Powerhouse MacBook Pro drives 2 Studio Displays with 1 cable [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Powerhouse MacBook Pro drives 2 Studio Displays with 1 cable [Setups]


A powerful new MacBook Pro and two Studio Displays make the most of this attractive setup.
A powerful new MacBook Pro and two Studio Displays make the most of this attractive setup.
Photo: jfrenaye@Reddit.com

A top question folks have when they put together a computers setup is, “how simply can I connect everything?” How little hardware and how few cables can I get away with?

Today’s featured M2 Max MacBook Pro setup makes things easy by driving two beautiful Studio Displays with one cable via one of the best docks on the market. And don’t miss the great-yet-affordable speakers and cool podcasting gear, either.

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16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro drives dual Studio Displays in gorgeous setup

Redditor jfrenaye (“JF”) showcased the good-looking setup in a post entitled, “OK, I’ll Play Along.” He uses a new 16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro base model to drive two Studio Displays via the well-regarded CalDigit Thunderbolt 4 Dock.

As is typical in Setups coverage, the post’s commenters wanted to know about connectivity — preferably the simplest possible types thereof.

“Are you only using one port on the MacBook to connect the displays or are you using 2?” one asked. “I want a hub that’ll let me connect two Studio Displays with only one cable connected to the Mac.”

“You need a CalDigit TS4,” another commenter answered. “It’s the only one that works consistently with dual 5K [Studio] displays and I tried all of them. Also that’s the exact same dock OP is using.”

But it wouldn’t be correct to say CalDigit’s excellent dock is the only choice.

“I can confirm the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 dock works,” said another commenter. “I currently use it to drive two Studio Displays and connect to my Mac with one cable.”

For his part, JF confirmed the only cables coming out of his laptop are the one to the dock and the MagSafe power cable.

Shout-out to Grovemade desktop accessories

Grovemade makes handsome desk shelves and other items out of wood and other materials. They’re not cheap but they’re popular.

“Really like all the Grovemade stuff  — do you find the desk tray was worth it?” asked a commenter.

Here’s JF’s thoughtful reply:

I love the stuff and it was a splurge for sure. The monitor shelf was definitely worth it and the CalDigit fits perfectly. The desk tray “worth it”?? Absolutely not in terms of money and value. However it does fit with the shelf and it is useful for me to hold a sticky pad, some pens and a bunch of SD cards and have them right there. My only real qualm with the Grovemade stuff is that the “wood” on the shelf does not match the wood on the keyboard or trackpad trays … not even close.

With 2 monitors, where do you look?

Another commenter brought up an interesting little qualm about using dual monitors. There’s usually two bezeled edges coming together in the middle that you can’t not see (unless you’re not trying to look at both displays at once).

“I’m debating 2 vs 3 ASDs (or Samsung Viewfinity s9) simply because I previously had 2 monitor setups and hated looking at the black bezel directly in front of me. How are you managing this?” they asked.

And here’s JF’s reply:

The zero edge is nice and it was a concern initially. But I love the Apple Studio Display as well. But, I find that it does not bother me that much at all. I rarely have the desktop (as in photos) showing and it is a series of windows and apps running on both and I tend to focus on the task at hand so I am rarely looking at two monitors at any time–it is one or the other if that makes sense. But the bezel sort of disappeared sort of like living near an airport or train track–after a while you barely notice it until someone says something!

PreSonus speakers and Rode podcasting gear

JF’s setup also features some interesting audio gear.

He’s got a pair of PreSonus Eris E3 Near-Field Studio Monitors. The company calls the powered speakers “the only true studio monitor for multimedia, gaming, watching movies or producing your next hit” and the only ones in their class with acoustic tuning.

The desktop boxes sport 3.5-inch woven composite drivers for powerful bass and accurate overall sound along with 1-inch ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeters for balanced high-frequency audio.

The speakers come with the Studio One Prime and Studio Magic plug-in suite, which PreSonus says is worth a thousand bucks.

In addition, JF’s got a Rode Procaster cardioid microphone with an XLR connection hooked up to a 9-channel Rode Rodecaster Pro podcast production console.

Shop these items now:

This atmospheric shot really sets off the displays.
This atmospheric shot really sets off the displays.
Photo: jfrenaye@Reddit.com


Hub and storage:


Input devices:


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, challenges and plans for new additions.

CalDigit TS4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock

The versatile dock features 18 Ports and 98W charging. Ports: 3x Thunderbolt 4 40Gb/s, 5 x USB-A, 3 x USB-C (10Gb/s), 2.5GbE, single 8K or dual 6K 60Hz displays. Compatible with Mac, PC, Chrome via 0.8m cable.

12/09/2023 12:49 am GMT


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