Securing a semi-permanent FOH console

I work in a campus theater that, at my request, recently established a semi-permanent FOH mix position and acquired an LS9 to fill it. It was a stretch for our budget, and I was very happy about it, and I'd like to make sure it stays safe. It spends the academic year, however, on a folding table behind the last row of seats.

The security model for our hall is... interesting. It's a 100+ year old building. There are a lot of keys floating around for the main entrance (a lot more people have need of our loading dock, storage closet, basement access, etc. than actually work for the theater), obscure back entrances to storage rooms and tunnels with rusted-out locking hardware that can be defeated with a pocketknife, and building managers who will open the doors to anyone with a convincing story, despite our allegedly having a policy that no one is allowed in the hall without hall staff present. The orchestra is an exception to this policy - they have their own keys and do a rehearsal every week with no supervision from us. All of this to say that, if an unauthorized person wanted to get into the house in the middle of the night with no one knowing, the attack surface is enormous. From there, he could easily walk out with my precious console.

We've dealt with this in the past by locking anything that matters in our closets and booth, which have single, solid doors on tightly-controlled keys. That's how we protect the Clear-Com, microphones, cable, lamps, light board, etc. But now that we have an FOH mix position, life is a little different.

  • We could carry the console to a locked closet every night, but reconnecting the analog snake is annoying and I think the risk of physical damage while being carried is more significant than the risk of theft.
  • I'd use one of those Kensington locks, but there's no port.
  • There are locking rolltop desks for this purpose, but the console was a stretch at $6500 and I have a sneaking suspicion custom furniture is going to cost twice that.

Surely others have faced this situation before. How did you handle it? Is it even necessary to address? Are there creative solutions for keeping your console from walking away?

(Note that I don't particularly care if an unauthorized person *uses* the console - I have a config backup on a flash drive and limiters on the loudspeakers. I just need the thing not to disappear.)
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Build a FOH position. Get an old, very heavy wooden or metal desk (often found very for not much money on Craigslist), and build a closeable enclosure for the desk on top of that. Bolt the desk to the floor, and lock the enclosure for the console closed. The desk serves as a place to keep other things. I've seen really nice, really heavy, locking metal desks at office liquidation sales for $100-$250, and that would be fantastic for your FOH position aside from also providing a place to lock your console down. In the past the enclosures I've built have been sloping up front to back and are hinged with 2 parts, as well as a hinged, locked back access panel. The top and front remove via padlocks.
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
I'm just going to give a quick suggestion for now. Assuming you have the facility for scene construction, build your own custom desk using largely stock lumber. Perhaps start with a good sturdy desk or table (kijiji, facility storage, yardsales, etc).
There are a lot of varied designs you can go with, and Im sure you'll get a varied number of suggestions from users here. Temper these with what you'd like to see.
A lot of theatres build their own.

All in all it should not cost too much to secure your console nicely (and keep the dust off).

This way it will be cheap, custom, and hopefully look nice enough for your purposes (though I guess that depends on your people).

Hope this helps.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Options (non-exhaustive; from easiest to most complex):
1. The Kensington cable lock as described above
2. Metal L-brackets attached to console and table surface with security screws (Torx, perhaps?)
3. A console encloure, with cover either hinged http://www.controlbooth.com/threads/sliding-console-cover.37754/#post-327409 , or tambor rolltop. Mfg'd by Theatre Dept. Scene Shop, or Facilities Carpenter Shop, or other.

Because I didn't know what a Yamaha LS9 looked like:
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Assuming LS9-32: 35"W x 9"H x 20"D. 43 lbs.
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
You are going to hate this.... but....

Return it, get an X32 w/ a caase and 2 S16's, you can pull the desk, leave the racks onstage, and get the desk up and going in about 30 seconds (power and AES50). Seriously, if you can return the LS9 do it.

Not the answer you want to hear, but it is a good option in my book. Otherwise, get out the saw and build yourself an FOH position with a locking lid.
 
Great suggestions! The adhesive lock port is elegant, cheap, and unobtrusive... would certainly deter the most casual of thieves, but the most casual of thieves isn't coming after a sound board anyway. I worry that anyone with the skills to fence (or, more likely, personally use) an LS9 has the problem-solving skills to remove it. Still, it's better than nothing.

We actually have an X32 and 2 S16s. I powered it on one day and it was a brick. I know the LS9 is unglamorous, but at least it's reliable.

Sounds like trying to build or acquire a desk ourselves is the best plan. Unfortunately we are a concert hall not affiliated with the theater program, but I'll see what my friends in the shop think. Maybe there's something in a Facilities warehouse.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Great suggestions! The adhesive lock port is elegant, cheap, and unobtrusive... would certainly deter the most casual of thieves, but the most casual of thieves isn't coming after a sound board anyway. I worry that anyone with the skills to fence (or, more likely, personally use) an LS9 has the problem-solving skills to remove it. Still, it's better than nothing.

We actually have an X32 and 2 S16s. I powered it on one day and it was a brick. I know the LS9 is unglamorous, but at least it's reliable.

Sounds like trying to build or acquire a desk ourselves is the best plan. Unfortunately we are a concert hall not affiliated with the theater program, but I'll see what my friends in the shop think. Maybe there's something in a Facilities warehouse.


Well the desk has a lot of open spaces. I would attach a few. After 2 or 3 with the bolt cutters and they go to pull it up and miss one and drop it on their foot they are bound to give up. My suggestion though if your worried that much that someone is out for your new board is camera up and lock it down.
 
It was long out of warranty. The MUSIC Group said we could ship it to Vegas; the boss was going to do that "next week" for 8 months. I think he never really liked it (analog guy nearing retirement age, kept it in a closet and used an A&H analog for most things until I made it a daily driver), now neither of us trusted it. He rented me an LS9-32 for a music festival (cheapest adequate thing available at the last minute), and when the rental company he'd known for 30+ years offered to sell us a new one for $6500 (a good bit below dealer), he was on board and I pushed for it. I recognize we could have gotten a Si Expression or something, but the main way we were able to sell it was as a piece of professional equipment, if dated, rather than a flashy but cheaply made and unreliable toy. If we had bought another cheap plastic product and it had died too, there would have been bureaucratic hell to pay with the purchase order approvers.

I've been very happy with it so far, and stunningly, he even like the thing. Our loudspeakers are mid-90s vintage and low to middle grade when they were new, so if the sound quality is poor, I can't really hear it.

I think we'll do the adhesive lock cable right away, and try to get a more substantial desk (preferably with some locking drawers) as time goes on. It's not the most desirable theft target in the world, and a symbolic deterrent should be enough.

I thought about a camera too, but for political reasons an improvised camera isn't happening and an official on-network University security camera costs the requesting org several thousand dollars.
 

gafflover87

Member
I have a PTZ camera controller and small video switcher that I would like to permanently live on top of a desk backstage. Unfortunately we have a history of theft so I need a way to secure them on top of / within the desk. I'm also concerned about curious minds pressing buttons at times when techs aren't around to monitor things. While a good temporary solution would be to unplug everything at the end of the day and store it, it doesn't make sense for us in the long term.

I've considered using some sort of locking drawer mounted on the underside of the desk, however I'm not exactly thrilled by the idea of the desk widening more than it already is while the drawer is open. Other option I can think of would be to build some sort of removable top which locks over the units.

Would anyone have a good solution for this?


Camera Controller: Panasonic AW-RP50
Video Mixer: Roland V-1HD
Desk: Omnirax Prostation Jr. (All rack spaces in use)

Thanks!!
 

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