My Top 5 Hardware Purchases In 2023 That Helped Me With Content Creation And Podcast Editing

Last time around, I talked about plugins; this time, I want to talk about the hardware that has made my life better as an editor and a content creator.  I’ve taken on a lot more video work this year between clients and my content creation, so I started looking for ways to improve my workflow on the video side.

Editing in Final Cut Pro requires many more key commands than Hindenburg does.  I can’t get by with my MX Master.  I looked into options and landed on the first item on this list.

#1: [.h2-link-cms]Stream Deck Plus[.h2-link-cms]

I opted for the Plus since it has dials as well as buttons.  This allows me to map all my commonly used key commands to the buttons and use the knobs for things like zoom and playback speed.  I’ve found that it’s helped considerably with productivity.  So much so that I got a Stream Deck mark 2.

#2: [.h2-links-cms]Dell Ultrasharp 49” Ultrawide monitor model U4924DW[.h2-links-cms]

My old Apple Thunderbolt Display was starting to show its age.  It was around 15 years old, and Tara wanted her Apple Studio Display back, so I looked into my options.  The idea of having two 27” displays in one screen was appealing, but I wasn’t sure how well it would work.  Having spent the last month with it, I find it nice, especially when it comes to editing. Or I can have the timeline take up 5/6 of the screen and have edit notes on the last sixth.

Switching over to the content creation side of things brings us to:

#3: [.h2-links-cms]Canon R8 with a 28mm lens[.h2-links-cms]

I got tired of setting up my iPhone whenever I had a meeting or needed to record.  This camera gives me a setup where I turn it on, and I’m ready to go.  This purchase serves a double duty for us, though.  Due to their size and weight, we hate taking Tara’s R5 and 24-105 lens on hikes.  This setup is much lighter and smaller, making it a great hiking camera.  

#4 [.h2-links-cms]Cranborne Camden Preamp[.h2-links-cms]

Since I’ve spent so much time creating and editing that content, I had grown tired of the noise on my audio.  Over the course of a month, I spent a lot of time going through my setup, trying to find out where the noise was coming from.  I troubleshot the entire system, A-B testing everything.  Turns out it was a combination of factors:

My first step was to find a solution for the preamp.  I couldn’t make up my mind.  At this point, I can’t remember which two I was debating between, but I ran across the Camden.  Clean gain plus a Mojo circuit.  It sounded good in the videos I found, so I took a chance.  I’ve been happy with it, and it came in cheaper than the others I considered.  That brings us to

#5 [.h2-links-cms]Earthworks Ethos[.h2-links-cms]

Even after getting the Camden, the RE20 was still too noisy.  I was looking for something that wouldn’t require noise reduction.  Initially, I had been eyeing the Lewitt PureTube because why not?  A low noise, flat frequency response tube mic sounded perfect.  I started going down the Podcastage rabbit hole because that’s what you do if you’re looking for a new mic for dialog.  I liked everything about the Ethos, watched more demos, and decided to take the chance.  It solved my noise problems, and it sounds good.  

I still had some resonance and sibilance to deal with, so I turned to Universal Audio’s plugins to finish off the chain.  A little compression and de-essing from the VoxBox and some EQ from the Massive Passive, and I’m happy with my setup.  The bonus is that it sounds good on live streams, too.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.