Sound engineers who work in recording studios make high quality sound recordings, mainly for the entertainment industry.
Sound engineers operate complex electronic equipment to reproduce music, dialogue, sound effects and other audio content to the highest quality. This may be for: all types of music recordings; radio, TV and theatre; corporate presentations and promotions; websites and interactive media.
The work involves:
Hours of work vary widely and may include days, evenings, nights and weekends. Overtime may be available.
Most of the work is carried out in a recording studio. The conditions vary depending upon the type of studio. Large recording organisations may have air-conditioned, comfortable, spacious, well- equipped studios.
Most control rooms are intense working environments, often small and crowded and lit by artificial light.
Recordings may be made away from the studio at live concerts which could be in a theatre, a concert hall, or outdoors in the open air.
To be a sound engineer, you should:
There is strong competition for places so initiative, persistence and the ability to make personal contacts in the industry is necessary.
Most of the major studios are based in London and are independently owned. Many of the large record companies use these in preference, or in addition to, owning their own studios. Some studios may specialise in a certain type of recording, eg, classical or popular music, and employ up to 15 people including sound engineers and studio assistants.
Many towns throughout the country have smaller studios. Most of the work involves recording ‘demo’ CDs and tapes for local bands, creating commercials for local radio stations and copying cassette tapes. Some also offer CD mastering services.
Engineers may specialise in certain areas such as mastering, or choose to become producers once they have built up a reputation with a number of clients. Others, with experience (and investment) start their own recording studios.
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Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers
80-110 New Oxford Street