Gareth Owen is a London-based professional sound designer whose job involves extensive CAD and acoustic modeling, but he also does sound effects work and multitrack mixing.
So he built a setup that functions as both his home office and a basic home studio.
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Challenges: underused gear, fan noise
Owen’s computer is a 15-inch MacBook Pro. As part of his broader setup, he has the Avid HD Native editing tool and Avid Omni Audio Interface, which he was surprised to find he uses less often than he expected.
“These two bits of kit are really geared towards recording audio, but I don’t actually do much of that at home,” Owen told Cult of Mac. “I don’t even use an external microphone for Zoom — the mic on the Logitech Brio is good enough for most of my needs.”
He also uses an Avid S6L mixing console, which primarily serves as a way of beta testing console software that his company, Gareth Owen Sound Ltd., helps develop.
Owen’s setup incorporates a Synology NAS DiskStation with 8 TB of data storage and an APC battery backup and surge protector.
As far as other challenges of building his setup — “Besides paying for it?” Owen quipped — he found it tricky to manage heat from the devices without having to suffer excessive fan noise.
“I’ve ended up adding temperature sensors and fan controllers as well as swapping the standard fans fitted in the racks for quieter ones,” he said.
Simplify by focusing on basic needs
Owen’s current setup is the fruit of a lot of decluttering.
“I used to have a really complicated office with every gadget going — a dozen different types of HID [human interface devices], surround speakers, tablets, mixers, microphones, you name it,” Owen said. “One day I realized that I never used most of it and the bits that I did use were far more complicated than they needed to be and never worked when I wanted them to anyway.”
Owen yearned to simplify his setup, so he put nearly every piece of technology on eBay and sold it. He concentrated on just having on what he really needed. He made having a good monitor and a pair of world-class speakers his goal (see also recent Setups contributor Ed Yoon, who is an audiophile)
Room for improvement?
Other than that, Owen is satisfied with the setup and loves its simplicity. He said he wishes the equipment racks were a little more elegant and a little less industrial, so they would fit in better with the all-white, custom-fitted work surfaces.
As for further improvements, it’s still an open question as to whether Owen will add a second wide-screen monitor above the first one.
“I don’t know if I really need it or I just think it will look cool,” he said.
Shop these items now:
Avid HD Native and HD Omni Soundcard
Custom desk with Ikea Cabinets
If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.