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Mother Of Invention: Try The Trusty Gig Bag!

All the loudspeakers and press boxes need individual feeds with independent level controls. No big deal, right?

It’s a Monday afternoon and I get a phone call from a local production company to work a press event the following day at a local race track (local being an hour and half away).

I accept the gig and the next day hop on my bike (the motor-driven type) and go to the track, and specifically, the large circus-type tent where the event is being staged.

No equipment truck in sight, of course. A quick phone call to my contact confirms the truck is about 30 minutes away.

When it finally shows, I find out what needs to be accomplished: four wireless mics, four hardwired mics, five satellite loudspeakers, and four press boxes – one of which had four inputs.

Oh yeah, and all the loudspeakers and press boxes need individual feeds with independent level controls. No big deal, right?

Sure, with a larger format console, something with six pre-fade aux sends and a couple groups. But, off the truck comes my console—and it’s decidedly small-format with just two pre-fade aux sends. Well, I can make due, It’s not like there’s another option! 

In laying out the loudspeakers and press boxes, however, I quickly come to realize that there’s not nearly enough outputs to make it to everything. On top of that, the only XLR outputs on the console are for the main outs. And, by the way, no TRS to XLR cables or adaptors on site. Arghhh…

So I bust out my gig bag and start rummaging, unearthing a few XLR split cables and a six-channel insert snake left over from a previous gig

With some soldering, I turn the insert snake into a TRS-to-XLR cable in order to utilize the quarter-inch outputs of the console. Then, using the XLR splits, I’m able to split the inputs of four of the mics and route them back to one of the press bridges. 

The headache from the all of the scrambling around and solder fumes is worth it – I’m able to get audio routed to all of the necessary locations. After firing everything up, it worked perfectly.

Chalk it all up to another bail-out courtesy of the trusty gig bag. Don’t ever leave home without it, and make sure to keep it well stocked!

Ted Morgan is an industry veteran and the production manager at Firestone Live.

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