AV Police Squad

Test Gear Rules!

A great man once said, “The difference between a professional and a practitioner is the ability to put a number on things.” That man is my dad, Mario. He’s pretty cool.

Anyway, I am a firm believer in having the proper test gear to make problems disappear. And every one of our specialists never leave the shop without one of these:

Testing Kit

This kit has almost everything an AV professional would need to troubleshoot or test pieces of an AV system. We do have some backup kits for some “heavier” stuff, but this gets us through about 95% of anything we encounter. And, it can fly!

Hear a buzz in the system? No problem. I’ve got a generator and audio analyzer to trace down the problem and sort out any gain structure issues.

EDID issues? No problem. I’ve got a generator that will spit out any resolution, in any colorspace, with several test patterns, with or without HDCP.

Old equipment being flaky? No problem. I can track the temperature, voltage and power draw of any device in the system over time and let you know it’s going to die before it actually does.

Want to know why that projector image is so washed out? No problem. I can measure the contrast ratio for a given projector, screen and ambient lighting in the room.

Whenever you have the ability to measure something, especially with something as complex as AV, you can take the subjectivity out of it. No more guesswork. No more different experiences depending on if Murray or Guido set up the system. You can give your clients the same Exceptional Experience in all their rooms across the world. Not to mention how quickly actual values get you through tech support:

“Did you check the power plu-“

“The signal to noise level on Output 5 is only 25dB, and all the other outputs are measuring 100dB as specified.”

“…Uh…please hold for Engineering.”

If you don’t have the tools to put a number on things, you’re just guessing. The industry and, more importantly, our clients expect more.

If I had to pick a favorite piece of gear, I’d go with the RDL PT-AMG2. It can find missing audio signals, transform into a standard talker and it makes me feel safe at night. “This is my PT-AMG2. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”

What’s your favorite? Got any MacGyver tales with some AV test gear you’d like to share?

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