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Your problem is that you simply don't have enough displays in your studio

Two displays good - six displays better?

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I was watching a current affairs program on TV the other day when they had a report on City (the UK's 'Wall Street') traders, dealing in stocks, shares, currency and all sorts of other things I have absolutely zero interest in. What did interest me however were the workstations these traders use. They would typically have six or eight large LCD monitors arranged three or four across and two high, per person. The displays were angled so that the trader would have a clear view of each one. The sheer quantity of data presented on these displays was impressive, but my thoughts turned to the comparison with audio.

In audio, most people are content with a single display. Some, who can afford a little more to spend, will have two. Two is actually a good number, one for the edit (arrange) page, the other for the mixer page of common audio recording software. For most of us, it would be too expensive to consider using more than two, but in high end audio applications, cost is by no means a problem.

So I have to wonder why it is when such systems can be used elsewhere, why they are not used in audio? Imagine, with six displays you could have the edit page on one, the mixer page on another, and have four whole displays left over for your software instruments!

If anyone had been foolhardy enough to try this with old-fashioned CRT (cathode ray tube) displays, one would have to worry about casting an x-ray shadow on the wall behind, such are their undesirable emissions. But LCDs are positively green and organic in comparison.

So why not?

There is one very good reason why multiple displays would not be advantageous for audio. It has something to do with those two flaps of skin and gristle on either side of your head...

Yes, in audio we listen. The display is there merely as a guide. The moment it becomes a distraction is a dangerous moment. For it to overwhelm one's attention could be folly indeed.

But wouldn't it be interesting to try..?

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By David Mellor Monday October 9, 2006
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