Mac Setup: The MacBook Pro Desk of an Audio Engineer & Student

Jul 12, 2014 - 10 Comments

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It’s time to share another great reader-submitted Mac setup… it’s the excellent workstation of an Audio Engineer and student. Let’s dive right in and learn more about the hardware and software making up this featured Mac desk:

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Dylan J. Baker, you can find me at DylanJamesBaker.com and I’m a student at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco in the bachelors program of audio production. Modeling myself after a few artist I admire, I aim to make the most sound in the most mobile method.

What hardware does your current Mac setup consist of?

On the far side under the TV is a USB hub with Lightning cable and a firewire drive. After seeing and reading the past advice of OSXDaily’ers, I back up everything, literally in three places for safety and sleep at night.

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Why this particular setup? What do you use the gear for?

Growing up I was pushed into becoming a bass player as my dad, and his dad, were both jazz musicians, though that world never stuck with me. In high school I was lucky enough to receive a MacBook G4 which really got me into technology. Let’s fast forward 5 years, and now I’m working at a local studio as an in-house engineer, or in other words, an IT that knows music. But I stand a strange line between sonic artist and sonic programming.

Mostly I work on my independent music, but the portability of the system stems from my experiences through college making money recording weddings. I have found in my time the video guy always just wants the audio as quick as he can get it, and the quicker he gets it, the happier he always seems. Aside from the portable side, I work at this desk as a sort of audio lab, the Komplete Audio 6 gives the the flexibility to input, output, re-amp, or insert any way I can think of so far.

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What Mac apps do you use most often?

My ultimate DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is Logic X. Alongside with the iPad companion Logic Remote app, its just as easy to record myself as it is clients. Aside from Logic in the DAW world I use Pro Tools for the more commercial or school work that comes along. Getting away from DAWs, I also use the Native Instruments Komplete bundle which has many very complex soft synths, but along side is this awesome plug-in/standalone called Guitar Rig. Guitar Rig has made my dreams come true in many ways, and added that one touch needed to many songs. Along side of that I use a Reaktor instrument called Razor which has the most absurd amount of control to wobble or sweep any sound you could want. When things really get heavy and I am asked for a physical sound installation, I use a small app by some friends at Cycling 74’ had developed MaxMSP, a general object programing application. Outside of music and programming, and for general tech solutions, I find the toolset Apple preinstalls with OS X includes just about all the tools I need.

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Do you have Mac tips or general advice you want to share with others?

Besides the normal, keep your hard disk clean and organized, don’t take a bath with your Mac, and avoid installing every app on the internet, I’d just remind the other Mac users that you have an awesome machine before you already. So don’t try to make it much more awesome by adding unnecessary stuff, just learn about the software already installed.

As for general advice, being a young man myself (22 years), I wouldn’t give advice except to listen to the advice of everybody as a sum. Everything is good advice when you think about how to use it.

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Do you have a great Mac setup you want to share with OSXDaily? Well what are you waiting for?! go here and get started by answering some questions, taking a couple of good pictures of the workstation, and send it all in! Not quite ready to share your own desk and workstation? That’s ok too, browse through our past featured Mac setups to get inspired.

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

10 Comments

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  1. lbon says:

    Love the distressed desk look, good setup too

  2. D. Baker says:

    I failed to mention the desk was my childhood bed that I outgrew, but thank you!

  3. Chris Cheng says:

    Get an SSD drive and 8GB of RAM if you want an upgrade, it makes that MacBook Pro scream

    • Josh says:

      I 2nd that! Did that to my Mid2010 2.66 i7 and it hauls arse..

      Don’t go all out for the sata3 tho as they are only sata2.. I forgot that and paid the extra… DOH!

      • Josh says:

        I also ripped out the SuperDrive and put in a 2nd HDD caddy with a seagate momentusXT hybrid drive… A little noisy with the drive spinning at 7.2k by the old slot and below the speaker grill which sucks.

    • Dylan Baker says:

      So before writing I had totally forgot I did most of those, there is an SSD, its a Crucial M4, and also the 8gb of RAM, though I constantly have audio projects lock up too too often, any suggestions?

      • Josh says:

        I had major issues with mine locking up a couple of years ago. Apple deemed it a logic board fault and replaced it 4 times, 2 of them were out of warranty but they still honoured it…
        I believe (and someone may want to correct me) that they are finicky on the RAM, was it a well known brand and did the buss speeds match? RAM is ment to downs grade the speed, but again they can be finicky..

        Sorry not much help, just from personal experience.

        • valentine says:

          My 2010 MacBook Pro has been flawless with an 8GB upgrade from Crucial. The only issue with the Mac has been a swelling battery that distorted the entire aluminum enclosure, which a ballooning battery doesn’t seem to be acknowledged as a problem by Apple despite many people experiencing it with a variety of MacBook Pro models.

  4. Mario says:

    “Audio Engineer” is maybe a little “strong” as terminology :D

  5. Jake says:

    MaxMSP is great!

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