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Sound Advice

Guarding Gear at the Gig

Usually the venue owner or the promoter is responsible for providing security for the PA gear while it’s on their land. You should make an agreement about where responsibility for the security of the PA is delineated – clearing up any “what if” circumstances.

Small valuable items of gear, particularly microphones, are easily stolen. Mics are not only relatively easy to pocket, but there are more potential buyers than for other parts of your PA – they’re attractive items in their own right and prize trophies to some artists’ fans.

If the stage is left unguarded before – or especially after – a performance, mics can disappear from stands very quickly, particularly if the stage is easily accessible. It’s not even unknown for them to be stolen while in use – especially if the audience surge onto the stage, or a mic-wielding singer jumps into the crowd.
To save the hassle and expense of lost mics, there are several lines of defense you could adopt:

– Make sure venue security personnel are aware of the risk to all portable items – they may not always realize, for instance, that mics need to be guarded at least as much as a guitar or a DJ’s records.

– Crew should remove all mics from the stage immediately after the set (or the encore) ends – giving priority to microphones near the front of the stage (usually the vocal mikes).

– Especially-prized microphones can be fitted with anti-theft devices – from simple “post-coding” or “zip-coding” with ultra-violet sensitive pens, to more elaborate radio trackers – or even a remote-controlled release of coloured liquid exploding from within the mike casing to mark and identify the thief… (Are we getting a bit extreme here? It’s a thought, anyway.)

This article is reprinted with permission from The Live Sound Manual, published by Backbeat Books, www.backbeatbooks.com. All information is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without the permission of the publisher.

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