Mac Setup: The Mac Mini Workstation of a Music Composer
It’s time for another featured Mac setup! This week we’re sharing the workstation of James C., a professional music composer who uses a Mac Mini with an iPad to produce tracks and music scores for everything from commercials to video games. Let’s learn a bit more:
Tell us a bit about what you do, and why did you go with this particular Mac setup?
I am a composer of library music, and the owner of Fuzzy Beard Productions. For me to have the Mac Pro would cost quite a lot of cash, so I decided to go with a Mac Mini instead. In the coming months I will be networking it with another 3 minis via a gigabit Ethernet switch. This will give me vast amounts of processing power at a fraction of the cost of a Mac Pro.
I use my Mac setup most days, using the iPad for other more simple tasks such as web browsing or online shopping.
What hardware is included in your Mac setup?
My setup hardware is as follows:
- Mac Mini (2012)
- 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
- 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory (16GB upgrade kit)
- 1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- AOC 23.5″ Display
- Kensington Trackball
- Apple Wired Full Keyboard
- Western Digital 1TB External Hard Drive (Backup)
- iPad 2 (16GB Wi-Fi Only)
- Alesis M1 Active Mk2 Bi-Amplified Speakers
- Alesis IO2 Express USB Recording Interface
- Alesis QX49 49-Key Advanced USB MIDI Keyboard
What apps do you use most often?
The software I constantly use consists of the following:
- Logic Pro X
- Logic Remote (for iPad)
- Vienna Ensemble 5
- Spitfire Audio Sample Libraries
- Guitar Rig
- Microsoft Office for Mac
- Google Chrome
Dropbox and OneDrive are my primary backup resources for my Logic templates and saved projects, with the external hard drive also being setup as my Time Machine backup. I couldn’t live without Gobbler, it’s such a great way to share projects with colleagues, and Dropbox is fantastic to also send demos to clients.
Logic Remote for iPad is another app I couldn’t live without. When I’m sitting on the couch listening to rough mixes, making volume adjustments is so much easier than having to keep getting up and going to the computer to do it.
Do you have a sweet Mac setup? You should share your workstation with OSXDaily and our readers! Just answer a few questions about your gear and how you use it, take a couple of good pictures of your setup, and send it all in to us email@example.com – or if you’re not quite ready to share your own yet, browse through our past Mac setup features, there are a ton of unique and awesome Mac desks and setups out there. So whether you’re just curious, or looking for inspiration on how to get things done, or want to know what type of Apple hardware a wide range of folks use, you’ll find it.
Dude is going to be deaf with those huge @$$ speakers in his face. LOL
How is using a 5400RPM drive for production? Does it run smooth?
You are to close to your monitors. Create a larger triangle….
Mac minis are awesome. Too often, they get overlooked when customers choose what new Mac to buy. Mine is also a late 2012 model with 16GB of RAM. I also bought iFixit’s Mac mini dual drive kit, and installed a solid state drive. It’s a great workhorse, and since I left in the original hard drive, I can use it to dual boot into OS X Yosemite.
Good setup thanks for sharing
Thanks guys. Yeah, I got the idea for networking my mini from a mate. He has them setup and they run like a dream.
I will be getting another 2 monitors for this setup, just need to get a bigger desk.
That’s a great set up there, nice and clean with a nice amount of tools. LogicX with the controller is a complete need since it works so greatly. I would also add a +1 to the idea of adding one more monitor.
OneDrive is great.
Nice setup. I love the idea of networking 4 Mac Mini machines together to get extra power without springing big bucks for the Mac Pro, that is a great idea. I like the Mac Pro but honestly if they updated the Mac Mini with new CPU and 32GB of RAM limit, it would be crazy to buy the Mac Pro over a Mini, they have the same expandability.
But James, I have to give you this unsolicited advice because it will really help your productivity: get another display! Having dual displays is the biggest productivity booster I know of for creatives of all types. Just trust me, getting another screen is easily worth the investment!
Some people work more efficiently with a single display to avoid distractions, but I tend to agree with you from personal experience. I have an external display hooked up to my MacBook Air and it makes a big difference in productivity, perhaps because the MacBook screen is a bit small compared to the 23″ secondary display. Definitely recommended!
Some applications also cough up when used in a multi-monitor, multi-desktop environment. But if one already has a MacBook of any sort and an external monitor why not use both if possible, the MacBook screen relegated to the less looked at apps.