An Audiophile EDC

An Audiophile EDC

Every Day Carry, or EDC, is fast becoming a popular pastime among some sections of the online community. It’s an excuse for men to categorise everything and photograph their lives in minute detail, without the inherent egotism of endless selfies. Basically, EDC is an exposé of what you carry on your person at all times; watch, phone, wallet, note-pad, pen, torch, and – in places where such things are legal – knives and even guns. It’s a kind of low-impact urban hipster spin-off from the prepper community, without the emergency rations and iodine tablets.

Because of the inherently static nature of our hobby, the need to carry the basic tool kit needed for a good system installation or tune-up is not something that requires constant ‘pocket time’. However, those of us who spend a significant amount of time building up, setting up, and striking down audio systems (whether as professional installers for the domestic market, those on the endless merry-go-round of the worldwide audio show circuit, or those involved in the evaluation of equipment) have all created a small tool kit that goes with us everywhere. This is mine.

Note that this is not my full tool-kit, neither is it designed with specialist installation in mind (turntable set-up for example, or network infrastructure). This kit is designed to work with a number of test discs for basic – but thorough – installations. This one is also designed specifically for the UK, where relatively stiff knife laws limit the options for the knife and multitool in this pack.

Maxpedition EDC Pocket Organiser: This deceptively capacious zip pack can hold a surprising amount of equipment, yet is small enough to carry in your hand or in a cargo pants pocket. It includes MOLLE webbing straps for military wannabes.

Tape measure: OK, in most cases, I’d pack a larger steel tape measure, but for maximum portability, a 5’ tailor’s tape measure is a good alternative. You need a tape measure for accurate placement of loudspeakers and listener. 

Masking tape: While you are measuring up your room, lay down some low-tack masking tape on the floor for fine-tuning. If you have to move speakers for any reason, masking tape guidelines help you reinstall them.

Fisher Space Pen: Yes, they are terrible to write with on a daily basis, but they are robust and can write both underwater and in microgravity. Perhaps more importantly, they are small and write on things like masking tape. The alternative is to use a pencil, but they break and whittling them sharp again with a penknife means you need sticking plasters.

Sticking plasters: Because of penknives and pencils. Because of skinned knuckles from trying to tighten bolts. Because of puncture wounds from badly twisted staples. Because of scratches from hard-edged audio components. Because of nasty swipes from the family cat. Because no system is enhanced through bloodstains.

Spirit level: It sounds trivial, but making sure your electronics and loudspeakers are level is crucial, and not simply for aesthetics. Getting the tweeters at the same level and angle (which does not always mean having the loudspeakers completely level, just that their angles match) makes a huge difference to performance.

Small adjustable spanner/Monkey Wrench: Once your loudspeakers are in the right position, in most cases, a small adjustable spanner comes in extremely handy for locking down your loudspeaker spikes.

Allen keys: Ikea taught us well! The cases of many products are held together with Allen keys, and a small set of metric and Imperial keys can help gain access to an amplifier’s inner workings, to replace that dying valve. They are also often used in loudspeaker stand and spike construction. If you know what you are doing, the occasional tightening of loudspeaker mounting bolts can help improve the performance of older loudspeakers for free; just remember not to overtighten, strip threads, or slip and rip through a drive unit!

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