Our editors’ desk setups, part 2: Samuel needs order
Background information

Our editors’ desk setups, part 2: Samuel needs order

Samuel Buchmann
21.12.2023
Translation: Megan Cornish

In this series, our editors will show you which equipment they use every day – be it for work or gaming. I like things simple and tidy.

My head is usually too full. I have to compensate for that with an empty workspace. I only keep what’s absolutely necessary on my desk. I prefer to buy a few good things that I’m really happy with. I also want to see as few cables as possible. In everyday life, my office is actually as tidy as in the photo.

Computer: MacBook Pro, gaming PC

As the Apple nerd in the editorial team, I, of course, work on a MacBook Pro. Mine is already two generations old and has an M1 Max chip with 32 GB of RAM. I don’t see any reason to upgrade yet. The laptop can handle anything and is completely silent with everyday use. If I’m not using a second screen, the MacBook sits open on a stand from TwelveSouth.

My PC looks extremely boring because I’m not into RGB. I’d love to mothball the bulky box entirely, but, as an occasional gamer, I can’t.
My PC looks extremely boring because I’m not into RGB. I’d love to mothball the bulky box entirely, but, as an occasional gamer, I can’t.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

Annoyingly, still almost no games run on MacOS. As I want to play current titles every now and then, I can’t avoid having a second computer. Next to my desk, there’s a simple Windows PC with mid-range components. However, the many additional cables drive me mad.

Monitor: BenQ SW271 and/or test devices

The BenQ SW271 is a bit older, but still a very good monitor with full coverage of the AdobeRGB colour space for image editing. If I was buying one today, I’d buy it a size larger, because I regularly review huge screens and I’ve got used to them.

My monitor regularly has to give way to a test device. The 57-inch Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 was the largest to date.
My monitor regularly has to give way to a test device. The 57-inch Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 was the largest to date.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

I don’t test these in the lab; I test them in my everyday workspace. This means that I’m often lucky enough to have great screens in front of me that are fun to use – like my current test model of the Eizo ColorEdge CG2700X. But there have also been screens that I didn’t like. And switching back to my 27-inch monitor after using an absolute monster isn’t easy.

Docking station: CalDigit TS4

Docking stations for Macs have long been a compatibility lottery. Many of them worked poorly, became too hot or were unreliable. Things are different with Thunderbolt 4 docks, with Intel enforcing strict standards here. All docking stations that I have tried so far with this connector worked exactly as advertised. A cheap and good option is the i-Tec TB4, for example.

The CalDigit TS4 is the queen of docking stations and boasts a lot of ports. Since Thunderbolt 4, models that are half as expensive have also worked well.
The CalDigit TS4 is the queen of docking stations and boasts a lot of ports. Since Thunderbolt 4, models that are half as expensive have also worked well.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

I still have one of the most expensive docking stations on the market, the CalDigit TS4. There’s one main reason for this: it has a DisplayPort connection, which I absolutely need for some monitor tests. Most other docks only offer HDMI. There’s also a Thunderbolt port for the laptop on the back of the CalDigit TS4, so I can run all cables cleanly behind the table.

Keyboard and mouse: Logitech MX

Colleague and keyboard evangelist Kevin Hofer has been tough on me so far: I just can’t get used to mechanical keyboards. Even after several attempts, I’m a staunch «flat fan» and prefer typing on my trusty Logitech MX Keys. When it comes to mice, there’s no other option for me. I’ve been an MX Master fan from the very beginning, which will probably never change.

Logitech MX Keys and Logitech MX Master: boring but good.
Logitech MX Keys and Logitech MX Master: boring but good.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

Audio: Creative GigaWorks T40, Apple AirPods Max

I’ve had my small PC boxes from Creative for over ten years: neutral sound, little space required, no frills. They don’t have amazing bass, but I don’t need them to listen to music anyway. The only flaw is that the blue LED lighting on the right speaker is far too bright, which always annoyed me in the evenings. So, I opened the box and tore out the LED with brute force. Now nothing lights up at all. Much better.

The right-hand dial would normally glow obtrusively brightly. But I neutralised the LED.
The right-hand dial would normally glow obtrusively brightly. But I neutralised the LED.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

If I want to isolate myself from my surroundings or listen to loud music, I put on my AirPods Max. They’re overpriced, but, unfortunately, they’re cool. During podcasts, I connect them directly to my microphone via a headphone jack. But I had to throw another 40 francs at Apple for it because it only works with the official connection cable.

The AirPods Max are one of those products that I love, but would still only recommend to a limited extent because of the price.
The AirPods Max are one of those products that I love, but would still only recommend to a limited extent because of the price.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

Microphone and webcam: Shure MV7, Opal C1

The Shure MV7 is a great microphone for podcasts. It’s almost as good as the SM7B that you’ll find in every professional studio. By contrast, the MV7 can be connected not only via XLR, but also via USB. This is more practical and enough for what I need. The microphone hangs on an Elgato arm.

The Shure MV7 has an XLR and a USB port. Unfortunately, the micro jack is wearing out.
The Shure MV7 has an XLR and a USB port. Unfortunately, the micro jack is wearing out.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

I hate webcams. Every one I’ve had so far suffers from poor image quality, bloated software or unpredictable dropouts. I also cursed the Opal C1 for months because it regularly overheated. The old software also used up an absurd amount of computing power in the background. Since the latest firmware update, the Opal C1 is finally the webcam it was always meant to be and works perfectly. It offers very good image quality for its compact size. However, the software is only compatible with MacOS.

It’s only been a few weeks since the white Opal C1 stopped driving me crazy.
It’s only been a few weeks since the white Opal C1 stopped driving me crazy.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

Chair: Herman Miller Aeron

I can’t link my office chair from our shop – unfortunately Herman Miller isn’t in our product range. The Aeron is a design icon and costs over 1,500 francs. Nevertheless, for me it’s worth every cent. No other chair fits my back so well and is so durable.

I’d never give up my Herman Miller Aeron. It’s comfortable, ergonomic and well ventilated.
I’d never give up my Herman Miller Aeron. It’s comfortable, ergonomic and well ventilated.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

Odds and ends: in a drawer

Cables that I don’t currently need end up in a cardboard box with two compartments, along with SSDs and other odds and ends. This means that everything’s within easy reach yet doesn’t spoil my tidy desk. However, I don’t care about the mess in the boxes. Out of sight, out of mind.

I hide cables, SSDs, card readers, pens and other small items in a drawer.
I hide cables, SSDs, card readers, pens and other small items in a drawer.
Source: Samuel Buchmann

If you missed the last episode of our desk setup series, you can find it here:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 1: Michelle likes colours

    by Michelle Brändle


Header image: Samuel Buchmann

If you’ve missed an episode of our desk setups, here’s the full list:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 1: Michelle likes colours

    by Michelle Brändle

Samuel:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 2: Samuel needs order

    by Samuel Buchmann

David:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 3: David keeps it simple

    by David Lee

Flo:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups: Flo’s cable management from hell

    by Florian Bodoky

Jan:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups: Jan’s all about ergonomics

    by Jan Johannsen

Kevin:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups: Kevin the compact one

    by Kevin Hofer

Domi:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 7: Domi sees double

    by Domagoj Belancic

Tinu:

  • Background information

    Our editors’ desk setups, part 8: Martin’s got a standing desk, but never stands

    by Martin Jud

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My fingerprint often changes so drastically that my MacBook doesn't recognise it anymore. The reason? If I'm not clinging to a monitor or camera, I'm probably clinging to a rockface by the tips of my fingers.


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