My #Anker charger is one of my favorite finds. With frequent stays in hotel rooms, VRBO's and just hanging around different conference halls and venues, I need a way to charge all my day to day stuff with ease. The#ANKER charger allows me to plug my phone, my watch and all kinds of other stuff in at the same time on a bedside table or desk and have one small plug that can plug into any outlet i run into. This brings me to some of the devices I love that charge via USB. This year at Christmas my wife bought a USB rechargeable flashlight for me; it's amazing. I am always needing flashlights while looking through AV systems and though I have owned several, they never got used more than my phone flashlight because the batteries were always dead. The USB on this flashlight allows me to top off the charge the night before I go and use it for at least a few days before I simply plug it back in.
A few weeks back we talked about the “Lambda process” for turning your dreams of a new audio, video or lighting system into a reality. Part of that process is all about the gear testing that happens before the equipment ever gets to your location. After the gear has been ordered and has arrived in our shop, we set up all the equipment and each component in the shop just as it will be for the install. This ensures that when we arrive for the install, there aren’t any surprises and there won’t be “that one missing part.” Plus, we have an assurance that each piece of the gear we install will work for you leaving no questions of whether your new parts are faulty.
Nothing can be more frustrating than when you have a piece of gear and it doesn’t seem to be working properly, or even working at all! Here at Lambda AV one of our goals is to not just to help get your current system up and running, or even to replace the gear you already have. It’s to help you to know your system to the best of your ability! Often when you encounter problems in an audio, video or lighting system it can be daunting to try and diagnose where the issue is actually coming from. Often a quick check of signal flow and making sure all the cables are plugged in correctly can save you a lot of time and frustration! There are multiple different ways to go about checking your signal flow. I personally like to start at one end of the system and begin verifying each piece of equipment and cable is working correctly. A piece of gear like this Elite Core Cable Tester, can help you verify that all the cables are working properly. If something like testing gear feels a bit overwhelming to you, not to worry! We would love to schedule a time to do a training on your specific system and gear to help you get to know it better and know the best way to diagnose when equipment isn’t working right! From there, you will be better informed to make the decision to fix something or to plan for a replacement. If you have any questions about what our training's look like, you can check out our Article Here or contact us anytime!
Once you get your design finished it might feel like everything else will go quickly and you’ll have your new equipment in a matter of a few weeks, but, sadly, nothing is ever quite that simple. Even approving a simple replacement part has a whole process behind it. So, today’s tech tip is about timing your AV equipment orders to make sure you’ll get what you need when you need it.
Let me give you a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes here at Lambda!
Right: Looking so professional as we work on an order.
Once you approve your design and equipment order, we begin to put together part lists for each of our amazing distributors. Once the Purchase Orders are created, they
are sent to the vendors who check on each item for availability, processing time and if anything is back ordered. Once the order is processed, it is finally sent for shipment.
As soon as we receive all the items for your order we open and test each one to ensure we are installing quality products in your building! We want only the best for you! Once we know we have everything, that it is all working, we order the cabling, structuring and any special tools needed to install it all for you.
So, ordering equipment can be a big process and though we do our best to keep timing short for you, items can be back ordered or damaged in the mail or have multiple other problems. Some items are only made upon order, such as speakers, and are finely handcrafted for you and only you! Keeping these things in mind when you place your order will help you to plan ahead about your install and hopefully decrease the stress of wondering when you will receive your new equipment.
You might think it’s silly to place an order three months before you’ll need it, but it’s always better to be ahead rather than trying to rush or force something that might not be possible. So, if you are thinking about doing anything for Easter this year, now would be a great time to plan and talk with us about your ideas. We’ll be able to help you come up with a schedule and if what you are hoping for is possible to achieve in your time frame!
The above picture may just look like colored tape but it is one of our owner’s @ryandrby favorite tools of trade. We call it spike tape. Spike tape is thin strips of Gaffers tape in bright reflective colors.
You might remember Gaffers tape from a previous article we did last year. It's commonly used on stages for taping down cables as it does not leave a residue and tears easily like light fabric. Spike tape is named differently because it is used to “spike” or mark a position or item and stand out rather than blend in like black gaffers tape. It’s especially useful for marking the edges of stairs in dark areas, mic stand positions on stage as well as labeling items like control surfaces and cables. It stands out, is easy to work with and easy to write on with a marker or sharpie.
Pick yourself up some to throw in your kit of day to day tech resources. We love to pick up the multi packs on amazon that come with 4 bright colors from our friends at Tape Ninja!
A few articles ago we talked about HDMI cables and the drawback of only being able to run them 25ft or so. We also talked about how you can use SDI to get HD video signal over a long distance. But that isn’t all we have to tell you! There is a third option for you to consider!
This signal is a new comer on the video scene and is called HDBaseT. This signal was first created in 2010 and can be used for the transmission of ultra-high-definition video, audio, Ethernet, control, USB and even up to 100W of power! All of this is over a single cable! It’s the Mary Poppins of cables!
HDBaseT uses Cat6a cable, but because of all the different functions it can be used for, it uses specialized connectors. These look identical to a standard RJ45 connector but be warned! Because HDBaseT carries power as well, if you plug it into a standard RJ45 jack you can severely damage that piece of equipment! If you are unsure, its always better to ask rather than risk your equipment.
HDBaseT can be run up to 328ft giving far more flexibility in running video signal. This cable is also extreamly convenient in instances when paired with a piece of HDBaseT equipped gear. The PTZ camera, for instance, would usually require up to 3-4 cables for signal, power, and control, but with an HDBaseT connection you only need one! Think about all the money that could be saved by only running one wire connection. Not to mention the amount of time running cable through walls and ceilings. If you have a hard to reach place or a tangle of cables attached to that old equipment, it could be worth your time and money looking for an HDBaseT piece of equipment as a replacement and running one cable instead.
Continueing our series of articles on cableing, this week we are talking about Serial Digital Interface (SDI). SDI is a video signal used to send uncompressed, un-encrypted digital video signals. It can also include embedded audio. SDI signal was first standardized in 1989. Since then the standard SDI signal has upgraded to HD-SDI (1080i/720p), 3G SDI (1080p), 6G SDI (4k @30hz), and 12G SDI (4k @60hz).
The longer distance you are trying to run the signal or the higher the quality signal you are trying to achieve, will require a higher specification of cable and BNC connector. Now, just upgrading the cabling in your system will not necessarily give you a higher SDI signal! An important thing to keep in mind is that to be able to produce a signal such as 12G SDI video, every single component in that system must support that as well! So, you may have the right camera and cable, but if your video switcher can only receive HD-SDI, that will be the highest quality you will be able to use.
We recommend, especially when building a new system or revamping an old system, to make sure the core components, like a switcher or a video router, is at the final desired SDI signal level. Then you can begin to upgrade the components going in and out of the system as your budget allows. If you aren't sure about your system's SDI ability, don't hesitate to ask! That's what we're here for!
In the video world over the past 20 years there have been many, many different types of cables and connections used to pass signal from one medium to another. From composite video to VGA and DVI, and now to SDI and HDMI. But while we have heard of these cables, you may wonder what are they? And what do they do? Today we’re going to talk about HDMI and SDI. In future articles we will talk more about passing video signal over Cat6a cable using HDBaseT. If you are wondering what that even means, just keep a lookout for the upcoming article to learn all about it. ;)
Let's start with HDMI cables! HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is the most frequently used HD signal for transferring both high definition video and audio over a single cable. Really, it's pretty amazing! HDMI is typically used for connecting devices such as TV’s, wireless presentation devices like an AppleTV or huddle space integrator like Klik Boks, and is generally considered a consumer level video cable. It's easy to find HDMI or mini HDMI in an average home today on computers, tv's projectors, etc. One of the big advantages with HDMI at the homeowner level is simply that it is a single cable solution for combining both video and audio. It has replaced many of the analogue solutions which required separate video and audio cables creating a tangle of confusing wires in spaces that were supposed to be easy and uncomplicated for the average person to use. One of the big disadvantages to HDMI cable is that you can only run most HDMI cables up to 25’. Though this isn't generally a problem for the consumer, it can create difficulties in other areas.
Our other popular Video Cable option is SDI. SDI stand for Serial Digital Interface. What does that mean? SDI is a standard video signal used by professional, broadcast grade cameras. SDI cable has the ability to transmit HD video signal over a much farther distance than HDMI. SDI also has the ability to pass audio as well. SDI cables are made up of two components, 75ohm coaxial cable and BNC connectors. Now, not all SDI cables are the same. Different cables can carry different quality signals over specified distances. Just because one cable fits or is long enough, doesn’t mean it will work at all, or even that it will work properly! The higher the quality of the video signal you are sending, may require you to either go a shorter distance with your cable or you may need to use a higher grade cable. In a later article we are going to discuss SDI video signal, the different quality, and some of the solutions that SDI offers.
Video cabling can be more complex than audio cabling and it's important to have your expensive and sometimes sensitive equipment connected properly. If it's not, it can cause you all kinds of problems and glitches or produce a poor quality video. Cable is cheap in comparison to video equipment, so take the time to see if your problem can be fixed with an easy cable switch before giving up on your gear. We hope you are learning more about cables! If you have specific questions you'd like to see answered, email or find us on social media!
This week we are excited to take a look into the second part of our cable series!
Now like XLR mic cables, instrument cables also have a doppelganger. That is, the speaker cable. These two look the same, but are used for different purposes. An instrument cable is low power and high impedance. On the other hand, a speaker cable is the opposite, high power and low impedance. Speaker cable is built to carry a strong signal from your amp to your speakers, a signal with a relatively high AC current and voltage. Because of this difference, speaker cables require a higher gauge wire.
So, always make sure you’re using the correct cable for its intended purpose. Good news is it's an easy fix if you know what to look for!
It's time to check out a few different cables and exactly how they can effect your AV systems performance. There are so many different cables and making sure you know the difference and know which fiber to use could make the change you've been looking for.
Let's start with Mic cables! These are one of the two cables that you will come across on a regular basis if you work with audio. Now, mic lines actually consist of two components. The mic cable and the connector. The connector is an XLR connector. The reason this is an important distinction to note is because the XLR connector can be used for different connections, specifically 3-pin DMX. This can become confusing as on many stages you will see both mic lines and DMX cable. Now while these two cables look the same they are doing two completely different jobs. While mic line passes audio signal, DMX passes data and requires a much higher specification cable to perform that task. Because of that you can use a DMX as a mic line, but you should not use an mic cable as a DMX line. If you are in a situation where both mic and DMX 3pin cables are being used close to each other, it’s a good idea to mark or label each cable to ensure you or your volunteers don’t mix them up!
The reason XLR connectors are used on the end of mic lines to pass audio signal is that they allow you to pass shielded, balanced audio. I’m sure if you’ve spent any time in the audio world you hear the terms balanced and unbalanced audio. So, what is balanced audio? Mic line consists of a positive, negative and ground cables. The ground pin allows the signal to be shielded, cutting down on the amount of noise that can be introduced. The positive pin carries the signal and the negative pin carries the same signal with the polarity inversed. When the signal is combined at the other end of the cable anything that is not native to the audio signal will get canceled out. Because of this the final audio signal will have almost no unwanted noise from outside electrical interference. This preserves the original audio signal and gives you the ability to pass audio signal over very long distances.
Pretty neat, right? Cabling may seem insignificant, but it can really effect the quality of your production in the end. Make sure you have the right cables for your equipment and the right connections to create a flawless performance! Stay tuned for more info on other cabling coming up!