Show Us Your Setup: Jeff Benjamin’s work space

Jeff's Office

Every so often, we’d like to showcase the work space of an iDB writer. We want to give you a behind the scenes look at our work spaces so that you can get to know us better.

A lot of people have asked me about my setup over the years, so I thought it would only be right if I’m the guinea pig in this test. In this edition of Show Us Your Setup, I showcase my writing, blogging, and video editing work space. In a later edition, perhaps I’ll show you my entire video setup.

By and large, this is where I do 90% of my writing for iDB. It’s also where I sit when recording and editing Let’s Talk iOS. I also sit in this exact spot when editing videos, or doing any of the other day to day activities to help Sebastien keep iDB running smoothly. Inside, I’ll explain some of features of my setup, the products I use, and my mindset when choosing this setup.

The centerpiece of my setup is the 11″ MacBook Air. For those of you who listen to our podcast, you know that not long ago I downgraded from a Retina MacBook Pro to the 11″ MacBook Air. I did this for a number of reasons, but the portability and battery life of the MacBook Air were the two most compelling.

Jeff's MacBook

The 11″ MacBook Air — amazing battery life and portability

I find that the 11″ Air and its Haswell processor are enough to get the job done. It’s not a powerful machine, but it’s adequate. I’m not a big fan of the small screen and the non-Retina resolution, but I like the fact that I can now see out my window without a big hulking piece of aluminum and glass blocking my view.

I have an external Das Keyboard, but it was too much of a hassle for me to plug in/unplug every time I wanted to move my MacBook Air to another room. I sacrificed the improved typing experience that the Das Keyboard provides, for the convenience factor.

To the left of the MacBook is my iPad mini. As I work, I like to have Tweetbot open with streaming enabled, and the timeline pinned to the top. I can keep up with all of the latest tweets at all times, and I don’t need to have another app taking up space on my MacBook’s prime screen real estate.

Jeff's iPad

My mini is a productivity workhorse

I also use my iOS devices, primarily my iPad mini, exclusively for e-mail. I don’t use e-mail at all on my MacBook in order to keep distractions at a minimum while I work. This is an experiment that I decided to try out a few months ago, and it’s working out well for me.

Below the iPad mini rests my iPhone 5s in its BookBook case. I use my iPhone to take product shots and any other photos needed for iDB. It’s my primary camera for virtually all of my activities. I use the iPad’s camera and video recording capabilities often as well. It’s surprisingly decent if you have the proper lighting conditions.

Jeff's iPhone

The iPhone 5s’ camera is great for photos and video

To the right of my MacBook rests my iPod touch 5th generation. This is the device that houses my iOS 6 jailbreak. I test, review, and record all of my jailbreak reviews using this device. My iPod touch 5th generation is used exclusively for jailbreak content and nothing else. I won’t update it to newer firmware until a jailbreak is released for iOS 7 or above.

Jeff's iPod touch 5th gen

My jailbreak centerpiece

Beneath the iPod touch 5th gen lie my headphones. The Sony MDR-7506’s are the perfect cans for doing anything with audio. These are the de facto standard for professional audio setups. Not only are they priced reasonably, but they’re comfortable, and most importantly, produce accurate sound.

Jeff's MDR7506

Some of the most accurate sounding cans at a reasonable price

I use my headphones when editing video, recording podcasts, and pretty much anything else that requires accurate sound. These cans aren’t the most comfortable headphones out there, but they’re cheap and sound great.

Speaking of audio, let’s talk about the remaining items in my picture. The Microphone — a Heil PR40 — is an excellent microphone that reproduces rich and accurate vocals. Although I’m far from being a know-it-all when it comes to podcasting and audio in general, I can assure you that this mic sounds awesome. Many experts agree that the PR-40 is the best bang for the buck when it comes to podcasting.

Jeff's Heil

It’s no wonder why so many podcasters use this mic

I use a Heil shock mount (connected to a Rode PSA1 swivel mount boom arm) to provide the stability and shock resistance necessary for a good podcast. Having a swivel boom arm is an absolute must, especially for podcasters. It allows me to have the mic in prime position no matter how I’m sitting. I also use a BSW RE27POP pop filter to keep those pesky p-p-pops from appearing on my recordings.

Jeff's Rode PSA

Great for mounting your mic to your desk

The Apogee One for Mac and iPad is the last hardware item in the picture. It allows me to connect to my Mac via USB. The Apogee One has a connection for a breakout cable with the necessary XLR input for the microphone. I used to have a full mixer, but the Apogee One has made having such a bulky device unnecessary in my usage case. Most importantly, it provides the clean low latency input that is required for podcasting.

Jeff's Apogee ONE

Low latency inputs for the Mac

These eight items are the most used items my office on any given day. Of course, I have other tools that I utilize — lighting, tripods, chairs, etc. I also have a whole host of software that I use each and every day to get things done. Maybe I’ll get to share those with you in a future edition of this series.

The next time you see a video, hear a podcast, or read an article on iDB, you’ll know how I did it and where I did it. Let me know what you think about my setup in the comment section below.