I carry a pretty comprehensive toolcase with me to most gigs. It has grown significantly over the last few years. When I started out, just carrying Lx tape, Sharpie, Leatherman and Torch shoved in a rucksack got me by. Nowadays, there is a higher expectation on my to have everything and make the gig work, even if broken equipment / cables have been sent out! This list of stuff rarely changes, and whether i’m travelling as a Band Engineer, Sent off with a van to a function gig, or putting up PA Systems and 60″ Tv’s at Corporate Conferences / Exhibitions as an AV Tech, all the things have been used on one gig or another.
This is facilitated by my (pretend) Pelicase 1510 (£160+ new). I use CPC’s own brand version (£80), which I have upgraded the wheels on. This is almost identical in every way, the same dimensions, allowing replacement parts to be brought from Peli if needed.
As you can see, the smaller items have been put together in old mic cases, which have been labelled up with white gaffa and sharpie. This helps to keep it all together, and saves time finding the right adaptor, etc for the job.
Whether you buy the CPC or Peli version of the 1510, I would defiantly recommend upgrading the wheels that come as stock. They are made out of a similar plastic as the rest of the case, and as such make a racket being pulled down the road. I upgraded to InLine Skate wheels from Decathlon, this has made the case much easier to pull around, and quieter as well.
I also brought the 1510 Laptop insert for the case, allowing me to store my iPad / Macbook + Chargers in the Peli rather than also taking a laptop bag / rucksack to every gig.
This is a list of everything that I take with me, some gigs require all of this, where as others, I could get away with just my Leatherman. But lets assume that its all in for this kit list.
Sennheiser HD25 Headphones
Shure SE215 InEars
Rechargeable Drill with Charger
Drill bits / Screwdriver Bits
Various Screws + Nails
Hole Cutting Drill Bits
Various other VDE Screwdrivers
Non Contact Voltage Tester
RCD 13a Plug
13a Socket Tester
Euro to 13A + 13a to Euro Sockets
Allen Key Set
Cable strippers / Cutters
Locking Pliers (Mole Grips)
USB Light – £1 from IKEA, and works with every digital desk that has a USB Port that I’ve come across. No brainer for the dingy gigs. Can also plug into a Battery Charger for phones and have a stationary work light for side stage stuff.
Pens + Sharpies – No one remembers to bring these.. and there is always some paperwork to fill in.
CableTies in various lengths and sizes
Eyelet screws – great for attaching fastfold screens to set and set to their legs.
Foam Earplugs for others
TagGun – great for holding together drape, doesn’t come unstuck like gaffa tape, and doesn’t take up much room.
Lint Roller – useful for cleaning stage set
Microfibre Towel – useful for cleaning Tv & Projector screens
RTA Mic + Mini Audio Interface – These combined with the RTA Apps on the iPad allow a small but powerful way to tune and check the system, all fitting inside a small mic bag.
Code Padlock – I was using a normal Key padlock, but then was always stuck with having a key on me or put safely somewhere else. I upgraded to a code lock, so I could leave all keys in the case as well.
Audio + Video Adaptors
NL4 Barrels, Minijack to Phono, Minijack to Jack, Minijack to XLR, Headphone Splitter, Headphone Adaptors, Stereo Jack to XLR Male/Female, XLR Y Split,
Z Split – Male + Female XLR and Stereo Male + Female Jacks all wired together! Especially helpful for Fault Finding, Line Checks, Quick Fix’s! There is normally a old dynamic tom mic attached to the XLR, meaning LineChecks are simple, and can also check the DI Input. If it was a condenser then it would check +48V as well. But hey!
HDMI Barrels, VGA Barrels, DVI to HDMI, HDMI to DVI, Macbook to HDMI, Macbook to VGA, 4 Pole Minijack to Composite
EMO Stereo DI Box – Again quite a bulky version of a stereo DI Box, but over time this will be upgraded to a smaller box. Interspace Industries make a USB Balance box (USB in) and a PC Balance Box (3.5mm MiniJack in), which will be the replacement. Mainly for size and weight!
Focusrite 18i8 USB Soundcard – This goes out occasionally as a way for higher quality audio to come from the laptop. I’m looking to upgrade my touring soundcard to a smaller version, meaning that this will stay in the studio. Again the Interspace USB Balance Box will replace this for smaller gigs.
Chamsys MagicQ USB – 3Pin Lighting Dongle + 5-3/3-5 DMX Adaptors + Steel Safety – There are times where the lighting console isn’t familiar, or isn’t working, so as an Audio Guy, I cover my back by knowing my way around one Lighting Desk, and bring the smallest possible gear to make it work. Meaning that the show can still go ahead and the end client is none the wiser! Also I carry a Steel Safety, for safely hanging lights, as on the odd occasion faulty (frayed) ones have come on the road, or lights have been sub hired in without them, etc.
First Aid Kit – This has all the essentials packed tightly in to a mic case, burn cream, bite/sting cream and antiseptic cream, as well as a few plasters and tweezers for splinters etc. Only thing that was missing on the last outdoor event was Suncream! We all regretted that later!
iPad – For a while this replaced my Macbook on the road, but as time has gone on, I’ve found that having both is more useful for my needs. In a sturdy case that isn’t afraid of the UK weather.
Using apps like RTA, n-Track Tuner, Music, Accounting / Invoicing Software
Macbook + Charger
Software including QLab, LogicProX, Mainstage, Ableton Standard, Waves MultiRack, Final Cut Pro 9, Chamsys MagicQ Lighting Software and a massive iTunes library!
Wifi Router + Cables for connecting to Digital Desks for iPad Apps – Again I bring the smallest one possible (TP Link NanoRouter) as most companies provide them alongside the desks. Its just a great get out of jail card really, and it comes in a nice velvet case!
External USB HDD / Large Size (8Gb+) USB Stick – Moving files around, changing + updating presentations / videos is all commonplace, so having a quick way to do it helps everyone. Also allows saving of digital desk files for backup and peace of mind, incase anything happens overnight!
Kensington Lock (x2) Always good practice to lock the Macbook down, cause you can never be sure who is around, and it is always better to have a little inconvenience at the end of the day, rather than a missing Laptop!
Things I used to take around, but gave up on include;
Listerine Mouthwash – great for decontaminating 58s, etc, in cough + cold season from vocalists. Make sure you buy the one with Alcohol in it, to actually kill the germs!
Cable Tester – Bulky and underused. I carry a multimeter, which can test cables via continuity, as well as perform multiple other tasks. The Switching Knob likes to fall off in the Peli, as well as the 9v Battery Compartment always likes to open mid test!
Soldering Iron (and kit) + CK T3963 Cable Stripper /Cutter – Just didn’t get used enough, and could not justify the space it took up. I carry the £3 version of the T3963 around in my Peli, as they get lent out every so often. The picture further up shows all three, the Red handled one stays in my Soldering Kit now.
Switched Mic for Talkback – normally just grab a radio mic and iPad, so freedom to get on stage as well as mix if necessary during soundcheck. Plus most companies send one out in the doghouse with the router and 13a.
I hope that this has given you an insight as to what you may need on the road, life is never dull, and people always forget things, so anything you can do to help out will make any event go smoother.
Comment below with things that you take in your kits, and things that you think I’ve missed out!