The Incredible Shrinking Studio, Part 5: Mimo Mini Monitor

Continuing the Incredible Shrinking Studio series… I needed a little more screen real estate.

While I’m quite used to using Digital Performer on one monitor now, I really wish I could have just a small extra monitor where I could tweak plugins while composing and mixing.

But monitors are huge, require big monitor cables, laptop adapters, and a big power cables. Four things which are a no-no for my Portable Studio.

I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a USB powered mini-monitor?’ So I did a bit of research, and lo-and-behold! The Mimo USB powered mini monitor came into existence!

Picked up the Mimo UM-710S (non-touch-screen) from Amazon for like $150. Here’s what the box looks like (why do people like looking at boxes?).

It includes the monitor, some instruction manual you’ll never read, a CD with drivers you won’t use (especially if you have a Mac), and another mini-USB cable.

You have to download the Mac Drivers here (latest PC drivers are there as well), installation was quick and simple. I guess there are touch-screen drivers for the more expensive models too.  I couldn’t think of any advantages for a touch-screen in my situation.

Took me a while to find out where to plug in the USB cable.

Right in the center on the backside. I plugged in the USB cable and… nothing. Huh.

The USB cable in the box was junk. Luckily, I have about 2 million mini-USB cables, so it was no problem just using another one (still… ?!). A pretty blue light on the side came on and I got to see another tiny little Mac desktop (fully and easily configurable from the System Preferences Displays menu).

The screen is actually quite brilliant and the colors are actually often better than my laptop screen. My camera will not do it justice, so just imagine as you check out the photos.

The monitor slides out onto this thing and can be rotated to landscape:

And works quite well for Twitter applications like Seesmic or TweetDeck.

Or you can rotate the screen to portrait for single column stuff such as instant messaging in Adium or Skype.

I don’t know the exact resolution of the device (800×480) but I do know it is the perfect resolution for running Arvale: Treasure of Memories 😉

But I’ll mostly be using it for situations while composing like so:

And especially when mixing, like so:

This way, I can keep my eye on all of the faders and adjust things on the main monitor, while still being able to adjust plugins and virtual instruments on the mini monitor.

Most plugins with simple interfaces (DP and Waves plugins) fit just right and leave just enough room for tweaking the settings.

But how big the device itself? Is it really portable?

To give some size comparisons, I pulled out my PSP.

It’s slightly larger than a PSP.

About the same thickness as a PSP.

And it’s light enough (less than a pound) and slim enough to fit in my tiny hands 🙂

That’s it for the Incredible Shrinking Studio for now. So, how does it all come together? Does it all still fit on the desk? More importantly, does it all still fit in my Gear Bag?

I’ll be doing a lot of Audio work this month, so I’ll be sure to take some pics of it in action.

Stay tuned! 😉

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