The Challenge and Joy of Live Sound

Mixing Steven Ybarra band at San Diego Fair 2013.

Mixing Steven Ybarra band at San Diego Fair 2013.

As a volunteer or part-time audio engineer/sound tech, you may have found it challenging to find the information you’re looking for. And when you’re wanting to learn to “do sound” there are so many technical, musical, and teamwork aspects that it’s often hard to know what questions to ask, what terms to search for.

I sure found it challenging. And as I learned more I knew more that I didn’t know. I listened. I learned on-the-job, starting with one or two mics at a church business meeting or memorial service.

To grow in this skill…

  • reading manuals (yeah, I’m one of those)
  • listening to podcasts
  • reading blogs
  • watching videos
  • and mostly, pushing buttons, turning knobs, and sliding faders – trying new things
  • plus finding events and bands outside of church to mix


After working with Steven Ybarra many times over the past year, I had the opportunity to mix his band at the 2013 San Diego Fair three times. One venue had the sound board in a tent to the right of the stage where we mostly heard fhe stage monitors, not what the audience was hearing. So I learned to leave the board, walk fifty feet into the audience, listen, walk back to the board, turn some knobs, walk out to the audience, rinse and repeat. It was fun. It was challenging. I was learning to listen better. At the other venue (in the photo) it was what Front Of House is supposed to be — out where we can hear what the audience hears.

I walked up and introduced myself to the sound engineer as a member of the next band.
  “What instrument do you play?”
I waved by hands broadly over his board.
  “That one.”

  • As we learn more we gain confidence.
  • As we practice our skills we dare to try new things.
  • As we see ourselves as members of the band, we grow in teamwork and work with the band to arrange the best experience for our audience as well as the most supportive environment for our musicians.


Our goal with is to help you grow in your audio skills as well as find the equipment you’re looking for. Our focus will be some of the equipment suitable for producing live sound in small/medium churches and other small/medium venues. The site is pretty light right now, just getting set up as of September, 2013. I’ll be adding original articles and videos as well as highlighting some of my favorite articles each week.

What I am most excited about is building our live training being held in Southern California. The plans so far is to have

  • Free one-hour training on how to set up a simple sound system for a back yard party or other event
  • Comprehensive training on sound and audio technology — a full eight hours of hands-on learning about sound and audio technology


If you’re in Southern California and this sound interesting, please be sure to subscribe to the newsletter so we can keep you updated as plans are solidified.

And wherever you are, please subscribe in the right column. I don’t have any freebee to offer yet, but I’m hoping you’ll find future articles and videos well worth your time. Your contact information will never be sold or given away. At most I expect one email per week, and you’ll always be able to unsubscribe.


Rich Clingman, owner

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