5 Questions to Ask Before You Rent or Buy Audio Gear

Your organization is planning its next conference, and you’re in charge of providing microphones. There’s only one problem: you don’t have any gear.

What next? Is it better to rent your delegate microphone system, or is it better to buy it?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. No matter what kind of pro-audio equipment you need, you could be well-served by a short term rental, or you could purchase equipment and save money on future events.

Here are 5 questions to help you decide whether to rent or buy pro-audio equipment for your next event!

1. Can you use the equipment for more than one type of event?

Your event may require equipment with a narrow range of applications- a delegate microphone system, for example, that is really best-suited for conferences and meetings.

On the other hand, less specialized gear like a PA system could serve a wide variety of events from meetings to concerts. If the equipment you’re considering will fill a variety of needs, purchasing may be a wiser choice.

2. How often will you use the equipment?

If you’re certain you’ll be using the same piece of gear again and again, you should consider buying it. If it’s just going to gather dust on your warehouse shelf, it might be best to rent it only when you need it.

3. Who will operate the equipment?

Perhaps you – or someone in your organization – is familiar with operating audio equipment. In this case, you can purchase audio gear without having to worry about whether or not you need a dedicated technician.

If, however, you’re the kind of person whose eyes glaze over at the sight of anything more complicated than a television remote, it may be unwise to buy a piece of equipment that no one will know how to use.

Rental equipment companies – especially those specializing in delegate microphone systems or interpreting equipment – often send technicians with the gear to help out with setup and operation.

4. Will the gear remain useful over the years?

Some pieces of equipment stay useful for decades, while others need to be upgraded every so often. Consider the cost against the lifespan of the equipment — frequently-updated models might be worth renting as opposed to buying. This is an important consideration for high-tech systems such as wireless microphones or computer peripherals.

5. How much money can you spend on audio equipment?

No matter how economical purchasing your equipment may seem in the long-term, you may simply not have the cash to purchase a system outright. If this is the case, then rental may be the ideal option for you.

Should You Buy or Rent Your Audio Equipment?

In many instances, you’ll be best served with a little bit of both: buy the gear you know you’ll use often, and rent what you need to fill in the gaps. By taking into account your current and future needs and capabilities, along with your budget, you’ll be able to determine whether you should rent or buy audio equipment that fits your event.

Have you acquired pro audio gear recently? How did you decide whether to rent or buy? Let us know in the comments!