Music to your ears? This Mac setup is part workspace, part soundscape [Setups]


An audiophile's setup includes not just computers and a killer sound system, but sound enhancers on the walls and in corners.
An audiophile's setup includes not just computers and a killer sound system, but sound enhancers on the walls and in corners.
Photo: Ed Yoon

Ed Yoon has a job many music fans and players would covet. He’s chief operating officer of high-end electric guitar maker and distributor Strandberg Guitars USA in Riverside, California. As you might guess from his line of work, he’s a major audiophile. And his office setup makes a lot of noise to that effect.

OK, not “noise.” Beautiful music.

Even before the pandemic, Yoon had been working a lot from home to manage the company’s operations. Then, as COVID-19 spread, remote work became the norm. Unlike most of us, he needed more than just a desk and a computer with decent speakers. He had to have mind-blowing audio.

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It took him some time to add all the different components to develop the system he enjoys now. The main thing, he said, was grafting the high-end audio system onto the Mac rig, based around a 16-inch MacBook Pro with 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of storage.

Only great sound inspires an audiophile

Yoon says his office setup is as much an audiophile system for music enjoyment as it is a workspace. Part of his work involves evaluating musicians and their music, so he strives to use the best audio gear he can afford.

“I have always wanted a high-end audiophile system, as I’m a very passionate music fan. But I wanted something compact — a desktop system integrated with the Mac and digital music,” Yoon told Cult of Mac. “It helps to have a high-end system driven from my MacBook Pro using Qobuz streaming and the Audirvana [Remote] music app.”

He said the system makes him more productive and inspires him at the same time, because he can enjoy music with the highest levels of fidelity.

A closer look at Ed Yoon's highly productive desktop.
A closer look at Ed Yoon’s highly productive desktop
Photo: Ed Yoon

Hot tracks, scorching views — and overworked fans

As with many solid setups, there’s plenty of harmony and maybe one or two sour notes.

Yoon said he loves the huge amount of screen space he gets from the 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K and 32-inch LG Ultra HD monitors. And he savors the world-class audio he gets with a Chord Electronics’ digital-to-analog converter and TTOBY stereo power amplifier. Yoon also uses Buchardt S400 speakers and Audeze LCD-4 planar magnetic headphones.

But it’s not all soaring guitar solos and thunderous bass. The one thing Yoon doesn’t like in his setup is the amount of heat all the equipment generates and the need to use fans to keep things cool — especially the MacBook Pro.

The furniture? An afterthought, really

In the interest of great sound, Yoon’s office is acoustically treated with Auralex studio foams on the walls and bass traps in the corners.

His chair is an old Herman Miller Classic with a headrest added, which he has had for many years. Never one to spend much on furniture — which might divert money from the audio toys — he just needs it to fit in with the important stuff, meaning the items that generate or improve sound.

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