Behind the Screens is a weekly 9to5Toys series that takes you through our writers’ setups, be it mobile, desktop, gaming or home theater. Next up is Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac.
My desk setup is pretty simple and not the exactly the neatest, most cable-free one you’ll find (I won’t try to compete with the YouTubers on cable management), but what I lack there I tried to make up for with an insane and borderline ridiculous amount of screen real estate. Allow me to introduce my dual 38-inch widescreen monitor setup…
Displays and Computers |
Dual 38-inch Dell monitors & Mac Pro
The main show for my workstation is two Dell UltraSharp 38-inch curved widescreen monitors (U3818DW). I recently upgraded from a 32-inch 4K monitor and a 34-inch widescreen monitor (mostly to have matching displays and go all-in on widescreen) and I think I’ve found the perfect ultimate screen real estate setup without going too big.
The truth is you can easily get away with one of these monitors and I in fact do the majority of my productivity tasks on one monitor. But I’ve gotten used to having a dual display setup, and the second monitor is mostly used for my Twitter and messaging along with other windows I don’t want cluttering my main work display but still want to have open and keep an eye on. When I’m using Logic Pro, the second display becomes a massive Mixer where I can see all my channel strips and other tools separate from my main timeline on the other display.
A 38-inch monitor sounds huge, and it is, but in the widescreen format the display is just 15.5-inches vertically and for that reason doesn’t feel as daunting as using a 40-inch 16:9 display.
Holding up the displays is the Grovemade Desk Shelf System, which I’ve also paired with a matching Grovemade leather mouse pad and felt desk mat for my keyboard. Grovemade has a matching laptop stand that I keep to the side for my 2016 MacBook Pro w/ TouchBar, but driving the two displays is my main machine, my still-kicking base configuration Mac Pro purchased in 2014 (I’m hoping it lasts until the new modular Mac Pro expected in 2019).
I use an Apple Magic Mouse 2, but I’ve upgraded my keyboard to a wireless mechanical keyboard, the Varmilo VB87M. You might also notice Mophie’s Qi wireless charging pad next to my audio interface, which I use to charge my iPhone X when at my desk.
My live edge desk is a custom build made by a local furniture maker, but there are many similar options on Etsy and elsewhere. It’s pretty large at around 68 inches wide and 30 inches at its deepest, but that’s about the smallest I’d recommend to accommodate the dual 38-inch monitor setup detailed above. As you can see in the images, the monitors (at 35 inches wide each) overhang the desk by an inch or two on either side.
Audio Gear |
One of my other desk and studio essentials is my Apogee Quartet audio interface. This allows me to plug in all of my pro audio gear to my Mac – my KRK VXT6 Studio Monitor speakers are plugged into the Apogee and so that large silver knob controls my volume for my Mac’s audio. The Quartet’s four inputs are occupied by my Audio-Technica AT4050 microphone, a 1/4-inch guitar cable, and two audio inputs for my Dave Smith Prophet 12 synthesizer that I also use as my main Midi controller alongside an Akai MPK49.
It also allows me to plug my headphones into the side of the Apogee with 1/8-inch connector, and that means I can control their levels with the same knob on the Quartet and also quickly switch back and forth between my headphones and speakers or both.
I use Apogee’s Quartet model, which I love because of its slanted design and huge control knob, making it perfectly suited for desktop control opposed to a lot of other high-end interfaces that are made to sit flat or in a rackmount. Apogee along with some of the Universal Audio interfaces are always my go-to recommendations for audio interfaces.
For my camera, mostly for taking images for reviews and articles like this one, I use the tried and trusted Sony A6300.
Toys and Other Stuff |
I get lots of questions about my Vintage Nixie Tube Clock that you might have noticed on my desk. I previously wrote all about it on 9to5Toys. You might also be wondering about the vintage Macintosh toy, which we also previously reviewed.
More Behind the Screens:
- Trevor’s custom coffee and espresso bar
- Bradley Chambers’ Ergonomic MacBook Pro Setup
- Peter Cao’s dual HomePod blogging and podcasting setup
- Greg Barbosa’s MacBook-powered mobile workstation
- Haye Kesteloo’s content creation workspace for DroneDJ
- Ben Schoon’s blogging and video workspace
- Ben Lovejoy’s wire-free desk [Video]
- Trevor’s CES 2018 backpack
- Blair’s blogging workstation and at-home multimedia server
- Jeff Benjamin’s video editing workspace
- Zac’s blogging and podcasting workstation
- Michael’s space gray copy editing and blogging setup
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