troubleshooting

Jo-JotheSoundDog

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Location
South Florida USA
One of the most important skills a sound engineer should develop is troubleshooting. Sometimes it is even more important than the ability to fix the problem. If you can first isolate and then eliminate the problem either by fixing it or just replacing the problem piece with a do-fer until there is the time and/or budget, to correctly fix the problem.
A good basis for troubleshooting audio is following the signal path of the sound. for example:

CD Player
|
Cable
|
Sound Board (input)
|
Sound Board (output)
|
Cable
|
Amp
|
Cable
|
Speaker

Now generally a good palce to start is the weakest link. And in sound systems that is usually the cables. They are constantly abused and tend to develop problems faster than anything else.
But on your average channel of sound you are dealing with three different cables. Which one is dead?
First of all both the board and the amps usually have some sort of input signal. Sometimes it is an analog needle and other times it is a series of lights and other times it is just one light that lights up to different intensities as the signal becomes weaker and stronger.
So with this knowledge is the board reading some kind of input signal? If so move on to the amps. Are they reading an input signal? If the board is reading a signal and the amps are not. Then start by replacing the cable to the amps.
Another thing never to overlook is the basic stupid stuff. Forgetting to power something up or plug something in are two of the leading causes of problems. And sometimes people feel inclined to unplug something for no apparent reason. Trust me nothing makes you want to slap your head harder than spending two hours tracing down the source of a problem, then you discover that it wasn't turned on.
 

TechDirector

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2003
Location
South Florida, USA
Jo-JotheSoundDog said:
Another thing never to overlook is the basic stupid stuff. Forgetting to power something up or plug something in are two of the leading causes of problems. And sometimes people feel inclined to unplug something for no apparent reason. Trust me nothing makes you want to slap your head harder than spending two hours tracing down the source of a problem, then you discover that it wasn't turned on.
Man that happens to me all the time. I remember just before one of our shows that were being rated by cappies (judges) and our speakers weren't working. and like 5 minutes before the show i found out that i never plugged them in. I felt so stupid that i never told anybody about it. lol.
 

cruiser

Active Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Location
Melbourne
after setting up PA systems and leaving a tech to run the rig, knowing that it works... then getting a phone call b4 the gig saying "there is no sound comming out of the speakers" and i ask is there input into the desk.. "yes" well, did you turn the crossover on "oh.. no, dont think so" a hell of alot of people do not turn the crossover on.. i dont know why, and i dont know how you over look it.. but it happens!
 

digitaltec

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2003
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
the best thing to do is always have a hookup chart, just like a lighting plot. Especially if you are doing a concert or a musical. It is very easy to forget what is hooked up to where and if something goes down, you will have the sheet right there to troubleshoot. Also created a pre and post show checklist. So that you know everything is in the right place and TURNED ON. It's okl we all make mistakes but having a list of things to do with minimize any mistakes. If something ever goes down in a show or wont work during preshow, dont panic, first see if you can isolate the problem then go from there. just relax, fix it, and have a great show. :D
 

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