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How to Become a Sound Engineering Technician

Sound engineering technician and music producer working together
Two sound engineers mixing and adjusting the sound on mixer, with man gesturing the countdown to start the show.

Interested in music and sound engineering? Want to know how to become a sound engineering technician? A good way to enter the music business as a sound engineering technician is to enroll in an audio production and engineering program. A sound engineering program includes classes that cover studio audio engineering, music fundamentals, desktop production, business management, principles of design and other related audio engineering classes. With the help of these classes and the right set of skills, a graduate can become successful in the music industry. However, what does a sound engineering technician do?

What a Sound Engineering Technician Does

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a sound engineering technician operates computers and equipment that record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions,. Furthermore, they record audio performances or events and may combine audio tracks that were recorded separately to create a multilayered final product.

Typical duties of sound engineering technicians may include:
  • Set up and take down equipment for events and live performances
  • Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording equipment or computers
  • Edit, mix and master audio for various media
  • Convert video and audio records to digital formats for editing on computers
  • Report any problems that arise with complex equipment and make routine repairs
  • Keep records of recordings and equipment used
  • Produce and mix material for live or recorded broadcast

Networking & Social Media

Even more, a large part of becoming a sound engineering technician is networking. It starts while attending the audio production and engineering program by creating strong relationships with fellow students and instructors. Building a network of individuals in the industry will help when it comes time to get a job. Even with a qualifying skill set, landing a position within the industry also comes by being in contact with other professionals. In addition to this, externships are also great ways to build a network of colleagues to learn from and get mentorship.

On the Job Training

After completing an audio production and engineering program, the next step to becoming a successful sound engineering technician is continuous learning and on the job training. Because the industry is ever changing, it is important to keep up with the new trends and equipment in the industry. Many employers will invest in additional job training once a sound engineering technician joins the team.

Different Studios, Different Equipment

Likewise with the industry changes, each employer may utilize different equipment and software. They will take the time to get the newly hired sound engineering technician up to speed on the companies’ specific equipment and software. Being comfortable with technology and computers is an important asset for any sound engineering technician to acquire, especially in today’s recording environment.

Sound Engineering Technician Skills

There are a few skills that a sound engineering technician will need to become successful. These skills can be learned during a sound engineering program. They include communication, problem solving, attention to detail, tech savvy, and an ear for sound.

Communication

First of all, a sound engineering technician is the center of the studio or live event. They will coordinate the audio production process with musicians, sound crew, and other key stakeholders in the music production process. For this reason, being able to communicate the right message at the right time can keep a music production on time and on budget.

Problem Solving

Additionally, a sound engineering technician may run into unforeseen circumstances and may need to use critical thinking to solve problems. Equipment may break down or crew may make a mistake and the sound engineering technician will need to solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Attention to Detail

One minor change in sound can affect the entire track. For example, having a level off on a live show can ruin the production for the whole audience. For this reason, the sound engineering technician must make sure every detail is correct to have a successful recording or performance.

Tech Savvy

Much of what a sound engineering technician does is work with audio equipment and music software to put on a performance or record a in a studio. Being comfortable with equipment, technology and computer software is important for any successful sound engineering technician to acquire.

Ear for Sound

This is something that many sound engineering technicians are born with, but it can also be learned. Computer software can also help by isolating different tracks to allow the sound engineering technician to hear each individual part of a song.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to become a sound engineering technician interest you? The audio production and engineering program  at the Institute of Production and Recording is an occupational degree program designed to train producer engineers who are entrepreneurs, musically and technically creative, and proficient in modern recording technology and technique. Throughout the program, students are involved in hands-on exercises and real-world studio projects that enable them to apply their knowledge and refine their skills.

At the end of the audio production and engineering program, each student presents a portfolio — a selection of his or her best work to date. This serves as a demo reel for potential employers and clients — an audio resume with professional content that highlights the graduate’s talent and skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the audio production and engineering program and starting a rewarding career in the music industry.