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Do you drink coffee in the studio or, worse still, sticky soft drinks?

Spill your coffee in the studio and just how much trouble and expense do you think you will get into?

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Obviously you realize that you shouldn't spill any coffee or sticky drinks on the equipment. But what would happen if you did?

If you were lucky enough not to be electrocuted you would find that the keys on your keyboard instrument wouldn't work properly. You could take the keyboard apart and clean it, but it would probably always be unreliable from that point on.

If you spill it on the mixing console then it depends on the professionalism of the build quality. In high class studios where high class artists record, it ought to be inconceivable that a small spillage could ruin hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mixing console. Indeed, the faders are designed so that the working parts are set aside from the slot, so any spills fall straight through. Potentiometers and switches have a reasonable degree of sealing too, but it's still best not to test it.

But back in the average studio, what item of equipment is most at risk? How about the computer?

Well normally that's not such a problem. You wouldn't be crazy enough to allow anyone to put a cup or can on top of the computer itself, and the monitor probably wouldn't have any suitable surfaces anyway. If you spill your drink on the keyboard or mouse, well they only cost a couple of dollars apiece, if you buy right, and the the minor expense will teach you not to do the same thing again.

Most at risk is the laptop computer. The keyboard is an intrinsic part of the computer and you will find that to buy a replacement will cost you a hefty price. To have it fitted by an expert (although you can do it yourself - it's just a little fiddly) will cost even more.

In fact the total could be so much that you could spend a little extra and get a new computer. Perhaps you had better start looking at the terms of your insurance policy.

One useful tip is to have low tables for drinks - lower than any of your equipment. That way only the carpet gets messed up.

Oh by the way, the writer of this article has lived and learned!

By David Mellor Monday February 13, 2006
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