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Author Topic: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?  (Read 3783 times)

Brian Jojade

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 12:02:01 pm »

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.

And I'm the opposite.  All of my cable is NL2.  Since we don't bi-amp our tops, there's no need for NL4 connectors.  Each speaker gets its own run back to the amp.  No sharing cable for subs and tops.  While that means running an extra cable, it also means a less complicated to understand setup.

If you're going to have different cable, definitely use the correct ends.  NL4's on a 2 conductor cable can result in head scratching moments if you're expecting 4 conductors to be available to you.

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Scott Helmke

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 12:31:15 pm »

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.

Part of our jobs as audio rental professionals is to try to reduce our customers problems. If I'm not going to be on their show site clearing up confusion about NL4 vs. NL2, then I'd rather just send NL4 which is compatible with everything.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 01:58:50 pm »

Part of our jobs as audio rental professionals is to try to reduce our customers problems. If I'm not going to be on their show site clearing up confusion about NL4 vs. NL2, then I'd rather just send NL4 which is compatible with everything.

BUT, if you don't need NL4's, there is a scenario where this could result in equipment damage.  If the selector on the speaker is switched to biamp mode, generally, the tweeter is moved to pins 2+,2- on the NL4.  If you use NL2 cables, you simply will have a non working tweeter.  However, if you use an NL4 cable, and your amp delivers channel 2 on pins 2+,2-, the tweeter will seem to function normally, albeit on a different channel.  However, the tweeter is now not running through any crossover.  As soon as you turn things up, that tweeter will burn up due to the excessive power from the lower frequencies being delivered.

This is actually a somewhat likely scenario to happen.  I know I don't religiously check to see if the biamp switch setting has been changed on my speakers each time I plug it in, since I wouldn't have switched it.  But that's not to say someone else wasn't dicking with it and decided to flip the switch.

NL2 and NL4 cables each have their place.
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Steven Barnes

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 06:02:22 pm »

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.

I completely disagree with this, I work in a shop that was originally NL-2 than started buying NL-4. We ran into so many issues even with properly labeled cables. Unfortunately things get missed during rushed load-ins etc. We quickly dumped all of the NL-2 for NL-4 and our entire inventory is now NL-4 and has solved a lot of issues.

I would highly recommend sticking with all NL-4 if you are going to have any in your stock.

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Neil White

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 06:26:14 pm »

If I were to start a rental company today, one of the first purchases I would make, even before any inventory, would be a good rental management software package.

I have seen several companies start out using a combination of Excel spread sheets, Google Calendars and good old-fashioned memory to manage their equipment inventory and project info. After a while, the company reaches a critical point where it becomes essential to have a more robust solution in place. Sometimes this is because there is now a much larger pool of equipment, or more staff, or perhaps an all important piece of gear has been left off the truck one too many times. Having been responsible for implementing a rental management software solution (Easyjob 4.0) in an existing business with over 5000 unique asset barcodes assigned so far, it would definitely be my preference to implement a similar system earlier in the life of a business.

All of the software packages on the market allow the user to track an enormous amount of data with each item, from weight and dimensions to country of origin, purchase price and supplier info. It is almost impossible to accurately enter all of this data for a warehouse that is already full of equipment bought over many years. The best possible time to capture this information is at the point of purchase. As each item arrives it can be unpacked, entered into inventory and then have a unique barcoded asset ID assigned to it for branding and tracking. The software will be more useful to the business when there is more data available for reports and decision making.

Each rental management solution has its own variations on the way the software manages the main tasks of preparing quotations or loading equipment for example. It is far easier to build the company processes around the way the software works than to redevelop existing workflows to match the software’s expectations, or (normally unsucessfully) trying to force the software to follow "the way it's always been done".

There are many good software packages at different price points from developers such as Protonic Software, Navigator Systems or Flex Rental Solutions. Careful choice would need to be made for a start-up company to ensure that the software would be able to scale as the business grows. You only want to deploy a rental management system once!

Neil
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 06:44:11 pm »

If I were to start a rental company today, one of the first purchases I would make, even before any inventory, would be a good rental management software package.

<snip>

There are many good software packages at different price points from developers such as Protonic Software, Navigator Systems or Flex Rental Solutions. Careful choice would need to be made for a start-up company to ensure that the software would be able to scale as the business grows. You only want to deploy a rental management system once!

Neil

A big +1, one of the first things I did when hired at my job 4 years ago was install and configure the POS software that moved a 15 year retail business from being paper-based to electronic.

It took about 6 months of solid effort to inventory bread and butter items, less important items were simply turned over and then inventoried when the replacements were ordered, at this point I would say that 99% of the inventory is in the system (odd ball items like Reeds that rarely get purchased are probably still kicking around in a bin somewhere).

A rental inventory has a much longer turn-over rate that retail items, our rental system is still paper based, moving that to electronic is on the wishlist for 2014... I'm scared.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 06:48:20 pm »

BUT, if you don't need NL4's, there is a scenario where this could result in equipment damage.  If the selector on the speaker is switched to biamp mode, generally, the tweeter is moved to pins 2+,2- on the NL4.  If you use NL2 cables, you simply will have a non working tweeter.  However, if you use an NL4 cable, and your amp delivers channel 2 on pins 2+,2-, the tweeter will seem to function normally, albeit on a different channel.  However, the tweeter is now not running through any crossover.  As soon as you turn things up, that tweeter will burn up due to the excessive power from the lower frequencies being delivered.

This is actually a somewhat likely scenario to happen.  I know I don't religiously check to see if the biamp switch setting has been changed on my speakers each time I plug it in, since I wouldn't have switched it.  But that's not to say someone else wasn't dicking with it and decided to flip the switch.

NL2 and NL4 cables each have their place.

Sorry, I disagree.  When you properly wire your patch panels on your racks you completely avoid this problem.  Properly configured racks get I/O patch panels with pin 1 lift switches, pass through XLR's and Speakons that can be configured inside the rack for appropriate patching.  They also get, where appropriate, Ethercon.  Never leave that up to a client or a hand unfamiliar with your rig.  That's when Murphy gets involved.

Lee
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 06:50:33 pm by Lee Buckalew »
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John durisko

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 04:58:00 pm »

Sorry, I disagree.  When you properly wire your patch panels on your racks you completely avoid this problem.  Properly configured racks get I/O patch panels with pin 1 lift switches, pass through XLR's and Speakons that can be configured inside the rack for appropriate patching.  They also get, where appropriate, Ethercon.  Never leave that up to a client or a hand unfamiliar with your rig.  That's when Murphy gets involved.

Lee


I couldn't agree more. Patch panels alleviate way more confusion and if a rack is completely covered with patch panels, intake/exhaust panels, company logo's you have a much more professional approach. I know for certain I don't allow any unfamiliar hands inside our company racks! Make the panels swing open if you frequently change patch.
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Jonathan Kok

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 05:14:01 pm »

Custom roadcases that are *too* custom. We've got a few cases that have been relegated to the, 'we're out of cases, gotta use these things' pile due to poor purchasing decisions. Better to have a more universally sized case with a bit of extra foam and lumber, than a perfect-fit case that screws up the truck pack.

On a similar line, and like the posts above, custom patch panels that are *too* custom. We've got a bucket of 'em. They're labelled things like 'hi' and 'low' outs, 'left/right/aux' ins, not enough ins/outs, etc. The new panels are simply labelled by number in, pin out, with multiple per pin pair, and if you don't know what the pinout goes to, you probably shouldn't be patching it ;).

As far as NL2 vs NL4, add me to the 'all NL4' group. Except we use NL4FX-5's (green ring) on our NL4-2C cables.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 05:23:16 pm by Jonathan Kok »
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frank kayser

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Re: Rental Companies - the benefits of hindsight?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2014, 12:24:53 pm »

BUT, if you don't need NL4's, there is a scenario where this could result in equipment damage.  If the selector on the speaker is switched to biamp mode, generally, the tweeter is moved to pins 2+,2- on the NL4.  If you use NL2 cables, you simply will have a non working tweeter.  However, if you use an NL4 cable, and your amp delivers channel 2 on pins 2+,2-, the tweeter will seem to function normally, albeit on a different channel.  However, the tweeter is now not running through any crossover.  As soon as you turn things up, that tweeter will burn up due to the excessive power from the lower frequencies being delivered.

This is actually a somewhat likely scenario to happen.  I know I don't religiously check to see if the biamp switch setting has been changed on my speakers each time I plug it in, since I wouldn't have switched it.  But that's not to say someone else wasn't dicking with it and decided to flip the switch.

NL2 and NL4 cables each have their place.

This may be a bit naive, and I don't operate a rental company, but if one is looking to standardize, and your rigs are run as a bi-amp, wouldn't it be prudent to eliminate the bi-amp switch altogether? 

I guess that if that piece of inventory is being used as either a biamped piece or a full range piece, that would answer the question.

frank
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