Is Your Sound Engineer An Alien?

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istock_000005878087xsmallSound engineers are from another planet. They are aliens in a world of music. They don’t play an instrument, they speak another language, they use strange technology and sometimes they look funny.

They are a completely different species really and understanding them can be difficult.

I’m not saying they can be understood perfectly. Even though humans have vast imagination and brain power, something as alien as Sound Engineers can really push the limits of our mental capacity.

To help us peer into the mind of these strange beings here are some insights into what makes them tic.

-Sound engineers are constantly trying to achieve a good mix. They really do want as good of a mix as we do. It doesn’t seem like it a lot of the time.

-Their idea of a good mix is different than yours. This is where their alien identity really starts to show through. Do you ever hear a recording of Chris Tomlin’s and it breaks into a guitar solo and you think to yourself “Why isn’t the guitar turned up more?” I don’t understand it either but for a lot of people that is a really good mix. Now a normal human would know that a guitar solo should be more like on a Lincoln Brewster recording: loud and upfront. But apparently there are a lot more aliens out there.

-Most Sound Engineers are not working with the greatest equipment. Some of them have to work with down-right junk. This makes their job very difficult. If it seems like they aren’t able to get good results, it could be the tools they have to work with.

-Sound engineers are always multitasking. Sometimes you may wonder why it takes them so long for them to react to a request like monitor changes. Imagine going to work where you are constantly pulled in several directions at once. That’s sort of what a sound engineer is like even though it doesn’t always look it. They are constantly having their attention diverted from what ever they were thinking about before. If it seems like they don’t communicate in an understanding way or bluntly, it is not that they don’t care, it’s just that they are thinking about three things at once.

-Sound engineers are most concerned with vocals. This is still hard for me to believe, but it’s true. The reason is because the congregation is most reliant and concerned with vocals. Worship in modern day western culture is largely on people singing. If the congregation can’t hear the vocals well and clearly, they won’t be able engage in worship.

And that is the whole reason you are doing what you are doing so people can engage in worship.

-The more control a sound person has the better chance of a great mix. This has UFO written all over it. The less sound coming from the stage (the less sound coming from your guitar amp) the more pure of a mix the sound man will be able to produce through the speakers. If the sound coming from the speakers doesn’t have to compete with the sound from the stage everything (including you) will sound better. Now we still have to hear ourselves for sure, but there are ways of doing this so you can give your sound engineer maximum control and still hear yourself clearly.

Although Sound Engineers are a strange and sometimes weird-looking species, they are good hearted.

Keep sharp,


This Friday check out an encouraging post “Why We Can Worship.” Plus, be on the look for more ideas on helping your Sound Engineer create a good mix.

2 Responses to "Is Your Sound Engineer An Alien?"
  1. Karl says:

    Great site! And good point on the fact that soundguys are most concerned with vocals. I think this is rightly so, and remembering that helps us not get so bitter. hehe

  2. admin says:

    Good to see you Karl. For those who don’t know Karl he has a great site @ It amazes me how many times I will be playing guitar, thinking my guitar should be over the vocals. As if the only reason people go to church is to hear my guitar.

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