Composer makes beautiful music with 2013 Mac Pro and big Cinema Display [Setups]


A 9-year old Mac Pro and an even older 30-inch Cinema Display. You don't see those every day.
A 9-year old Mac Pro and an even older 30-inch Cinema Display. You don't see those every day.
Photo: Travis Lohmann

Las Vegas-based pianist, composer and educator Travis Lohmann reached out to Cult of Mac recently with an intriguing setup that hearkens back to yesteryear but still gets the job done in the here and now. Or in the “hear and now,” if you like.

It’s not every day you see a 9-year-old Mac Pro and an even older 30-inch Cinema Display getting the job done in 2022, but it happens.

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Composer produces music with 2013 Mac Pro, 30-inch Cinema Display and specialized peripherals

Lohmann, 33, is a life-long Las Vegan who composes music for film and media. He saw our Setups inbox in a post about Apple Cinema Displays, so he shared his setup.

He uses a 2013 Mac Pro he got a long time ago for music production, composition, and occasional piano lessons he teaches and meetings he attends over Zoom.

He pairs the Mac with a 30-inch Cinema Display he found on Facebook Marketplace. Apple produced the 30-inch Cinema Display from June 2004 until July 2010.

“This Mac Pro is an 8-core, 3 Ghz [model] with 64GB of RAM, for music production,” he told Cult of Mac. “It fares quite well, though eventually I’m going to have to get something with more cores, and I’m thinking 128GB of RAM or something with unified RAM. I’m also on Mojave, and refuse to upgrade.”

Interesting input devices

As for the garbage-can style Mac Pro, he said he likes the small form factor. He enjoys using it with the custom-made Mr. Suit tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard he nabbed on Reddit.

As for his other main input device, it took some doing to settle on.

“I went through a slew of trackball mice over the years, and finally settled on a finger-operated Kensington Expert Wireless Mouse, and I have a [Logitech] MX Ergo thumb-ball [mouse] for the other laptop,” he said.

Formidable gear for music

Lohmann works with some specialized gear when he produces music using his setup. Namely, he relies on the Universal Audio Apollo Twin audio interface. His Presonus Faderport is a volume and automation controller he uses with Logic Pro X. And an OWC Thunderbay Mini 4, housing four SSDs, is home to his music software samples.

For sound in the room he’s got a pair of Neumann KH 120A active studio monitors. They’re bi-amplified (50W + 50W), two-way monitoring speakers, with each one featuring a 5.25-inch long-throw woofer and a 1-inch titanium, fabric-dome tweeter.

This "before" photo shows the setup prior to Lohmann making some new cable-management moves, shown in the photo above.
This “before” photo shows the setup prior to Lohmann making some new cable-management moves, putting more cords behind the monitor, as shown in the photo at the top of the page.
Photo: Travis Lohmann

Favorite bits and future plans

Surprisingly, Lohmann said his favorite items in his setup are his AlphaKeys Ramen Switch Ruika desk mat and the foam yoga blocks he uses as speaker stands, or risers. Sometimes it’s the little things.

He also acknowledged he has more to do with cable management, but called KabelDirekt’s Velcro cable ties his “best investment.” In the photo at the top of the page he cleaned things up a bit compared to the photo immediately above.

“Upcoming plans include looking into a bigger and more-depth desk, originally looking in to Zuri, or having a custom desk built,” he said. “The difficulty lies with wanting a music-production desk, but still wanting an ‘office desk,’ as well.”

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