M1 Mac mini powers funky audio-centric workstation [Setups]

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This dual-display setup is wired for serious sound and massive storage.
This dual-display setup is wired for serious sound and massive storage.
Photo: MacSources@Reddit.com

Redditor MacSources, aka Nicholas Calderone, is a photographer, writer, editor and co-founder of MacSources.com. He runs a Mac mini at the center of his formidable dual-monitor computer setup. The workstation’s audio and storage components seem particularly epic.

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“I’m super jealous of how clean your desk setup is. EVEN your [NAS] is f**king matching,” wrote one admiring commenter, referring to the color scheme incorporating the huge LaCie 6Big Desktop RAID Storage Array.

The 6Big is the gray stack just to the right of the landscape-oriented monitor. Each of its six bays contains multitudes — or 14TB of storage capacity, anyway.

Calderone said he’d been working hard to get his setup “that way,” as the commenter described. Well, it shows.

M1 Mac mini

When asked how he likes his Mac mini, Calderone expressed enthusiasm.

“I had the 2018 loaded MacBook Pro. This mini blows that out of the water. The only downside is I no longer have a Mac laptop but the mini is a solid machine if you get the model with 16GB,” he said.

Like lots of folks, he’s been devoted to MacBook Pro prior to getting a mini.

“The Mini is super solid. I went from a Macbook pro decked out and I was so scared the M1 was not going to handle my workflow,” Calderone said, referring not just to his MacSources.com work, but photography, gaming and more. “Boy was I wrong this thing is awesome.”

Windows gaming laptop

Calderone also keeps a Windows gaming laptop in his computing arsenal. It’s a 16-inch Asus ROG WUXGA Gaming Laptop.

Packing an Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX3050Ti GPU, it clocks a refresh rate of 144Hz.

“I use the laptop to play Gears of War,” he said.

Dual monitors: landscape and portrait

Calderone runs his computers into a 32-inch LG 4K HDR Display in landscape mode (horizontal) and a BenQ SW270C PhotoVue Monitor in portrait mode (vertical).

Suitably, as a photographer, Calderone uses the BenQ display for portrait retouching.

When asked about including two external monitors with the M1 Mac mini, he described having no issues. The mini is designed to accommodate up to two displays.

“One monitor is connected through the HDMI port on the back of the Mac mini and the other is connected through an OWC Thunderbolt dock which is mounted under the desk,” he said. “The dock is plugged into the Mac mini through one of the TB3 ports.”

A commenter noted issues with their M1 Mac mini and two identical displays, but one running at just 30Hz rather than the expected 60 Hz through an HDMI cable.

“Because we are running DisplayPort and HDMI though a Thunderbolt dock I’ve not had any issues,” Calderone replied.

Audio gear

As noted above, Calderon’s setup is no slouch in the audio department, either.

He uses a Shure SM7B Microphone on an Blue Compass Broadcast Boom Arm. The microphone runs through an MB-1 preamp booster, which ups the mic volume and give his Focusrite Scarlett Solo Audio Interface more clean gain.

Mounted on stands on either side of the setup are Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers, for serious sound for those times when a headset won’t do.

The lighting above and behind the desk add nice atmospheric touches to the setup, too. And f you like Calderone’s cube wallpaper, you can get it here.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. 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.