22 May 2018

Tech Tips

Here is this month’s collection of random tech tips to make your life just a bit easier!

Tech Tips

By Simon Byrne.

Protect your Ears!
There’s nothing quite like the satisfying crack and thump of a live drum kit, the punch of bass and guitar amplifiers, and the energy of the vocals over the PA system.

And if a little is good, a lot is better, right? Everyone might be excited and having a great time, but you also may be doing serious hearing damage to yourself, especially if you work regularly at gigs. And if you lose your hearing, so goes your career. Taking a few moments to put in some high-quality earplugs can literally save your hearing for the rest of your life.


Manuals on the Phone
Nearly everything has user manuals in PDF form nowadays so keep them on your phone for devices you use regularly. It is really handy being able to quickly look up some information when you need to make something work.

Get some sexy (sensible) pants!
We need tough clothing but it needs to look acceptable in convention centres and hotels ballrooms. Enter 5.11 Tactical Pants! 5.11 Tactical (pronounced ‘five eleven tactical’) is an American brand of clothing for military, law enforcement and public safety personnel. It is tough, hard-wearing stuff that looks good, ideal for the production industry. It comes in this year’s fashionable colour, black.

Leatherman and Torch
Absolutely essential for every professional tech. A basic Leatherman Multitool incorporates a knife, pliers, phillips and flathead screwdrivers which is what you need 95% of the time. My Leatherman Fuse has lasted me 15 years and I keep it in top shape by having it professionally sharpened once a year.

You need a torch, and Led Lenser are the torch of choice nowadays. Super reliable LED technology and the battery lasts literally for days. Be careful that you don’t get one that is too bright!

Put them both on your belt and you’ve got them handy whenever you need them.

And Footwear
Oliver Safety footwear – I love my Oliver safety boots. They are supremely comfortable which make them ideal for a long day and night’s work. They have a range of both boots and shoes that meet safety requirements, look good enough for most situations and some of them feature non-metallic toe caps guaranteed not to set off airport metal detectors.

And they last. I’ve got a 20 year old pair which are worn, but the soles and leather are still in working order.

Reduced RF Performance
Not getting the range you expect out of your wireless gear? Try turning off the houselights.

Manufacturers are noticing that as venues change their house lighting to the more energy efficient alternatives, the RF noise floor is increasing as a result of the RF garbage that the cheaper LEDs spew out. Let’s say a room has had 200 lights replaced – that is 200 new broadband noise transmitters.

Solution? Move your receiver closer to the transmitters and use high-quality directional antennas. Bandpass filters on your receiver antenna paths will also help.

Sun Protection for Equipment
Did you know that a black item placed in direct sunlight can easily reach temperatures exceeding 65 degrees? What colour is most gear? Black! Temperatures that are high are well beyond the operating limits of most gear. If your gear must be situated in direct sunlight, it is important to consider whether its temperature will get too high. Shade and cooling fans are essential in this situation.

Have you got any tech tips worthy of publication? Send them to:

This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine May 2018, p.66. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive


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