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By Dennis Kambury
As studio gear gets increasingly computer savvy, video monitors and computer keyboards are becoming common adjuncts. In my studio, for example, I have two computers, a Mackie d8b mixer, and a Mackie HDR24/96 recorder, all of which support a keyboard, monitor, and mouse. The benefits are incredible, but there is a hidden cost - the workspace! Monitors are big, bulky, and hot; keyboards take up large chunks of desk space; and the connecting wires are everywhere (mostly underfoot)! With only two hands at my disposal having four monitors, four keyboards, and four mice seemed pointless.
To solve the problem, I adopted two complementing solutions. I chose monitors that feature switchable dual inputs. This allows me to flip between my Mac and my PC on one monitor; and between my mixer and recorder on the other. For the keyboard and mouse solution, I use KVM (Keyboard - Video - Mouse) switchers, available at most computer stores. I use one KVM switch to allow a single keyboard and mouse to control either the Mac or the PC, and another switch to connect another keyboard/mouse to either the d8b or the HDR24/96.
Since the d8B controls the transport of the HDR24/96 flawlessly, I find I rarely switch between those two units. I seldom use both the Mac and PC simultaneously, so the KVM is a great solution there, too. When I DO need to have control of both, I've got a pair of Contour ShuttlePRO controllers connected to the USB ports on both computers.
Having fewer computer components lying around lets you concentrate on what's really important - capturing the music!