Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Audio guy's personal Tech Kit

I have been working on a show this past week with a couple of good Audio tech's and curiosity got the best of me about what they carry in their tech kits.
For those of you that aren't in the business, What I am referring to as a "Tech Kit" is all of the gadgets that you would bring to a show to help you do your job, basically the way you want to do it. 
The company you are working for brings the main equipment, but there are always things to bring to make your life better. A good example would be a good pair of headphones. The company might bring a set of cheap headphones in their audio work box, but as the A-1 or A-2, you are going to want to have your own good set. 

Tech kit's develop over many years in the business. Young guys in the business start out carrying a messenger bag or a backpack. And that works just fine for a while. Right up until you start bringing smaller pieces of equipment with you, that just don't fit well in a messenger bag. The process then becomes, you carry a messenger bag and throw those other things in your suitcase. Eventually you will be walking through an airport and see one of your colleagues rolling a Pelican 1510 or a Pelican 1560 through baggage claim. You might ask them, "what's in the case?" and when they tell you it is just my tech kit, you realize that the backpack you are carrying that is about to rip your shoulders off, just might not be the most efficient way to do this anymore. 
You will go and buy yourself a Pelican, SKB, or Storm Case and empty your backpack into it. Then and only then, you realize that you don't have enough stuff to really justify the size of the case you bought. 
So, you start adding stuff to it. This process goes on for months if not years. Eventually you hone down your tech kit to the right case, with the right tools and gadgets. Then you see someone else's tech kit and they have something supercool and probably expensive in it, and you want it in yours too. 
So, the more of this story is, that with time and experience comes a pretty cool tech kit, that never seems to be completed, but is always pushing itself closer to the mark of being what you really need on a show.

With that, I thought I would post what I am carrying in my tech kit. For a while now, I have had my tech kit in a SKB iSeries case because it was just a little bit bigger than the case I really wanted to have it in. Last night however, I figured out a way to put it in the Pelican 1510 that I wanted to have it in, and I will see how that works out for me. The SKB and Pelican 1510 are essentially the same case, the only difference is that the SKB case doesn't have a handle on the top of it, just the side. This is a huge fail and while you might not think it is a problem, this one little handle really makes a huge difference in the ergonomics of using this case. 
Inside the case, I have the padded divider bottom and the lid organizer and:
2 Marantz PMD 660 Audio Recorders
Cables for Recorders (The cables, adapters, and power supplies for the recorders are in a little pouch)
2 Dsan Laptop Sound port DI's
Pelican 2360 LED Flashlight
Gerber Diesel Multiplier (this isn't my favorite tool, but I liked it cuz it was black)
Nite Ize Pock-its Belt case for flashlight and tools

1 Leica Disto A2
1 Shure Mic Bag with Sharpies, C-Wrench, Pencil Screwdriver, Blue LED Flashlight Spare Gerber Multi-Tool (Gerber Method)
1 Shure Mic Bag with 10' 1/8" stereo to Mono 1/4" plug cable
1 Shure Mic Bag with DBX Reference Mic, Clip, and USB cable for Digi-design USB interface
1 DigiDesign Mbox 2
1 Pair of Sony MDR-7506 Headphones
1 Whirlwind Q-box
1 USB Passive Hub
1 Display port - VGA Adapter
1 Micro VGA Test Generator 
1 Box of Breath mints
1 Organizer of Misc Audio adapters
1 Back up Flashlight (Pelican 1900)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 so far.....

I have decided to move to the Phoenix area. After I got back from the east coast from getting stranded there during the holidays, I started packing up my belongings. I put a trailer hitch on the Jeep and rented a small trailer. then I drove a load of stuff down to Arizona and started working. I have about 16 days of show this month not counting shop time, so that is a really positive thing.
This past week was spent in the shop with a couple of hundred feet of 1" steel tube cutting, welding and grinding away. Jonny and I had to build three foot by three foot cube frames. Once they were built and all the welds had been ground smooth, we sent them off to be powder coated. 
Jonny and I cut 20 pieces of plywood and painted them white. and then when the cubes got back from powder coating, we had to cut and attach wood strips to the insides of the cubes. We cut white spandex into strips, and wrapped the cubes with the spandex and stapled them onto the wood strips. 
The final product ended up being ten 3' x 3' cubes wrapped in spandex and we will put a LED light fixture in the bottom of it and light it from the inside with different colors.
It was a lot of work and we finished it up just in time to get them loaded on the truck and headed out to Palm Desert.
Saturday Morning, Audra took me to the airport at 5:00 am. I was going to park there, but she told me no and while I was completely willing to park my jeep there, I was pretty happy when she wouldn't take no for an answer!
My flight was on Delta and it left at 7:00 am and I landed in Atlanta around 12:00 noon or so.
I got my bag and took a taxi to the hotel and started setting up the show. 
One of my old friends from the Seattle days is the Director of Operations at this hotel and it was really cool to see him. He came down at the end of our setup day and brought a bottle of The Macallan 25 year old Scotch. That was a wonderful treat, and was very generous.
 There was a huge party at the hotel last night where 2500 people came in drinking and dancing till about 2:00 am. This translates into probably 1000 of those people  staying in the hotel and stumbling back to their rooms talking too loudly... banging on the wrong doors and screaming at each other down the length of the hallway at 2:30 in the morning. Needless to say pretty much all of us on the crew didn't get much sleep last night.
General Session

Fortunately the show didn't start until 2:00 pm today and while I am still feeling sleepy, it will end soon enough. Tomorrow is day two of the show and will most likely end around 3:00 pm. We will strike the show and then I am scheduled to get on a plane at 9:45 pm. 
I will land in Phoenix at midnight and then at 8:00 am on Tuesday morning, I will drive to Palm Desert and join a show that is in progress for the rest of the week.