the desk suits your hardware
One of the most common mistakes to make when shopping for a studio desk is not taking into account the size of your hardware. Before you purchase a desk, measure and record the dimensions of your production equipment. If you have a full-sized keyboard, this is especially important. An 88 key MIDI controller usually is too large for most keyboard shelves, meaning that it will have to rest on the desk itself. Essentially, make sure you double-check the dimensions of the desks against your current and planned gear.
The ability to angle your monitors
If you are a producer, monitors are likely part of your production gear. We all know that the direction, angle, and position of monitors is essential to getting accurate sound. If you have a smaller studio desk, it can be hard to find a good position for your monitors without having to remove other pieces of hardware. For positioning, a general rule of thumb is that you want your head to be the same distance from each speaker as the speakers are from each other, a.k.a. an equilateral triangle.
Multiple Level Surface
The advantages of multiple level surfaces are two-fold. For one, verticality allows for much more efficient use of the size of the desk. A 60” by 30” inch flat desk surface is large enough for a keyboard and a computer. But, a two-level desk of the same size could support a pair of monitors, a grid controller, and a second monitor for faster mixing as well. The other advantage to having multiple levels surfaces ties back into an earlier point, making sure that the desk suits your hardware. A keyboard is one of the most common and most cumbersome MIDI instruments that producers use. Having a slide-out shelf saves space, time, and frustration when setting up different gear.
The materials used in the construction of the desk are essential in evaluating the quality of the item. Cheaper desks are made from materials such as plywood or aluminum and are very susceptible to warping/bending/breaking if they are not treated delicately. Look for desks made from steel, birch, oak, or any other hardwood. Birch is especially beneficial as it repels humidity and is very resistant to warping.
Who’s it for? Producers with 88 keys
Where to buy:
The Producer Station by Studio RTA is a behemoth of a desk: able to comfortably support an 88 key MIDI controller, the Producer Station lives up to its name. Featuring dual 13U racks under the work surface, a 5U top rack, and a retractable upper shelf, the Producer Station can support an entire studio’s worth of production gear. What makes the Producer Station so iconic are the quality-of-life features included, such as two headphone hooks for storage, locking wheel casters for transportation, and a CD rack for storing physical audio.
When setting up my gear on the Producer Station, I was able to fit 3 27 inch monitors on the top-level comfortably, an 88 key controller on the main surface, two angled Rokit monitors, 2 MPCs, and my keyboard and mouse. One caveat to the desk’s fantastic price is the construction materials, with stained plywood used for the majority of the body. While I would not recommend plywood usually, Studio RTA uses a high-quality supplier, so I have not encountered any issues with warping or bending.
- 26-1/4″ wide slide-out keyboard shelf
- Ergonomic workspace
- Dual 13-space lower racks
- 5-space top rack
- Retractable upper shelf
- Dual headphone hooks
Who’s it for? Producers with Style
Where to buy:
The Output Platform studio desk is an absolute sight to behold. Seemingly the only studio desk created with style in mind, the Platform is a minimalist three-level desk constructed from solid American birch. The Platform’s keyboard tray is wide enough to support most keyboards up to 61 keys and features an integrated cable manager to keep your workspace decluttered.
The main level is narrow but has enough room to use a computer keyboard and a few MPCs comfortably. Nestled under the top level, the Platform has 3 rack ears, each suitable for holding up to 9U of gear. These rack ears provide enough room for a slew of analog synth effects, as well as a wide-body multi-input rack. Lastly, the Platform is one of the few wooden desks with adjustable height, giving you an inch and a half of room for adjustment.
- Integrated horizontal cable management
- Rack Ears for up to 9U of gear
- Solid birch construction
- 88 key keyboard tray
Who’s it for? Beginner Producers
Where to buy?
If you’re a new producer or just don’t have the hardware, get the WS7500. Incredibly inexpensive, durable, and compact, the WS7500 is a no-frills small studio desk meant for holding the essentials. At just over 40 inches wide, the WS7500 main shelf struggles to fit controllers with a key count of 61 or higher on its surface. The top shelf is the same width, which does offer enough room to support monitors and a vertical/small display.
For my own producing, I found that I could comfortably fit my ROLI Seaboard RISE 49, Rokit 6s, and a 15” laptop all comfortably on the WS7500. However, my larger keyboards (Code 61, KRONOS) eclipsed the available desk space. The best way to break down the WS7500 is based on your production style; if you are a pianist or you use multiple controllers/gear racks in producing, the WS7500 won’t be large enough for you. However, if you are someone who only needs your computer, speakers, and a small controller, this is one of the best options for you.
- Ergonomic design
- Sturdy steel tube frame
- Compact Z-frame with lots of legroom
- Hideaway keyboard shelf
- Expandable surfaces with modular accessories
4. Zaor Miza X2
Who’s it for? Professional Producers
Where to buy?
The Zaor Miza X2 is the flagship studio desk from Zaor, wholly designed for professional musicians and producers. This is evident through its construction: the MIZA comes with built-in height-adjustable speaker stands, 3×4 19” gear racks, and angled computer/controller surfaces. The keyboard tray on the Miza X2 is what I enjoyed the most, featuring an 18 by 70 bay capable of comfortably fitting my Korg Komplete Kontrol S88 keyboard. The angled computer or controller surfaces are especially useful by reducing eye and neck-strain during long production sessions.
What makes the built-in speaker stands so outstanding is the underlying tech, IsoAcoustic’s Aperta acoustic isolation. The IsoAcoutic Aperta stands are some of the most revered speaker isolation solutions on the market, due to their unique isolation tech that provides surprisingly transparent stereo imaging. With the Miza X2, I was able to comfortably fit all of my hardware (2 MPCs, full-sized keyboard, two monitors, computer, and audio racks) without any struggle.
- Retractable Keyboard Shelf
- Expandable Desk Size
- Three 4U rack bays
- Computer storage shelf
- IsoAcoustic Aperta monitor stands
- Angled computer/controller surfaces
Who’s it for? Audio and Video Producers
Where to buy?
The Force 24 by Omnirax is the mid-sized Force desk by Omnirax, featuring one massive desk space and one enormous monitor shelf. Easily able to support 2 full-sized displays as well as monitors, the verticality of the Force 24 helps declutter your workspace and focus on your production. The desk surface can support all key counts and multiple additional pieces of hardware. Rather than have a piano tray, the Force 24 opts for a retractable keyboard and mouse shelf, with adjustable angles.
There are two 12U gear racks with cable management on or underneath the surface of the desk as well. As a cautionary warning, the Force 24 is heavy. Like oppressively heavy. Like, 350 pounds heavy. If you are a producer who frequently travels for gigs, this is not the desk for you. If the weight of the Force 24 isn’t an impediment, I would recommend this studio desk to anyone looking to edit audio or video for extended periods.
- Two 12-space rack bays below the desk surface
- Massive monitor riser
- Built-in computer shelf
- Spacious work surface
- Heavy-duty wheel casters for mobility
- Adjustable keyboard and mouse shelf
Compare Desk Dimensions
(Width by Depth in inches)
|Desk||Usable Levels||Keyboard Shelf||Work Surface||Top Shelf||Bottom Shelf|
|Studio RTA Producer Station||4||26” by 11”||72” by 30”||67” by 13”||72” by 30”|
|Output Platform||3||54” by 15”||60” by 16”||60” by 16”||N/a|
|WS7500 Studio Desk||2||27” by 9.5”||43” by 23.5”||39” by 17”||N/a|
|Zaor Miza X2||3||69” by 18”||74” by 20”||74” by 29”||N/a|
|Omnirax Focus 24||3||26” by 10”||85” by 28”||78” by 8”||N/a|
End of Deskcussion
Choosing a studio desk is a natural process once you know what you are looking for and what to avoid. Measuring your current production hardware and how much you want to spend are the only two steps you need to take before making a decision. While no desk is perfect, I believe that any of the five on this list would be a fantastic choice, depending on your style of production.