You know how a bad mix can really ruin a song?

Yeah, well a spilled drink can ruin a studio.

No, I didn’t ruin my studio last night, but I have come really close a couple times over the years. Nobody ever pays attention to the “no food or drink” signs in professional recording studios, until some dude pours his Red Bull down the middle of an SSL console. (Yep, rumor has it that happened in a big studio here in Nashville.)

So what about your home studio? It’s your home, right? You can do whatever you want. Absolutely. But please, PLEASE be careful.

I talk a lot about getting things done in your home studio and setting deadlines and goals. Heck, I’ve got a whole category of posts on productivity.

But all of those articles and even the tutorial videos here on HSC won’t do you any good if you just spilled your coffee into your computer, interface, preamp, etc. If you’re like most normal people, you won’t be able to just go out and re-buy the gear you just ruined. You’ll have to save up and buy it in a few months…that’s a few months you could’ve used to finish an album.

I had a “close call” a few years ago that scared the crap out of me. I had borrowed a $1,000 tube microphone. I placed the external power supply on my studio desk and was recording away, happy as can be.

Then I reached for my rack (which was on the right side of my desk) to change something, and [insert slow motion here] I knocked over a full cup of coffee, which ran all around the power supply to this fancy-shmancy microphone that I didn’t own.

I panicked, unplugged everything, quickly removed the cover plate to the power supply. Luckily, the coffee only got the bottom of the power supply wet. Nothing seeped up inside the unit itself.

Of course, I didn’t know this for at least 24 hours. I wasn’t about to plug a wet power supply back in to see if it still worked.

That was a long 24 hours.

Luckily, everything was fine, and I returned the microphone and power supply (and a faint coffee smell) back to its original owner.

My Advice To You

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you not to bring any liquids into your studio. However, you should take a second to create a special place on your desk or in your studio for drinks.

Don’t even think about putting the drink on the same side of your desk as your interface, preamps, etc. You’re constantly reaching for things, tweaking knobs. You will inevitably have a Joe moment.

Instead, put your drink in a somewhat secluded place.

I put my drinks to the LEFT of my 003. All my gear is to the RIGHT of it. The way it’s set up now, the only thing I can really do is knock the drink into the floor. I’ll take that.

Do you have any spilled drink horror stories? Were you that guy who ruined a really nice console in Nashville? Leave a comment! 😉

[Photo by dicktay2000]