CBU graduate finds success in sound, audio

Kia Harlan | Banner | 2020 alumni Jacob Adler teaches Ashley Anderson, sophomore music major, how to work the soundboard during a recent church service at The Grove.

Jacob Adler, a California Baptist University alumnus, graduated with a degree in applied theology and combines his love for sound, gathering people together and the church to professionally mix and engineer audio for local concerts and services at The Grove Church.

Adler explained that he has a visual disability that causes him constant vision loss and said this is one reason he learned to work with audio.

“I love noise and sounds but I mainly do audio because I have a visual disability and it made sense to me to learn audio,” Adler said. “I decided to not focus on my bad eyes, but on my good ears. This helped change my worldview and not see myself as the victim.”

Once Adler came to CBU, student-run production company Sola Productions asked him to run audio for their concerts. This was a whole level of production that Adler did not know about previously, so he dove in and started learning and researching.

Adler has put on many shows and mixed and engineered multiple house shows, warehouse shows, concerts hosted at local Riverside coffee shops Condron Coffee, and Arcade Coffee, as well as a show at a farmers market in Fullerton.

Jake Driscoll, senior graphic design major, is a close friend of Adler and has worked with him on many occasions. He described the role Adler has played as influential.

“Jacob plays a very behind the scenes role,” Driscoll said. “There wouldn’t have been house shows without Jacob Adler. He’s there before everyone and is the last to leave. Most people would have no clue what goes into audio engineering but getting to see Jacob’s work has given me a great appreciation for what he does.”

Adler now mixes and engineers audio for services and weekly events at The Grove Church and it is his job to make sure everything sounds perfect and everything is well executed. He does this for live events as well as in post-production for weekly online services.

“People often neglect and forget about the sound guy, but he truly is another member of the band,” Adler said. “I do my best to make sure the listener enjoys their experience. There’s a lot of art that goes into engineering. Good audio doesn’t happen without an engineer.”

Colby Carter, a coworker of Adler who is also an audio engineer at The Grove Church, described what it is like to work with Adler.

“Jacob is great to work with,” Carter said. “He really gives so much effort and care into everything he does.”

Adler said he has always known he wanted to work at a church for church planting in the future and to be involved in ministry. He said how mixing and engineering audio better prepares him for that in the future.

“The end goal is to be sent out by a church to plant (a church) and I think mixing audio and production in church life allows me to be disciplined in a very intentional way and to see the innerworkings of a church and how all the gears work together,” Adler said. “That way, when I’m planting (a church) I can be better prepared.”

Adler also explained how mixing has more of a purpose in a church setting.

“You’re doing audio for others worshiping God,” Adler said. “It’s a lot more intentional than just mixing because I want to do my best and create an enjoyable and non-distractive experience for people.”

Adler said he wants to work with audio and pursue the industry for the rest of his life and continue to have fun with it. Many events have been canceled due to COVID-19, but he is excited for when he can host house shows and concerts again.

Adler also enjoys teaching people about audio. He said he loves to see people be interested and appreciate it for the art that it is and want to learn it. If an individual is interested in learning about audio, Adler said he is always open to teach people who want to learn. Adler is an example of someone who has found a way to make a living out of his passions.

“With the little passions that you have, if you think about it creatively enough you could make a living out of it and have a lot of fun,” Adler said. “God gave you those passions for a reason. You just have to be confident and creative.”

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