Tips and Tricks

By Brent Handy
Contributing Writer
September 12, 2023

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Q: Our system has radio noise coming through the PA. How do we stop it from happening?

A: Here is what I would do. Solo each channel's input, aux sends, subgroups, matrices, masters, etc. to try to isolate where in the chain it is occuring. If it is coming into the console via a mic or line cable, then you must replace it. For whatever reason, if you cannot replace the mic cable or snake line, there is a $50. solution. It is called the Attwood RF-22 Filter. You can place it inline with your mic/snake cable and your console, and anything about 75kHz will be rejected. This will work against any RF source (CB, radio stations, emergency services, cordless phones, etc.), on cable runs 350' or less.

Try disconnecting the lines from the console. Again, solo everything. It may be in your console preamps. If this is the case, a resistor modification may be done to the offending channel. Or, you can insert the Attwood RF-22 into the channels insert. This may work for you.

If the RF is not coming into or coming out of the console, then it must be entering the amps via patch cables, the speakers via the speaker cables, or the AC line feeding the amps. Start by disconecting one patch cable at a time. If nothing is conected to your amps, except the speaker cables and speakers and it is still ocurring, then you need to consult a technician who can perform more in-depth tests on your electrical system, and the system components.

Q: Is there a way to prevent our equipment from being stolen?

A: It only takes a few minutes for a robber to do serious damage to a church sound system. Though nothing can completely safeguard your equipment, precautions can be taken to discourage a robber. Remember that the robber will be up against the clock, because they SHOULD have tripped an alarm. See if one of these, or a combination of these will help you.

1. Compile a file, containing system invoices, pictures, and service records. This should duplicated, and kept in three locations. Make sure that one of them is off-site. Odds are that the file will survive in one of those places.

2. Aquire asset tracking labels. These labels range from cheap stickers to virtually indestructable laminates. The labels usually have three parts. One part is placed in the above mentioned file, the next is placed in the equipment rack where the asset resides, and the last part on the asset itself. Each label has a descriptive number system that details whose it is, where it's location should be, etc. Some companies offer a bar code system, which allows each asset to be scanned into a computerized inventory database. Any stolen asset with this sticker on it is virtually worthless to the thief.

3. Replace your standard rack screws with special allen wrench, or specialized hex-head type screws from Raxxess, Middle Atlantic, etc. There is no way that the robber can get the gear out of the rack with a screwdriver of any type.

4. Install removable locking doors on your equipment racks. These doors are only removable, once unlocked, and are only available for metal racks.

5. Anchor your equipment racks to the floor. This is only recommended for racks that are otherwise permanent, like amp racks.

6. Install an inexpensive Radio Shack horn alarm system in your soundbooth. The louder the better. This noise, combined with the noise from the main alarm system, will confound the thief.

7. Keep all non serial numbered items (microphones, DI's, etc) in a lockable rack drawer, or closet. These small items are the easiest to pawn, and usually the first things thiefs go for.

I am sure that there are many, many more things that can be done. Feel free to post any comments or success stories, that might help the tech family.

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