Quick Tech Tip

By Leon Sievers, Sound Professional
October 12, 2017

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Ninety percent of sound system problems involve simple solutions that you can perform, but most operators overlook. 

  1. Make sure that your system is plugged in. Verify that all power plugs on all equipment are connected securely. 
  2. Power switches. Each piece of equipment usually has a power switch and each one has to be turned on to make the entire system work. Verify that all power switches are ‘ON' and all power indicator lights on equipment are lighted. 
  3. AC fuses and breakers at the power panel should be intact, not blown and of the correct amperage rating for the circuit. If a breaker or fuse keeps blowing out, consult an electrician to correct any potentially dangerous conditions. 
  4. AC fuses and breakers on the equipment should be intact, not blown and of the correct amp rating for the equipment. If a breaker or fuse keeps blowing out, consult your local sound contractor technician to correct any internal component failure conditions that could damage the piece. 
  5. Speaker fuses and breakers, used to protect speakers and components from high power surges should be intact. A blown fuse or breaker usually means that there is a direct line short that has developed and must be remedied to allow normal service. 
  6. Check microphone cables for dry rot, stress, broken internal wires, disconnected wires at the connectors and broken connectors. Wiggle them all over and listen to the results (static, pops, clicks, hums, buzzes) through the system. Replace suspect cables with known good cables. 
  7. Signal lines between equipment pieces and from microphones should be verified. Is the line coming into the correct input? Are all the correctors securely fitted on the back of each piece of equipment? Is anything hanging loose, obviously disconnected? 
  8. Are the batteries good in any battery powered equipment such as wireless microphone transmitters or hearing assistance receivers? Replace them with new batteries to make sure. 
  9. Lowered sound levels may have been caused by a mixer control turned down too far. Check the "GAIN" control (if you have one), the channel level control (slider) and the "MAIN" output control. 
  10. If the system is feeding back (squealing, howling, ringing, etc.) try turning the main volume control down slightly. If one microphone is much louder that the rest turn it down and return the main control to where it was. Any sound system will feed back, it's just a matter of how far you can push it. 
  11. Sometimes there is evidence that someone has played with the main equalizer controls. Look for an unlocked equipment rack, missing protective cover or a slider pattern that looks like an "S", a "U" or has controls pushed above the "0" mark. Misadjusted equalizers cause feedback.

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