Troubleshooting Media Equipment
Gear can break, but most of the time when something isn't working, there is just a small problem that can be fixed. A few simple troubleshooting techniques can help you evaluate a piece of gear or a system and resolve the issue or find the element that needs changed.
- Plug it in all the way, or check that the batteries have power.
- Press the power button.
- If the power cable has a switch, turn it on.
- Try a different outlet, or battery, or power cable.
- FOR VIDEO:
- Some projectors have multiple buttons for power: device power vs. lamp power.
- Unplug cable and plug back in all the way.
- On the destination device, input selections to see if you have chosen the correct input.
- Check the output of the device that generates the signal and see if it's the correct output, or if the output is being generated.
- Check the input to the destination device and see if it is correct.
- Check the cable the signal is carried on and maybe try using another one to see if it is broken.
- Try a different source or destination to see if the problem is with one of those items.
- Turn off a mute button. But make sure volume isn’t super loud when you do.
- Sometimes computers need to connect in a certain order where one needs to be on first.
- FOR AUDIO:
- Phantom power for the mic input to a mixer is needed if the mic is a condenser. Although some condensers microphones take battery power and some mics have a switch to choose if it is phantom or battery power.
- If the trim knob (input gain), channel fader, master fader,
- Don't just press buttons while you have volume control on knobs and faders maxed out or it could get really loud after un-muting it.
- FOR VIDEO:
- Is the lens cap still on?
- Consider if the sound source itself is noise. Is a microphone near a fan, or does the video you are playback have. If it's not that problem, it may be one of the sounds listen below.
- If it sounds underwater, or like glitchy electronics, it may be that the signal cable is not connected all the way, or that it broken inside the cable, so maybe try a different cable. It can help to troubleshoot this by playing a song you are familiar with that doesn't sound glitchy electronics or underwater already.
- “Crrrrrrr”: If a loud noise happen when turning knob a volume knob or fader, there is dirt in it that can most likely be fixed. Turn the knob or slide the fader repeatedly all the way, they will wipe away the dirt internal to the knobs or faders electrical connection.
- “Ffff”: Electrical noise that sounds like wind, or a sound with all frequencies. it may be a gain staging issue, which is a fancy way of saying, you need to adjust your volume knobs. Increase trim knob (input gain) until it is just below peaking (flashing red) when the loudest sound that will go into the mic or from the audio output is produced. Then increase the channel fader until it is at a good level compared to the other channels. More information about this can be found in the gain staging wiki.
- “Hmmm”: A low pitched hum. A ground loop or ground hum is a 60hz tone. You can check the pitch by downloading and using a free spectral analyser audio app on a phone. It will tell you if a dominant frequency in your signal is 60hz. This occurs when there is a grounding problem with the electrical circuit. There are many possible causes, but most likely come from using 2 outlets for an audio system that have different ground potentials. You could test out using the same outlet if possible. If the sound occurs when you touch the item, then your body is grounding the circuit and causing. it is a frequency of 60hz because outlets output an AC power at 60hz. More information about this can be found in the Ground Loops wiki.
- “Waeee”: This is a scary, loud sound that is confusing to fix sometimes. It is called feedback and caused by a microphone picking up the sound of itself being amplified by a speaker. It amplifies and feeds back a particular frequency resulting in a high whine. You can move away and point away the microphone from where the speakers are outputting. Usually those changes can help fix the issues, but there are more things to consider like how some mics are omni directional and therefore cant be pointed away and some rooms have reflective walls where the sound can feedback from. More information about this can be found in the feedback wiki.
- Pad: a pad is a button on a mixer, mic, or other gear that reduces the signal volume by usually 20 dB or some other amount. Turn the pad off to increase the volume.
- Volume Control: If the trim knob (input gain), channel fader, master fader, if one of these is down, then the signal will be quiet.
- EQ: It is possible that some part of the EQ (equalizer) on a channel is down. You usually want this to be natural and not affecting the sound, so you want it to be a dB of 0 means that it is not affecting the particular frequency band that it is set to, or you could disable the EQ if it has that option.
- Mic Direction: It could be quiet because you are not using the direction of the mic. Look up your mic model for its polar pattern. Omni-directional means it picks up all directions, while cardioids and bi-directional have zones where they don't pick up well.
Missing Sounds from Signal
- Stereo: stereo refers to sound being mixed for 2 channels like the Left and Right side of headphones or speakers sets. Some errors can happen when you only listen to 1 of those channels. Other issues may arise when working with a dvd player that is outputting 5.1 surround sound, like the Center channel not being used and therefore not hearing dialog.
- EQ: if you are missing sound from a certain Frequency band, it may be that your speakers just aren't capable of playing them like low frequencies. But, with mixers, the EQ may be the problem where a particular frequency band is reduced. You could increase or disable EQ to fix it.
Gear Doesn't Connect
- Look for the input, output or connection information on the equipment. The make and model of the equipment is usually enough to find an online manual or specifications to figure out what connector you need.
- Look for a Media Loan adapter based in the adapter chart
- Not reading: switch the physical lock switch on physical SD card.
- If it's full, format it within the setting to delete everything, remove files or get a new SD card.
Light Doesn't Come On
- Make sure it is plugged in and powered up before changing the bulb.
- For Media Loans hot lights, we keep extra bulbs in most cases. Hot lights are any lights that aren't LED. You can replace the light, but it must be cooled off, unplugged, and you must wear a glove to prevent your hand oils from getting on the bulb and therefore exploding it when it heats up. Notify Media Loan that a bulb was replaced upon equipment return.
- Turn the computer on and off by shutting it down or restarting it from the computer. If that doesn’t work, doing it twice sometimes helps.
- File Issues: be sure to copy file or folder to computer from flash drive or SD to the computer. Open the file copied to your computer rather then then file that lives on your flash drive for editing.
- Prevent Problems:
- Don't press the power button if it can be shut down with software. This can causes problems for your software and the computer itself.
- “Eject” the flash drive or SD from the computer before unplugging it from the computer.
- FOR AUDIO:
- In your computers system preferences, go to the audio section, check the output or input, this can be helped by unplugging and plugging your connector back into the port.
- The media player you might be using like YouTube may have the audio down