Lists

Denver's Best Sound Engineers

Derek Gavey, Flickr
Sound engineers are the magicians behind the music.
As with all things in life, there is more to a good live show than meets the eye. With a well-built music venue, an agreeable and talented performer and a well-stocked bar, people in the crowd tend to forget about the people at the sound booth who shape the sound — unless they're doing a terrible job.

With the summer concert season at our doorstep, here's a shout-out to some of the best sound engineers in Denver, who will undoubtedly be involved in some memorable shows this summer – along with the rest of 2018 and beyond.

click to enlarge The talented Kim Baxter. - PHOTO BY GEORGE BLOSSER.
The talented Kim Baxter.
photo by George Blosser.
Kim Baxter
hi-dive
After hanging around the bar as a regular customer and performer, Kim Baxter became friends with sound engineers at the hi-dive and was given the opportunity to learn about working the sound board. Along with being a favorite in the sound-engineering community and one of many talented engineers at the hi-dive, Baxter plays drums for Jess Parsons, Gun Street Ghost, Elin Palmer and Esmé Patterson.

John Bunting
Freelance

John Bunting is what the sound-engineering kids call an OG of the business, getting his start back in 2001 at the now-closed Dulcinea's 100th Monkey and setting out as a freelancer by 2006. Bunting is everywhere in Denver: His freelance work includes sound and light installation and a rig setup for music festivals, and he's the house sound engineer at Stoney's Bar & Grill and Sound Town, and for all live performances at Twist & Shout Records.


Joey Cicak serves as a sound engineer for AEG shows around town. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY JOEY CICAK
Joey Cicak serves as a sound engineer for AEG shows around town.
Photo provided by Joey Cicak
Joey Cicak
AEG
Joey Cicak works as a production manager for AEG and sound engineer for the occasional show at venues including the Ogden, the Gothic, Red Rocks and the Paramount Theatre, but his origin story is as action-packed as a superhero film. He got hooked on sound engineering after he and his band built a PA system inside a DIY warehouse venue and worked weekend shows for local acts, then bounced between Los Angeles and Seattle, working for the famed Robert Lang Studios and building mics for the company Blue Microphones. He even served as an engineer for the Velvet Underground's John Cale.

click to enlarge Dominic Esparza with rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s Cadillac DJ booth. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY DOMINIC ESPARZA.
Dominic Esparza with rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s Cadillac DJ booth.
photo provided by Dominic Esparza.
Dominic Esparza
AMP CHAMP Pro A.V. and Summit Music Hall
Mathematically speaking, it's possible that another sound engineer has the same story as AMP CHAMP Pro A.V. and Summit Music Hall's Dominic Esparza, but chances would be very, very slim. Between getting into sound engineering because he wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at an Animal Collective show, working with artists ranging from Saves the Day to Thursday to DMX, and taking a photo with Big K.R.I.T.'s Cadillac DJ booth, the Denver native is quite possibly one of a kind.

click to enlarge The eclectic sound engineer and talent buyer Randall Frazier. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY RANDALL FRAZIER
The eclectic sound engineer and talent buyer Randall Frazier.
Photo provided by Randall Frazier
Randall Frazier
Helmet Room Recordings and Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
In his twenty years in the business, Randall Frazier has been all over the Denver music scene and heavily involved with large projects. He was the head production lead at the Mercury Cafe, Globe Hall and the Walnut Room, and is currently the unusual combo of chief sound engineer and talent buyer at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox, where he designed and installed the sound system. He also somehow finds time to run the recording studio Helmet Room Recordings.