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Studio Cable Management for Podcasters: Keeping Things Tidy

Podcast studio cable management. A truly riveting subject!

It is actually one of these weird subcultures in the tech world though. I hadn't realised this until I was recently handed the task of tidying up our own studio.

There are folks out there who are obsessed with keeping cables tidy. And there's lots of products out there which help them to do so.

Studio Cables Before

The Podcast Host Studio

Our own studio was getting embarrassing. It was one of those situations where the basic kit was set up, and then additional things have been added and moved around as and when they were needed.

It got to the stage where the most frequently asked question in our office always started with “have you seen the…”, and the reply was usually “I think it's in that Lovecraftian horror behind the studio desk”.

So time to get to work then.

Planning or Procrastination?

I didn't have the heart to wade in there are meticulously plan everything I needed. I wanted the studio to remain operational until I was in the position to pull it all apart and put it back together again within 24 hours.

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Ploughing through all that stuff without doing anything to it just felt like procrastination too. Delaying the inevitable.

Fortunately, cable management kit isn't expensive, as it turns out. On top of that, you'll always find a use for any “leftovers” you might have once the deed is done.

I'm not saying “don't plan” though. I think it's a bit like writing. You've got your plotters, and your seat-of-the-pants-ers.

I wonder if Stephen King himself could've pulled a plot out of that mess though.

Shopping List

One of the aims here was to achieve as permanent a setup as possible.

In the past we've “borrowed” certain things from the studio setup (like XLR cables) then put them back afterwards.

If I've done my job right this won't be so easy now though, so we needed to buy additional gear.

  1. AGPTEK Neoprene Zip-up Cable Sleeves & Cable Clips
  2. SimpleCord Cable Concealer On-Wall Cord Cover Raceway Kit
  3. Cable Management Box and Power Strip Organizer
  4. Hynec Technologies Cable Management Kit

Some of the cables we were using were way too long as well. This was just contributing to the electric spaghetti look behind the desk.

I replaced a 6m XLR cable with a 3m one. XLR cables we'll often use for their quality-to-value ratio are from LyxPro, Planet Waves, and Van Damme.

Very long monitor and stereo Y-cables were replaced with more appropriate-sized versions too.

The longer ones will make useful spares, and can be used to take with us for future location recordings.

The mouse and keyboard were replaced with new wireless versions too. The less wires and cables, the better!

Dismantling Everything

I got an early indication of why cable management is such a big hobby for some. It was quite satisfying ripping into everything, separating it, and putting it aside.

It's surprising how many unconnected cables, adapters, and power leads were in there. Stuff that had been added in at one point but were now serving no purpose.

I set everything that I needed to one side, and tidied all the excess away elsewhere.

Putting it Back Together

I started with the bare essentials. We need the 3 mics (Samson Q2Us) running into the mixer (Yamaha MG10), which is connected to the computer, and records into the Zoom H5.

The computer has two monitors, a keyboard, and mouse.

Once I'd set everything up again, I looked at where the cables were running, and started to see ways I could tidy them up.

My main goal – aside from it being much tidier – was to keep the audio cables away from the electronic cables as much as possible.

For more on this, check out our article on whether or not cable crossing is a bad thing.

Cable Raceway

Raceways & Routing

These were the quick wins I needed, and again, I felt that wee bit satisfaction at sticking the raceways to various parts of the desk and routing cables through them.

Right away that looked much tidier.

I then started to group the XLR cables that ran alongside each other using the velcro scripts and cable sleeves.

Some wee stick-on clips were added too, where needed.

Tidy Studio

Cable Management Box

Shoving the adapter and all the plugs and power boxes into here made a big difference too.

Even if I didn't do any of the other stuff, this alone would've looked tidier, once all the excess was away.

Tidy Podcast Studio

The Tidy Studio

Safe to say the studio is now fit for human habitation and use once again.

This isn't like one of those videos where someone creates a scenario where you literally can't even see a single cable.

But it's a working podcast studio. It needs to be tidy, but also practical.

On top of that, our job is podcasting, not full time cable managers.

This is a solution that was both cheap and quick to set up.

So if you're a busy podcasters with a Lovecraftian Horror cable problem, I just want you to know that it doesn't need to be difficult to fix!

Need Help Tidying Your House?

We probably can't offer you that service, to be honest.

But we can advice you on all things audio-gear, or work with you to plan, launch, and grow your podcast inside The Podcast Host Academy.

That’s where you’ll get access to our community, live Q&A sessions, video courses, ebooks, and much more.

It's pretty tidy in there too. No cables lying around…

Discussion:

3 Comments

  1. diogo Palma on 22nd April 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Hello, Thanks for sharing these ideas. Having an organized desktop helps to work better or at least, I found myself more calm. I would like to ask you what brands or range of price do you recommend for XLR cables ? The most cheap XLR cable will do the job (shure sm58 to external sound card)? Or you need an expensive gold Mogami ? Thanks

    • Matthew McLean on 25th April 2018 at 9:32 am

      Thanks Diogo. The Mogami cables are great, but we don’t tend to spend as much as that to get quality models. Have added some links into the article to what we typically use. Hope that’s useful!

  2. David Mullane on 25th July 2018 at 10:24 am

    It is always a very tough task to manage our desk properly, but when I read your post. I can say that you have shared a great post to educate people how they can organize their desk properly. thanks

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Written by:

Matthew McLean

Matthew is an audio drama writer and producer who enjoys talking about podcasts. He makes the tea at The Podcast Host, and is a loyal servant of adopted house rabbits.

April 4th 2018