So in the past few months I have gotten a lot of request to help repair/build custom lavalier, microphones, and SMA Mod G3 form fellow sound mixers. A few months ago I wasn’t setup to do more than just a XLR cables. A shopping spree full of trial and error would follow in filling out what would become a very practical and efficient soldering kit. I want to share some of the items that have become critical tools to my soldering.
Toolbox Organizer with 4 Drawers
This is the best organizer I have used in years. Before this unit I was using a collection organizing trays and mason jars full of odd ball scraps. At the store my original impression was it will be too small, but once I started to fill the top bin up it became clear this could handle my needs. I’m able to fit my iron, Dremel, stands, and different gauges of solder with ample room for other tools. The clear trays make finding connectors and parts super easy. If you do just one thing to upgrade your home solder kit, spend the $14 and get organized!
A good soldering kit needs a versatile soldering station, not just a simple soldering iron. This unit is by far my favorite. I own 4 irons and I find myself grabbing this one more than the rest. If you aren’t doing a lot of circuit board work, the SMD Rework part might be a little overkill. But if you work on or mod microphones more and more they are SMT and require a SMD station.
This one is free and should come as a no brainier but I find myself forgetting the pinout of a project, even after just referencing it on my phone. So what I have started to do is print out the pinouts (scaled up so I can glance at them without squinting) for cables and lavalieres that I make and laminate the prints. Laminating them makes them last longer but also if solder or flux gets on it, it just wipes right off. To get the pinout for cables I suggest go to google images and type in the name of the connector followed by PINOUT and hundreds of images of what you want will show up. For lavaliers and transmitter pinouts I suggest going to countrymen’s website. Even for lavalieres that aren’t countrymen their diagrams work. The important thing about wiring lavs is knowing if its a 2 or 3 wire lav and identifying which wire is the signal, neutral, and bias.
Not exactly soldering related but when it comes time to make right angle slim XLR connectors, the Dremel is the fastest method I know. I bought the Dremel 3000 and couldn’t be happier. The low feature is great for small delicate operations but when it comes to grinding and cutting metal, the high setting is where its at. I used my Dremel 3000 to make all my slim right angle connectors along with modding the chassis of items I ended up using to make my audio cart. No work bench is complete without a dremel.
About the Author
Andrew Jones is a location sound mixer based in Los Angeles. He started in the TV and Film industry in 2004. You can email him at Andrew@HoldForSound.com