Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

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    Michael is a trainer and consultant specializing in making mobility technology work in people's everyday lives.
  • February 2008
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A smartphone should be an essential part of every sound tech’s kit.

Posted by Michael Brown on February 10, 2008


I’ve been doing sound both as a hobby and professionally/semi-professionally for almost 20 years now. There’s been a lot of changes to the business and to how I’ve operated over the years, and much of my changes have included Palm OS handhelds and smartphones.

Much of my work has been as a Sound Designer and Front-of-House mixer for musical theatre productions. There’s always a lot of paperwork, with Mic input lists, FX and board patch sheets, Intercom patch and distribution, and cue sheets galore! DocsToGo spreadsheets and documents cover all those bases nicely, and allow me to make changes on the fly at rehearsals while juggling my script book & score and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with the other members of the production team in the busy rehearsal hall. A laptop just wouldn’t fit in that kind of situation, since you don’t really have a table to put stuff on; you’re sitting on a folding chair in a row with a dozen other people, with your binder perched precariously in your lap. Datebk6 and it’s template and copy appointment functions allow me to schedule rehearsals and production meetings for the next few months with just a few taps. The built-in contacts and phone mean that production team members are just a few taps away when any details need to be settled, and the rental shop can be on speed dial for when you need to get a hold of them. The speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset come in particularly handy when you’re up to your armpits in gear and cables, troubleshooting.

The media features always come in useful; I can take sound effects in on a memory card and audition them for the director at rehearsals or production meetings. I can also record stuff I might need to use or refer to later. There are also a plethora of musician & sound oriented tools, like metronomes, tuners, even a Spectrum Analyzer! Combine all that with portability and ease of use, it’s easy to see why a smartphone should be on every sound techs belt, right next to your Leatherman.

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