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Author Topic: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?  (Read 3775 times)

Neil White

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Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« on: December 08, 2013, 04:34:43 pm »

So I thought it might be interesting for people to share some thoughts about decisions that have been made in running a rental company that with the benefit of hindsight (maybe just a few months or years later) perhaps do not seem to be the best choice.

By way of example, one of the companies I have worked with, at some point in time purchased a batch of around 500 XLR cables and decided that the best location to brand the cable for length and company info would be around the female XLR connector, with several wraps of coloured tape and a sticker. This then became the accepted standard for the shop when all new cable was bought, made or marked up. In hindsight, it would have been better to have standardised on a single band of colour and a label at the MALE end of the cable so it is not so intrusive in general day to day on stage use, especially on shows with IMAG or Broadcast.

Other scenarios happen as a business grows over time, perhaps by amalgamating with other companies. I know of one company who has at least half a dozen different styles of audio multipin in use across different multicore systems, and maybe 6 or 8 different styles of cable trunk. In hindsight, it would be nice to standardise on a single style of connector and generic case dimensions as part of the business brand and ensure that everything that is made or purchased conforms to the standard.

So whether you run a rental company or perhaps work with several as a freelance technician, what are some of things that you wish would be done differently? Perhaps we can help someone who is making a similar decision to avoid the same mistakes!

Neil
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Josh Hana

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 09:15:41 pm »

Standardizing is important. We are an L'Acoustics house. When we bought our new "A" rig, we sold off the meyer boxes we had. We now have an A rig, B rig, and 2 dozen various wedges, but everything is L'acoustics. Keeps wiring uniform, everything sounds the same (and looks the same, sometimes more important for some clients). We keep a bunch of KF/Sb 850s for sidefills or an easy C rig.

Secondly I would say to set a period for rental gear lifespan. Don't try to squeeze 15 years out of electronics. Even besides being obsolete, things get finnicky after that long, and the risk of ruining a show is not worth whatever you might save by trying to squeeze out another few years from a unit. I'm still trying to convince the boss to get rid of our old Sennheiser RF and get more UHFR.
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Jim McKeveny

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 09:56:29 am »

Placing company or length codes at the female ends of an XLR is a gross mistake. The cable vendor should have said "Are you sure?".

Paddle antennas should not have amplifiers built-in. They should be ready to transmit or receive. Necessary filtering or amplification should be done down/up stream.

Keep an inventory of replacement casters onhand. Casters should be replaceable with a single wrench, because high quality 6-prong T-nuts are their mate. If T-nuts aren't their mate the wheelboards were mis-spec'd, but should be brought up to snuff as an ongoing efficiency program.

My old rigs were mostly field-repairable with a No.2 Philips screwdriver or a 7/16 socket.

K.I.S.S !!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 10:10:35 am by Jim McKeveny »
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John Penkala

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 10:42:51 am »

So I thought it might be interesting for people to share some thoughts about decisions that have been made in running a rental company that with the benefit of hindsight (maybe just a few months or years later) perhaps do not seem to be the best choice.

By way of example, one of the companies I have worked with, at some point in time purchased a batch of around 500 XLR cables and decided that the best location to brand the cable for length and company info would be around the female XLR connector, with several wraps of coloured tape and a sticker. This then became the accepted standard for the shop when all new cable was bought, made or marked up. In hindsight, it would have been better to have standardised on a single band of colour and a label at the MALE end of the cable so it is not so intrusive in general day to day on stage use, especially on shows with IMAG or Broadcast.

Other scenarios happen as a business grows over time, perhaps by amalgamating with other companies. I know of one company who has at least half a dozen different styles of audio multipin in use across different multicore systems, and maybe 6 or 8 different styles of cable trunk. In hindsight, it would be nice to standardise on a single style of connector and generic case dimensions as part of the business brand and ensure that everything that is made or purchased conforms to the standard.

So whether you run a rental company or perhaps work with several as a freelance technician, what are some of things that you wish would be done differently? Perhaps we can help someone who is making a similar decision to avoid the same mistakes!

Neil


On the topic of standardizing, I highly recommend using NL4, four conductor speaker cable in all applications that require NL2 cable. NL4 will work with passive as well as biamped systems. FWIW, A local shop used NL2 with some double 18's subs where each driver was pinned separately, 1+1- and 2+2-. Only one driver in each box got power with the NL2. The mix person pushed the subs when the output was low due to only having 1 driver working and blew the remaining working drivers.

JP
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 11:46:58 am »


On the topic of standardizing, I highly recommend using NL4, four conductor speaker cable in all applications that require NL2 cable. NL4 will work with passive as well as biamped systems. FWIW, A local shop used NL2 with some double 18's subs where each driver was pinned separately, 1+1- and 2+2-. Only one driver in each box got power with the NL2. The mix person pushed the subs when the output was low due to only having 1 driver working and blew the remaining working drivers.

JP

Not knowing your gear is the cause for that problem.  If you simply use NL4's, you have to also make sure your amps are configured correctly for that operation. Not all amps use pin 2 of the NL4, or if they do, it may only be on the first connector.  The end result is, you've got to know what the heck you're doing, regardless of what you purchased.
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Brian Jojade

Jim McKeveny

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 12:37:21 pm »

Yikes!! All Speakons should be NL4 and wired with 4-wire. Any conceivable cost savings goes out the window when the wrong stuff goes on a job. IMO No "pro" company needs 2-wire for speakers. That is MI world (e.g. 1/4" on speakers)..

Limit the menu! Plan for the future when you are not an owner/operator. Make things hard to get wrong.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 12:40:47 pm by Jim McKeveny »
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Scott Moon

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 02:00:27 pm »

I work For a large University doing A/V we have convocation 3 times a week that is required for 10,000 students to attend! all of our cabling is colored according to length and its all the same no matter where we pull gear from i am so thankful for that. When concerts come through its always frustrating to figure out what XLR's are what length and all that. so all this to say i agree!
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Josh Hana

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 02:07:02 pm »

Yikes!! All Speakons should be NL4 and wired with 4-wire. Any conceivable cost savings goes out the window when the wrong stuff goes on a job. IMO No "pro" company needs 2-wire for speakers. That is MI world (e.g. 1/4" on speakers)..

Limit the menu! Plan for the future when you are not an owner/operator. Make things hard to get wrong.

I definitely agree on the NL4. We use breakouts to feed subs if/when we need to, but NONE of our speakon is "NL2". That has disaster written all over it.
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Joseph D. Macry

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 11:01:09 am »

I definitely agree on the NL4. We use breakouts to feed subs if/when we need to, but NONE of our speakon is "NL2". That has disaster written all over it.

I disagree. Put NL4s on your 4-conductor cable. Put NL2s on your 2-C. They look and feel different. Anyone who doesn't immediately see the diff when picking up a cable should not be wiring things.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 11:35:23 am »

I disagree. Put NL4s on your 4-conductor cable. Put NL2s on your 2-C. They look and feel different. Anyone who doesn't immediately see the diff when picking up a cable should not be wiring things.
Why would it be good to have 2 different types of cables to keep track of?  I've NEVER EVER needed or wanted an NL-2. All speaker cables should be 12/4 NL-4, even if you use only one pair.  It's not much more weight or size, and is much more future-proof.
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