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Gear Bag 101: What's in Yours?

Gear bags/work boxes tend to expand the more times you get burned by a new situation & your paranoia level rises. This is counteracted only by an aging back.

Common:

* Multitool - Screwdrivers, pliers, knife

* Tweaker - small flat screwdriver for taking apart XLR connectors, adjusting gain on wireless mics & some other gear. Also referred to as a "greenie".

* Flashlight - Flashlight apps on your phone burn through the battery in no time, and you might need that phone to save your butt.

* Basic Adapters: 1/4" to RCA, RCA barrels, 1/4" barrels, XLR barrels (both ways), XLR Phase Reverse Adapter (for snare up & down), XLR Audio Pads (to prevent overloading your board even at minimum gain), XLR Ground Lift Adapter.

* Cables: stereo 1/8" mini to RCA (computer audio/mp3 players), 1/4" to 1/4", Y cables of all kinds, T/R/S to XLR (both ways)

* AC Cube Tap - To get you more outlets fast

* AC Ground lifter - A less than ideal, but quick way to stop a ground loop hum.

* Multimeter - read AC wall voltage, check for shorts or open wires, test cables, test battery voltages.

* Extra Direct Boxes - to provide isolated feed to video, house sound systems, etc. Transformers are indeed your friend.

* Deoxit(tm) - Cleans oxidation off of contacts that haven't been used in a while. Oxidation you can't even see can be enough to stop signal flow and leave you high & dry.

* Butterfly mic clip - to accommodate any size mic you might have to deal with in a hurry, such as handheld wireless mics.

* Spare Batteries - For you & possibly others. Great way to make a friend for life.

* Spare IEC Power Cords - The detachable 3 prong types found all over the place in audio. There's a way to bring setup to a halt instantly.

* Spectrum Analyzer App - The one I use on my phone does 1/6 octave, plus it has all sorts of test tones & pink/white noise. Bear in mind the internal mic does have a low end cutoff, but it is entirely usable.

Less common:

* Small subsnakes - Great for when you're running low on regular mic cables, plus they reduce stage clutter too. The ones I have around are 5-6 inputs & about 20 feet long.

* 3 pair mini snake - This is about the size of a regular mic cable, but with 3 XLR plugs at each end. Great for last minute stereo L/R feed requests. Only 1 cable to run, and it comes with a built-in spare.

* Single Channel Mic Splitter - You just never know when you might need to tap into an audio signal. The ones made by Whirlwind are great.

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About the Owner
photo of Lonnie Bedell of AVlifesavers.com My name is Lonnie Bedell, and I'm the guy behind AVLifesavers. Unlike big companies, I've been doing actual live sound work since 1995, and live recordings since 1985.
It's that kind of real world experience that I feel makes AVLifesavers stand out. It's one thing to examine problems theoretically, it's a whole different thing to deal with frantic last minute changes from an inexperienced client who wants it done yesterday.

Been there, done that, so I've designed products to solve live sound problem fast.

All products are assembled right here in the USA. Living Wages to American workers is and will always be part of the fabric here, despite the temptations.

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