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How to Annoy a Sound Tech

How to Annoy a Sound Tech

I’m sure the sound techs at your church never get annoyed with the worship team. But some churches (again, not yours) experience this on the regular. Here are a few things I’ve seen worship teams or pastors do that make sound techs faces get redder than the “mute” LED.

If you’re vindictive, you can use this list to wreak havoc. But perhaps, if you seek to learn, you can get a glimpse into your sound tech’s mind and be a little less troublesome this next Sunday. Enjoy these ten ways to annoy a sound tech!

1. Adjust your output volume right before service starts.

2. Tell them from the stage what level your instrument should be at. “My gain knob should be at 9 o’clock.”

3. Bring your own microphone or mini mixer.

4. Tell them you want more “mids” in your voice.

5. Unplug your guitar suddenly without warning them.

6. Enter the booth during the week to “help” by making changes.

7. Ask, “Is my guitar out there?” Then after your receive an answer from the tech, ask someone else if they can hear you.

8. Add a musician to the band 5 minutes before service.

9. Cancel rehearsal or soundcheck, but neglect to inform your tech.

10. Sit out in the seats during rehearsal with your wireless mic and “fix their mix”.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Truly, there are infinite ways to annoy a sound tech. But I figured I’d let you fill in the rest. Leave a comment below with what you’ve seen.

About The Author

Jonathan Malm

Jonathan is a creative entrepreneur and writer. He is the author of "Created for More," a 30-day devotional to help you develop a more creative mind. You’ll find him in San Antonio, Texas, roasting his own coffee beans and enjoying life with his Argentine wife, Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathanmalm.


  1. Just Me

    I’d like to add a few:

    Sit next to a speaker at an outdoor concert; unplug said speaker because it’s too loud

    In the middle of service, walk back to the sound booth to complain that the volume is too loud. Make sure you turn your hearing aids up a bit while doing this.

    Turn the sound on your instrument up louder so you can hear yourself over everyone else.

  2. Cris Knipp

    #9 happened to me just last night, needless to say I was a grumpasaurus.

  3. David

    Replaced the drummer and bass player with 2 new musicians who never came to sound check for the closing altar call song and never told the sound tech. Suddenly for the first few measures of the song the drummer had an expected ear blasting drum solo because he played 10 times harder than the original drummer.

  4. chcctechgirl

    Or your singers don’t tell you that they can here themselves and come and adjust the board for you. Hmm I don’t like people touching my board!

  5. Stephen Parker

    Trying to figure out how to change your sounds on keys/guitars while doing line checks

  6. Joe Sewell

    I actually muted the pastor once, intentionally, as a joke, and he knew it. I also walked out right before a service because of some of the following.

    Other annoyances:

    “I need three wireless mikes for the kid’s moment” 5 minutes before showtime

    Having over 24 mike jacks in the place, and a 16-channel board (with channels taken for CD and wireless mic inputs)

    A room that was designed for the spoken word, but the addition of the sound system means even the faders have to be low just to keep feedback from blowing the roof off

    A new worship leader that wants to plug her PC laptop into a system designed for an older Mac laptop, and the guy who wired it is long gone from the church, so she’s asking you while you’re getting a balance

    Having to balance the sound to avoid feedback for every! single! service!

    Musicians who are deaf and want the monitors to pump out more than the mains, causing feedback.

    Musicians who think that loud does anything more than give an adrenaline rush (which is incompatible with the sound guy who has panic/anxiety disorder)

    Leaving the sound to the new worship leader’s wife, wanting to come back, and are told you have to be trained by her now.

  7. Michele payton

    Unfortunately we have had a few “well meaning” people on the worship teams do this, and I had to stop it. The sound guys deserve some respect!

  8. Heather Cunningham

    Ya’ll should be ashamed moaning and bitching between teams that are meant to be in unison despite tensions and not joking in a way that creates even more of an us and them vibe. I know it’s meant in slight humour but it’s not healthy or helpful. It’s just sound guys patting themselves on the back and putting down worship leaders instead of loving and supporting each other. Question why and who you are there for!

  9. Christian

    We had a sound guy who gave us the worst mixes, flatter than soggy pancakes. He insisted that no one be allowed to have amps or cabs onstage (which was nearly impossible with our setup) After several warnings to not touch a vintage bass amp that was in place, he tried to move it and dropped it off the stage. As soon as I picked it up, he made some smart remark…and caught my right hand to his jaw. When he picked himself up off the carpet, he packed his MacBook and left. Best thing that ever happened to our mix.

    • Jonathan Malm

      This might be the single scariest story I’ve ever read. :-/

      • Christian

        I warned him several times before it happened. I tour manage several major-label artists worldwide. Never have I dealt with someone so difficult. Worst human…to the point of lying to leadership getting them to spend tens of thousands of dollars on unnecessary equipment because he wouldn’t use brands like EV, QSC and jbl. They guy is European and only wanted super high end gear (lab gruppen, nexo, etc) He talked them into blowing the entire years budget on three speakers ($30k) when I was out on tour once. Can’t tell you how many times he would tell very talented team members that they “sucked” He once told a bass player that he was “horrible…” (Even though the guy is a regular go-to bassist for Israel Houghton) No-showed countless times for a better paying gig, even after he was paid to mix for us. Worst. Human. Ever.


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