Buy Once, Cry Once

The Catholic Church has the seven deadly sins. I’m guilty of at least two or three of them from time to time….depending if the restaurant has cheese sticks or not.

Pro Video, Lighting, and Audio has theirs too. And we are all guilty of breaking them from time to time. Whether it’s setting the coffee tumbler on the doghouse, or falling into the temptation of saying ‘Sibilance’ into the mics during mic check, we are all sinners.

There is one in particular I really want to delve into today:


“Thou Shallest not buyeth consumer qualityeth products and incorporateth them into thoustest rigeth”


 A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We all know the saying. But do we take it to heart, truly?? ehhh…Most of the time. When I have the budget. When I have the time to get that special ordered item that is really what I SHOULD use. Cheap parts make a cheap mix. And nothing is worse than a sub-par, unshielded cable, or a CD player without balanced outputs, or running directly out of the headphones jack of a computer into the soundboard, or rigging up a mass of cables to play the DVD player over my IMAG system.

We fall into the habit of “Well, I only need it THIS time, then I will get the thing I need." Horse Baloney! No you don’t! I know that because im guilty of it to! You forget, you decide that you never are going to use it again (but then do), or some other excuse.

Ok, ready for the biggest one that we ALL have done? Consumer market power strips.  You have about $30k worth of board, rack, DSP, amp, effects, wireless, coffee maker, fruit smoothie blender, small fans, and monitor equipment all running off of the Monster Power strip you bought over at Best Buy for $50.00.  Yes. You should be hanging your head!

I’m not saying you have to sort your search items by price: highest to lowest, but I am saying be smart!!! Look for UL Listings!  Look to see if it really will handle the power ratings of your equipment! Is it designed to be put in a rack, or is it got a little hook that you can rest it on a nail??? These are tell-tell signs!

 Growing up, as the eldest son (ok, the only son), it was my task, ordained by God to mow the lawn every Saturday as soon as the sun peeked over the horizon. Not a problem, my dad had an old snapper that had the squared steering……..  The issue was the weed eater.

After 8 years, I came to the conclusion that it stayed in one of two states: Either it was turned off and in storage, or it was on and the line reel was popped off with line spewing all over the place. In 8 years, I don’t think I ever saw it actually cut any grass; I think the grass felt bad and fell over for me.

My dad purchased a new one (YES!!) but it was worse than the other one…flooded all the time, never ran well, and finally died after two seasons. But the third one was going to be the charm! he even bought one that had a brand name I recognized! However, almost immediately, I saw the problem…..I had to hold the throttle at 100% all the time, or else it would turn off. I was out of college when that one finally died. And it was I that bought the one he still uses today. I’m not going to plug Stihl here, so I am afraid I cant tell you what one we finally went with. It still behaves as if it was brand new even today.

What was the point of that monstrously long aside?

I bought a good product from a reputable company. Yes, I spent almost double than what he said he was going to pay for a new one, but I know that I will inherit that weed eater after he doesn’t need it anymore years and years from now. And I know it will last a few more years with me. Was it more than I wanted to pay? a little. Did it make me cringe at first seeing its cost? yes.  Did I eat a few extra peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until the next payday, yes. But i will not have to buy him another one.

 This is how our industry was.

 There are sound boards out there on tours that may be older than me! and they still sound amazing! Back then, there was not a consumer equivalent, so we didn’t have to worry about the issues that pop up so prevalent today.   Buy the correct equipment. Buy smartly. Budget yourself so that you CAN purchase correctly. Dont skimp out on quality for quantity. Not in our industry.

Buy Once.   Cry Once.

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