Traveling musician takes his Mac mini rig on the road [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Traveling musician takes his Mac mini rig on the road [Setups]


It beats paying for a MacBook Pro. Or does it?
It beats paying for a MacBook Pro. Or does it?

Apple products are famously not cheap. So much so that some people will go to considerable lengths to avoid shelling out for a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iPad with keyboard. Today’s featured computer setup belongs to a traveling musician (famously not rich).

He takes his Mac mini on the road with him. Of course, with a Mac mini, you also need some sort of display and input devices, as in a keyboard and a mouse or trackpad. And you have to find room and set it all up wherever you lay your head.

Is it worth it? For some people, it is. We’ll explain why.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Wandering bard lugs a Mac mini, portable display, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad when he goes on his merry way

Redditor and musician violinfiddleman (“VFM”) displayed his sort-of-portable setup in a post entitled, “When traveling musician life, and Mac mini life collide…”

The photograph shows a Mac mini and a 15.6-inch KYY portable display (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, speakers) along with a Magic Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad 2 on a desk in what looks like a hotel room. You can see a bass guitar and a couple of instrument cases on the bed in the background.

As you might imagine, the post’s comments quickly filled up with people recommending laptops, mostly MacBook Pro.

“I have to say it…. Why not just buy a MacBook!!?” read a typical comment.

VFM certainly has his reasons.

“Because I use a desk top setup for 48 weeks out of the year and a MacBook would be be collecting dust and would be a waste of money for the rest of the year,” he answered. “I got this Mac mini for like $450 and travel with it for maybe four weeks out of the year. I am not getting a MacBook just to ruin the battery by keeping it in at the desk the rest of the year.”

Reacting to the comments, he went on to explain that a new MacBook Pro would run him $1,999. But a similarly equipped Mac mini, with USB-A, Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI connectivity, costs just $599.

“I already had the other stuff and the MacBook would just be sitting in the dock for the rest of the year anyways,” he said.

Cases for and against

Some commenters supported him. After all, he’s saving money. And he doesn’t travel much.

“Dude I don’t understand why all the hate, it makes sense if you don’t travel that much, why waste money on 2 computers when the mini is small enough,” said one.

Others commenters stuck to their laptop guns, for obvious reasons of easy portability and the suitability of a MacBook Pro to a musician. And some pointed out that a used laptop might not break the bank.

“To me, I would think it would be easier to have a laptop of some sort,” one person remarked. “Instead of lugging around a keyboard, mouse and external monitor with Mac mini. That’s all. But hey, if it works, then awesome!”

It appears to work for VFM, at least for now.

Shop these items now:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to 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.