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Zaor Miza 88XL Studio Desk

Studio Furniture
Published May 2014
By Hugh Robjohns

I decided recently that I needed to reorganise my 'office' — a modestly sized spare room where I do all my magazine writing, equipment bench tests, some listening tests, and generally hang out. I needed to make it a more efficient and less cluttered working environment, and key to that would be a new desk that could house some outboard equipment as well as my master keyboard, to free up a lot of space elsewhere in the room. The possibility of relocating in the not‑too‑distant future made a custom‑made solution impractical — that's an approach I'll save for a more permanent location — and instead I browsed for cost‑effective off‑the‑shelf options.

Zaor are studio furniture manufacturers with a head office in Luxembourg, and I first discovered them when I reviewed their simple but impressively effective height‑adjustable monitor stands (SOS January 2012). They produce a wide range of studio desks, speaker stands, equipment racks, DJ consoles and so on, mostly constructed from machined MDF with wood veneers and real‑wood edgings. It's all well designed, both mechanically and aesthetically, and the Miza range caught my eye. There are five desks (and matching accessories) on offer in a variety of sizes and configurations, finished in bleached oak, black cherry or wengé (which is a dark grey colour, apparently!). The company will also make bespoke variants of standard products if you want something a bit different.

I opted for the 88XL model in black cherry, which combines three 4U‑high equipment bays at the back of the desk, with a deep monitor surface above, and a sturdy keyboard shelf below, capable of carrying an 88‑note master keyboard. The desk is supplied as a flat‑packed kit for home‑assembly, and shipped in two large chipboard and double‑walled cardboard cases on a pallet. The first case weighs 40kg and the second a whopping 70kg, but each desk panel inside is carefully wrapped in padded foam sheets (some with numbers written on the wrappings), and all held in place with polystyrene blocks and padding pieces, so that damage in transit is very unlikely.

After unpacking the boxes and moving the individual pieces indoors, I perused the assembly instructions, which are entertainingly brief! None of your detailed Ikea‑style step-by-step diagrams here — you get one sheet of A4 with a (slightly) exploded diagram of numbered panels, and that's it! Thankfully, assembly is fairly obvious and straightforward, as wooden locating dowels are already in place and the joints are completed by screwing in metal fixing posts and inserting their mating locking cams. The rack‑mounting brackets, shelf‑sliders, wheels and skid pads are all pre‑installed for accuracy and convenience. The whole assembly only took a leisurely hour or so, and I managed it entirely single‑handed (although a helper would be useful with the larger pieces).

The overall design is well thought out and the completed construction feels solid and sturdy. The equipment racks are angled back slightly, and easy to reach, with large diameter access holes at the back of the base panels to allow cables to pass neatly into a rear cable tray. The keyboard shelf is particularly well engineered, with sliding rails on each side of the shelf itself as well as at the base of the supporting legs, which have wheels to help take the strain, so the weight of the keyboard is passed straight to the floor, rather than through the desk structure. At 142 x 18 x 43 cm (WHD) the keyboard shelf can accommodate pretty much every master keyboard, and had no problem with my Nord Stage 88.

The required number of metal fixing posts and cams was supplied (no spares), but I was surprised that cage nuts weren't included for the rack ears! Thankfully, I had some to hand, but I can imagine many customers finding their absence very frustrating.

The Miza 88XL desk is easy to construct, sturdy and solid when completed, and well‑engineered. The equipment racks are positioned nicely and fall in easy reach, and the keyboard shelf is cleverly designed and works very well indeed. There are countless manufacturers of studio furniture, each with different design aims and facilities, but I am impressed with Zaor and would recommend their consideration if you're in the market for a new desk.

€849 including VAT.

www.zaorstudiofurniture.com

Published May 2014