Over the last year, with a brand-new facility, I’ve been able to purchase a lot. Here are some of what I would consider to be the best small to medium sized purchases of the year.
First, the most lifesaving (ok, more time and ease saving) items would be road cases! Going from a building where everything was within 30ft to a building where everything is two floors away is a change. I purchased road cases and created packs to go to each area. This made everything much simpler, and likely shaves off more setup time then when everything was stored closer. There are hundreds of case companies out there. My recommendation is to check out the case companies closest to you. This can save you time and money in shipping, plus you are also supporting a local or regional business. Just make sure the cases will hold up to abuse and fit your need for size and height.
Second, functional clothing, which is needed all the time but worth highlighting here. For me there are two key items for functional clothing: pants with pockets and well-supporting shoes. Another SoundGirl posted some leggings with pockets a while back. Now, I’m not a legging person myself but it shows that someone is finally getting it: Pockets are needed! I usually get jeans that are a little cheaper and have well-built pockets. This way I can carry essential tools and then, if something happens to the jeans, they aren’t expensive to replace. For shoes, I prefer closed-toed with good support. Generally, I pick a hiking shoe for long days and keep some steel-toed shoes around for load ins/outs. I find that hiking shoes provide support for longer than a general tennis shoe.
Third, a fun piece of equipment to get to know: a Shure ULXD wireless mic setup. (Just in time for the bandwidth chaos too!) We went the digital route and I couldn’t be happier with them for our meeting rooms. They work great with a lot of the other wireless mic setups throughout the campus and building. Batteries seem to last long enough and the pickup is awesome, even for those who don’t hold the mic properly. I’m hoping to add more of these to the inventory soon.
Finally, fourth, a hand-held little tool that is easy to take everywhere: The Gerber Shard keychain. This tool has been great to keep attached to my keys as I have encountered different power panels and boxes that needed opening. It’s lightweight and sturdy making it much nicer to carry all the time than a full multi-tool. It will never replace a good multi-tool, but it’s great to always have around.
What are some of the best purchases you’ve made this year?
Heather Holm: Fueled by an interest in live sound at a young age, Heather volunteered to work productions through high school. As a student in college she started working in the production department where she learned how to setup and run audio equipment properly. Heather has been working for the University of Wisconsin La Crosse for five years as the Event Support Coordinator. Her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades (Audio technician, venue manager, teacher, safety manager, supervisor, lighting designer and so much more). She loves live sound the most – and says “there is nothing like firing up the PA for the first time”.