5 Bulletproof Ways To Avoid Studio Disasters

Posted By James on Jun 10 2012 06:54 PM
Your Computer And Interface Totally Fry / $30 Surge Protector
I'm not entirely sure if an uninterrupted power supply is the best way to fight against the lightning of Zeus, but in my brain it makes sense. Maybe someone who knows can chime in. I do remember from school that good ol' zener diode-equipped surge protectors made the best protection electrical mayhem. Without them you probably just have an extension cord.

Mountain Dew Doom On Your Gear Rack/ Enforce A Militant Liquid Policy
No, this isn't a rant about the consumption of everyone's favorite disinfectant. I think the sobriety of Dark Side of The Moon speaks for itself. I'm talking about electrical conductance. I catch people almost every day trying to put their 32oz soda on top of my rack that contains 4 patchbays, 3 Apogee converters, and the power supply to my console. I'm not a stickler about too many things. I'm absolutely CRAZED about having ZERO liquid on top of the racks.

I'll gladly kick over 3 glasses a day (and I generally do) before I risk just one drop into a rack.

You Computer's Funeral / Keep The Computer Case Closed
Yes, I dumped a cup of coffee in an open computer case when it was on. Yes, I somehow managed to live through that one. The fact that my motherly instincts kicked in and I yanked the power in about 0.0000000023 seconds may have been a factor. Another 2ms and she'd had surely been a goner.

I can think of zero reason why a computer case needs to be open unless you are actually working on the thing. It's a good habit just to keep dust out of that CPU heatsink.....a major cause for heat and noise.

Your Trust LDC Worked 5 Minutes Ago / Trust Mic Stands Like You Trust Your Ex-Wife
If you are like millions, your ex-wife is a cheating whore. She can't be trusted. Few mic stands are candidates for the medal of honor, either. Most mic stands are barely metal at all. If you haven't had a Shure SM7b or an LDC start to topple because of a cheap stand, you probably haven't used a Shure SM7b or LDC.

The rule of mic placement being one of the most important factors of audio engineering doesn't apply when your mic is the morgue.

I highly recommend utilizing cheapo weight sets to add tremendous strength to your mic stands. Just unscrew the mic stand, run the mic stand shaft through about 5-10lbs of weight and screw it back on. You instantly have a $100 mic stand....mostly. I don't recommend 15lb weights. They'll tear the mic stand apart when you carry it.

Nicer mic stands are dramatically more trustworthy particularly if they have a counterweight.

When gravity presents a risk, never risk it by hanging the mic too far off center. There's almost always a way to move a mic so that it isn't hanging like some kind of mic boom in a movie. The one exception to that is drums where it takes some real luck and skill to get the mics in there. If you have a mic falling over on a guitar amp, you are being lazy. My rule is to only be lazy when other people's stuff breaks.

You Trip And Jab A Headstock Into Your Eye Socket / Carry The Anti-Cable Torch
The struggle of studio guy vs evil cable gods has been going on for centuries and will continue for the foreseeable future. You won't win no matter how hard you fight. No matter how much effort you place into organizing your cables and keeping them out of the way, the cable mess will return. It always does.

On the other side of the coin, if you do not at least put up a struggle for little more than pride, the cable gods will know it. Someone will trip and knock the headstock off your Les Paul. It's inevitable.

So lay it on the line and take your butt kicking. It beats broken toys.

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