Archive for May, 2009

Studio Security – What I should have done, and what you should do now

Retrospect is a wonderful thing; it shows you everything you should have done and would have done if you’d known that you should have done it.

Having my studio broken into and emptied has, as you can imagine, given me lots of insight into what I should have done, both to protect myself, and my insurance claim. Some stuff I did do, but other bits it didn’t occur to me at all to do, and I’ve a feeling I’m going to seriously regret it in the very near future.

So, for the sake of all those of you with music studios still intact, and in the hope that it might throw a bit of badly-needed good karma in this direction, here’s the full list of things I really should have done, and that you should do right now.

  1. Take photos of all your studio gear, both individually, and in place in your studio. This will help the police with identification (your local PC won’t know the difference between an 808 and and 303, believe me), as well as prove to your insurance company that you had the gear. This latter reason is very important; the insurance company will need either a box, receipt, or photo as part of your setup to prove you had the gear – so if like me you bought a lot of stuff secondhand, you’re unlikely to have a box or receipt. Which brings me to my next point:
  2. Keep all the receipts for the items you’re insuring. We’re having to go through 10 years of work accounts to dig out the specific receipts for my studio, and it’s a long and laborious task, especially considering the fact that as I mentioned before, I don’t have receipts for a lot of stuff. So when you buy second hand kit from ebay or whatever, it would be a real help if you were to get a receipt for it too, even if it’s a hand-scrawled-and-signed receipt.
  3. Get the serial numbers of all hardware. For the same reason as above; and so that you provide the Police with a solid way of knowing that they have your specific gear.
  4. Mark your name and Postcode on all hardware with a security pen. It’ll make it more difficult for thieves to sell on your kit without it being discovered as stolen at some point. It’ll also again help Police with identification.
  5. Make sure that you have excellent locks on your studio door, even if the door doesn’t lead to outside.
  6. Fit an alarm, so that if someone does get in while you’re asleep in the next room, you’ll hear it! I know that sounds rediculous, but these guys filled a van full of my gear virtually under my nose as I slept. You can pick up an inexpensive but noisy alarm at any decent DIY store.
  7. Make backups of your important files, and KEEP THEM IN A DIFFERENT BUILDING. I made backups of a lotof my work, but the thieves took the backup drive too, as it was sitting on top of the PC; I thought I was backing up to secure agains hard drive failure; it didn’t occur to me that my stuff might be stolen. There are online backup services too that might be more relevant in some situations.
  8. Record Stem mixes of your tunes, burn the files to individual CDs/DVDs, and store them in a different building. If your music computer is stolen, the chances are that you won’t be able to recreate or replace all the sounds and plugin settings for your tunes,even if you’re able to get hold of or remember which plugins you used for the tune.If you save stem mixdowns of your tunes as a matter of course when a track is completed, you’ll be able to:a) easily remix it or do new mixdowns when you come to master for a release,
    b) still play versions of them live with Ableton etc, and
    c) get at the tunes on a different computer if you suddenly find that you have no music studio.

    For me, this point is the one out of all of them that I wish I’d done the most.

So well I hope that helps somebody, do get this stuff done; it’s so so simple, but could totally save you in the future!

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May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm 2 comments

My studio’s been burgled – Please look over this kit list

The night before last thieves broke into my studio, and virtually emptied it.

It was a tight, clean job; I didn’t hear a thing, and from the few things that they didn’t take, it’s obvious that they knew what they were looking for. Not only have I lost my entire studio, but I’ve lost the source and master files for every tune I’ve ever written; they were on my PC and backup drive, and they took both. So you can imagine, I’m pretty damn gutted right now.

So, I just wanted to publish this list of the main things that were taken, and to ask you to look over it, just in case you’re approached by someone with kit to sell.

Here’s the list of the stuff I can remember off the top of  my head; I haven’t been able to do a thorough stock-take, as I’m still waiting for SOC officers to come and do their forensics etc.

I’ve added a link next to every item that I could find a photo of, so that you know what to look out for.

 PC Pentium Core 2 Duo 4GB in a silver case with clear sides – CPU fan lights up blue..
KRK RP6 Monitor Speakers link
KRK 10S Sub Woofer link
Korg X3 Synth link
Roland JD-990 Rackmount Synthesiser link
Yamaha 01v Digital Mixing Desk link
JSH Digital Delay
1 x Compressor (sorry can’t for the life of me remember the make and model)
19” rack black quicklok stand
Sequential Circuits Pro One – link – With 2 buttons missing, and one of the wooden sides missing
2 x Acer 17” Display Monitors
Focusrite LiquidMix link
Focusrite Saffire Audio Interface link
Novation Nocturn Controller – link
Behringer BCD3000 MP3 DJ Hardware link
Brown WMC 2009 DJ Bag (there can’t be many of them in the country) – Just mention it as it’s quite unique – oh, yeah, it DID have all the business cards of all the contacts I made at the conference in it… :((
Black WMC 2008 DJ bag – link –  I mention it here for the same reason as above.
Steinberg Cubase Studio 4 software – link
FXpansion Guru Software – link
NI Electonic Instruments 2 XT Software – link
Buffalo External Hard Drive
Sherwood Amplifier
Kenwood Cassette Deck
Kenwood CD Player
Arcam Turntable
Sony DAT Machine

If you’re approached with anything that makes you think it might have come from my studio, please email me on paul@bluze.net

Thanks for all the support and kind messages and offers of help that everyone’s sent me, it means a lot.

May 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm 5 comments


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