Multiple Monitors, Multimedia and "Convergence"

Audigon might be the last place in the world to embrace "convergence". I still keep my "home theatre" and 2 channel systems in different rooms and expect to do so for quite some time.

When working at my desk, however, I find myself craving a more integrated environment.

In addition to watching at least one channel of news throughout the day, it would be fun to keep half an eye on a video, or listen to some music through a genuinely high end, nearfield set up on my desk.

In my work, I have to juggle multiple tasks, monitor multiple data streams, sometimes while also working on multiple emails or documents.

High def, widescreen video monitors which can take multiple inputs seem to be getting more popular, but I still find most salespeople give me a blank or confused stare when I describe to them all the things I would like to be able to accomplish at my desk, or how many monitors should I have or what configuration the monitors should be in for maximum work and research productivity.

Has anyone else thought about this high end audio, high end video, multiple screen, "control room" approach their desk?

Where you could work, monitor some TV, listen to music, research your favourite audio questions on Audiogon, all with high definition and truly high end, nearfield sound?

I think this would make a day at the office a lot more enjoyable and - believe or not - increase productivity with multiple screens.

Any ideas? Vendors? Experiences? Suggestions for monitors and/or their configuration?

Thank you.
I have 3 Dell 2405 FPW's set up on an wall mounted Ergotron Arm with extension fed by two Matrox Parhelia's; a PCI Express and straight PCI card.

Landscape-Portrait-Lanscape is the configuration. I got the Parhelia's so I could drive them all at full 1920x1200 resolution through the DVI inputs of the FPW's. If your resolution requirements are less you can stretch a lower res across all three screens with one Parhelia which some may like better. But I like getting all the resolution I paid for.

I really like it. It takes some getting used to at first but once you have mutiple monitors it's impossible to go back to one.

CW -

If you want it now, I suspect a Mac is in your immediate future. So get a new G5 with the high end video card and put two of the 30" displays on it - doesn't get much better till you really spend stupid money... I suggest you mount the monitors on arms but that's up to you.

Use the optical out (standard Toslink not a mini) to feed your choice of DAC etc. Budget and space limitations are the only considerations in that regard. I actually run (and recommend) two sound systems. A big mother DAC/tube etc rig you can read about in my System write up, and a small crappo self powered rig with a subwoofer. This sounds surprisingly good and is always available - don't have to burn the tubes etc.

I suggest this (as opposed to SB) because you will be able to use iTunes that way - nice little 3rd party applet in the menu bar makes it easy to pause when the phone rings. Also that way any other system source can be monitored. Plus a sweet DVD player comes free. As well as DVD/CD burning built in and integrated.

With sufficient RAM - say 4Gb you should be able to keep yourself thoroughly entertained while actually being able to do considerable amounts of useful work if and when you are so inclined. I typically have 8-12 apps open at once and move between them with total ease and a high degree of reliability. It is very, very rare to lock up the entire machine, usually if you have a problem its with one app.

Set up your storage to suit - the G5s use SATA so you can get right past that nasty Firewire...

This is exactly what I am running except that I only have a 23" and 20" screen. The only thing I have no first hand experience with is TV but I can't imagine it's too hard. Mac deals with Real, Windows Media Player and of course QuickTime so you will be able to watch anything you download while listening to it in hifi.

Try it, you'll like it - and best of all you won't have to fuss with it to get it to do what(ever) you want.
This is all so cool....thank you.

So the future may or may not include a Mac, but clearly, we all need a

1) dedicated 2 channel system
2) a dedicted home theatre system and
3) a high end, nearfield desktop audio and video system

from another thread, you guys might also find interesting for multi monitor displays and for high end PC computers and multi monitors

the go-l company seems to have gone in and out of business but sure has some slick photos of prototypes (?) if you can find the website

What I am trying to do is to build a system like this myself without paying super huge prices or resorting to generic off the shelf equipment,

and also to incorporate the highest possible performance for both audio and video

also has some interesting pro audio stuff for PC environments


Thanks for advice and I agree that the Macs are nicely made and also handle all the media stuff no problem. My issue is that I work in a PC based environment, so I stubbornly resist Apple a bit, just in terms of software, familiarity and live IT support for the boring day to day stuff.

And not to sound really ridiculous, but another tricky piece of the puzzle is that I would actually benefit from having not just one TV screen but as many as 6, in more of a news room configuration, presumably to the left side of my desk.

Rather than picture in picture, I would prefer six small monitors, and then the ability to expand any particular image and also monitor the sound for breaking news events which effect my business.

So the puzzle is a bit complicated, even before I throw in all the fun stuff for when I am stuck in the office late at night.

Brad Re multi monitors and "impossible to go back" yes, I am sure that it true as I continue to limp along with only one or two. When I first started researching this, I found a paper written by Microsoft (?) examining productivity as it relates to multi monitors. I believe in the end, one of the recommeded configurations was an inverted T which you should also see on the 9x media site.

Thanks for these ideas and hopefully more.
I have seen 9X before when I was setting up my monitors.
I spent about 900 per monitor (a year ago) 750 on Video cards and about 650 on the Arm. Total: $4100

The monitors can now be had for 650-800 but I belive the other prices are close to the same.

I have been considering getting 2 30's to replace my 3 24's. If I did I would have to move the 3 24's. I also have 2 extra 24's one new in box and one refurb from Dell. 5 24's would be very impressive.

I am not sure what kind of mount is best suited for your application, and as far as video, the Parhelias will drive 4 monitors at full resolution and they have the ability to stretch across 3 for large spreadsheets, etc.

I would also have to get new Video Cards to drive the 30's so I would need to sell the Parhelias as well.

I don't need to upgrade that's why I haven't bought the 30's. I was hoping they would come down in price some.
Plus the cost of those Dual-DVI cards.

I have too many expensive

You know, I started in the audio visual/production business too long ago. One thing I have observed is that the PC industry has a habit of reinventing stuff that already works well - one example is using unbalanced minis instead of balanced XLRs, another is wall warts... need I go on LOL

Point being if I wanted to be able to monitor 6 TV channels (interesting job you have there, do share) I might think about doing it old school and build a brick out of those nice little 5" field monitors and some kind of video switching gear which is really what you need. Not as cool as digital but its been working fine for 30+ years.... hmmm

I have no loyalty to the PC industry here. In fact, I have done some ebay searches for exactly the field monitors you describe, but found them to be a bit pricey, at least in color. But perhaps that is just because I have not learned enough about that gear yet, or where to buy it cost effectively.

I actually think the field monitor solution is MORE cool than PC/digital, in the same way that a lot of vintage audio gear is more tactile more substantial and more beautifully built than new audio gear, certainly anything that is PC based.

So I would welcome you advice and please do share. Happy to also buy vintagey equipment, provided it would be reliable and meet my relatively simple (by broadcast standards) needs.

RE my job - my partners and I invest money on behalf of some of the worlds richest and smartest tycoons, so we need to really be on our toes, and up to the minute on any breaking news.

Our strategy is a global macroeconomic strategy, so although there is no exact science to "6 channels" I was picking a number that would cover CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC, CSpan and hmmmmmmmm..... well that is already 5.

So if you throw in the fact that I might like to also monitor some fun stuff on a slow day, that could easily be six or more.

If I could have a multi screen windows environment running alongside a field monitoring style setup, I would be thrilled.

Thanks for the suggestion.
Hi CW -

Way cool. You know there are some places here in Hollywood that cater to the broadcast market and we all make a lot of jokes about where the old edit bay gear goes to die... but at the end of the day it does cost a bit more then just putting up a wall of LCDs... Also some thinking through required of how you are going to get all those signals - 6 Direct TV antennas or K band or???

Might be worth it to check with some of the post production houses in your local market to try and find an engineer who knows this stuff - it will be very custom but one deal and I suspect it will pay for itself...

I am so with you on the aesthetics and funcitonality of older gear...

I can do some digging if you like, contact me directly at

With the new year ahead, it seems timely to revive this thread re extravagently high end office systems....

I have made some progress on the LCD monitors, but not yet the televisions screens. But the monitors I have chosen - Sony MFM-HT95 and Sony MFM-HT205 work great with video and TV, too.

Bummer they have been discontinued, but you can get some deals on them if you shop around.

For speakers, does anyone have true nearfield, recording studio type experience?

Has anyone found "audiophile" happiness with powered monitors?

I have a pair of Genelec 1029's kicking around the house which I recently hooked up to iTunes using my USB port. Wow - what a difference. I will never try a "PC" speaker again. To my ears, they are just a bit hot and punchy, however.

At first, I thought it might be nice to have a true, audiophile system in my office. But in addition to the sideways glances this might get from my partners, the acoustics arent great, and I have multiple monitors and things immediately in front of me which would seem to create reflections and diffractions.

So an in my face, recording studio type set up seems to be the way to go --

Genelec with subs?
Mini monitors with single end triode?

Given office environment, mid range, low fatigue and low level resolution more important than volume and slam.