Sound Engineering Technicians

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Also known as:
Audio Recording Engineer, Disc Recordist, Dub Room Engineer, Film Sound Engineer, Play Back Operator, Public Address Technician, Recording Engineer, Sound Assistant, Sound Cutter, Sound Designer

Video transcript

Many people with a passion for music become recording artists without ever singing or playing a note. They are sound engineering technicians. And in addition to the music industry, these experts in recording and processing audio find work in the broadcast, motion picture and cable fields as well.

At a radio or TV station, the sound technician might run the controls for a live program in the studio, or to tape a commercial. He or she might set up the equipment for transmitting reports from the field.

In the recording studio, sound engineering technicians are responsible for obtaining a clean recording of a performance. Then, in what's called "post-production," they manipulate vocal or instrumental sound, adding special effects, inserting audio from other sources, even changing the musical key or tempo. They may mix many tracks that were recorded separately into a multilayered final cut of vocals and instrumental accompaniment. They may create sound effects and add them to movie soundtracks.

It's a blend of art and science. This worker must stay up-to-date on the latest sound capturing technology and its functions, which are increasingly digital. Entry-level positions in this very competitive field usually require a high school diploma and technical school or college training.

Advancement comes if you can demonstrate solid aptitude with electronic and computer equipment, a good ear, and conscientious attention to detail. Expert sound engineering technicians often go on to find their groove as producers or studio owners.

Assemble and operate equipment to record, synchronize, mix, edit, or reproduce sound, including music, voices, or sound effects, for theater, video, film, television, podcasts, sporting events, and other productions.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Convert video and audio recordings into digital formats for editing or archiving.

Mix and edit voices, music, and taped sound effects for live performances and for prerecorded events, using sound mixing boards.

Synchronize and equalize prerecorded dialogue, music, and sound effects with visual action of motion pictures or television productions, using control consoles.

Reproduce and duplicate sound recordings from original recording media, using sound editing and duplication equipment.

Tear down equipment after event completion.

Prepare for recording sessions by performing such activities as selecting and setting up microphones.

Report equipment problems and ensure that required repairs are made.

Set up, test, and adjust recording equipment for recording sessions and live performances.

Keep logs of recordings.

Regulate volume level and sound quality during recording sessions, using control consoles.

Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording media, using recording equipment.

Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Fine Arts Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.