Sound Engineering Technicians combine technical abilities with artistic creativity to create “music to our ears.” They improve the clarity and quality of recorded and live performances.
Similar Job Titles
- Audio Engineer
- Sound Engineer
- Sound Technician
- Sound Assistant
- Sound Supervisor
- Dialogue Editor
- Dubbing Mixer
- Foley Artist
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Sound Engineering Technicians do?
A Sound Engineering Technician would typically need to:
- Assemble, operate, and maintain technical equipment used to capture, amplify, enhance, mix, or reproduce audio.
- Consult with the producer and performer to determine sound requirements; research the acoustics of the performance area in order to install and run the necessary equipment.
- Choose, place, adjust, and operate amplification and recording equipment; apply technical knowledge to meet creative goals.
- Dub and edit tapes or compact discs after recording sound onto digital audio tape or hard disc recorders.
- Examine audio signals for any discrepancies or failures in sound quality; anticipate and correct any problems.
- Pre-recorded audio (conversation, sound effects, and music) should be synced with visual material; post-sync by re-recording and synchronising the audio.
- Using sound mixing boards, mix and balance voice, effects, and music; produce and edit sound effects for usage in films, television, live performances, and other related platforms.
- Sound equipment service, maintenance, and repair
Standard Work Environment
Sound Engineering Technicians may operate in various settings, including recording studios, film or television sets, and on-location indoor and outdoor performance venues. Working circumstances are typically challenging, and you must be prepared for varied weather in outdoor areas.
You will likely work as part of a strong team in large-scale operations. If you work in motion movies, you will be required to travel extensively and spend extended amounts of time away from home.
Sound Engineering Technicians work full-time but on non-standard schedules that average roughly ten hours daily. They may need to adopt a flexible working schedule to meet broadcast deadlines or set up for live events.
With most radio and television stations broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nighttime, weekend, and holiday work is common. Technicians working on motion pictures will likely be on a tighter timetable to satisfy the movie studio’s contract obligations.
The amount and nature of your trip will be determined by your sector and employer.
There is plenty of job opportunities, but the field is highly competitive. You can improve your job search by asking for referrals from your network, contacting firms directly, using job search sites, and contacting staffing agencies. Some sound technicians work as independent contractors with their studios. They use specialised directories to find valuable contacts.
Sound Engineering Technicians are generally employed by:
- State-Owned Broadcasting Corporations
- Film Production Companies
- Independent Television Companies (‘indies’)
- Digital Television Channels
- Commercial & Corporate Production Companies
- Specialist Programme Makers
- Music Industry Producers & Studios
- Sound Recording Studios
- Facilities Houses
- Independent Radio Stations
- Theatre & Live Entertainment Companies and Venues
- PA Equipment & Audio Reproduction Businesses
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional groups and associations, such as The Audio Engineering Society, are essential for a Sound Engineering Technician who wants to further their professional growth or interact with other professionals in their sector or trade. Membership in one or more of these organisations adds value to your CV while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- An irregular work schedule involving long hours may make it challenging to maintain a proper work-life balance
- There is pressure to continually upskill oneself to keep up with the intense competition
- A strong likelihood of difficult work conditions, especially when working in an outdoor location
- Networking to build valuable contacts is very important but may not be everybody’s cup of tea
- Extensive travel will have you spending long periods away from home in strange surroundings
- The need for stamina, self-motivation, and patience to deal with highly stressful situations and tight deadlines
Suggested Work Experience
Most postsecondary programmes provide hands-on experience with entry-level equipment. Part-time jobs or placements in recording and editing facilities, as well as community and hospital radio stations, can provide you with valuable practical experience.
Opportunities to work with equipment makers will aid in the development of your technical knowledge. Participate in projects like rigging and sound for amateur theatre or local musicians as an important step towards making relationships in the business.
Because educational qualifications vary depending on the job description, entry-level Sound Engineering Technicians may possess anything from a high school diploma to a college degree.
Postsecondary programmes in acoustics and music, audio engineering/production, media production, music & sound recording/technology, sound engineering, or technical theatre might take months or years to finish. They should provide you with a thorough understanding of the physics of sound. Take as many high school math, physics, and electronics classes as possible.
Certifications, Licenses and Registration
Voluntary sound engineering certification from an objective and reputable body will help you demonstrate to potential employers that you fulfil specific industry requirements and are educated about new technology. They could take anywhere from six months to a year to finish.
Projected Career Map
Most Sound Engineering Technicians start out as trainees, sound assistants, runners, or administrators in small markets or at small stations in larger markets. Promotion to the position of Supervisory Broadcast Technician or Chief Broadcast Engineer results in career advancement.
They can advance to more prominent, higher-paying radio or television stations after earning extensive experience, expert knowledge, and technical skills. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science will help you achieve your goal of becoming a Chief Broadcast Engineer at a major television station.
In some areas, a defined professional path classifies workers as junior, medium, and senior sound technicians. Promotion would imply jobs in management, such as Radio Studio Manager, or going from local, regional stations to major, national ones.
Freelancers must develop good networking skills and attend media events in order to make and keep useful industry contacts that will help them advance their careers.
Technically skilled and experienced candidates have the highest job possibilities.
Beneficial Professional Development
Employers typically provide training and in-house development programmes based on the sort of products or services marketed or the employee’s educational level. Working in good teams or alongside more experienced technicians will allow you to get practical experience.
Because technology constantly evolves, Sound Engineering Technicians must invest in continuing education courses and on-the-job training to become skilled in setting up cables or automation systems, testing electrical equipment, learning industry codes and standards, and adhering to safety procedures.
Short professional or technical courses will allow you to specialise in a certain field and demonstrate your competence. For further training and networking possibilities, look into local professional associations, guilds, and organisations.
Sound Engineering Technicians are so passionate about music that they are happy to work behind the scenes; they are the unsung heroes that may make or ruin a live event, a theatre production, a film, a radio broadcast, or a television performance.
Advice from the Wise
There is no such thing as empty space or time. There is always something to see and hear.