Mac Setup: Audio Mixing Engineer’s Hollywood Studio with a New Mac Pro

Feb 15, 2014 - 7 Comments

hollywood-mac-pro-pro-audio-setup

It’s time for another featured Mac setup! This week we’ve got an amazing studio to share from a professional audio mixing engineer and startup founder, let’s get right to it…

Tell us a bit about your studio, and what you use the setup for?

My name is Eros Marcello, I’m in Pro Audio / Music on both sides of the spectrum. On the production end, I’m an active recording & mix engineer. On the manufacturing side, I founded a new startup called Infernal Love, designing cutting edge DSP plug-ins that virtually emulate analog hardware and then some.

I’ve been on the new Mac Pro for several weeks and due the sheer gravity of the machine itself, I assembled a home office/studio accordingly. The studio itself is located in the W Hotel right in the heart of Hollywood, California, directly above the hotel’s Living Room Bar where everything from Jazz Nights to Grammy after-parties are hosted. This makes for a high end yet comfortable vibe for the workspace. 

The assorted items to the far left are select pieces of my film and TV prop collection, including Charlize Theron’s outfit from AeonFlux as well as a clay muppet used in Gremlins 2

(click on images for larger versions)

hollywood-mac-pro-audio-studio-setup

What hardware are you using for your Mac setup?

MAIN HARDWARE 

ACCESSORIES 

STUDIO EQUIPMENT

SOFTWARE

ON THE WAY 

  • Samsung Curved UHD/4K 55″ TV 
  • OCDock
  • Sonnet Echo Dock 15 Pro (loaded with a Western Digital 1TB Velociraptor) 
  • Lacie Sphere
  • LaCie Little Big Disk 2

Why did you pick the new Mac Pro? 

I carefully thought out every aspect of my setup. The idea was to make a workspace that could act as a swiss army knife in it of itself. With that in mind, vibe and the utter absence of cable clutter was essential. I’m already a neo-Mac Pro advocate and immediately sought to assemble a setup showcasing that, with a very small amount of effort, you can have a super clean, tidy rig all the while utilizing the machine’s massive array of external expansion. I feel that I’ve done my part in debunking the now commonplace myth that the new Mac Pro will serve as a inconvenient addition to one’s work environment. 

mac-pro-audio-studio-guitars

Can you elaborate on some of the other equipment and why you chose it?

First and foremost, due to the nature of my profession, critical listening is vital. Obviously, I didn’t acoustically treat my entire loft apartment, so rocking entirely on monitors would be out of the question. But to minimize issues, I slipped a large plank of high density fiberglass behind the tapestry on the wall. I use the Beats Pros when making critical mix decisions or fine tuning algorithms my programming team concocts. People tend to scoff at using Beats for professional applications and that’s how you can tell they’re regurgitating what they’ve read on some forum. The first pair of monitors I ever purchased were Yamaha NS-10s. Thus far, the Beats Pros are the closet thing to recreating that flat frequency response and overall listening experience in headphone form. They’re very flat and transparent and I highly recommend them. The “over-pronounced bass” outcry may extend to the lower end line but I have those as well and its nothing out of the ordinary. They’re great for general use. This isn’t to take away from the compact yet intuitively designed Pelonis Model 42 studio monitors. They’re active monitors, however, their power section is housed within a 1U rack mountable unit in order to keep the moving parts of the speaker and electrical components away from each other to maximize quality across the board.  The monitors sit on either end of my Purple 4 12″ guitar cabinet. In between them, a 6U Gator Road Case. Housed within are my Monster Power Conditioner, Odyssey Werk Light 2500 and one of my favorite possessions of all time: the Evol Audio Fucifier. This box is truly an all-in-one audio solution. Not only is it a channel strip, microphone preamp and outboard processor, it also has a line out, so you use it as a guitar amp simulator and use a guitar cab impulse in your recording software. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also a literal guitar and bass amplifier. On the bottom right hand corner of the faceplate, you’ll find a dedicated output for a speaker. I have a cable running into my Purple cab so I have the option to plug my guitar and have an entire rig instantly cranking or I can run straight into the Fucifier’s line in from my converters and have a complete re-amp solution. The pedal board below the cab can all be hooked up as well to complete the signal chain, and due to the Clear Console table, I can see directly down to my pedal board without any hassle or strain. So whether recording, mixing, jamming or coding, I have everything I need at my fingertips. 

The Logitech Anywhere MX mouse works on the acrylic surface perfectly and the wireless Logitech Easy Switch keyboard is a godsend. It has a small footprint, backlit keys and best of all, I can switch to typing from my Mac, iPad Mini and iPhone with the tap of a button. This is an invaluable feature that maximizes my overall workflow. 

mac-pro-studio-close

What OS X and iOS apps do you use most often?

As for OS X apps, Logic, Pro Tools and all associated third party audio processing plug-ins of course. Xcode, LTSpice and all of that are open pretty much 24/7. 

As for iOS apps, that’s where my setup really comes in handy. I have my iPad Mini housed within an Apple Store-esque base from New PC Gadgets. Not only does it compliment the Clear Console but it provides a slightly angled position for the iPad. This makes it perfect for use with V-Control and the new Logic X companion app. It truly gives the feeling of a mixing on a mini-console, very exciting stuff. And when I’m not using a DAW controller app, I usually have Air Display 2 on, making my iPad Mini a second monitor for my Mac Pro. I sometimes throw third party plug-ins on to tweak and automate parameters with my finger rather than using a mouse, which allows for a more tactile, realistic experience. You’ll also find me using Instashare quite often, which is like Air Drop but for the complete Apple ecosystem. 

Do you have any productivity tricks or hacks you want to share?

One that comes immediately to mind regards Apple’s Cinema Displays. I use the 24″ ACD and I love it, however, I have come to find that the older displays run into some hiccups when dealing with Thunderbolt enabled Macs. If you should find your perfectly working monitor suddenly stays asleep while the computer wakes, I’ve developed a simple workaround. Plug and unplug the monitor from the outlet, repeat the process while being careful not to shock yourself. Wait each time you do it, The display should attempt to flicker on. Eventually, it will turn back on. While inconvenient, it’s better than shelling out cash for a new display. 

Also, there’s an endless abundance of organizational solutions for desks and workspaces out there. Most of them aren’t needed if you meditate on your setup. Try different arrangements. A few LED lights and lamps go a long way. Hop on youtube (editors note: or OSXDaily!) and check out other people’s desks. Take notes of cool accessories that stand out to you. Explore options that increase your desk real estate and can serve multiple purposes. Everything in between that is all to taste. But it’s your office/studio/room. Add in the trippy fish aquarium. The vibe of your space will come across in your work. If you have an environment you’re comfortable in and that promotes creativity, you will enjoy both work and play exponentially more than if you haphazardly throw a computer on a desk. But that’s just me. 

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

7 Comments

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  1. Andy says:

    Whoa killer setup and love the lighting! I had to look for a moment to find the Mac Pro because it blends in so well.

    And maybe it’s just an Easter Egg in one of the picts, but there’s a freakin’ Stormtrooper helmet on the mini-fridge!!! Is that thing real?? Where do you even get movie pieces and props like that?

  2. Chris Cheng says:

    Cool. Any samples we can listen to?

  3. kurt walker says:

    Great config, this is the real deal

  4. B.R. says:

    I dont use mac but that is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. PippoX0 says:

    Cool Desktop !!

    Very impressive …

  6. Michal Kocis says:

    Hello Eros

    Really nice setup i just do not understand how you can use Beats headphones for professional mixing. During my career i visit several studious and nobody using Beats (most engineers think that beats are just toy for kids) if you are serious about your work better invest into studio class headphones.

    • Rob K says:

      @Michal, Cool story bro, needs more dragons. If you hung around real engineers you’d know it’s the knob turner, not the knobs, that matters. Engineers have all sorts of weird gear, techniques and tricks they employ. everything else is just marketing. Eric Valentine has a collection of low end mics he uses regularly on records. In the early 90s, mix engineers used a $90 consumer box to originally designed for car stereos to widen their mixes. Ever heard of the DBX 163? It’s a compressor that’s under $100. Yet its been used on some of the lost famous vocal performances ever recorded. If someone used a pair of Certain pair of headphones to mix, and they have learned the sonic characteristics of that pair cans, and their mixes translate and sound great, why would they stop using a piece of equipment that works for them? Just because of a brand name? You are the sort of person all these companies target and brainwash. A brand name doesn’t mean anything, especially in the world of pro audio, an industry that sells more snake oil than the cartel does drugs. If you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what gear you use.

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