Have you ever had an AV installation that just wasn’t quite right? We’re not talking about trying to get devices from different manufacturers to play nice together or having to fix the previous installer’s questionable wiring choices. If you survey your fellow AV industry professionals, you’re bound to hear a few eerie stories. In honor of Halloween, we’ve collected* four tales of spooky AV installations to share with you. Enjoy!
Don’t Feed the AV Equipment After Midnight
“Back when I worked in a studio environment, I had a colleague tell me that whenever you had something that was not working or a noise in the system that you couldn’t figure out or get rid of, you should leave a piece of candy behind the rack overnight. The next day, you would find that both the candy and the problems were gone. Obviously, I was skeptical, as I don’t believe in ghosts or gremlins, but then one day I was recording late at night and there was a hum I could not fix. We looked all over the studio, in every piece of equipment, every cable, every power source. We tried swapping all the parts of the signal chain, turning everything off one by one, listening for any electrical sounds, etc. No matter what we did, the hum would still show up on the recordings.
Eventually, we decided to call it a night. As I reached for my car keys, I noticed a cherry cough drop in my pocket. I thought, what the heck, and placed the sugary treat on top of the recording equipment before turning off the lights and leaving. The next day, sure enough, the lozenge – and the hum! – were gone. This is why you should always keep a little candy in your pocket when working with audio.”
“I got called to a rural job site. The person who hired me said the local AV company wouldn’t visit them anymore. When I arrived at the coordinates, I checked my GPS and map several times to verify the address, because there was only a graveyard there! The address was correct, but I couldn’t figure out where (or why) anyone would want AV equipment installed in the middle of a cemetery.
There was nobody around to ask, and the customer’s phone number was suddenly disconnected. Since I was 160 miles from the nearest town, I decided to get out of the car and stretch my legs before starting my long drive back. As I walked through some aspen trees along the perimeter of the cemetery, the wind picked up. I heard a faint, low noise. It sounded like a creepy 8-bit digitized howling voice, so I had to listen intently to understand what it was saying. What I heard was, ‘Go back, go back!’ I’ve never run so fast in my life.”
Beware the Mysterious Block Party
“Years ago, I had a small AV equipment rental company with little more than a 12 channel mixing board, two wedges, and two full range speakers. One day I got a gig for a block party on a dead-end street. After driving up winding hilly roads for about an hour, I found the destination. My customers failed to tell me that they had picked a road in a new development area with no houses or structures for miles.
One person had managed to get some raisers for the band and hang a wire between a street light post and a tree with a single light bulb in the middle. He forgot that the band and the audio gear needed electricity as well. We hooked extension cables to the lone wire. Since there was no place for my gear, I parked on the other end of the street, opened the tailgate, and sat inside the back of my truck.
The show started and everything was actually going somewhat smoothly, but the atmosphere was totally creepy as we had a single light bulb illuminating this makeshift venue in the middle of nowhere. The real horror? It started raining in the middle of the set. When a lightning flash lit up the sky, I was sure I saw a person lurking in the distance. I scanned the nearby field with my trusty flashlight, but nobody was there. I kept my keys handy for the rest of the party, ready to dive into the driver’s seat and flee the scene if it came to that.”
Dude, Where’s My Colleague?
“My colleague was in Room 102 speaking into the microphones, and I was in Room 304 listening to him through the loudspeakers there. My colleague’s voice sounded strange, and kept raising and lowering dramatically in volume, from a whisper to a scream. When I went back to Room 102, I discovered my colleague wasn’t in the room at all, and the microphones weren’t even connected!”
Happy (almost) Halloween from Biamp! May the AV gremlins treat you kindly.
*Shout-out to Ryan Wilson, Biamp’s Technical Support Supervisor, for curating these terrifying tales