Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

Editor-in-chief (Pitchfork)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Mark Richardson, the Editor-in-Chief of Pitchfork, an online music magazine. I'm responsible for the editorial on Pitchfork and work with our in-house editors and writers and freelancers on news, reviews, and features. I write a column on Pitchfork called Resonant Frequency and also wrote a book called Zaireeka, about the Flaming Lips album of the same name. I've also freelanced for newspapers and magazines for a number of years. I've lived in Brooklyn for seven months and spent four years in Chicago before that. I tumbl at markrichardson.org and tweet @_markrichardson.

What hardware do you use?

My computer is a 15" MacBook Pro running Lion and I have a 16GB iPhone 4S. For listening to music at work, which I do pretty much all day, I have Sennheiser HD 280 Pros plugged into a NuForce uDAC2 Digital Audio Converter. The DAC is kind of an indulgence and is a recent purchase, but I've been very happy with it and I think it improves the sound. The 280s are a little hard to drive and the Mac's on-board DAC and headphone amp sometimes seem like they are straining a little bit. For mobile listening on my iPhone I use Koss PortaPros. I have a portable 1TB Western Digital hard drive for my music.

At home, I tend to listen to music on the stereo in my living room and rarely on headphones. I have an inexpensive Sony Receiver from the late 90s, a Sony DVD player that I use when I listen to CDs (which is not often), and a mid-80s Yamaha P-500 direct drive turntable with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. My speakers are Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble IIs that I've had for about 12 years.

I mostly listen to vinyl at home, but sometimes listen to mp3s. I have an inexpensive Acer PC with an external drive that has a duplicate of my mp3s, and I stream those to the living room stereo through Apple's Airport Express.

And what software?

For writing, I use Apple's Pages. For me it's the right combination of ease of use and functionality. For longer pieces, I also use Freedom, which turns off the computer's internet access so I'm not tempted to check email. Finding ways to write without distraction is a constant challenge and Freedom helps a lot.

I use Evernote for ideas and to make notes in meetings. It's also a great tool when I'm covering a live show, because you can embed photos, sounds, and text into a single document. I use Wunderlist for tasks, mostly for its simplicity. And I use Google docs, and synchronize Apple's calendar with Google calendar. Google docs is an excellent tool for collaborating with writers and sharing edits. We make regular use of AIM (for me, via iChat) in the Pitchfork office. We're communicating between three offices and with freelancers so IM is kind of a necessary evil.

I use Gmail and Priority Inbox is a must for me since I get probably 200 or 300 emails a day, many of which are press releases or emails from bands and publicists. Right now i have 41,000 unread emails in my Inbox, but Priority Inbox does a good job of figuring out what I need to see. So that saved me 41,000 keystrokes I would have needed to archive those. I use iTunes for mp3s.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty happy with my computer hardware as it stands. In terms of software, I dream of having all my needs integrated into a single program. Something that combines all of the above software into one and integrates all the functions in an intuitive way. I feel like Evernote has a pretty good jump on this kind of thing, and if they figured out a way to add a few more functions and make it work seamlessly with Google's office apps that would be a big step.

For my stereo, my dream set-up would be a nice NAD integrated amp, a good D/A converter to use with AirTunes, and a Technics 1200 turntable with a nice cartridge (the 1200 is not an audiophile turntable, but ease of use, rugged design, and consistent speed would offset that for me). For several years I had a pair of Klipsch bookshelf speakers but I had to give them away when I started living in smaller apartments. I loved the way they sounded, so as long as I'm dreaming, might as well dream of a large listening room with a pair of Klipschorns in the corners. And then I'd hire David Mancuso to consult on customizing them.