Mac Setup: Personal Workstation of a Pro Audio Designer

Jan 25, 2015 - 27 Comments

Pro Audio Designer Mac Setup

It’s time for another featured Mac setup! We’re going to share the great personal studio workstation of Nick J., a professional Audio Designer.

Let’s dive right in and learn more about the hardware and software used with this setup:

What hardware components make up your Mac setup?

Core Apple Gear

  • 2.26Ghz 13″ MacBook Pro 8GB RAM with dual drives:
    • 1-480GB Mercury Elite SSD (OS and applications)
    • 1-240GB Mercury Elite SSD (optical slot backup OS and scratch drive)
  • iPad mini 16GB16GB (Wi-Fi/VZ & Sprint/GPS – 1st Gen)
  • iPhone 4 16GB
  • iPhone 5 16GB
  • iPod classic 120GB

Installed OS’

  • OS X Yosemite
  • OS X Mavericks
  • OS X Snow Leopard
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • iOS 8

Accessory Hardware

  • Samsung 24” HD LED video monitor
  • Samsung 48” HDTV monitor
  • Samsung USB Superdrive
  • Western Digital USB and Firewire 800 drives (10TB+)
  • Presonus USB Box
  • M Audio Firebox 1814
  • JBL LSR2325Px2 and JBL 2310SB sub
  • Yamaha NS-10M hafler Transnova 1500 powered
  • JBL MSC1 controller
  • Auralex mopads
  • Mackie Micro series 1202VLZ mixer

Principle Softwares

  • Avid Protools
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Presonus Studio One
  • MediaHuman Audio Converter
  • Q-Lab
  • Dropbox

Principle iDevice Apps

  • StudioSix Digital Audio Tools
  • Smaart Tools
  • Black Cat Systems Soundbyte
  • Yamaha Stagemix
  • TeamViewer

Audio Designer home workstation

What do you use your Apple gear for?

I have been doing audio since I was 19 years old, it’s all I have ever done. I run the gambit from audio preproduction, editing and mixing, voiceovers and general audio editing. I also do audio system and show design for my home venue (The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester, MA http://thehanovertheatre.org/) and various venues as a designer, including houses of worship, concert venues, clubs, etc. Our studio facility (9B Studio, Milford, MA http://www.9bstudio.com/) is a cutting edge ProTools studio. 9B Studio also does HD video production and editing for music, business and corporate clients. 

What are the essential apps? Are there any apps you could not do without?

Avid Protools. Couldn’t do without it, it is after all the industry standard and what clients want in a professional facility. 

HumanMedia Audio Converter, great for a quick low loss conversion of mixes for upload to clients. Dropbox is a must have for file distribution, and all the top DSP design software out there makes my job as a designer and mixer so much easier. I can design or modify a show on a plane, tour bus or coffee shop. 

I also do a lot of live audio, and the combination Audio Tools app and Smaart Tools is fantastic for quick tuning of rooms and reference during a show. I have an old iPhone 4 I keep on my console specifically for this. Soundbyte is my go to for sound effects, preshow announcements, etc. I love its ease of use. I design and advise for several local high schools, it’s the perfect application for their MT programs. 

Do you have any general productivity tips you’d like to share?

Stay on top of technology, it is ever evolving today, but remember that great mixes sound good to your ears, not to the technology. The most important tools for audio are the ones on the sides of your head and the big one in between them.

Audio designer Mac workstation

Do you have a Mac setup you’d like to share? Go here to get started by answering some questions about your hardware, software, what you do with your Apple gear, and take a few high quality pictures, then send it all in!

Not ready to share your Mac setup with the world? You can browse through other featured setups here to get some inspiration or learn more about how other Mac owners use their workstations.

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

27 Comments

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  1. Thomas Hayden says:

    Nice desk. What do you put on the big screen? Is it used work related or personal?

    Poking around on your other 9bstudio site (hope you don’t mind!), and these studio pics made me drool:

    http://www.9bstudio.com/#!photos/c1pas

    Oh and I love the addition of the dog too, we have a dog friendly office and it’s great, makes the place much more fun to have a team of furry buddies around.

  2. Team Cookie says:

    The only “pro” thing in that room is MacBook Pro.

    • JP says:

      You’re a grump, eat your lunch. What does your home workstation look like? Probably not like your office.

    • Nick J says:

      Thomas:

      The 48″ Samsung HDTV does a few things. I can use it as a second monitor with the MBP if I want the big view, or, more typical is it is the video reference (from a second Mac) when I am doing HD video editing. It also becomes a personal monitor for CATV, with the JBL’s it’s a pretty sweet home theatre system. Eventually I will spring for an SMProAudio MPatch 5.1 and three more of the 2325’s so I can edit 5.1 here.

      Obviously this is my home workstation, with 9B Studio as the production facility. Brian and I merged studios about 10 years ago and we are quite happy with the results.

      ——————————————————————-

      Team Cookie:

      Clearly you have no pro knowledge, lets review a few pieces shall we?

      Protools (pro audio industry standard DAW)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_Tools

      Yamaha NS-10s (pro audio industry standard Grammy award winning go to monitors for over 20 years)

      http://gizmodo.com/5637077/yamahas-ns-10-the-most-important-speaker-youve-never-heard-of

      JBL LSR monitors (pro audio industry leader in studio monitors for film and video)

      http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov09/articles/jbllsr2300.htm

      I would continue, but I’m going to give you some time to get that foot out of your mouth and educate your painfully obvious ignorance.

      ——————————————————————-

      JP:

      Fear not, everyone has envy from time to time, Team Cookie just felt the need to verbalize theirs here…LOL!!!!

      • Mr Bagoo says:

        You have a great Mac setup, there’s always complainers that most in the comments. The internet makes people grumpy for some reason, no matter the topic or how great it is. This could be a Mac setup featuring 60 happy kittens and puppies and people like Cookie Monster would still make a fuss.

    • Clairvoyance says:

      I agree TeamCookie

  3. IR says:

    So if this is a pro why does he have his Monitors Upside down???? Pro yeah sure.

    • Nick J says:

      I assume you are referring to the JBL’s I inverted them because I prefer the tweeters of them and the NS-10M’s to be in close alignment, and the height of the JBL’s in this setup was designed in this setup to allow this.

      What makes you think inverting the JBL’s make them less professional?

      BTW the response of the JBL’s is far more accurate in this position in the sweet spot, and the image focus doesn’t shift as much when switching between them and the NS-10M’s.

    • vdiv says:

      Because he’s really batman, he hangs from the ceiling while listening to the mixes ;)

  4. Jazz Bass says:

    Thought you might like to know this.

    You can stuff 16 g of memory into the MBP. I have and it makes a world of difference cutting down virtual memory swaps. Granted, all the ssds you have are much faster having more ram is faster yet. But an open Safari will eat it up no matter what you do.

  5. unknown says:

    ef you are sound creator you need Real sound speakers, what for is these 4 crappy poops, what looks like speakers

    • Nick J says:

      Unknown:

      I would recommend you read my post above regarding the JBL and NS-10M monitors, it will help ease your ignorance.

      ——————————————————————-

      Jazz Bass:
      This is not true my 2.26Ghz C2D it recogniizes 8GB max. I have no issues with track or plugin counts and when I am editing and as a general rule of thumb I only have the applications I am using open.

    • Nate says:

      Bahaha! I really like this post. “4 crappy poops” lol!!

  6. Nate says:

    I think a lot of old era dogs get grumpy about the word “pro” as well as amateur cats that only ever read about “pro” studios. If you do what you do for a living, you are a professional. In this guys case, he’s a pro. Nowadays, gear quality is getting so good that it’s really unnecessary to complain about pro-level stuff. Just last night I was composing on my iPad for a TV show while watching the Science channel.

    • JP says:

      Nate gets this exactly right. If your hardware supports your career, that makes it a professional setup. They come in all shapes and sizes.

      The whiners here would REALLY get a load of my “pro” setup, it’s just a MacBook Air! Sometimes in a coffee shop or a park bench! Oh the humanity! Am I suddenly not a professional web developer with 15 years of experience because I have a MacBook Air? Get out of here you goofballs.

      I love reading these setup posts and seeing what people use and how they use it, some of my favorite regular stuff on OSXDaily.

    • JP says:

      Oh and also Nate, I clicked the link and saw your general profile. Very cool. Yours would be an interesting setup I think, especially if you compose on your couch!

      • Nate says:

        Hey JP,

        I just posted a picture of my setup on my contact page at my site. It’s constantly evolving as new technology comes out. Also, as I’ve narrowed down what I do, some equipment has been sold. Like my 8 channel AD/DA, for example, was useless in such a small space and I rarely used it.

        The iPad is super useful because I can share my projects between it and Logic. I work on a ton of reality TV shows so being able to churn out tracks quickly is essential!

        Also, hey you are a developer? Do you develop for iOS at all or strictly web?

  7. Nick J says:

    I think it’s also just the cyber children and wannabees who have to much time on their hands and a miserable life. We all see this kind of thing all over the internet, it’s easy to hide behind a computer screen and be a whiner or a bully.

    Bottom line is if you are getting paid to do what you do on what you do it on you are a professional. I stand behind my gear, as it provides me the necessary tools to earn my living. Plus, this is my in home facility, 9B Studio is my “pro” workspace. That being said, I and the “pro” world consider them both in a professional category, as they earn money, which for the ignorant is the defined difference between amateur and professional.

    • Team Cookie says:

      Not a professional comment.

      • Nick J says:

        Team Cookie thanks for letting us know, its obvious your comments are not professional, thanks for confirming!!!!

        Nate the world is always going to have grumpy people who want only to complain and whine and not actually do anything about making changes. Matters not to me, I got what I need in life, my health, a great dog, and a career that spans over 3 decades (yes I am one of those “old era dogs”). If I died tomorrow I would die a happy man, knowing I have forever left my mark in this world, with my name associated to tons of great (and some not so great but still inspiring) music. Until my time come I shall continue to create and build on my legacy.

        Speaking of great dogs, that great beast in the pictures is Dwayne, a 9 yr old rescued rottie and my best bud. He is a regular over at 9B as well, and I have a few clients that insist he is part of the sessions!!! Someone forgot to tell him he’s 9, as his best park buddies are about 1/3 his age and he runs them ragged!!!!! With the blizzard up here everything is shut down so we are taking a snow day, and headed out to check on our neighbors and to play.

        Live life like this could be your last day, it just might be!!!!

    • Nate says:

      I agree and it really is tragic. In a perfect world, the internet would be a tool for the proliferation of ideas and information. Instead we have cat pictures and trolls lol. Though I do like pictures of funny cats…

      At any rate, Nick, your setup is great. There really is no debate about it. Keep on being f***ing great, Nick.

  8. Nick J says:

    For those curious about the NS-10M modification and unfamiliar with the technique of tissue over the tweeters, here’s a little light reading that will enlighten you:

    http://www.bobhodas.com/examining-the-yamaha-ns-10m.php

    I took this a bit further, designing and building the modifiers you see in the pictures. Experimenting with different frames and damping, I came up with these that use Cottonelle single ply tissue secured with a bit of hot glue to the inside of a birch frame with a 1/16″ open cell foam lining. The foam encompasses the outer edge of the metal grill which protects the NS10M tweeter leaving a 3/8′ gap between the foam and the grill. We did some extensive measurements and found this design significantly improved the peak around 11k while smoothing out the response in the 500hz range.

    We made several different styles and models, using plastics, wood and varioous types of modelable foam, and this seemed to yield the desired effects of the tissue over the tweeters with no significant undesired artifacts.

    Velcro attaches them along all 4 sides to the NS10M’s allowing for easy removal or swapping for a different “model” easily. We have jokingly considered marketing these more as a novelty item however they do have a very practical real world purpose.

    Now you have the inside scoop on our NS-10M’s!!!!

  9. TW says:

    Hey Nick,
    Great setup! I saw you use the JBL MSC1 and was just curious does that still work well with no problems on Yosemite or El Capitan? Thinking of buying one but since they are discontinued I am unsure if it will work.
    Thanks

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