243 - Kyle Mills Hall
Kyle Mills Hall is a digital & physical product designer, company builder and music maker from Southeast Texas
He recently finished a year and a half trip around the country in an RV.
Twitter → twitter.com/llllMills
- 14” MacBook Pro M1 Max-ed out (10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD) - this thing is crazy fast
- Apple Studio Display - pretty pricey, but worth it IMO. It’s not as bad as some of the reviews say. The screen is top notch, audio is superb, and the camera is… meh. But, it doesn’t bother me because it’s getting squashed to 240p for your video call anyway.
- Kali Audio LP-6 V2 6.5-inch Powered Studio Monitors in white - Incredible sound for the price. I use these to listen to, produce, mix, and master music.
- Universal Audio Volt 276 Audio Interface - My main sound card. It has a compressor built in, which I use for my microphone. I mainly bought this one to help make sure my voice doesn’t clip / distort on video calls when using my “fancy” mic. See my Youtube review.
- Audio Technica AT 2040 Dynamic Microphone - I use this for important video calls, voice overs, podcast recording, and YouTube videos. At $99, it’s a great all around dynamic microphone. I also have a Youtube review for this.
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Headphones - These are becoming kind of a standard in the music production world. Probably because they are inexpensive and sound decent. They’re not perfect, but I like them better than my Audio Technica M50’s. These are lighter and more comfortable for longer listening sessions. The high end is also clearer, although a little sibilant at times.
- Neewer 14” Round LED Video Light Panel - I’m in a really bright room, but sometimes you need a little fill. I also use this at night or when recording YouTube videos. It has variable brightness and color temperature controls. This one is way overkill. I usually keep it at 1% brightness. For a small room, I would get a size or two down from this one.
- iPod Mini 2nd Gen - I have recently gotten into old music formats, including mini disc and old iPods. I’ve replaced this iPod’s 4GB micro drive with a 64GB Compact Flash card. This gives me more storage and better battery life. There’s something that I miss about the slower, more deliberate process we used to use when selecting music. Nowadays, It’s so easy to search for or tell Siri to play one of millions of songs. The act of curating a finite number of songs & playlists gets me excited about the music I’m listening to.
- IKEA BEKANT electric standing desk - I don’t stand often, but I like being able to adjust the desk depending on my mood that day. Some times I want it lower. Sometimes I want it higher. I’m tall, so my sitting height is just under the height of my fiancé’s standing height. We both share the same office. She sits next to me and uses the same desk. However, we’re pointed away from each other ever so slightly (it helps that we have a bay window with three sides). It doesn’t feel like we’re sitting next to each other at all. But, if we need to interact with each other, we can simply swivel a bit.
- Various synthesizers and noise makers - I’m really into synthesizers and making electronic music. My collection ranges from my first keyboard / synth (Korg Triton) to digital recreations of classic synths, to beast analog Moog synthesizers.
- Sketch - I’m totally on the Sketch train. I use it mainly for UI design, but will do some logo / layout work in it. I’ve happily been putting off switching to Figma (don’t @ me)
- Slack - at swivl, we live on Slack. We’re a small, fully remote team and this has worked pretty well for us.
- Rocket - don’t sleep on this. You know how in Slack you can type a colon, followed by the text of the emoji you want to use? Well, this plugin for the Mac brings this globally to every app. It’s wonderful :sunglasses:
- Paste Bot - another one you shouldn’t sleep on. If you find yourself copying and pasting text often, this is a game changer. You can copy a bunch of individual rows of data, it adds it to a queue, and then you paste them in order, wherever you want (among other features).
- 1Password - there are several out there, but please use a password manager. 1Password has been great.
- Magnet - A simple window management tool for Mac. This lets me resize windows super fast.
- Shortcut Bar - It puts a little icon in your Mac tray that lets you access commonly used information. I use it to quickly grab swivl Styleguide Hex values.
- GSuite - Gmail and Meet are daily drivers for us
- Hey.com email - I’ve been using this for my personal email since they launched in 2020 and have been really happy with it (except for a few UX things that they refuse to fix).
- Adobe Suite - the more I can get away from the this the better, but I still use Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, & Audition.
- Final Cut - I’m moving away from Premiere for video editing. I still have some learning to do, but so far it’s so much better.
- Ableton Live - my go to DAW for music production
- Waves Plugins - Most of my third party audio VSTs are Waves. I have a handful of random plugins, but Waves has been my go to
- Logic - I will sometimes use this for simple audio editing / mixing–things like podcasts or mixing / mastering for a friend.
- Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM - I subscribe to multiple streaming services. I can’t get enough music.
- YouTube Premium - I watch so much Youtube. I find it to be a wonderful learning tool. I recently canceled Netflix and all other streaming services, but kept Youtube.
What is your favorite item in your workspace?
Since I was a kid, I always wanted an EcoSphere. As an adult in my 30’s, I decided recently that it was time to finally have one. The little glass orb sitting on my desk is a materially closed ecological system which is self-sustaining over a period of years. At room temperature, and with only low light input, the algae produce oxygen which supports the shrimp and bacteria. Bacteria break down the shrimps' waste. This provides nutrients to the algae and bacteria upon which the shrimp feed. It reminds me of how small things can be, but also, how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. It centers me.
How do you spark creativity?
There’s no taming it. Just be prepared to work when it hits. It can be tough, but sometimes you have to say no to things or cancel plans (or meetings 😉).
How do you keep the work-life balance?
Get away from the desk. Since I work from this space and also use it for personal projects like making music, it can be easy to never leave. I have to periodically get outside and disconnect.