When I moved into my home office a few years ago, I had a lot of work that I needed to do to make it a comfortable space. I wanted to set it up for both video recording and podcasting but also make it a comfortable space where I enjoy spending long hours. It's almost there, so I wanted to share some of the investments I made as well as why.
Here's a breakdown of the upgrades I've made:
- Bandwidth – I was utilizing Comcast but my house wasn't wired so I often ran an ethernet cord from my router to my office when I was recording to ensure I had no bandwidth issues. Comcast had good download speeds, but upload speeds were terrible. I pulled the plug and moved to Fiber. The company installed it directly to my office, so now I have 1Gb service both up and down directly to my laptop! For the rest of the home, I have an Eero Mesh wifi system that was installed with the fiber by Metronet.
- Triple Display Docking Station – Instead of manually connecting ethernet, monitors, USB hub, mic, and speakers each time I sat at my desk, I opted for the j5Create USB-C docking station. It's one connection and every device is plugged in… including power.
- Standing Desk – Since I'm getting fit, I wanted to have the option of standing up and have a very wide work region to do it with. I opted for a Varidesk… which is built incredibly well, is absolutely stunning, and fits everything on it so I can easily go from sitting to standing. I already had a dual display bracket that installed easily on the desk.
- Microphone – I know a lot of folks love Yeti, but I just couldn't get the clarity out of my mic. It could have been my voice, I'm not sure. I opted for an Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR microphone and it sounds and looks great.
- XLR to USB audio interface – The Microphone is XLR, so I have a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD, 2-Channel audio interface to push it into the docking station.
- Podcast Arm – Low-profile podcast arms that look good on video can be quite expensive. I opted for the Podcast Pro and it looks fantastic. My only mistake on this is that the microphone is under the weight that the arm tension is designed for so I had to velcro a counterweight on the arm to keep it steady.
- Headphone Amp – You know how ridiculous it can be to maintain or troubleshoot audio outputs via software, so I opted for a PreSonus HP4 4-Channel Compact Headphone Amplifier instead where I have earbuds, studio headphones, and a surround sound system all connected. This means my output is always the same… I just turn up or down which headphones I'm using or mute the monitor output.
- Speakers – I wanted a great set of speakers for the office that are wired up to the monitor output of the headphone amp, so I went with the Logitech Z623 400 Watt Home Speaker System, 2.1 Speaker System.
- Webcam – One of the issues I was running into that I speak about in the video was extreme glare with my old webcam… so I've upgraded to a Logitech BRIO which has a ton more options and deals with the glare much better – not to mention it has a 4K output.
Webcam Upgrade: Logitech BRIO
One issue that you'll see in the original video is that the webcam was terrible at dealing with glare from my monitors when I had large white windows on screen. I upgraded the webcam to a Logitech BRIO, a higher-end 4K webcam with plenty of customization and recording options. You can see the results above.
The setup is fantastic and I even have a nice television and soundbar next to me to watch a movie or listen to the television while I'm working.