I spent a fair amount on hardware this year, and most of it was very satisfying. Here are some of my favorites.

Apple Mac Studio Max

My favorite piece of hardware this year was my Mac Studio. I got the M1 Max chip, 64GB RAM, and a 2TB hard drive. Best Mac I’ve ever owned. $3200 US.

Nite Ize Gear Ties

On the budget side of the list, I have to mention these handy little gear ties. I’d always been partial to Velcro One-Wraps (which I still love), but these are great for situations where you want to be able to wrap and unwrap cables quickly. They attach to a single cable, then bend around a bunch (or a coiled cable). Easy to expand and rewrap, and they don’t wear out the way hook and pile closures do. They come in short ($5 US) and long ($9 US) packs.

Elgato Wave XLR

This little device gives you single XLR input, headphone output, and one big dial to adjust gain, headphone levels, and mix. It has a 75w pre-amp (and phantom power if you need it). That’s enough to power my Shure SM7B without a CloudLifter, which means this single piece of hardware replaced my Scarlett Solo, my CloudLifter, and my A/B mic mute (it has a capacitive touch button on top, just tap it to mute the mic completely). $160 USD.

Elgato Stream Deck +

Speaking of Elgato, I expanded my Stream Deck lineup with the Stream Deck + this year, too. It adds 4 dials with a touch screen readout, in addition to 8 of the usual Stream Deck buttons. I can control my Elgato Key Light (brightness and temperature) and Wave Link levels, easily swiping between controls. And Andreas of BetterTouchTool has indicated upcoming support for the dials, so there’s going to be even more fun to be had. $200 USD.

Pyle PC0860 Power Supply

It’s always driven me nuts that I can never find a power strip with outlets configured to handle all of my various converters and plugs. They never have the configuration I happen to need to cover all the bases. Then I found this rackmount power supply from Pyle that has 16 plugs on the back, each on a couple inches of cable. You can fit any power adapter of any size on each one and have plenty of room for the next one. It’s sitting on my desk between my monitors (it has rubber feet for desktop use), and offers three 3-prong outlets on the front, as well as a 5V/2A USB charging port. $71 USD.

Anker 3-Port Fast Compact Foldable Wall Charger

Just a super-handy little charger for your laptop and two USB devices, all in one compact form factor. Takes up less space than Apple’s wall warts, and has smart charging for multiple devices. $60 US.

Anker 521 Portable Power Station

We’ve had a few power outages over the last year. Having a power source for lighting, phone charging, and even running things like a modem/router (when the internet isn’t also out) is a plus. In addition to the UPSs that I have on my main computing setup and my Synology, this little power station handles everything else. $250 US.

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard V2

I got my V2 of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard this year. I got mine pretty early because I was a beta tester for it. Don’t be jealous. Still the only mechanical I’ve ever truly loved, but I do love it dearly. Also got the thumb modules this year, which have been a lot of fun. Mine came with some Cherry Brown switches that I like pretty well (want to swap out for Box White, I think) and the V2 has backlighting that shifts based on the active layer. Pretty cool. $320 US.

OWC Express 4M2

I’ve mentioned this gem previously, but it’s the fastest storage solution I’ve found at any price. It’s an enclosure that takes up to four NVMe SSD cards, which have become a little more affordable recently. I picked up four 2TB SSDs on sale for $150/ea (normally $208). The read/write speeds are insane. The enclosure runs $250 US.

Synology DS1520+

Speaking of storage, I finally updated my Synology. I bought the latest version that could still run Plex (and which can also run Docker), dropped 800MB of SSD cache storage in it, and upgraded all of the hard drives to 16TB drives. With the 16TB I get enough storage from four bays, so I have a hot swap drive available. $990 US, plus hard drives.

Govee TV Backlighting

This one was just for fun. I built a little “den” in the basement, bachelor pad style, and added backlighting to my 55” flat screen. I tried a couple of options before finding the Govee one, and I can say that its method of using a camera pointed at the screen gives me better results than an HDMI pass-through, and doesn’t affect any of my TVs functionality in the process. It comes with RGB strips for around the TV, and two RGB towers positioned on the sides, lighting up the whole wall pretty well. $150.

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