This leads to basic power management and distribution. Don’t leave yourself exposed to something being overloaded or something being able to be kicked out. On my shows, the distribution board is always up on a case ensuring that plugs cannot be kicked out. Investing in good power cabling and distribution is worthwhile.
In Australia, I’ve had more problems with uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) than I have had with the actual power supply. Power supplies in equipment are really good nowadays so it could be argued that with the complexity and more connections of the UPS, it has added risk so there needs to be a real reason to use them.
Therefore, I only use them on devices that need to boot up and don’t have their own battery. Laptops have their own batteries so I won’t unnecessarily load up the UPS with them. However, a digital mixing desk which takes 20+ seconds to boot up, absolutely is on a UPS. It means a 1 second power dropout recovers straight away because the desk does not need to reboot. In Asia and South Pacific the power is variable and a UPS is critical.
RJ45 connectors are an inherently rubbish connector from both a mechanical and electrical tolerance point of view for what we do. As is Cat 5e/6 cable. Through clever design, the designers have managed to stuff a massive amount of data through it cheaply, but it is fragile.
Yet it is the standard which we are often forced to rely on in our high abuse environment. It is prudent to use shielded cable for it’s mechanical protection. You don’t really need the shield for electromagnetic noise rejection in this instance (it can actually reduce the data performance of the cable) but it is really useful for mechanical protection. Ethercon shells should always be used to limit the damage to the RJ45’s.
For mission critical applications, run two cables. Cabling is a big, if not the biggest point of failure. Even if your equipment won’t permit redundant connections, it is very worthwhile to run 2 anyway so that should your primary line gets damaged, you can quickly changeover.
Never, EVER update software or firmware on show days. There are countless examples of this not going well. Your day is stressful enough and you don’t want to find incompatibilities mid show.
Two microphones on the money sources – It is always great to have 2 microphones on a lectern or 2 wireless lapels on a presenter. If one goes noisy, simply switch over.
There is no point in having redundant systems if they are not tested properly. This is absolutely critical as there will be some surprises and it better experience them when it doesn’t matter. It is amazing the amount of supposedly failsafe system, fail badly.
I often see overly complex rigs which in my view, the complexity does not add much to the final result. That being the case, costs and the risk of failure has been increased for little or no benefit. Are the added features worth the increased risk of failure? If not, don’t do it.
It’s not a matter of if, but when you have a big ugly, embarrassing failure. Are you ready that day? Yes, Radiohead now tour with 2 desks…