A big part of running live sound at church is being prepared. Live production requires a special set of skills and tools. And sometimes it’s the simplest tools that can save the day.
Don’t let a last-minute audio emergency ruin your service. Here is a list of things to keep handy for those “just in case” moments.
Always keep a roll or two handy. It’s great for taping down cables on stage, holding gear together, and many other creative uses. The good stuff won’t leave a sticky residue on your cables or floor.
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Using this special white (or even glow in the dark) tape is great for marking gear or making notes on your channel strip. It’s better than masking tape because it will come off when you want it to and doesn’t leave a yellow film behind.
This is handy for making marks on that fancy board tape. A pack of fine point and ultra-fine point markers will work great for most labeling needs.
Keep an assortment of spare batteries for common sound system devices like wireless mics. Buy in bulk when possible.
It’s a good idea to stock a variety of audio adapters. Common adapter types might include XLR – ¼” transformer, Speakon – ¼” speaker adapter, XLR m-m and f-f gender adapters, ¼” TRS barrel adapter, 3.5mm – RCA stereo cable, ¼” TRS to ¼” TS Y-cable (insert cable), and RCA – ¼” adapters. These are just a few examples.
Ground Lift Transformers
These are really an adapter, but specifically for eliminating buzz and hum in your sound system when you find it. Using a 1:1 isolation transformer can remove unwanted noise on a microphone cable. And using the right power isolation adapter is much safer than using the basic “cheater plug.”
A good set of headphones is important for a live sound tech. Closed-back headphones help isolate outside noise and provide focused listening for dialing in specific audio settings.
Live production environments can be dark, so a good flashlight can be very useful. Consider using a flashlight with a red lens or red LED for a less distracting light at front of house or backstage.
Cable Repair Tools
A soldering iron, wire strippers, and a cable tester can be invaluable when it comes to fixing damaged cables or other equipment. Stock these tools and some spare connectors in the tech closet or drawer.
Even a robust microphone can go bad from time to time. Consider stocking a few multipurpose microphones that can be used in case a vocal or instrument mic malfunctions.
Of course, all of these are basic suggestions. Stock the gear that makes sense for your sound system and your needs.
Note: this originally appeared as a guest post on the ChurchTechToday blog.
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