There seemed to be some interest as to what’s in the ‘ol tech kit(s) from a previous Facebook photo I shared a while back. So I figured id give it a go at making a blog post about it
In late December of 2021 I treated myself to a matching set of Pelican Air cases 1615 & 1535, both TRVL edition + trek pak. I went with the TRVL edition because they come with accessible interior lid storage. Ideal for large, flat items. The Air series is also lighter in weight than the previous generation – which definitely helps when traveling. I went with a less-than-standard charcoal gray & red latch color to minimize the chance they get mixed up with production road cases and end up on a truck during load out. With the contents below, the big one weighs in @ an even 70lbs, w/ the smaller @ 31lbs.
To keep things tidy, I use a pouch-based storage system. I have quite a few smaller bits and cable and these pouches both protect and keep things from spilling about. Also, if I’m handing off a pouch to a colleague for a task – there’s a greater chance nothing gets lost 🙂
I haven’t cut and placed the Trek-Pak divider system yet…because I know as soon as I do my kit contents are going to change and I’ll regret any configuration I lay out – since the cut is permanent. That’s not to say I won’t ever do it, but now doesn’t feel like the right time. Plus, at this point I feel like I have so much stuff that adding the dividers would take up too much valuable space.
Let’s take a look at the big dog first. The pouches are CLC poly zip bags. I used to play the feel & guess game for each pouch to find what I was looking for, and then finally stumbled on these ID tags that help quickly identify items.
1615 contents laid out:
I started carrying POE managed switches a couple of years ago after being burned one too many times with vendor supplied gear. This allows me to do things like expand Dante / control, or use as infrastructure for Helix intercom.
3x Cisco SG250-08HPI bought in 2022. 1x Cisco SG200-08P from 2017. All manageable, all POE. I really like these for their compact size and reliability.
There never seems to be enough network patch cable on site. And furthermore, all too often the cable I do get has a pin down causing unnecessary delays. So I bring an assortment of 3’-7’ cat6 that I use for all my own peripherals @ FOH & AVIO land.
Streamdeck XL. This thing is my baby. I’ve programmed soooo many layers and multi-stacked buttons on companion… complete with custom icons. Don’t know what I’d do without it.
A quick snap of one of the many layers I have spent time programming in Companion.
You’re not a Mac user if you don’t carry a big bag ‘o dongles. *Disclaimer – as of recent, I am not using the NIC ports on the Anker 6-in-1’s anymore , as they don’t seem to behave well with Dante.
Mac power supply w/ security lock.
6x NEEWER Crab Clamp Articulated Mini Ball Head. These are the greatest things ever. They can clamp to everything from mic stands to cross seams of truss. Also for clipping your RTA mic to the backs of conference chairs once the room is set, or mounting RF & Intercom antennas. Also, super inexpensive for those times you have to leave while the truss is still in the air.
Ancient, yet still functional AirPort Express wireless router
8x Audinate USBC AVIO Adapters. I am extremely happy with my purchase of these in 2022. It’s so satisfying being able to eliminate analog audio from video world and route with ease. Also super handy for zoom machines (mix minus), as it has 2 channels of audio in each direction.
Earplug 2 by Bilko Enterprises (uk). This is a Qbox-esque device that I bought from an independent manufacturer in 2013 when my qbox was misplaced. The thought was to get something that was a little more robust feeling – this one has an aluminum chasis. I just did a quick search online and can’t find this for sale anymore. RIP? Anyhow, some of its major functions include: sends signal out male xlr • monitors signal on female xlr • microphone pre amp or signal generator • -40, -20 or 0dB level out • Indicates dc on pin 2 and or 3 on the male output • Headphone jack output.
3x ethercon barrels. I am aiming to buy 7x more of the Cat 6a barrels on the far right soon. There never seems to be enough of these on show site, and I dig the new ultra compact size.
2x AudioMan ISO Box transformers. Though these are becoming less and less necessary with audio becoming more and more digital each year. As iso transformers go, I have never used one that more consistently eliminated buzzes.
Streamdeck. (original 15key): I begrudgingly bought this a few years ago after being an avid xkeys user for years. It took me a while to get used to the smaller buttons, but It has grown on me over time. Having the flexibility of being able to have multiple layers with visual feedback is a game changer. This led me to buy it’s big brother, the XL about a year later.
My Smaart layer.
Obligatory bag of flash drives.
Nanuk 900-TSA Lock. I picked these up recently. They are made specifically for pelican-type cases. I don’t know about you, but TSA never seemed to be able to close my more traditional type locks and my cases would always arrive in baggage claim missing one (or both).
2x Rational Acoustics RTA 420 reference mics with Rational MICro Case. Great bang for the buck, and easier to swallow when they get knocked to the floor by distracted crew.
Reed Instruments R8090 Sound Level Calibrator. Handy tool, not only great for accurate SPL measurements but also crucial IMO when running 2x or more reference mic’s at a time.
Bosch GLM165-25G. Laser measure disto. I just picked this up, as my other one got lost in an uber a while back (be mindful of those velcro belt loops!). I know there are fancier ones out there, but for myself 165’ is perfect for 98% of what I do. Pro-tip, go green laser if you can. I find that it’s both easier to see at a distance, and reads better on dark surfaces.
A pair of Apphome 2pack foldable headphone mount great for hanging your cueing & comm headsets off of tables.
Sennheiser HD25 plus headphones – My 3rd pair of these since 1998. My first pair got left behind at a gig in 2003. I then promptly bought a replacement pair, which lasted me all the way until early 2022 when the left ear finally died. Sennheiser’s amazing customer service sent me a replacement after sending them in for repair. Kudos Sennheiser! These are without a doubt my favorite headphones. Comfortable on-ear fit, accurate reference. Also left ear swivels back, which comes in handy while having to wear a comm set simultaneously.
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID & Apple Magic Trackpad. Great for ergonomic workflow and controlling multiple computers with extended displays.
TC Electronics Clarity M v2 broadcast meter + Neutrik NADITBNC-FX female xlr 110ohm to 75ohm bnc adapter. Protected by Pro Case zip. This broadcast level meter is great at keeping you on target by showing peaks, left to right balance, and loudness over time.
Audinate-MY16-AUD2 Card – 16×16 Dante @ 48khz, or 8×8 Dante @ 96khz. Protected by USA Hard Case.
Yamaha RUIO16-d – 16×16 redundant Dante computer I/O that bundles w/ Yamaha VST Rack Pro. Protected by USA Hard Case. I am very happy with my purchase of this last year. Having the redundancy of both primary & secondary Dante networks is key. I only wish it was more than 16×16.
Cedar Studio DNS plug-in suite, compatible with Yamaha VST Rack Pro. I bought this in the fall of 2022 and am now able to run 16x insertable instances of cedar DNS one or two within VST Rack Pro & the Yamaha Ruio16-d. Though expensive, its really nice having this noise suppression suite in my arsenal.
2016 15” MacBook Pro. 2.6Ghz quad-core intel i7 • 16gb mem • Radeon Pro 450 2gb • 1tb drive – This machine has served me well over the years, but is now primarily used as a hot Qlab BU machine.
2023 16” MacBook Pro Apple M2 Max • 64gb mem • 4tb drive – I picked up this machine early this year and absolutely love it. I use it as my primary Qlab machine, VST server, Smaart, and control computer. Performing these cpu intensive applications barely registers 15% cpu usage. An absolute beast of a machine.
2020 12.9” 4th Generation iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. Pro-tip for L’Acoustics users – use air-display, and extend desktop to iPad when using LAnet. Apple Pencil then allows you to make edits.
LG 27UP850-W Monitor 27” UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Display with CURMIO Travel Carrying Bag. After many purchases & returns I found this high-res display & compatible soft case that fit just inside the interior lid of this Pelican 1615 TRVL.
Onto the little guy (Pelican 1535 TRVL). This smaller case tends to be my holder of all my heavy-metal 😛 . Ie; mounts, clamps, stands, locks. On smaller shows, I will swap out some items that normally live in the 1615 and fill this up so that I can travel lighter. But for the purposes of this blog, ill pretend like it’s a big show where I travel with both Pelicans fully loaded
1535 Contents – Yes, I do have a bit of a Triad-Orbit problem. A colleague, Brent Dunn, introduced me to this system about two years ago when I was looking for an iPad mount. Since then, I now triad-orbit ALL THE THINGS. A bit spendy, but you get what you pay for right?
Triad-Orbit IO-GC – The beefiest clamp mount I have ever seen. This bad boy will grip anything, even truss.. though I primarily use it to clamp onto banquet tables.
Triad-Orbit IO-EXT2S – Swivel mount extension.
Triad-Orbit Orbit Arm – Fully articulate ball-joint arm.
Triad-Orbit IO-VM – Vesa monitor mount.
These above modules, when combined, form my 27” monitor display stand. This allows me to articulate the display in any way that I can conceive, while simultaneously freeing up any surface/table space that a traditional display stand would take.
Here are the rest of the triad-orbit components I carry. Triad-Orbit IO-GCM – mini grip clamp
Triad-Orbit IO-EXT4 – 4inch extension
Triad-Orbit OA-M – mini fully articulate arm.
Triad-Orbit IO-SPKR – Speaker mount.
When these 4 modules combine, they form the mount I use for my TC-Clarity.
That about wraps it up what I currently carry between these 2 cases. I do have other ancillary tools & accessories I will swap out when the situation arises, but for the most part, these are the items that I currently gig with. Im sure some will say that I carry too much, and that clients should be providing a lot of this. And in a perfect world I would be inclined to agree. But unfortunately I have not reached that level of enlightenment yet ;).
I wouldn’t be an audio engineer if I didn’t have a wish list of new gear to add.
Here are some of my purchase goals for 2023:
Happy gigging everyone!