Do you want to pursue a career in audio engineering but are unsure whether the audio engineering salary is worthwhile? Unsure whether the return on an investment will be worthwhile, and wondering where to begin your search? You’ve come to the right place for the information.
While the focus in music and film is almost always on those who sing or act, there are countless jobs that support those performers. In the background, there is an entire industry that is extremely important but unknown to many.
Audio engineers help live performers sound their best by operating sound, mixing, and recording equipment. This article will teach you more about the job opportunities and educational requirements for audio engineers including audio engineering salary.
Audio Engineering Salary
As an audio engineer in the United States, your salary will vary depending on your specialization, whether you work in a small or large studio, a small venue, or on a live music tour.
Starting audio engineering salary is typically around $15,000 until you’ve established a reputation and gained some experience. Audio engineers with more experience can expect to earn an audio engineering salary between $50,000 and $140,000. Engineers who work with highly successful artists may be paid more.
Freelance work is becoming more common. Experienced freelancers can expect to earn $150-$250 per day audio engineering salary. Touring is the most profitable way to freelance, as your pay includes travel time and vacation days.
What Is Audio Engineering?
The craft of handling technical aspects of sound reinforcement, audio recording, post-production mixing, and mastering is known as audio engineering. Audio engineers, recording engineers, studio engineers, and sound engineers are all terms for professionals who work in audio engineering.
Some specialize, such as live sound engineers, who focus on sound reinforcement at live events, whereas others are generalists who apply their audio engineering skills to all aspects of the music industry.
What does an Audio Engineer do?
An audio engineer deals with the technical aspects of sound during the recording, mixing, and reproduction processes. Audio engineers frequently assist record producers and musicians in achieving the desired sound for their work.
An audio engineer, for example, may piece together parts of a song, use auto-tune on a recording, and/or add synthetic sounds to a track. Audio engineers are not the same as producers. However, some audio engineers continue their careers as producers or take on the role of producer.
Specialize field in audio engineering
Within the field of audio engineering, there are five specialized roles: recording engineer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, live sound engineer, and multimedia sound engineer. Each has a distinct role to play in the music industry, and the path to each career is distinct.
Here is the sub-field of audion engineering:
- Recording engineer
- Mixing Engineer
- Mastering Engineer
- Live sound Engineer
- Multimedia sound Engineer
There are numerous paths that you can take to become a recording engineer. One is working as an apprentice in a recording studio, learning skills such as sound level monitoring, audio equalization, and navigating mixing boards.
This path may also require you to work as an assistant engineer. You can also enroll in an audio engineering program at a fine arts college or a trade school, which will help you get a full-time job after you graduate.
You can also build your credentials at home by using your own audio equipment and advertising directly to musicians.
Audio Engineering Salary For Recording engineer: $35,000 – $54,000
After the initial recordings are completed, mixing engineers enter the music production process. They use a digital audio workstation such as Pro Tools, Logic, or Ableton to create a balanced audio mix. The road to becoming a specialized mixing engineer is very similar to that of a general recording engineer.
You can work as an apprentice in a studio, earn a bachelor’s degree or certificate, or start your own business from home. It can also be beneficial to network with professional record producers who may require assistance navigating new technologies such as auto-tune and drum machines.
Audio Engineering Salary For Mixing Engineer: $34,000 – $90,000
A mastering engineer’s career path is similar to that of a mixing engineer. The distinction is that mastering engineers concentrate on the very end of the recording process. Mastering is the final level of volume balancing, and compression required to finish a recording.
If the idea of being the final check on the sound quality of a record appeals to you, consider a job as an audio engineer in the world of mastering.
Audio Engineering Salary For Master Engineer: $64,000 – $111,000
Live sound engineer
To work as a live sound engineer in the music industry, you must first work at a live venue and learn how their sound systems work. As an assistant sound technician, you could set up microphone stands, microphone amps, and monitor speakers.
As you learn the tricks of the trade from industry professionals, you’ll gain the confidence to become the lead engineer on live performances ranging from concerts to sporting events.
Audio Engineering Salary For Live sound engineer: $30,000 – $82,000
Multimedia sound Engineer
Multimedia sound engineers incorporate various types of sound into an overall audio mix, ranging from music to dialogue to diegetic sound design and sound effects. They work on films, television, live theater, and video games, where all of these sounds blend into a seamless audio landscape.
It is beneficial to network with directors and designers in order to succeed as a multimedia sound designer. They are the type of people who will need to hire sound engineers and sound designers but may not have a large network to draw from.
Audio Engineering Salary For Multimedia sound Engineer: $30,000 – $72,000
Audio engineering degree program
Professional audio engineering degrees are available from a variety of colleges, universities, and trade schools. Some colleges and universities offer audio engineering degrees that concentrate on studio work and live sound. Others provide music production and engineering degree programs that require students to study music theory, ear training, harmony, and composition.
Many audio engineering schools are trade schools that provide certificates instead of college degrees. While these certificates are only useful in the music industry (and not in other fields), education at audio engineering schools focuses on practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Without a bachelor’s degree, it is possible to become a Grammy-winning audio engineer.
If you’re serious about becoming an audio engineer, you can enroll in a certificate program or look for internships with experienced industry professionals.
Audio Engineering Job Outlook
The audio engineering salary is excellent, but how stable is this career path? According to the BLS, the audio engineering career path is expected to grow 8% between now and 2028. Companies have increased their audio and video budgets for streaming media, and this trend will likely continue as more networks compete in the streaming wars.
If everything else fails, the television and film industries will continue to rely on audio technicians to improve sound quality. However, competition for jobs is fierce, and those with hands-on experience working with complex electronics and software will have the best chances.
Audio Jobs opportunities
Here are some audio engineering jobs you can pursue:
- Board operator
- Sound technician
- Production Assistant
- Sound engineer
- Radio operator
- Audiovisual technician
- Studio manager
During a performance, a board operator operates switches on a control board. Board operators typically work for live shows, where they operate switches for lighting and special effects.
Their control board also controls microphones, which they turn on and off for performers as needed. During a performance, board operators must listen to the director in order to move switches.
Audio is monitored by sound technicians during recording and live performances. Their primary responsibility is to adjust levels to ensure a good audio recording. They mix sound and adjust the volume of performers and accompanying music during live performances. They are sometimes in charge of preparing the studio or stage and testing equipment.
A production assistant is a specialist who assists in studios and during performances by performing various show or recording-related duties. Production assistants assist any member of the production crew by driving talent on set, setting up equipment, and assisting producers with administrative tasks such as scheduling. They may also relay messages from directors to performers on set and during performances.
A sound engineer maintains recording equipment and assists in the recording of audio. They work primarily in film, recording dialogue and ambiance. They may also assist other engineers in a recording studio. Sound engineers are recording equipment experts who help maintain microphones and other audio recording devices. The salary of a sound engineer is equivalent to that of an audio engineering salary.
A professional who transmits radio programming to receivers is known as a radio operator. To send and receive audio, they use a control board. They can also use the controls to change the audio coming in and out. Radio operators may work in the entertainment industry or in communications for the military.
An audiovisual technician assists in the upkeep of equipment in studios and at live events. Their primary responsibilities include testing the functionality of equipment such as microphones and troubleshooting any problems that arise. They may be in charge of setting up instruments and sound equipment for live events.
A studio manager is in charge of the day-to-day operations of a recording studio. They schedule artists to come into the studio for recording and collaborate with producers to set project deadlines. A studio manager may also hire and train employees. They are also in charge of selecting and purchasing studio equipment.
An audio production editor is responsible for sound correction in recordings and lives performances. An editor frequently works on a large project, such as a film, that requires multiple people to edit various types of sound, such as dialogue, music, and Foley.
Their responsibilities include listening to audio and making it sound as good as possible. Adjusting the volume, reducing background noise, and editing for clarity are all part of this process.
An audio engineer is a professional who records and edits audio for public consumption. Audio engineers are frequently involved in the recording of music for performers or soundtracks for films.
Meeting with recording artists and clients to determine the production and sound they want is a typical job duty. Engineers are also responsible for audio editing and special effects.
To summarize, you may be able to find entry-level work as an audio engineering technician for a recording studio, theater group, or film company.
You could also work as an audio and video equipment technician, putting together recording equipment, speakers, and mixing boards for sporting events or conventions.
FAQs About Audio Engineering Salary
Starting audio engineering salary is typically around $15,000 until you’ve established a reputation and gained some experience.
In the United States, the average hourly wage for audio engineers is around $29.09. Wages typically range from $14.00 per hour to $59.95 per hour.
An audio engineer contributes to the creation of a recording or a live performance by balancing and adjusting sound sources with equalization, dynamics processing, and audio effects, mixing reproduction, and sound reinforcement.
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