Jeremy Ayala, an audio engineer who runs the sound boards at Hard Rock Live Sacramento, caught his first break in the industry when an audio engineer quit unexpectedly during the set-up of a blues show at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. That was back in 1995.
“The owner [of a local sound company] hired me to mix a couple sets each afternoon so the front of house guy there could get a proper meal break,” Ayala said. “It was a perfect situation to get my feet wet.”
While being an audio engineer can be one of the higher paying jobs in the entertainment industry, it can also be a thankless and trying vocation — often with a steep learning curve. It’s the sound engineer’s job to deal with any myriad of problems that come with live shows as well as hear critiques by concertgoers who, for the most part, have little insight into handling a live mix.