Mood-lit musician isn’t grooving to M1 Mac mini’s sound [Setups]

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It's amazing what some light strips and display wallpaper can do for ambiance.
It's amazing what some light strips and display wallpaper can do for ambiance.
Photo: skylar_schutz@Reddit

Redditor skylar_schutz makes music on keyboard and guitar, but their Mac mini M1’s sound quality doesn’t do it for them. That’s not a huge shock. Many mini owners, past and present — if they’re even close to identifying as audiophiles — use AirPlay 2, Bluetooth or USB-wired speakers with their setups.

“The sound coming out from the M1 mac mini is just so-so … wouldn’t recommend it if you aim to enjoy listening to music from it, more so if you intend to do music production,” skylar_schutz wrote in reply to a question.

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Other Redditors on the thread tended to agree.

“I’ve got a Mac mini as well and I’m trying to get some higher quality sound out of it as well,” one said. “The speakers on this thing are unusable for just about everything.”

For skylar_schutz, getting good sound is just a matter of using good headphones rather than external speakers. They use AirPods and a fairly affordable pair of AudioTechnica Studio Monitor Headphones.

Making, recording and mixing music with M1 Mac mini

The Mac mini M1 on the right may not be living up to house audio standards.
The Mac mini M1 on the right may not be living up to house audio standards.
Photo: skylar_schutz@Reddit

The quality headphones are crucial for working with music. Skylar_schutz plays an Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar and an IK Multimedia iRig Keys I/O 49-Key Music Creation Workstation used in conjunction with Apple’s digital audio workstation, GarageBand.

The IK Multimedia music keyboard integrates 49 full-size keys with an audio interface. It features 24-bit audio up to a 96 kHz sampling rate, balanced stereo and headphone outputs, and a combo input jack for line-in, instrument or microphone. The manufacturer lists compatibility with macOS 10.6 or later and a solid range of iPhones, iPods and iPads (iOS 6 or later).

Inexpensive quality monitor and keyboard (for typing)

Other than lackluster speaker sound, skylar_schutz offered no complaints about the Mac mini M1.

They use it with an affordable but formidable Xaomi MI Curved Gaming Monitor. The 34-inch ultra-wide display offers 3440 x 1440 pixel resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate.

“Really good value for money, the ultra wide is really useful for work (excel & PowerPoint slides, etc) and for GarageBand when I’m making some music,” skylar_schutz wrote in reply to a comment.

Several Redditors inquired about the keyboard. Some mistook it in the photo for a Satechi X1.

“I did consider the X1 but I love this Inphic v780 instead,” skylar_schutz said. “Much cheaper and the mouse clicks are super soft & silent.”

When asked about the keyboard’s “key travel” — the distance the keys travel between resting and fully pressed — they added, “I don’t know how to describe it, it feels like the new M1 MacBook Air keyboard but softer, and not so punchy.”

How about that mood lighting?

The main photo in this post comes from a skylar_schutz post talking about the mood lighting their Phillips Hue Light Strips create around the workstation. Excuse me — that should be “talking about the ‘ambiance.’”

Hey, that’d go well with a little night music. But you better use the headphones.

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