The Ikea 19" Studio Rack!

Building a 19” Studio Rack from Ikea stock
I’ve been working as a recording engineer out of my home for the past 3 years, recently taking it a little further and quitting my full time job to work more in music. Over time, I’ve built up assets in the studio including an SSL Nucleus control surface. To be able to use this, it obviously needs some kind of sizeable table to be able to support the surface, laptop, monitor controller etc.

If you’re like me and wanting to build a studio environment, it’s natural to shop around for studio workstations from the likes of Quicklok. As awesome as most of them look, it’s really only the more expensive ones that give the required space and the cheaper ones look like computer desks with add ons and really don’t project the ‘studio’ feel.

At the moment, I’m not really prepared to invest £800 - £3000 on a table that’s not really going to help me so I opted for a simple Ikea desk to start with and it’s perfect. It holds the SSL, my Macbook, Mackie Big Knob and more. However, as time went on, I felt the need to rack up my interfaces and outboard, although I don’t use that much. I wanted to make my environment a little tidier and a little more professional. Still, I found that simple 19” cabinets were a little more than I was willing to pay. Either that or the styles didn’t match, they were the wrong size or colour. Even keeping an eye on the second hand market for a long period of time hadn’t helped.

I’d been inspired to used Ikea furnitiure since seeing a Pro Tools Expert piece on a community member building baffles from a Billy book case. This led me, first off, to build a bass trap from an old billy book case and a load of insulation material which - hung on the back wall - has made a bit of a difference. After becoming frustrated at not being able to find a suitable 19” rack unit to fit into my studio aesthetic, I decided to trawl Ikea to see if any of their units would be suitable.

As it turns out - I was able to build a terrific 19” rack unit for £30... and it matches my studio aesthetic and gives me an additional work surface as well.

The main unit is a component part of the Besta entertainment centre. This cost £20.

Being a little wide, I needed to build in some braces to mount the 19” units on and at first I was going to buy a second Besta unit to steal the sides. The top and bottom could also have been used to make the unit slightly taller or shelves in the studio. However, walking through Ikea I walked past the coat hanger units, which were £5 each, and this made me wonder whether they would do. If they would, it would save me £10! They were ever so slightly too big, but there was enough there to easily cut it down to the required size.

I’ve cut out a hole in the back to be able to get access to the I/O in the rear. I’ve got access to all of the I/O in there at the moment and the hole is hidden from view quite nicely.

Ikea Besta
ikea hanger

The hanger wood is really strong - drilling through was really tough - so I opted for screwing in my units with small screws. The result looks great, is sturdy and strong, functional and looks great with the rest of my studio furniture. I’d highly recommend this over the lower budget rack units commercially available!

Parts required:

Besta Unit: 202.459.64 (Black) - £20
Tjusig hanger: 402.426.53 (White) - £5 each (£10)

The codes obviously are different for the different colours available, but if you can find the unit in one colour it’ll give you to the options for the others as well.

Feel free to take the idea to build your own and let me know if you found this useful.