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Dave's Blog

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 12:42 PM

So I've learned some lessons in the last 381 days.

Written by Dave Horn
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Back in January, I wrote a blog post related to the surgery that I had as a result of a bicycle accident on July 8, 2017. But before I get started, I'll warn you that this post has nothing to do with technology, so skip it, if you don't want to read about road bikes and physical therapy.

First, when you cross a rail crossing on a road bike, make sure that you do so with your wheels at a perpendicular angle to the tracks, or get off and walk it.  If you do not do this, it's at least somewhat likely that you will crash.  Best case, you look bad.  Worst case, you get hurt.  Really hurt.  Or run over by the car that is following too close behind you or trying to pass while you're crossing. 

I admit that on July 8, 2018 (the one year anniversary of the crash), I didn't walk it and I crossed the same crossing at a better angle, but it was one of those things that I wanted to do for myself.  I had ridden by on the rail trail path 20 times since the crash and even paused for moments of silence a few times. 

In the last six months, I have enjoyed 40 visits to the physical therapist, endured home therapy 3 times per day, and have worked hard to get back to normal in life and at work.  PT can be a 15-20 hour per week part-time job that you pay to do, and that's no fun in either respect.  At the end of June, I was released from physical therapy, in early July, I was given best wishes from the surgeon, and I appear to be on my way to a full recovery.  

I still have aches and pains, and some days, it feels like I'm playing catch-up on the work you've asked me to do for you, but I can do most of what I want to do with that shoulder.  I'd say 90%. 

An additional lesson is that if you have surgery and followup PT, to do your physical therapy just like the therapist tells you to do, and make sure to find a good one.  Early on, I decided that I had to have a full recovery and committed myself to whatever it was going to take.  Those sessions with pink 1-pound dumbbells were embarrassing, but then you realize that, in the PT clinic, that everyone has been where you are, so you just put in the work starting with 1-pound (or no-pound in my case). 

Today, I'm back to the point of doing full pushups, dumbbell curls at about 70% of what I could do before, and am approaching 1000 miles ridden this season.  I still haven't thrown a softball at all, let alone hard, but I'm in no big hurry.  I've been told that the general weakness and some smaller aches and pains will dissipate "one day very soon" but they're still there.  And when you don't work out regularly for about a year, previous gains get erased  pretty quickly. 

By the grace of God, I was assigned to a good physical therapist who pushed me hard.  If you're an athlete, find a therapist who works with athletes.  If you need surgery, select a surgeon who specializes in your type of injury and who has done lots of them with good outcomes.  If you want to know which surgeons have good outcomes, talk to physical therapists.  All of that made a big difference. 

At the initial consult, the surgeon said, "If I do my job on Day 1, and you do your job 100% for the Days 2-120, it won't be easy, but you'll have a full recovery."  Friends who have had shoulder surgeries tell me that I have about 5 months to go in order to pick up that last 10%.  I'm still working hard on that part, and on adding some more crash-free miles on the bike this season.  

Listen to the experts.  Do what they say.  That's why they get paid to do what they do.   

Thursday, January 25, 2018 06:09 PM

A sling and a prayer.

Written by Dave Horn
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On July 8, 2017, I decided to take the faster route home and crashed my bicycle at a railroad crossing as opposed to staying on the bike path.  There's probably a sermon in there somewhere. The short story is to make sure that you ALWAYS cross a rail crossing at a perpendicular angle to the direction of the tracks.  This was an angled crossing and I've paid dearly for that mistake.  My new bike came away mostly unscathed, and is ready for 2018, but I did not fare as well. 


Spilled blood, scuffed skin and a very sore shoulder became quickly evident that day.  Good care from my brother (a physician here in the Columbus area) got me cleaned up and a month off the road allowed me to heal and to get ready for physical therapy.  The better part of the next 4 months were spent waiting, medicating and seeing the physical therapist during the busy season leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

At the beginning of December, the physical therapist, my primary care doctor and I agreed that it was time for a deeper look.  The progress that I had been making in therapy plateaued and I still had a bum shoulder.  An MRI revealed a partially torn biceps tendon, partial tears to the labrum and tears to two different parts of the rotator cuff.  December 20, I had shoulder surgery, wore an immobilizer sling for four weeks, and just finished my first sling-less week yesterday. I spent about 10 days off work fully and have worked lots of partial days in January. 

Thank you for your patience, if I've been a little slow getting back to your call or email, or on finishing a proposal.  I've had my right hand available for use again for about a week, and it's a great relief.  I won't bore you with the details, but I'll tell you that the process or shoulder surgery and recovery has been not as bad as some predicted (well worth the end result), but it's supremely inconvenient, sometimes unexpectedly painful and it has been a good lesson in patience with myself and with learning to depend on others. 

I still have 11 remaining weeks on the physical therapy calendar, won't be lifting anything of substance for another 5-6 weeks, and have been told to expect a year to full recovery.  That seems like a long time. 

I look forward to continuing to pick up the pace for you and to helping make your audio, video and lighting dreams a reality in 2018.  Again, thank you for allowing me to do what I do. 

Friday, November 18, 2016 03:50 PM

Everything old is new again.

Written by Dave Horn
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Since 2010, the FCC has been moving broadcasters and other casual users out of the 700Mhz and the 600MHz portions of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, and it has made a lot of people nervous about whether and when to buy new wireless microphones. 

Today, Shure announced the December 1, 2016 release of ULX-D® and near future release of QLX-D® digital wireless systems and accessories that operate in the VHF (174-216 MHz) frequency band. 

In the time since the changes made by the FCC, I've observed that the VHF portion of the radio frequency spectrum had been vacated and that if someone had existing VHF systems that still worked, that those microphones should be free from interference.  Today, the problem is that many of those older systems have been retired from service with parts being obsolete. 

When we started into business in the early 1990's, sales of VHF wireless microphones made up almost all of our wireless systems sales.  At that time, the marketing spin from wireless microphone manufacturers became that UHF was somehow an inherent improvement over VHF.  In some ways, technological advances made wireless systems better, but it wasn't only as a result of the units tuning to UHF frequencies. 

Aside from having longer wavelengths (which makes physical antenna length longer - a problem for some), the lower VHF frequencies actually penetrate walls and buildings better, so in some ways, VHF wireless performance is better than UHF, if the radio quality and feature sets are the same. 

This news is just a few minutes old, so we'll keep you posted with more information as it's released on new transmitters and receivers, accessory antennas, antenna distribution, and signal amplifiers.  Pricing for wireless systems and components in the ULX-D® and QLX-D® series will be the same as their UHF counterparts, but some antenna and distribution accessories will be slightly more expensive. 

These new Shure VHF products will bring wireless audio performance and digital clarity (currently unavailable from any other manufacturer) to users of the VHF portion of the RF spectrum.

And it's our understanding that there's no current pressure from wireless data and phone carriers to access this part of the RF spectrum, so your use of these frequencies should be about as stable as it can be from our vantage point.


Tuesday, August 04, 2015 08:35 AM

It's that time - to prepare for Christmas

Written by Dave Horn
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I know that you're still thinking about back-to-school and back-to-church, since it's still summer and August just started.  The Christmas music isn't playing yet, but if you have projects that need to be in place for Christmas, it's time to start thinking about it now. 

Finding time for early planning is never easy, but it's critical to having everything work out as you hope it will.  It's not unusual at all to have delays related to construction and equipment that are out of your control, and ours.  A couple of our larger installation projects this summer have been delayed by weeks and even months, and both situations have been out of our control and that of the church or facility owner. 

Audio/video/lighting integrators are what some call "last trades", meaning that we're the last ones to start to work after the room is clean from the chaos and mess of construction.  No one wants a bunch of dust from sanding and cutting on and inside their new equipment, so we wait and then often have to hurry because once the general contractor is finished, he's always in a rush to turn over the building and move on to the next project, no matter if he was two weeks late allowing us to get started. 

So if you have projects to do, it's not too early (or late - yet) to start planning for the end of the year.  We are booking projects into October and even November at this point.  We can help you with both design and equipment for self-integration or for projects where we come on site to work.  Please let us know how we can be helpful. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 08:54 AM

You can't lead someone to somewhere you haven't been

Written by Dave Horn
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While I was listening to the Small Town Big Church podcast yesterday (April 16 episode), the show's guest shared with host Jon Sanders that one of his primary life truths as a pastor is that you can't lead a person to someplace you haven't been.  

The more I thought about that, the more obvious that statement became.  Is there anyplace in life that it's not true?  

Once we've been somewhere, we're able to bring someone else along and to share our story, and until we've been there, our voice can't be an authority.  

Lots of the product information provided in our business is sales copy.  Product manufacturers provide us with talking points or sales pitches designed for 30-second or 60-second selling windows.  Those bullet points can be helpful, but we think that there's more value having thrown the pitches than only talking about that the pitches can be thrown. 


Tuesday, November 04, 2014 04:53 PM

Selecting an AVL firm - Can you have it all?

Written by Dave Horn
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After looking at a couple new buildings for office space this morning, I had lunch with an architect who does lots of design and project planning for churches.  As we talked, I realized that what his firm does and what we do are very similar; we mix up materials, ideas, products, concepts and out comes a plan, a system, or a solution of some type.  That's the value we offer. 

Many pro audio, video, and lighting (AVL) dealers in the country offer approximately the same products.  None of us sell everything, but we probably all share some subset of at least similar products within the AVL universe.  And with the Internet as close as your phone or computer, your sources for equipment are just about endless. 

As we talked over lunch, I shared that as much as we need to sell equipment at a price, the more compelling conversations start with a statement or a question from the client that says, "We're trying to get this type of end result and we need some ideas on how to get there."  Everyday, we're challenged to build a better AVL mousetrap.  This is what we do. 

On our site, we publish stories about what we've done for others, so that you might discover an idea that will work for you, too.  In person or on the phone, we hope to talk about how you do what you do and to develop a custom solution.  To us, it's way more important that you get the right equipment for the long run than simply selling something today. 

Dan asked me today, "So who do you work with and where do you work?"  The business that we seek out intentionally is houses of worship or churches.  We do an occasional restaurant or corporate meeting space, but we're lots more passionate about churches.  Our reach is national with respect to solution design and regional for installations, so we don't always get to build our designs.  Sometimes, we provide the ideas, but more often, we provide the ideas, the instructions and the equipment to make it happen.  And we've been very successful at serving churches all over the country for over 20 years with great solutions and service - most of them at arm's length. 

As you approach the selection of an AVL firm, realize that there are three factors that are common to all of us, and that you can pick any two that you want.  As hard as we try, we can't be all three in every situation.

1.  Expert, responsive service.

2.  Lowest prices.

3.  All products always in stock. 

If you've shopped around, I think that you'll agree that the places with the lowest prices (below what the industry calls MAP - Minimum Advertised Price) often can't answer your questions, let alone recommend an integrated solution.  And you can mix the other factors around in your head to understand my point. 

Of course, we think that responsive, expert service trumps all, but when you consider how to select an AVL firm, you probably can't have it all, at least by these three factors.  And if you think that you have all three, you're probably at the right place for you. We hope to be that place.


Saturday, July 19, 2014 11:41 AM

The low cost of higher prices.

Written by Dave Horn
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Well, it happened.  I got an email Friday at 12:03AM (just after Midnight) from an out-of-state customer who had been at church updating his new Midas Pro1 mixing console with firmware.  The update was chugging along until the stagebox threw an error message that said that the update couldn't be completed.  No big deal, right?!  Try it again, and again.  Then maybe you get mad at yourself for updating the firmware right before a big event, and you start sweating it.  Then you send the email - at Midnight, when your wife is wondering where in the world you are.  Can you sleep until morning?  I don't know.  I didn't ask. 

Next morning.  I pick up the email, sweat a little myself, ask what he has done, assure the customer that we'll get it taken care of, call the sales rep and I tell him what happened.  He calmly said that he'd have someone from Midas tech support call the client directly, as soon as Midas opens its west coast doors a couple hours later. 

The short story is that the Midas tech support rep called right on cue, walked through a couple tests that hadn't already been tried, determined that the stagebox was indeed about as good as a brick and would have to come in for service.  For the next couple hours, Midas was trying to locate a replacement stagebox to send.  We both knew that the client needed something, and we had a smaller stagebox in stock here. A "bird in the hand", right?! 

We placed the Next Day Air Saturday Delivery labels on it and got it ready.  Just as we were about to drive it to UPS, the Midas tech support rep called to assure me that he had a larger stagebox with updated firmware being tested, placed into a box, and that it would be there for the client on Saturday morning. 

About an hour ago, I received a text message from the customer to say that the replacement stage box was in-hand and that he was on the way to church to put it in.  About 30 minutes after that, I got the "success" meesage that it was installed, and fully tested, two hours before Saturday tech rehearsal.  Whew!

Tour-grade, professional equipment costs more, but companies that are used to supporting large tours have the ability and willingness to do things that others can't and/or won't.  When stuff breaks, even if it's not their fault, they come up big when it counts. 

A big thanks to Midas Consoles!  We all appreciate it. 


Friday, June 13, 2014 01:43 PM

How we think.

Written by Dave Horn
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When we "met" on the phone, I think that Mike Sessler and I hit it off because we both like to Think Different.  See his recent blog post about that topic here

Part of being successful is exactly that - a willingness to consider new ideas and new products - to think differently, if you will. 

For us, discovering and starting conversations about tech gear is something that we enjoy.  Who had ever used the Heil PR30 as a choir microphone before an idea from one of our clients sparked our test?  Not even Bob Heil himself.  That test was sparked by a conversation with one of our clients, and a willingness on both parts to try something new. 

And today, the PR30 is considered a top choice among the technology for worship community, and we've sold only a fraction of all that have ever been sold.  When I first asked Bob about how he thought it would work, he said something like, "You know Dave, I've never considered the PR30 as a choir microphone, but there's no reason it shouldn't work." 

Being open to new ideas is a mindset is a necessity.  If we can't help you find better ways to do things, we're just like every other dealer - selling the same products as the rest of them at a price, instead of helping you discover new solutions. 

That willingness to be creative, and to think in new ways, is one of our primary goals.  We can't be successful unless you are. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014 12:16 PM

So which is the better deal?

Written by Dave Horn
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I get a lot of email.  We send email, too, and to some extent, I understand the power of the subject line.  Using words like "Free!" and "Save!" are the way companies get you to open the message.  "Free" is powerful; that's just the way it is. 

The message today came from another vendor offering a sub-$500 special on wireless microphones.  Coincidentally, we offered a $500 wireless microphone, too. 

If you're like me, you got both messages in your inbox.  The other dealer is offering a 4-unit receiver with transmitters for less than $500.  On the surface, that seems like a great deal because the single systems we featured today start at about $500 each. 

About the same price more for three more wireless microphones?  Wow!  Better take a look.  I'm a sucker for a good story, too. 

I can say with 100% certainty that what we're offering is better.  It'll sound better, it'll be more reliable with respect to radio performance, and it'll last longer.  Again, I say that with 100% certainty, having never heard the other system.  Actually, I've not only not heard it, but I've not heard of it.  And I've been in this business for over 22 years. 

We presume that the other dealer understands the power of headlines, because we've had people call us to ask what we think about similar offers.  When they do, we just ask them to think about it.  Would you buy a wireless system priced below $125 each?  Some would.  Would you expect it to work as well as a $500 wireless system.  Some would, but they'd be incorrect.  Would you expect it to last as long? 

In fairness, if you need a $125 wireless microphone and you need four of them, there are not many good choices.  And what they're offering might sound okay, depending on your standards for quality, where you live in the country and how much other RF traffic is present during your worship services.  But to me, there's nothing worse than a wireless microphone that doesn't work, so I try to encourage our clients to stay away from the cheap stuff. 

There's no such thing as something for nothing.  Overseas manufacturing affords us all the opportunity to spend fewer dollars than we used to for the same types of products.  Even so, outside the rare case of a closeout or a liquidation sale, people just don't sell things for less than they're worth.  Our $500 each wireless is worth every penny more than the other dealer's $125 wireless. 

When you need new equipment, call us.  We'll be glad to help you discover what you need, based on what you already have, what you're trying to do, and on your budget.  We have inexpensive wireless microphones, too, from companies you've heard of, and that will still be in business for as long as you have the equipment. 

When I choose the cheap way out, I'm almost always disappointed with myself. 

Price, quality, service - choose any two. 

Monday, November 25, 2013 12:57 PM


Written by Dave Horn
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Most days, the first thing that I think about in the morning is that I'm thankful for lots of things.  This week, we're reminded quite often about thankfulness, as we celebrate American Thanksgiving. 

Yesterday, our pastor shared the story of a woman who had challenged herself to find 1000 things for which she was thankful.  I considered her task for a few minutes. 

Let's see; family, friends, God's grace, a purposeful business, a warm house, a car that starts every time, freedom, plenty, OSU football.  OK, that's 9. 

Nine, and you might consider at least one of those to be pretty shallow.  I could certainly go on, but could I make it to 1000 without being silly about it?  Apparently, she had. 

I haven't tried to make a list, so I can't tell you yet, but I can say Thank You! to you for making what we do possible. 

Let's take her challenge and choose to focus on our blessings rather than on the things that make us frustrated and that divide us one from another.  Life is a lot more rewarding when you look for the good stuff. 

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