My New Workspace/Studio — Part One: The Bad and Ugly

It all starts with the new Apple Mac Mini M1 and a little paint

The bad and the ugly. Image by author

If there was one constant in my life, it’s that I’ve always been broke, and I always have to wait for anything I want. Somehow, I’ve developed an incredible amount of patience to get what I want over the years.

It’s good in a way because waiting ensures that the thing or things I want is something I won’t take for granted and regret a few months down the road.

I’ve been talking about getting a new computer for a few years now. At first, I just needed something that could edit simple videos. My current laptop tries valiantly but just doesn’t have the GPU to handle any graphic workload.

Photoshop tends to crash it often.

As time went on, I started getting more into sound engineering, podcasting, and making sure the music videos I made on YouTube were of the highest quality. The more I learn about pro audio for podcasting, music and video production, streaming, and how I can use my love of writing to create unique content for the web, the more I know that just a simple new laptop won’t do.

I need a workstation and studio, and it’s a good thing I’ve been saving for a while because as many corners as I try to cut, it’s still going to be expensive.

Sorry, wifey!

The Bad and Ugly

My wife and I are using our addition as an office, and even though there is no air conditioning in there yet, it’s been a nice place to work.

The white wall. Image by author

But, it is terribly echoey, and the sound bounces around all over the place. Also, the whole room has settled since we built it, and there are cracks in the walls.

Needs work. Image by author

The orange on the accent wall was lovely at first, but I’m ready for something a little less headache-inducing.

Our house is small, and it seems as if this room is where all the clutter and shoeboxes go to die. While a little clutter helps keep the sound from bouncing around, it gives me anxiety and needs to go away.

The only thing that will stay in the room is the desk because I just bought it and it is excellent. It has plenty of room for everything I want to do with this space.

The Look, Feel, and Acoustics of the Room

After a thorough cleaning (we had a flood in here last year), my area of the room, the “Grey Studio,” is going to be painted a calm and soft grey color (yeah). The large sliding glass door and the window above my desk that used to be outside the house will be covered with thick light-blocking and sound-absorbing curtains in a darker grey.

My wife’s area on the other side (at least the wall behind her) will have to stay white because she is an online English teacher and is required to have a white backdrop. The one long wall may be the only one that stays white, though.

Then, spaced evenly along the walls, I will make rectangular boxes with acoustic foam to absorb and diffuse the sound waves when I record and produce.

There will also be a rug on the floor since it is a hard tile.

The Studio Setup

I’ve known for a long time that my next computer would be a Mac, but when Apple released the new M1 chip, my mind was made up. My everyday workhorse will be an M1 Mac Mini with 16 GB of ram, 8 Cores, and a 256 GB internal SSD.

I will add an additional SanDisk Extreme 1TB Portable SSD because it’s much cheaper that way.

My monitor will be an LG 34inch IPS WQHD UltraWide Monitor (3440x1440). This beast will be mounted on a gas arm that will allow me to move it around and raise and lower it.

I will have my Sudotack USB microphone mounted on another arm attached to the side of the desk. On the desk will be a Focusrite Scarlett USB audio interface. My Sennheiser HD-206 headphones and Presonus Eris Near Field Studio Monitors (speakers) will also be on the desktop.

I hope they will be if there is room after I set up the massive monitor.

Later, when the need arises, I will purchase a Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone to plug into the audio interface, but my current microphone is just fine right now.

Add a USB hub for more connectivity, mouse, and keyboard, and you have an entire monster of a studio/workstation for less than $2000, including the computer.

I’ve spent the last few months researching the best options for equipment, and this list is high quality but low budget. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money upfront on equipment that I wouldn’t use, so I did my research.

Later, when I can justify the expense, I will also be adding a Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless for filming and streaming and the lighting setup for the studio.

I don’t want to buy anything else until I am sure I will use it and justify the expense. Frankly, I’m not used to spending money, and I don’t want to screw up.

What Do I Need All This Equipment For?

Initially, I will use everything for my own podcast/YouTube channel, but shortly, I plan to offer my writing, design, audio, and video production expertise to podcasters, YouTubers, and streamers.

It’s time for me to get serious about earning a living. My experiment to see if I could live off what I make from writing and Medium has ended, and it’s time I “get a real job.”

I love working with video and audio, and I have years of web and graphic design experience in addition to my writing chops.

I know I can offer value to someone else, but I just needed to buy the tools I need to get the job done.

Hopefully, within the next month, I will have the Grey Studio completed and get to work.

What do you think?

Introverted essayist and creator- I am doing it my way and it might take a bit longer. Don't wait up!

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