It’s funny how certain words and phrases can mean many different things to folks from various walks of life. 

We, as audio professionals are no exception to that rule.  We have our own secret codes, buzz words and phrases which, are really only clearly understood amongst our own, as to what they mean, how they apply and to what or whom they specifically refer.

I thought it might be funny to put together a beginner’s audio thesaurus of sorts, which explains just a few of those terms of endearment that remain close to our hearts.

My hope is that it may dispel certain mysteries surrounding our profession and to perhaps solicit a well earned chuckle or two.

I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few good ones but I think that this is a good start:


Sound Man:  A person (noun).  This is the individual (male or female) ultimately responsible for the operation and mixing of live sound, which requires amplification. 

There are generally two separate sound people working at any typical musical concert or other such production. 

The first “sound man” is the person that sits behind the soundboard or mixer out in the middle of the audience.  That person is mixing the sound that the audience hears through the “PA”.  Often referred to as the Front Of House or FOH (for short) “sound man”. 

This position is also often referred to as “The Glory Gig”. 

The second “sound man” is located on one side of the stage, mixing the sound that only the Artist/band and/or production will hear (in theory). 

This person is designated as the monitor “sound man”. 

That position is often referred to as “The Hot Seat” and is not recommended for either the weak or faint of heart.  Example: “Friends don’t let friends mix monitors”. 

Both positions however are equally important in order to achieve a good listening experience for both the Artist/event and the audience.  Example: “Don’t piss-off the sound guy”. “I know where the suck knob is on every soundboard.” 

Often, especially over the last decade or so, either “sound man” may also hold a second (or even third) job simultaneously.  NEVER to be confused with the position of either the Production Manager or Tour Manager (noun).  Even though the “sound man” may actually be employed as either both or all three, simultaneously.  (Sadly, a sign of the times.)

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