Sunday morning, I was reading through my RSS feeds as I normally do over breakfast. Seth Godin wrote a post entitled, Vendor Shout Out that really stood out to me. Seth acknowledged the fact that it’s easy to give props to a restaurant using Yelp or a book on Amazon. He also noted that it’s easy to knock a product when it fails us by using that well known public platform known as Twitter, but we rarely take time to mention the people who make the gear that helps us be successful. 

Drawing some inspiration from Seth, and hot on the heels of our national day of thanks, I thought it might be appropriate to thank the companies who help me and my team create an atmosphere of worship every weekend. And just so you know I’m not playing favorites, the order is based on how our tech booth is laid out, not in order of importance. Mostly…

Digico, makers of my favorite audio console, the SD8. This desk has made it easier than ever to produce quality audio, with greater levels of consistency than I ever thought possible. And the headphone volume knob goes to 11. Who doesn’t love that?

Roland, for the best personal monitor system on the planet, the M-48. Though it took the band a little while to get used to, I don’t think anyone who let me take them away now.

Ultimate Ears, for making really great-sounding IEMs. They have proven to be critical to not only our musicians, but also to me, given our terrible mix position and PA configuration.

Shure, whose UFH-R and PSM wireless mic’s and IEMs give our artists and pastors freedom to move, and keep my stage clean. Dropouts? Forgetaboutit.

Heil, for making my job at FOH really, really easy. Changing over just about all our mic’s to Heil has vastly improved our sound, at a fraction of the cost of replacing the PA. We still need to do that, but this was a giant bang for the buck.

Ansmann (and Horizon Battery), for powering said wireless gear (and everything else in the booth and the building that runs on AA’s) reliably and economically week after week.

Cockos Software, a small bunch of coders who have spent incredible amounts of effort and time creating my favorite DAW, Reaper. 

Apple, for powering, well, pretty much everything. In the booth, we have five Mac Minis (plus one on stage running our digital piano), a MacBook Pro (plus one on stage), two Mac Pros, an iPad, and an assortment of MacBook Pros and Airs and iPads and iPhones that come and go each week. The fact that we can control any one from any of the other is beyond amazing and incredibly useful.

Antecea Software, for creating a solid, reliable and easy to use VNC app, Desktop Connect.

High End Systems, for controlling our lights. Even though I really don’t like the Hog software, I do have to acknowledge it’s role in making the weekend beautiful. And since we started running it on a Mac Mini, Bootcamped to Windows, it’s actually been pretty reliable. 

Renewed Vision, for ProPresenter. Yes, I know, I have given them a hard time the last few weeks because of the weird bugs we ran into. But, to their credit, they worked really hard to figure out the problem and have already coded the solution. And let’s be honest, there isn’t anything else out there that comes close to the power and usability of ProPresenter 5. The new version is really, really good.

Ross Video, who make a stunningly wide range of products from the CrossOver Solo that we use (and can afford) all the way up to the giant Vision 4 (that we can’t). What impresses me about Ross is that each product, no matter the price point, is built the same way, with the same components, in the same factory, with the same dedication to excellence and reliability. There is a lot to be said for that.

Of course, we use many, many more products each weekend, but these are the ones that stand out to me, primarily because each product was chosen to do exactly what we need it to do. And each one does it so well, it would be tough to find a substitute. 

So that’s my list. What do you use week in and week out that you can’t live without? Let’s spend some time thanking those who make it possible.

Today’s post is brought to you by Heil Sound. Established in 1966, Heil Sound Ltd. has developed many professional audio innovations over the years, and is currently a world leader in the design and manufacture of large diaphragm dynamic, professional grade microphones for live sound, broadcast and recording.