What’s on your desk, Andrew Marino?

Podcasting can be a fun and incredibly creative field – but also very demanding. Not only do you need to be familiar with a variety of audio devices and software, but you also need an imagination, a good vibe about what sounds good to your audience, and a very sensitive ear.

Andrew Marino is LimitIts a senior voice director and is responsible for producing almost everything you hear in our podcast. We asked him to show us his table – both of them – and tell us a little bit about them and himself.

What is your background and what are you doing Limit?

Hey! I am a sound engineer / creator and I live in Brooklyn, NY. My background is mostly audio / visual technology, whether it’s making music, podcasting, video production or fun media formats. It’s not so a coincidence what I do Limit.

Most of my work is producing, editing, mixing and recording sound Verge podcasts and videos, and I try to write on the site whenever I can!

You have two – count em, two – separate workspaces. Where are they and where are they?

Yeah! I am very lucky to have two workspaces. There is a smaller desk in my living room and a larger corner in my bedroom.

The living room has been where I’ve set a desk in my apartment for the past five years, but while working from home last year, I decided to divide my work into two spaces: most of the living room Verge stuff during the week, and then another for personal projects like an Etsy store, a Twitch stream, a personal blog, or a podcast. Or sometimes I work there when I need some kind of landscape change.

Corner table in the bedroom for personal sound projects.

Corner table in the bedroom for personal sound projects.

Let’s start with your personal desk in the bedroom. It looks like it has the perfect sound setting. How did you decide where and how to install it?

I would not say complete – you may find that I don’t have studio screens on either desktop. I work with headphones in my apartment.

I’ve had this corner table for a long time, and I really didn’t want to throw it out when I got a new desk (in the living room). I also tried to set up a separate space for Twitch or my Etsy shop where I didn’t have to make a mess and move stuff around the world for different projects like I have to do Verge reception.

There’s also something nice about moving to another room to work on another project, and it has helped a lot in productivity and creativity.

Tell me a little about the desk.

This was a desk that someone in my hometown was getting rid of many years ago – I still like it because of the L-shape. I want to get a lot of space for the different projects and tools I use so I can access them quickly. My Verge colleagues may see the pattern here on my desk in the office.

I also took the shelf from another old desk and screwed it to this desk – I put the cassette covers there or I can install other equipment if I want.

Do you have a chair over there?

Yeah. It’s a $ 50 computer chair I got from Ikea. It’s comfortable enough, but I really don’t recommend it because the chair material comes off very easily, so there was black plastic stuff on the floor all the time. I had to put pillowcases on top and bottom of it. It’s ugly, so I didn’t include it in the photos.

Okay, let’s get some gold: could you tell us about the technology you’re using there?

Clear. The essential parts of this installation are a MacBook Pro (model 2014 or 2020, depending on whether I use a personal or work computer), a 24-inch U2414H-Dell display, a Rodecaster Pro mixer / audio connectionand a traditional Apple keyboard and mouse.

Rodecaster Pro is a great gadget I would like to point out here. It’s a Rode consumer audio mixer built for podcasting and live audio, with the ability to mix and record up to four microphones, device audio, and sound bank. I like to use it for live mixing rather than recording – it makes mixing multiple microphones and audio sources into a single signal for streaming before it even hits the computer.

Everything else is tools for different projects: an old Panasonic VHS-C camcorder for a streaming camera, a few cassette players for making mixes, craft materials and several storage devices (a Audio equipment Mix-Pre 6, Zoom in H4n, PreSonus FireStudio and some stage microphones) in the field for recording.

This Panasonic camera now acts as a webcam.

This Panasonic camera now acts as a webcam.

Panasonic feeds.

Panasonic feeds.

The big container under the table is completely empty cassette tapes for my online store. I’ve put podcasts on cassettes and also made custom templates and labels for mixtapes. The second box with boxes has all the crafts and office supplies – labels, stickers, paper, shipping supplies, stamps, paper glue, hardware cables, etc.

Um – tape cassettes?

Honestly, it’s more aesthetic than anything else (ha ha). It is also easy and inexpensive to make duplicates and customize physical media. You see it a lot in DIY music modes.

Two monitors: a 24-inch screen and a MacBook Pro.

Two monitors: a 24-inch screen and a MacBook Pro.

Some tape tables, including one from Crayola.

Some tape tables, including one from Crayola.

I love the hippo image above the desktop.

This article (which is actually on an old Wharfedale picture frame speaker) tells the story of America’s oldest hippopotamus, called Lucifer. My grandmother sent me that article a couple of years ago because I visited him as a child. I recently made a little story about him in my personal podcast which I am proud of, so it is a kind of memory of it.

That little orange thing on the edge of the table is a vintage table vacuum cleaner that I found very pleasantly designed.

I see that you have placed some sound absorbing material.

Oh yeah, it’s not set very well, and I’m kind of confused about it. But I couldn’t stand the low reverberation of my voice at this angle, so I had to add something pretty simple to muffle the sound bouncing off those walls.

I love toys. I was particularly interested in the Crayola toy. What is that?

It’s a cassette player! It was a gift from a friend. I use it half to test the tapes and half just to watch. There is a crayon-shaped microphone with which you can record.

The living room desk is for Verge’s work.

The living room desk is for Verge’s work.

Let’s move to a smaller desktop. Can you tell us about the desk and the pink chair?

This is where I do most of my work Limit and here you see me sitting with our work. Zoom plays 90 percent of the time.

This was also a desk that someone donated. It is Husky adjustable desk and it works great as a stationary computer desk. I recommend this if you are looking for an affordable alternative to a standing table. It has a very slow handle for height adjustment, but eventually I got used to it and my arms are now thinner.

The chair is a Karljan From Ikea, and good price! I originally bought this kitchen as a chair, but moved it to the living room when I got another desk. Usually I try not to sit too long during the day, so I guess I don’t care too much about chairs. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a “good” chair. However, this is cute.

What is the device between the keyboard and the monitor?

It is Akai MPK mini MIDI controller I use it for music production, mostly Ableton Live, digital audio workstation.

Every now and then I do something Verge podcasts or videos with it. Other times it’s on the mat next to me when the desk is too full. I’ve been working on the desktop issue forever. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep a minimalist desk in my living room, but it’s constantly growing. I’m a maximalist, I guess.

Tell us about another technique at this table.

Again, I switch MacBooks back and forth between desktops, so the classic MacBook Pro for all your work is also here.

Of the other gears I have Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio connection that I mostly use a Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun microphone for zoom calls or in rare situations I have to save myself at work. Our podcast hosts have used Scarlett to record at home last year. This Sennheiser model has been the clearest, most focused, and most extensive alternative to the voice conversation I’ve used (you’ll see this microphone on my other desktop as well), and I’ve used a lot microphones.

My main screen is 32 inch LG 32MP58HQ-P LED displaywhich is big but i love it. I tried to emulate an iMac-sized screen at first, then went a little bigger. Editing a podcast on such a large screen makes navigating a project so much easier. The screen is now stacked in the book to put it on eye level, but I think I need to find a way to raise it a little more. I really loved Dan’s monitor arm for his version of this table discussion, I may have to get one myself.

I use my MacBook as my second screen in my shuffle window.

I like the external LG Ultra HD Blu-ray drive on this table to burn or read discs. This is an overpill gadget from my bedroom table because it’s kind of delicate.

Depending on the computer, I have some dongles. For the 2014 MacBook Pro, I only use Anker 4-port USB-A dock for several devices I have turned on. In the 2020 MacBook Pro, I use a Satechi USB-C dock which gets everything I need for my computer – except my Thunderbolt 2 cable for my hard drives and video connections, which I have to use another key for.

I have used Logitech C270 Zoom as a webcam because it was the only time available when I needed it last year. It has a 720p and 4: 3 aspect ratio, which is charming at times, but it looks like I use a mini DVD camera in my meetings.

Then sometimes I bring that Magnavox MWR20V6 VCR / DVD combination from the bedroom when I need to digitize something or convert media formats.

The orange things in the corner of the table are mine LaCie external hard drives, where I like all the digital projects I work on and some archive projects.

Okay, no way I’m asking you about that cat on the wall.

cat piano!! I got this in Target about seven or eight years ago because it was so funny and you can play cat screens with it on the keys. I added a quarter-inch TRS analog output to it so I can record it directly, but it’s mostly decorative these days.

Happy cat piano.

Happy cat piano.

Why is the skull made of broccoli?

Why is the skull made of broccoli?

I love the Star Wars mug. And the green skull …

Oh thank you! Yeah, you have to have a Mug with tools. That Star Wars mug was a gift my grandmother’s neighbor gave me as a child when my grandmother died. I always thought it was weird to give a grieving child, so it has gained some importance after all these years.

broccoli skull I bought it from Wayfair a couple of months ago because it was also a weird thing! Why broccoli?

Is there anything else in your workspace that we haven’t covered?

I want to note that I don’t take cable management too seriously, and it’s sometimes overrated, especially when you switch a lot around! I tried to keep these images authentic, and I don’t tidy up my setting for this song. I’m also currently working on an art project that will make an uncontrolled cable look good in your home – more on that later.

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