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Career as a Sound Engineer

Sound Engineer

Sound engineers make high quality recordings of music, speech and sound effects in recording studios. They use complex electronic equipment to record sound for: commercial music recordings, radio, television, film and commercials, corporate videos, websites, computer, video and mobile games. As a sound engineer your work would involve planning recording sessions with producers and artists, setting up microphones and equipment in the studio, setting the right sound levels and dynamics, operating equipment for recording, mixing, mastering, sequencing and sampling, recording each instrument or item onto a separate track, monitoring and balancing sound levels, mixing tracks to produce a final ‘master’ track and logging tapes. To become a studio sound engineer, you need a good knowledge of music and recording technology. A science background in school will help you now in understanding the dynamics involving physics and electronics. You could also start as an assistant in a recording studio where you will do basic routine jobs. Here you would also get the chance to learn how to use studio equipment and assist on recording sessions. When looking for your first job, you will find it helpful to have practical experience of using studio equipment. Taking a course in sound engineering would equip you for this. However, you could also build up your experience through activities like working in local music programmes. You may increase your chances of finding work by taking a course such as a certificate/diploma in sound technology or a degree in sound engineering. You will usually develop your skills on the job once you are working in a studio. Make sure you keep up to date with changes in audio technology and equipment throughout your career. You could opt for specialised courses in technical skills such as sequencing, mastering, editing and recording.With experience, you might become a studio manager. You could also go for further qualifications such as professional diplomas in audio recording or sound studio management abroad. If you want to move into sound for television and film, you can also take short courses to develop your skills in this area. You could work fulltime for a recording studio or be self-employed and work on short-term freelance contracts. Most of the major studios are based in and around Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad etc. There are smaller studios throughout the country, where most of the work may involve recording ‘demos’ for local bands, creating commercials for local radio stations and copying CDs. There is strong competition for work. Jobs are not often advertised, so you will have to be persistent and show initiative. People often start off by working for free to make contacts and ‘get their foot in the door’. With experience, you could specialise in areas like mastering or you could become a producer after building a reputation with a number of clients. You could also choose to start your own recording studio.