Not all that long ago, bands and artists had to scrimp and save to put enough money together to book even just a little bit of studio time in order to record a demo, but with the advent of the USB interface, home recording has become accessible to pretty much everyone.
Many players get great results with just a laptop, a mic, and their interface, but if you really want to take things to the next level, you might find yourself wanting to create a dedicated recording space.
One of the more overlooked elements of home recording studios is the humble desk. You might be reading this and wondering why the kind of desk you use makes a difference – but trust us, once you’ve used a purpose built studio desk, you’ll understand why, and you’ll never want to go back.
One of the best options for a studio desk setup right now is the Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Package. It offers insane value, and the best part about it is that it’s a modular design, meaning you can configure it in many different ways to suit your needs.
Our friends at Sweetwater were kind enough to send us one to try out at the new KillerGuitarRigs headquarters, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be covering the Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Package – so, if you’re in the market for a new studio desk, you won’t want to miss this.
Who is This Desk For?
The Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Package isn’t a cheap desk by any stretch, but if you’re trying to take home recording seriously, it’s well worth the investment. Even if you’re trying to fit out a pro studio, this desk is full of pro level features, and the build quality is more than good enough to stand up to years of daily use.
How Easy is it to Build the Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Package
The Gator Frameworks Elite Desk Bundle came flat packed, which did mean that had to assembled it in its entirety. If you’ve ever built anything from Ikea, though, this shouldn’t be challenging at all for you. The instructions were well written, and we think they were really easy to follow.
It came with all of the necessary hardware, and then some. We actually received full spare sets of screws and bolts – we weren’t quite sure why, but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them!
We were able to put it together in an afternoon using the kind of basic tools most people have around the house – in all, it was an easy, and dare we say fun project that really tied together our new recording room. Not only were we impressed with how easy it was to assemble, but also with how easy it was to adjust after we’d built it. One particular stand out feature was the adjustable leveling on the legs, which let us make fine adjustments to account for uneven floors and get the desk perfectly level.
Features / Function / Design
Gator Frameworks are renowned for their quality music accessories, from stands, to cases, and of course, desks. The Elite desk package had a super sleek design, with features purpose built for recording, podcasting, streaming, or gaming.
The bundle included the main desk, the corner section, and a side car. Our setup arrived in a gorgeous Driftwood Grey finish, but it’s also available in Black, Dark Walnut Brown, and Natural Maple Matte – so there’s really a color to suit every aesthetic.
The main desk was a really contemporary looking piece of furniture. The thin legs had a real Bauhaus look about them, and we absolutely loved it. Keeping that sleek look was really easy thanks to the integrated cable management. We’ve had our fair share of desks over the years, and trying to keep cables organized tends to be the bane of our existence, but the Gator Elite desk made it super simple.
It was spacious, and well thought out in terms of tabletop real estate. It featured customizable dividers that allowed us to choose between a 4U and an 8U rack setup, and this is what really separates pro studio desks from regular computer desks, in our opinion.
We loved the pull out keyboard tray, which was able to slide in and out on its super smooth rails. The keyboard tray was actually big enough to accommodate a 49 key keyboard, which is something producers will really find useful.
If you need to mount a boom arm mic, you’ll be pleased to know that it already came with a pre routed hole – we’ve ruined many a perfectly good computer desk trying this ourselves in the past, so we were definitely pleased to see this pre-prepped.
The corner unit only had 2 legs, but it attached firmly to both the desk and the side car, which made it rock solid.
On the topic of the side car, we really found it to be incredibly useful. It had 10 units of rack space, and our Focusrite Scarlett found its home there immediately. Again, it was really sturdy, and provided a ton of storage – as well as additional table top surface to put our Marshall Origin 20w head and our Universal Audio Ox Box, keeping them to hand at all times.
We hadn’t mentioned it quite yet, but Sweetwater also sent us a set of Gator Frameworks clamp on studio monitor stands. These stands are absolute essentials – not only do they clamp extremely securely, but they allowed us to retain almost all of our desk space. If you have bigger monitors, this is a must. Not only that, but they had an EVA surface, which damped vibrations, and didn’t cause the desk to act like a soundboard, which further improved the quality of the sound we got from our speakers. We found that they made a huge difference, and we can’t imagine life without them now!
The speaker stands had a super high load capacity at 60 lb each, which enabled us to set up with our studio monitors without any concerns for safety.
The thing we liked the most about the Gator Frameworks Elite Desk is that it’s modular design means it’s adaptable for just about any use case.
As we mentioned, the main desk comes with a riser that can be set up either as a 4u single rack setup or a dual 4u setup giving you 8u of space – or, if you want to put all your rack gear in the sidecar, you can just leave out the riser entirely.
Similarly, the slide out keyboard tray can accommodate a 49-note keyboard, or it can fit your keyboard and mouse if you’re not looking to put a piano keyboard there – or you can just leave it out entirely if you want more space under the desk so you can sit higher.
In our opinion, this is what makes the desk perfect for just about any use case – if you’re a student who wants some rack space, you can set this up as an open table top layout (to fit books and other study materials) while putting your rack gear in the side car. On the other hand, if all you want is to have your keyboard for when you want to practice piano or synth, you can use it as a regular desk for work or study, but with your keyboard instantly to hand.
In integrating the modular design, Gator have made this a desk that works for every musical and audio production use case without making the desk unusable for other uses – and that’s the killer feature of this desk that makes it stand out.
Final Thoughts on the Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Package
We totally get that furniture isn’t as exciting as a new interface or rack mounted effects processor, but unless you’ve got somewhere to store your electronics properly, your recording space is never truly going to be complete. If you’re going to go to the trouble of buying high end gear to get the perfect recording, do it justice by investing in a proper workstation like the Gator Frameworks Elite Complete Desk Bundle.
We thought this desk was stylish, sturdy, and extremely practical. At first you might think that it’s expensive for a desk, but in reality it offers a lot of value when you consider just how sturdy it is, and how much more efficiency you’ll gain in the studio by using a purpose built setup like this.