Student Equipment – VPA Hub

Student Equipment

We find that students who have their own equipment spend more time investing in their education and explore a greater number of creative avenues. Because of that we are dedicating resources to equip students early in their education with powerful tools and we recommend that students come to school with a laptop and a few other pieces of computer hardware.

  • Provided Equipment:
    • Students in the Michigan Tech sound programs are provided with several pieces of exceptionally useful equipment to insure they are always able to get work done and to creative explore their own passions.
    • Zoom H5
      • This is a small handled recorder capable of recording 4 tracks of high quality audio. It can also be used as an audio interface for your computer.
      • Students will also receive the accessories kit which includes wind protection for the H5 recorder, a remote control for less handling noise, and a power supply. And they will receive the shotgun microphone attachment.
    • Headphones
    • Speakers
      • Each student will build their own high quality mini-monitor loudspeaker during their first semester in the program.
    • Stands & Cables
      • Each student will receive a mic stand and various cables to make all of their equipment work.
  • Recommended Equipment:
    • Portable Drive:
    • Back-up plan:
      • Google drive provides students with lots of storage space for back-ups but does require more hands on planning to use reliably and can lead to students not backing-up critical information. However, it is provided by the University at no extra cost.
      • More reliable, and highly recommended, at a modest cost is Back Blaze which will automatically back-up the students computer AND external drives when they are active on the network. We cannot stress enough how important back-ups are.
    • Hearing Protection:
      • Healthy ears are the most important equipment for students in this major. Anytime they are in an environment louder than 80dB SPL they should consider wearing hearing protection. And they should always carry hearing protection with them. Custom molded musician earplugs from an audiologist are recommended but simple foam earplugs from any pharmacy work great, and are much cheaper. Buy a small pouch so that you can always have a clean pair in your pocket.
  • Recommended Computer:
    • We recommend a Macintosh Laptop, especially for those students interested in the artistic side of the business. We use some cross platform software, a lot of Mac OS only software, and some Windows only software. Students can use a windows computer and depending on their focus this may be easier or harder. Students with a deep investment in Windows should probably stick with Windows.
    • Short Reccomendation:
      • Minimum: MacBook Pro 13″, M1 processor, 8GB unified memory, 512GB SSD storage.
      • Recommended: MacBook Pro 13″, M1 processor, 16GB unified memory, 1TB SSD storage.
      • Upgraded (especially for students interested in video): MacBook Pro 14″, M1 Pro 10-core processor, 16GB unified memory, at least 1TB SSD storage.
    • Detailed Specifications:
      • We recommend students get a MacBook. The MacBook Pro is more powerful and expandable and will probably last longer as a powerful computer. As our work requires extended high processing loads the additional cooling in the MacBook Pro models will also probably help their longevity. However, the M1 powered MacBook Air is also a very capable computer.
      • Processor:
        • We recommend that you do not buy an intel based Mac.
        • The new M1, M Pro, and M Max computers are incredibly powerful and quiet, and the battery life is amazing.
      • Storage:
        • We recommend at least 1TB of internal storage as the applications we use require a lot of space.
        • This is probably the most important aspect of a computer for our work.
        • In addition to internal storage students are encouraged to purchase an external drive as detailed above.
      • Memory (RAM):
        • We reccomend 16GB of RAM since this isn’t upgradable and can make a big difference to the lifespan of a computer.
        • However, 8GB likely will do everything you need to do because the new M1 processors are much more memory efficient.
      • Graphics
        • All of the apple chips provide significant graphics power. This doesn’t make much difference to sound work. If students are interested in video editing or video game work the M1 Pro and M1 Max represent significant upgrades for reasonable pricing.
      • Adaptors:
        • We recommend a USB C to Ethernet adaptor for the MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″ models.
        • The MacBook Pro 13″ does require more adaptors. We recommend an affordable USB-c hub with USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, and SD card ports. The Wirecutter has some good recommendations.

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