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The Logic of Audio Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting doesn’t have to drive you insane. It can and will if you let it. We’ve all been there. Maybe the setup took more time than you thought it would, things got a little rushed, and now you’re not getting signal from the singer’s mic. Or, maybe you’re watching a movie with your family, and all of a sudden there’s no sound. Whether you’re troubleshooting in a professional live sound or recording studio setting, or in your home theater, the same general rules apply.

The first rule, and the most important one, is “don’t panic.” When you panic, you tend to adopt a frenetic approach to problem solving, and it makes you far more likely to proceed without being methodical. The less methodical you are, the more prone you are to going down a rabbit hole and never coming back. Of course, keeping your cool is easier said than done when you have people waiting on you, and even more so if said people are paying to be there.

So, this begs the question, how do I keep my cool when troubleshooting? Well, I find that it helps me to remind myself of a few basic techniques that can be applied to many different situations.

Process of Elimination

When troubleshooting, identifying the working parts of a broken system is usually my first step, no matter how complex the system is. If my daughter is calling me from downstairs because Netflix isn’t loading, the first thing I do is a Google search on my laptop to see if the Internet is working. If it isn’t, I know to try resetting the wireless router; if it is working, I know to try resetting the Fire TV Stick. This is called the “Divide and Conquer” method.

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