Careers in the audio space


#1

Hey All, wanted to post an open question to those who work professionally in the audio, engineering, or music space.

What do you do? how long have you been doing it? Do you like it? How did you land in that field? Do you have/did it require specific education (college, university, etc)? What do you think separates hobbiests from professionals from a skillset perspective?

Eventually, I’d like to bridge the gap between my software engineering and audio by landing in a place where I can put these skills to use professionally somewhere, so I’m curious to know what people’s experiences have been like.


#2

I work in likely the most unglamorous sector of the audio industry there is, but I’ll tell you, since you asked haha.

I’ve been in the audio-visual industry for 20 years. I got into it straight out of high school cause I had an aptitude for electronics. I built and installed peoples home theatres during the time it started to become popular (2004-2006 era) It didn’t require any education, just your head screwed on. (Believe me I have come across a shitload of people in this business with their head laying down beside them, and it’s becoming more and more common these days.) I moved on to commercial AV after that (in Sydney) for a few years before moving to Vancouver for a holiday, but quickly went back to work in AV. My knowledge set in Canada grew a lot faster as I was thrust into the deep end a bit more frequently building some quite complicated systems for that time. I always had a vested interest in the Audio side of AV as I grew up as a touring musician (trumpet). So, I kept on my employers’ toes for more and more training in that subject area, but most of it was on the job training and experience.

When I came back to Sydney (to my old company), I worked as a service technician. I would go around to our previously installed projects and found constant issues with the audio deployment. Poor gain structure, no EQ on microphones, noise not handled appropriately, distortion in signal paths, phase on speakers incorrectly wired, etc-etc. So, once again I went to my employers and said look, you guys need someone here (me) that specializes in audio engineering, that can deploy these systems correctly the first time, but I also want a proper education in audio and acoustics and a bigger a salary. So, for the last 5 years I have focused solely on that, been to university to expand my knowledge. I have always loved my job, until more recently I find some of the technology to be half-baked and a pain in the ass to commission, but I still enjoy it.

I have never considered myself a systems programmer, but that is in my job description. I know vaguely how to read code (that’s relevant to my field) and I can program logically and make AV systems work. The thing about pro audio DSP’s is that they can do anything now, not just process audio. So, as the DSP guy, I have been thrust into also being the programmer guy.

Your last question is an interesting one, as for me my hobby (stereos and hi-fi) became my profession. Another hobby, music and electronic music production was a calling card for me. It gave me a head start in knowing how to tune audio systems and use my ear, and in all this, my ears have been the most valuable asset.

There are definately lots of avenues you could take. As a software develper that’s also into making music, you could get into making VST’s or writing a program for a piece of hardware. My brother is helping develop two pieces of hardware currently and he has zero coding knowledge. He’s kind of like a beta tester on steroids that has a hand in the honey pot. He basically tells the developer what he wants them to do and they do it.

Flux Eurorack module: (280) FLUX: Eurorack Temporal Modulation Rhythm Sequencer - YouTube

and

Speak and Glitch GND-1: Speak & Glitch GND-1 | Circuit Bent Speak Chip Synthesizer (youtube.com)

Hope you find some of this valuable info!

Cheers


#3

Great subject @makeuswhole and great first Reply @Manton

I don’t have a “job” in audio or engineering and most people would not consider me a “professional” musician, even though I compose, perform, mix and produce music and get paid for streams. I refer to myself as a “serious amateur.”

Two avenues I’ve been researching are Studio Engineer (Recording, Mixing, Producing for other Musicians) and Composer for Sync for TV and Film. Lot’s of resources out there on these subjects that I’ve been researching for the past few years. (let me know if you’d like some links.)

I’m about to commit to a Sync Mentor/Team that seems like a good fit. It costs some money but I’m ready to invest.

Manton’s story speaks to me! I’m a Design Build Consultant (I manage High-End Residences for Billionaires) and I remember when AV (Audio Video) first split off from LV (Low Voltage.)

LV scope was running wire for things like Telephone (land line!) Intercom, Doorbell and Speakers for the Owner’s equipment. Later, the TV and Stereo equipment evolved into “Home Entertainment Systems” which was a fancy name for putting the Owner’s stuff in a built-in custom cabinet with doors so you could hide the stuff when not in use.

Eventually these “Entertainment Systems” became know as AV, especially once Home Theaters and things like “Server Rooms” for computer equipment that ran “Whole House Systems.”

Fast forward to 2010 and I’ve got Steven Spielberg standing in a hole on a mountainside that will be Michael Bay’s Home Theater. Spielberg spreads his arms and says “yeah… this is about the right size.”

If you are wondering what it’s like to build a house for Michael Bay… watch one of his movies. Lots of Drama and constant Explosions. It started rough but we became friends by the end. Turns out he’s a really good guy with a short fuse.

But I digress!

These “Whole House Systems” attempt to automate everything and give the owner endless choices on how to program to their lifestyle. It gets ridiculous! Eventually, most Owners realize that when they enter a room they just want “a damn switch on the wall!” to turn on the light. It’s not necessary to have a programmed “scene” with a “path” just to take a piss at night. But alas… that conclusion only comes after many months of meetings with expensive AV consultants, Architects and Interior Designers, all arguing over “what you really need is…” (fill in the blanks.) Part of my job is herding those cats into listening to what the Owner wants and “move on.”

But I digress… again. :sunglasses:

I retire from construction in the next few months. Onward to the world of Composing and Producing Music for Sync Placement! :star_struck:


#4

I tried very briefly but i didnt conduct myself properly personally and wasnt able to network my way into that area…also i wasnt that good and i dont have the drive nor the musical ear to make it…

If anything just be respectful and check your ego…
Not saying be a pushover but dont be entitled and arrogant.