Gambling with gear is something EVERYONE does at one point in their life. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you changed your furnace filter, replaced your car tires, or oiled the chain on your bike? Audio gear can often get the same treatment.
Maybe it’s your fault.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s the fault of the church.
Gambling with gear comes when equipment is not treated properly, maintained properly, or replaced when necessary. The gamble is “it’s ok right now, so it will be ok in the future.”
There are 5 ways you can protect your gear from this gamble.
1. Maintenance. This is the easiest thing you can do. Need a place to start? Start with dusting behind your equipment racks. Fix bad cables. Clean microphone heads. Clean projector filters.
2. Organization. Proper organization leads to better care of equipment. For example, our musicians set up their own stations on the stage. This includes microphones, DI boxes, and cables. By organizing the audio closet in a way that made sense from the musician’s point of view, they are replacing it after the service in a neat and proper fashion.
3. Budget. In your budget, you need to have funds marked for replacement of equipment. For example, earmark 20% of the price of a new mixer. Earmark a few hundred for the replacement of a microphone. Replacing a bad piece of equipment is easy when you have the money to do it. Don’t think that just because it works today that it will work tomorrow.
4. Upgrade. Of the churches I’ve visited in 2011 either as a visitor or as a sound guy, most of them had one piece of equipment that should be upgraded due to age. I’ve known people with Toyota Camry’s with over 300,000 miles on the car. You shouldn’t expect to get that type of mileage out of a piece of equipment. I’m not saying you should replace everything over five years old. I’m saying if you’re still using the same tape recorder for the last 10 years, you might want to replace it before the tape deck gives out. Take the opportunity to upgrade to a modern technology. You could go with a rack recording system or use a computer you might already have hooked up for your slides. Just because you are upgrading, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money.
5. Training. You can prolong the life of your equipment when you train the musicians how to use it the right way. Train them in how to handle microphones; no more dropping them, playing with them, etc. Train your sound team in the right way to wrap cables. Train them in how to perform maintenance on equipment. Lastly, train (errrr…educate) the church staff/elders/pastors in the life expectancy of equipment. Educate them in the limitations of the sound system and the equipment. Educate them about the gamble.
It’s December 31st, 2011. Tomorrow, you will have your New Year’s resolutions. Add one more resolution; “I will not allow anyone to gamble with my audio equipment.“