Building The Digital Palace

Back in the 90s when the internet meant dialup, I rented a room from a guy who worked at an Intel plant. He was trying to get an ISDN line put it for internet, and I was discussing it with the general manager of the radio station that I worked for.

John Davis

“ISDN? Damn. Sounds like the digital palace.”

He was always a man who could coin a phrase, and it’s been bouncing around in my head while constructing my home studio.

Towards the end of March 2020, as everything shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself needing to create a space at home to get work done. I’ve been the technical support manager for an audio console company for close to 20 years, and last year I added sales duties for that company. I’ve also been on the radio in Houston a couple days a week for the past 17 years or so. Now, with the need to do both of these things from home for possibly an extended period, it was time to build the digital palace.

The Building Blocks

The guts of the home office were here, just in pieces. Two years ago, my wife and I founded LFD Agency, LLC for Laura’s Public Relations agency, LFD Communications. That meant we already had all of the home office infrastructure already in place – internet access and IP phones were not a problem.

When we got married, we had a home office upstairs with a couple of desks. As that room became her full-time workplace, I still had a desk there, but it wouldn’t be a great place to work. It’s really hard for two people to be on different phone/Skype/Zoom/Teams/Webex calls in a 10 x 10 room at the same time. So when I first moved my office home, I took up residence at the dining room table.

Good luck reading copy with a blanket over your head.

While that logistically worked because we weren’t interfering with each others’ work, it couldn’t be a permanent solution. The ceiling, walls, and window in the dining room created an echo chamber, and I needed to do a radio show. I tried using a foam baffle and blanket forts, but it it didn’t sound great. Plus at some point we’d want to have dinner in that room again.

So it was time for a change. We have a craft room that goes largely unused, with a bed that neither of us could remember anyone sleeping on while we have been married. The bed was going to come out, a new desk going in, and the Digital Palace was about to come to life.

I realize that what I have built here is complete overkill. But there is a method to my madness. My job is to help people buy and set up networked audio equipment. Why would I put a Mackie in the corner, especially when I know Audio over IP and having a bunch of AoIP gear at home would mean that I could test new products as we developed them. Let’s build.