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Book Review: "Rockin’ Your Stage Sound: A Musician’s Guide to Professional Live Audio" By Rob Gainey

April 19, 2011
Rockin’ Your Stage Sound: A Musician’s Guide to Professional Live Audio
By Rob Gainey
Hal Leonard


If the sound engineer and every person in the band all want the band to sound as good as possible, why is it so hard to actually make that happen? In most cases, not everyone is on the same page in terms of training, methodology, and personal preferences. Good luck aligning those planets. It is possible, however, for everyone to have a better understanding of the variables involved—the various capabilities of the equipment being used, the best practices for signal routing, proven approaches for mixing different kinds of setups in different situations, etc.—and that’s what this book is about.

Author Rob Gainey has 30 years of experience on both sides of the mixing console, much of it with notable acts in those famous clubs on the Sunset Strip. He is a master at bridging the gap between musicians who are focused on their individual sound and the needs of the audience. Rather than bitch and preach about what people don’t but should know, Gainey uses real-world examples to illustrate common situations, dissect problems, and explain possible solutions. Almost every one of the book’s 240 pages has some kind of stage chart, technical diagram, black-and-white photo, or sidebar on it. The sidebars feature experiential anecdotes and tips from dozens of professional musicians.

The book is thorough. Starting with individual instrument tone and then going through the nuances of stage setup, monitoring, and house sound, Gainey weaves easy-to-read tutorials into a larger lesson that is eye-opening for beginners and helpful to veterans looking for specific solutions to specific problems.

He doesn’t stop there, though. He also unpacks the organizational elements of pro sound, the Zen of getting everything to work right, and the technical aspects of audio gear that any serious musician or sound engineer should want to understand. Either as a front-to-back read or a handy guide explaining what to do when tricky situations arise, Rockin’ Your Stage Sound is an important book that gigging musicians and engineers should check out.