A database and spreadsheet of your equipment.

I keep an up to date Database and Spreadsheet containing the details of all the hardware and software in my recording studio. I refer to these lists when I need tech support, if I need a serial number to upgrade software, when I get insurance, if there is a robbery, if I am moving and when I sell something. Since I am a Mac user my favorite apps for the task are Filemaker Pro and Numbers. However, there are many other options and my equipment lists are of quite simple.

I’ve been using Filemaker since version 3 sometime in the mid-nighties. It’s a rock solid program and it has never lost any of my data. As you type a key it makes a file save. For safety you can set up a script so Filemaker requires a password upon launch. You can keep databases on your .mac disc so you have your info “in the cloud”. I have the following fields in my Serial Number Database:

• Date Purchased
• Manufacturer
• Serial Number
• Price Paid – The actual price I paid.
• Method of Payment – Did I use Paypal? If so which account? Or did I use cash?
• Replacement Cost – If it were lost or stolen the amount it would cost to replace it.
• Purchased From
• Description
• Receipt – Filemaker allows fields that hold PDFs or .Doc files.
• Container – You can put a photo of the item here.

    I switched from Microsoft Excel to Apple Numbers to avoid MS bloat. Numbers is also capable of some pretty charts and graphs. The spreadsheet for my studio gear (which I usually use for my insurance company) is very simple. It’s only 4 columns of data with fields for: Item, Serial Number, Price and Replacement Cost. The Replacement Cost field has a total sum calculation at it’s bottom.

    Don’t forget to include your software in these lists. You are expected to have hardware keys and sometimes installer CDs covered by your insurance. For example, Steinberg will no longer replace your hardware key if you loose it. Don’t forget to add items like chairs or sound treatment. If a fire hits your studio you want your insurance to cover your Herman Miller Aeron or RealTraps. Lastly, check your list monthly and update it with any new purchases, delete sold or obsolete items and adjust some replacement costs.

    For those Wire to the Ear readers who own Filemaker you can download a clone (empty) version of the Serial Number database I created and use it as you like: click here to download

    Published by

    Oliver Chesler

    "Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

    6 thoughts on “A database and spreadsheet of your equipment.”

    1. Great article.

      I think it’s worth mentioning that this sort of record won’t do you any good if it’s not stored somewhere off premises.

      Google docs is one easy way to get a spreadsheet going. If it’s super sensitive personal data than maybe keeping that data on a local machine (like at work) is a good idea. But I personally would have no problem putting this kind of data up on a google spreadsheet. The database you keyed in isn’t going to be useful if it also went up in flames.

    2. Good idea, indeed. What do with my SW and registrations is to maintain a folder with the installation SW downloaded (in case we are dealing with non-DVD material). I also include a README file with the registration info. This is then also as a backup on a DVD.

      If I ever need to reinstall I just go to this folder and do the job in less than a minute or so. In addition I keep new versions in this folder, sometimes old ones in case I need to roll back.

    3. Very good idea indeed, I only have the information on paper, most of it anyway. Never considered saving it digitally. Stupid since I keep most of my administration digital these days.

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