Getting the Most out of (New) Gear

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of using new equipment for the first time. However, this joyous occasion can often be dampened by unexpected setbacks, real or perceived set-up problems, and strange sounds that weren’t there when it was last tested. These problems pop up seemingly randomly, and while there are no solutions that are going to solve every problem, there’s a few things that will help you to maximize your ability to manage and use your new equipment.

First and foremost, in order to be able to use the new equipment effectively, you must spend time with it. This doesn’t mean the time that you spend normally using the system. Spending time with your new equipment means different things for different pieces of equipment. With new microphones, it’s important to read about them, know how to set them up and use them properly, and how to care for them. If you are buying microphones from us or another installer, make sure to ask these questions, and any others that you may have. With any new sound board or control system, time should be spent familiarizing yourself with the system, it’s menu’s, basic features, and what those features do. Online resources like Youtube and Wikipedia often have basic explanations that provide a starting place for understanding new ideas, concepts, and even specific components within an audiovisual system.

Secondly, know what your equipment does and doesn’t do. Changing microphones won’t automatically make a singer sound incredible, and even the best EQ and effects settings won’t eliminate an induction buzz from cabling beside electrical conduit. Also included in this advice would be understanding the basic parts of a sound system, and what they do. If you’re unsure of certain parts (especially if it’s new gear), feel free to ask us questions about what the gear does and how it works. Knowing things such as where the signal is coming from, where it is going, and how it gets there are important to know. The basic parts of a system to know include the microphone, sound board, signal processors, amplifiers, and speakers.

Lastly, if you’ve exhausted your own knowledge and you’re still not sure what the problem is, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for help. Don’t immediately blame the previous user for your work, or shortcomings with the gear. If something isn’t working right, admit that you don’t know how to fix it, and ask the rest of your team for help. If nobody on your team knows how to fix it either, it might be time to call for professional help.

Getting the Most out of (New) Gear