In live audio, time is not on your side. If there is a problem you need to fix it and do it quickly. Doors are about to open and members of the church are about to fill the room. We had a conference not too long ago where we were receiving both audio and video through a web stream. The computer that was going to be accessing the page was in our rear studio. Video was fairly simple to route to the screens: out of the computer, into the video switcher, onto the screens. Audio, on the other hand, was a bear.

The Most Valuable Tool for Church Production

Audio had to come out of the computer by the headphone jack, converted to stereo TRS cable, into a patch bay that connected to a FOH patch bay, out of that patch bay into the input patch bay of the console, and then into the house system. Suffice it to say there were a lot of things that could go wrong. And they did. One of the audio lines was coming into the console with a constant buzz. Now, there are six or seven (or more!) places that the buzz could have come from, but how was I supposed to check each line?


The Answer: The Whirlwind Qbox. The Qbox is the all-in-one audio line tester ideal for applications such as live sound, maintenance, installation work – anywhere audio runs down a cable.  Its most useful feature is a built-in speaker, so I started off at the computer, plugged the outs into the Qbox, and was able to tell I had a clean signal. I then moved to the next cables, the next patch bay, and so on. This tool helped me find a bad patch cable in less than 5 minutes when it would have taken me close to an hour of troubleshooting without it. It is an investment, but I can tell you the time it has saved me is worth more than its price tag. I will never work an event without having one close by.

About The Author

Jordan Tracy

Jordan is a California native who who has been serving in full-time ministry for over 15 years. He can solve a Rubik’s cube in 38 seconds and loves driving his jeep. Jordan is an Ambassador for Ultimate Ears, and worked with some of the most influential Christian music artists in the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Jay

    Thanks… Good to know! I’ve also been looking for a way to carry audio from the soundboard, digitally (or at least noiselessly), across a 15-20 foot area to our podcast recording computer. We have a horrible hum and random buzz in that long of an audio cable that is partially coming from our lighting system dimmers, or through radio interference. Any thoughts?

    • Jordan

      Hi Jay,

      This is not an uncommon problem, and there could be a number of places that buzz could be coming from. From what you are describing it sounds like interference from the light power, Ill tell you how I avoid that kind of problem, and if it does not work in your venue, I will need more information to help you solve it.

      A general rule when running audio cables is not to lay it in a run with power cables, especially lighting cables. They should never be touching or laying next to each other. And if they must cross paths, its best to do it at a 90 degree angle so they only touch in one spot. Power cables have a way of causing interference when ran with audio. I would see if it is at all possible to separate out the audio cables so they do not run side by side with the power cables.

      If that does not eliminate the buzz (or if anyone else reading this is having a similar issue!) feel free to email me directly so we can connect and try to figure out the problem. My email address is

      Thanks for reading!

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