Last Updated: November 2019
Everyone has an ideal setup, but most of us compromise on using “whatever we can find” or overspending on furniture we don’t love. Your desk should be the centerpiece of your studio. Not only is it essential for optimizing your workflow, but it also secures your precious gear and sets the stage for your best work.
Every time the conversation of studio chairs and desks arises here at Output, a frenzy ensues. We’ve done the research for you. From IKEA-affordable to bespoke surfaces, we handpicked our studio favorites.
Output’s goal is to help you make the best music in every way possible. Before creating this series, it seemed like there was a lack of stylish, functional, and affordable designs crafted with your studio needs in mind. That’s why we designed Platform by Output, a studio desk made by musicians, for musicians.
Taking our users’ clever DIY tricks into account, we obsessed over every detail and function. Constructed from 100% real wood and manufactured in the USA, each desk boasts 9U of rack space, a bridge for your monitors/display, sleek cable management, and adjustable height options. And who doesn’t need a studio desk with a keyboard tray?
Just like the same ground-up approach for all Output software, our Platform prototypes were test-driven by our entire team. Platform is a labor of love, and now you don’t have to choose between style or function – you can have it all.
Price: Starting at $549
It’s easy to hate on IKEA, but this Swedish giant makes some great stuff for the price. Since there isn’t an off-the-shelf option that’s perfect for us music folks, you’ll need a thoughtful IKEA studio desk hack to create shelving for your studio monitors and computer monitor.
First, pick a base desk like the LINNMON. Other than color, the main feature you need to consider consider is depth. Most of these desktops are 23 5/8” deep, which may be too shallow once you add a shelf. We recommend choosing one that’s either 25 5/8” or 29 1/2” if you have space.
Now it’s time for the shelf. Currently, we’re fans of the EKBY ALEX, which comes with two drawers to hide cords. We recommend attaching CAPITA shelf legs and voila. You have a free standing shelf to sit on top of your desk.
Instead of having one long shelf you could cut a regular piece of shelving into small squares, screw four legs on to each, and you’ll have two small shelves for your studio monitors. The computer monitor will sit on the desk and the studio monitors will be elevated on either side.
$39 for Linnmon
The disadvantage of this Target desk is its shallow depth (16”), but the advantage is the built-in wire management, cheap price, and sleek look. While it’s not ideal for those with lots of gear, it could be awesome for someone with a minimal setup – especially as a bedroom studio desk.
To make this piece of furniture a bit more functional for recording purposes, we recommend adding a retractable keyboard tray underneath, using studio monitor stands behind the desk, and even modifying the drawers to provide room for your Sidecar.
You can really make these modifications to any desk. Writing desks tend to work best since their designs are often simple and ready for customization, while computer desks often incorporate unnecessary shelves.
There aren’t many specially designed choices under $1,000, which is precisely why Guitar Center created this recording desk. It’s sturdy, functional, and – most importantly – affordable. Though you can choose between 46” and 30” width options, we recommend the 46” version to accommodate a full-sized keyboard controller. This is a solid desk all around.
Once you get above $1,000, the options come pouring in. The variations tend to center around materials, rack space number/placement, and room for a full-sized keyboard. Slovenian Studio Desk offers radical desks with creative functionality – perfect for a small space, no matter the size of your mixing console. Check out the Commander V2 desk’s multiple space-saving functionalities, and consider expanding to the keyboard stand and rack unit as your studio grows.
Adjustable studio desks offer considerable health benefits. An electric adjustable standing desk with a scratch-resistant top, cable management, and a slew of available customizations is icing on the cake.
If you choose a product like the Evodesk Standing Desk, the obvious challenge will lie in your studio’s acoustic treatment. Make sure any acoustical panels to the left and right cover the entire height span of your desk, and remember that things may sound slightly different closer to the ceiling.
The best desks for music production have great cable management. You’ll need a single power cable (with lots of slack) to feed the desk, and all of the power cables linking the gear and computer should connect to a power strip attached to the underside of the desk. This way, you’ll avoid slack issues when the desk moves up and down. You’ll need to have your studio monitors on the desk (not on a stand behind), so make sure they’re stable.
Prices: Upon request
There are multiple standing desk options out on the market so if you’re interested in the concept, definitely do your research. Autonomous makes the SmartDesk for $300 which looks very cool. Ron Eigen built his own using an Uplift Desk base and a custom top from It’s Not Trash Designs (pictured). Since it’s not a typical studio solution, you may have to get creative like Ron.
We met the SCS desk team at an event and were very impressed. This particular 88 keys desk is perfect for a home studio that’s centered around a keyboard, and we love the way the keyboard can be tucked away. Add a few rack spaces for your outboard gear, shelves for studio monitors, an area for a computer monitor, and this setup has everything.
Handmade in Nashville (which is definitely reflected in the price), this is a serious music producer desk. If you’re not moving any time soon, we highly recommend this piece.
This Monkwood Studio design is similar to the SCS desk above, but with a gorgeous custom edge. It might be pricey, but we just can’t resist the charm.
For those who crave the VIP treatment, every Beijer Workstation is custom, built-to-order, and jaw-droppingly beautiful. Predictably, they can be found in the studios of many of the world’s leading composers. Though it looks like the majority of pieces are built for composers (with an embedded keyboard), they build music producer desks, too.
Price: Upon request
Finding a simple yet sturdy workstation can be tricky, but the YAN desk comes in customizable heights and widths (up to 71”!), and there’s an endless variety of storage solutions to pair it with.
Price: Starting at $610
The Blue Lounge StudioDesk appears deceptively simple, but the hidden compartment tucked under the tabletop provides just the right amount of storage space for just about anything you can think of.
We’re a fan of simplicity, and the Loring Writing Desk is a perfect choice for just about any aesthetic and room size. Even better, the two outlets and two USB ports hidden along the back mean that this is one of the best home studio desks for all levels of expertise.
With Output’s Studio Collection, you’ll discover gear that’s designed by musicians for musicians. Discover how to streamline your home studio with our expert products.