• Nathan

Five Books Every Church Tech Needs

Whenever I talk to an expert in their field, I wonder what books have influenced them. Today, I thought I would share a few of the books that have helped me grow as an engineer.

(Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for my reviews. I am not beholden to greedy multinational corporations. If you are a greedy multinational corporation, you can contact me at:


1. How Music Works by John Powell

Some concepts are so foundational they are assumed. In this book, John Powell assumes nothing in explaining how music works. Yet unlike more technical books, he takes care to simplify difficult concepts like resonance, harmonics, and decibels into easy language for the non-engineer. I have stolen his analogies for my own use. The first six chapters are worth the price tag, and he breaks up heady explanations with British wit.


2. The SOS Guide to Live Sound by Paul White

Sound on Sound Magazine is the premier audio production magazine from the UK, and their book on live sound is an excellent primer for the beginner. Complete with pictures, clear writing, and more British wit, this is an excellent book to hand to a volunteer or keep in the office.


3. Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior

As technology has become more sophisticated, companies have started to include tools from the studio into live soundboards. 1176’s, 660’s, LA2A’s, and all sorts of strange and wonderful letter-number combinations are available. To take full advantage of their gear, engineers need to become familiar with the studio world. Beyond the gear, this book explains how to approach your mix in a step-by-step process. Although it is specific to studio work, the lessons translate to the stage. This book is a fantastic resource for studio mixing, and perhaps my most underlined and marked up book.


4. Guide to Sound Systems for Worship edited by Jon F. Eiche

It’s not a pretty book, but it has the answers. Written by Yamaha engineers, Guide to Sound Systems is a treasure trove of technical knowledge. It is an older book, so don’t expect the latest on digital consoles or networking. But for core knowledge of electricity, acoustics, and tools, you need this book near the sound board.


5. RARE Leadership by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder

Live sound begins and ends with a person. That’s why techs have to understand and learn to care for people, not just technology. This book explains the science of the brain and how people are actually relational before they are logical. God intended us to grow in a joyful community, and He didn’t exclude the tech team.If you are a tech leader, worship pastor, or even a volunteer, this book will teach you how to grow and keep a culture of honor and teamwork.

If those alturistic reasons aren't enough to convince you to buy this book, try this: In my career as a musician I have known a few sound engineers. Some of them have been dysfunctional control freaks with anger issues. But the sound engineers I know that are leaders in their field aren't set apart by their ability to EQ a kick drum. They are well paid and sought after becuase they are professional and a pleasure to work with. Wanna make money as a sound engineer? Learn to stay relational.


There you have it: five books that deserve a place on your bookshelf. Are you an engineer? Do you have suggestions? Leave them below.

Happy mixing,

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