My Gear & Studio

I get a lot of questions about the gear I use, so I’ve collected it all here on a single page.

A couple of quick notes:

  1. Just because I use something doesn’t mean I recommend it to everyone. I make stuff for a living and have been fortunate enough to upgrade equipment over time. If you are starting out, there are many great options that cost less. There’s loads of reviews out there to use when learning about gear.
  2. This page uses affiliate links.
  3. Some of these products are sponsors of 512 Pixels and/or Relay FM in the past/present/future. However, unless noted, I’ve paid for everything on this list.

The Studio

My studio — dubbed the PodCabin — sits behind the garage in our backyard. The original section was built in the 1970s as a space for storage and projects. We added to it in the summer of 2021, doubling the square footage.

Door

This custom sign — along with the baseball bat from the Podcastathon for St. Jude — hangs above the door.

Computing

My computer is a silver 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro, 32 GB of RAM and an 8 TB SSD. Everything — including the Studio Display — runs through a CalDigit TS4 Thunderbolt dock.

My desk

This is the rough flow of things.

The computer lives atop a Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, I generally stand for the first few hours of the day or whenever I have a lot of administrative work to knock out.

Under the display is my Stream Deck XL.

In terms of backups, I use a combination of Time Machine, Backblaze and a set of off-site drives that I manually update with Carbon Copy Cloner.

I also have a PC I built a couple of years ago for video streaming and capture. It has a 10th-gen Intel Core i7, an RTX 3080 and some RGB. It sits under my home-built overhead shooting rig that is home to a pair of Sony a6400 cameras being piped into the PC via HDMI. The lights and capture cards are all from Elgato. The desk is an old door that I took out of our house when we moved in.

(I also use an iPhone 14 Pro Max and an iPad mini.)

My PC

Podcast Recording

I make podcasts for a living. If I’m recording in my home studio, I use this set of gear:

Remember when I said I couldn’t recommend my gear to most people? The USBPRE2 is awesome, but it is obscenely expensive. My go-to recommendation is the very-good-and-affordable Tascam US-2×2 USB Audio Interface. On the microphone front, I am a big fan of the Shure BETA 87A. If you need something really affordable, check out this post by Jason Snell on Six Colors about the Audio-Technica ATR2100 microphone.

I record my audio (and what I hear via Zoom) using Audio Hijack and I edit in Logic Pro.

My studio is covered in a bunch of acoustic foam, mainly in these two forms:

Podcasting on the Road

Every year, When there’s not a pandemic sweeping the planet, we host several live recordings of Relay FM shows. Beyond that, I often find myself recording while traveling for work or pleasure. I’ve put together a pretty robust “mobile” setup over the years:

  • I have a set of Shure 87A microphones for our live shows. We have them in some pretty simple table-top stands with big heavy weights to keep them from tipping over.
  • The mics are run to a Sound Devices MixPre-10 which is one of the very few interfaces that can record onto an SD card and send audio out over USB. The device is powered via USB-C, straight into my MacBook Pro, where I capture the audio via Audio Hijack Pro.
  • If we are in a theatre, I route audio out of the headphone jack of the MixPre-10 to the house via XLR through a Radial ProD2 direct box. I’ve joked that this is my favorite piece of tech I own, and I may mean it. It’s built like a tank and does its job very well.
  • All of this gear is crammed into a Pelican 1510 case for flights. This case is amazing. It is incredibly well made and will fit into most overhead bins without any issue. My wife spray-painted the word “Relay” in gold across the front of it to make mine.

YouTube Videos

My YouTube channel is a single-person show, so I edit and shoot myself alone in my office, which is challenging at times.

I am shooting in 4K on a Sony a7 IV I love this camera. I have just two lenses for it. The first is the Sony FE f/2.8 24-70mm, while the second is this tiny f/1.8 50mm.

I also have a Sony a6400 that I use for some shots, and as my carry-it-around camera for situations where I need more power than what my iPhone affords me.

For audio, I use the Rode Wireless Go System paired with the Rode Lavalier GO microphone.

I have a couple of LED panels I picked up online that I use for lighting.

I edit my videos in Final Cut Pro X and upload to YouTube. GO SUBSCRIBE!

Blogging

The site runs on WordPress and is hosted at Linode.

I write 512 Pixels in Byword on my Mac and 1Writer on my iOS devices. I publish via MarsEdit or Shortcuts, depending on which platform I’m using at the moment.

The membership program runs on Memberful.

Software

Here’s a list of a bunch of apps and services I rely on every day:

  • Email: Mimestream on the Mac, Mail on iOS, hooked up to Gmail and Google Workspace
  • Notes: Apple’s Notes app for just about everything; Tot for a quick scratchpad
  • Task Management: Todoist
  • Photos: Stock iOS camera app; iCloud Photos Library
  • Calendar: Apple’s stock Calendar app. Personal calendars are in iCloud; work calendars are hosted via Google
  • Cloud file storage: Dropbox for almost everything; iCloud Drive for a shared folder with my spouse
  • RSS: Reeder everywhere, syncing with Feedbin for that sweet send-newsletters-to-my-RSS-reader workflow.
  • Contacts: The stock contacts app. Work and personal contacts all mixed together in my iCloud account.
  • Browser: Mostly Safari, but sometimes Chrome
  • Chat: Slack for work, Discord for hanging out with Relay FM members, iMessage for everything else
  • Read It Later: GoodLinks
  • Research tools: I have a lot of computer history stuff stored in DEVONthink.
  • Office work: Mostly Google Docs and Sheets; iWork when I need more.
  • Shopping lists: Shared Todoist lists with my wife
  • Music: Apple Music through my Studio Display, AirPods Pro 2 or a series of HomePod minis.
  • Podcast listening: Overcast
  • Podcast creation: Calling in Zoom; recording in Audio Hijack; editing in Logic Pro; MP3 creation in Forecast
  • Password management: 1Password for Families and Teams