Review: Rack Writer Dry-Erase Rack Panels

In my studio rack, I now have one dual-channel and three 8-channel rackmount mic preamps (for a total of 26 inputs) that I use for recording all of the vocals and instruments. One of the challenges to any session is remembering which mic is connected to which preamp. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself twiddling a Gain knob to no avail, only to realize that I grabbed the wrong knob by mistake. So the thought occurred to me–wouldn’t it be nice if I could label each preamp channel somehow, so that I could easily see which one I was actually adjusting?

Fortunately, I wasn’t the first person that this thought occurred to, and someone had already created a handy solution: the Rack Writer. The Rack Writer is a white plastic rack panel available in 1U and 2U sizes. Here’s the kicker–you can write on it with a Dry-Erase marker. This lets you quickly and easily re-label your channels without having to remove any tape, and without leaving any sticky residue on your blank rack panels.

If you don’t change the labels very often, or if the panel will commonly get brushed by your hand or sleeve (which would wipe off the Dry Erase markings), you can also use a permanent marker (e.g. Sharpie) on it. The only difference is, to remove what’s been written with a permanent marker, you simply write over it with the Dry Erase marker (which reactivates the permanent marker’s ink), and then it will wipe clean!

As you might imagine, you can use the Rack Writer for more than labeling your mic pres. You could also use it to remember common settings for other pieces of rack gear (EQ’s, Compressors, Effects, Guitar Amps, etc.), or as a handy notepad that’s always right at your fingertips. Another creative use recommended by the Rack Writer website would be drawing knobs or other controls for a device on the Rack Writer using a Sharpie. Then, use the Dry Erase marker to label where the controls or knobs should be set. If you want to change the setting, just wipe with a paper towel, and only what was written with the Dry Erase marker will come off! Cool stuff, huh?

Each Rack Writer panel comes with a blank panel (1U or 2U) and 4 plastic rack screws. The website says that metal screws are too easily overtightened and could crack the panel, and therefore they recommend using the plastic ones. A Dry Erase marker is also included with each order. Check them out at If you place an order, tell them Jon from Silent Sky Studios sent you.

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