Preempting Equipment Failure
Lets look at the 5 things that should have been done before the sweat and bzzzzzzzz fest.
1. Basic maintenance
On a regular basis check all your chords. See my previous article on this.
Also, organize your cables in a logical manner. Personally, I hang them on a peg board sorted by length. This way if you do encounter a bad cable you know exactly where to go to grab a replacement.
It goes without saying that you should have at least two spare cables for each variety of cable you are using. For example you should have extra 1/4 to 1/4, XLR male to female, 1/8 to RCA. Whatever cables and adaptors you use have spares, and know where they are!
Make sure that you know exactly how many inputs and what type of inputs that you will have from the band on Sunday morning and have them set up and tested ahead of time.
Ask the worship leader (and ask often) if there is anything else you need to know. Even for those of us who prepare ahead of time surprises can happen.
This past Sunday I had all 6 vocal hand held mics in use and 10 minutes before the service I noticed on the worship order a missions report was scheduled.
Right away flags went up as I figured the update was not going to be from one of the pastors (they all wear headset mics) and thus an additional handheld would be needed. I quickly found one of the worship team singers and coordinated a “handoff” of their mic to the pastor doing announcements.
Thus, the pastor handed the mic to the person giving the mission trip update and then would make sure it got back to the worship team member before the next musical package.
Typically we as a group (the pastors, worship leaders and the tech team) communicate very effectively, this just slipped through the cracks and thankfully I have a habit of running down the worship order and visualizing the transitions before the service starts.
The bottom line is error on over communicating and asking question!
4. Plan ahead.
Normally the above scenario would not have been an issue as we always keep a hand held wireless on a stand in front of the stage, “just in case”. But as I mentioned, we had all 6 handhelds being used by the worship team.
In retrospect if I had been properly planning ahead, I would have placed a wired handheld in front of the stage.
Always have some sort of Plan B in place if something goes wrong and communicate that plan to everyone onstage for the service.
5. Have a party!
Once every 3 to 6 months the entire tech team should get together to go through all of the equipment. This will help determine if equipment is missing, in need of repair or in need of replacement.
It will also give the tech team the opportunity to give input on additional equipment that is needed as well as organize the accessories (cables, stands, etc.) that you have.
Gary Zandstra is a professional AV systems integrator with Parkway Electric and has been involved with sound at his church for more than 25 years.