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Thread: Needing advice about becoming an audio Engineer

  1. #1
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    Needing advice about becoming an audio Engineer

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    First, some background...

    For the past 7 years I've been an IT Support guy. They break and I fix 'em. I trouble shoot networks, all the Microsoft operating systems and PC hardware. The problem with what I do is that I'm burnt out. I'm not really made for the whole Corp America stuff.

    So, here I am trying to figure out what he hell I'm going to do with my life. Music was always my first love, but playing gigs doesn't make me feel completely comfortable as a day job. I've been working with my home project studio for a year or so, and I really do enjoy it. I've been talking with a few friends of mine, and they ask me, "Why don't you do that?"

    Here's what I want to know: With so many folks, like myself, learning how to do their own recording, is it worth trying to get into the industry? Also, if I were to look for a local facility to get some propper schooling in a pro like setting, what should I look for?

    Mostly I'm asking these questions because It's kind of scary to think of changing careers. I don't want to waste my time and money getting into something that will eventually be fruitless. I just want to say that I'm somewhat happy in the work that I do every day.
    Bill
    http://www.pureshift.com
    http://www.zoiks.org

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    hello! i work at a local studio ( www.tempermillstudios.com )
    and i will say that the work is not something i can count on for $$$$ at a steady pace. sometimes i am busy as hell than for 2 or 3 months...nothing. and it dosent pay as good as your it job either i would guess. if paying a morgage and having car payments are not an issue than go for it. but if you have these things than i wouldnt even bother. i use it to suppliment my main full time day job and it is great for that. well thats my 2 penny's worth.
    -jay

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    I have a good friend in the industry and the ebb and flow of work really gets him down. Really makes cash flow unpredictable as well as the down time not having anything in sight for work.

    Sounds like the 9-5 is an issue with you and you need more flexibility. You might want to get into music gear sales. You could travel around showing other people the latest technology. That would be my play to get out of 9-5 however, if sales is not your thing, then maybe not.

    If you’re really good at MS technology, look for a startup company in IT, that's always a fun ride. Another option, if you’re talented in IT, is to get on as a field engineer for a company. This allows you to make your own schedule and keep out of the politics.

    Where I work, field engineers are king, rebels, highly paid and nobody messes with them because their talents are needed.

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    Cool

    I think it all really depends on your location and what competition. Dont depend only on getting your work locally, reach farther than that. This will help keep a steady income.

    It can be a difficult business for some people, but honestly its not much different than any other kind of business.

    Danny

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    Most Studios in my area do not rely on bands, but on commercial and radio work. I enjoy working with bands because I like music more than I like AE side of things. My day job is also in the IT field, so my AE work is just extra income.
    -Fishmed

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    The only way to support yourself as a starting audio engineer is to take every type of job available and learn a lot of different skills like lighting and video. You might be able to get enough work to pay your bills and you'll probably make around $8-10/hr to start. You will have to do a lot of live production work and expect to work 12-16 hour days if you can find a gig. Depending on where you work it will probably be seasonal so you need to find a way to support yourself during the lean months.

    After 10yrs of that if you are lucky you can make around $30-40k/year. The only way to make any real money is to start your own company and that has it's own risks and heavy up front investment. The entire industry is all about networking so if you can get in with a group of people then you can help keep eachother informed of paying gigs. Sometimes you can get on with a venue or facility but until you have a lot of experience you will just be called for part time work. You will be a glorified truck loader/unloader.

    The best money is in video and corporate AV but even then it's not all that great. You can make more providing a video projector and screen for a corp meeting then you can providing an entire PA system with monitors and lighting for a rock show.

    I was a production whore for around 10yrs and once I got out of the business my income quadrupled. Now I can actually afford to have a decent little studio. When I was an engineer I couldn't even afford a car.

    The industry is very tough right now and I doubt you will find any type of paying studio gig unless you can really bring a lot of skills or preferably clients to the table. If you have some money to invest you can go in as a partner with a studio but that can be very risky unless you know the person well.

    If you want to be an audio engineer than just be one. Buy some gear and record stuff. The cool thing about the entertainment industry is you don't need an official education. It's all about what YOU make happen. There are no rules. Find somebody willing to pay for a recording and give them that product whether it's with gear you own, rent or someone else's studio that you hire.

    The only good job in the business is the one you create.

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    First, here's my background so you can understand my conclusion:

    I have a full time position as a documentation specialist and 3-D drafter. This is my steady income with benefits. I have been playing music professionally on weekends since 1984. I have been recoded on several albums during that time. About 5 years ago I was bitten by the bug to build my own home studio and have been recording local bands here ever since. I have some formal training in studio fundamentals from a local reputable studio.

    Knowing that neither playing gigs with bands or making recordings for people can provide benefits for my family or is a steady & reliable source of income, I have chosen to keep my day job and continue to play music and record as a supplement income. I also know that recording and mixing bands takes up HUGE amounts of time into the wee hours more times than not. Owning a studio is a major money hog with the relentless quest to stay current with the latest gear...not to mention the gear lust.

    To become an audio "Engineer", you will need to eat, sleep, dream & study the fundamentals as well as go to school for that specific profession. You will need to have a huge appetite and determination to succeede. After all of that, chances are that you will have to spend a considerable amount of time honing your skills and building your reputation. Oh, let's not forget that running a session is very much like being a psychologist...
    Knowledge by itself is not "power"...APPLIED knowledge is POWER!

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    First, here's my background so you can understand my conclusion:

    I have a full time position as a documentation specialist and 3-D drafter. This is my steady income with benefits. I have been playing music professionally on weekends since 1984. I have been recoded on several albums during that time. About 5 years ago I was bitten by the bug to build my own home studio and have been recording local bands here ever since. I have some formal training in studio fundamentals from a local reputable studio.

    Knowing that neither playing gigs with bands or making recordings for people can provide benefits for my family or is a steady & reliable source of income, I have chosen to keep my day job and continue to play music and record as a supplement income. I also know that recording and mixing bands takes up HUGE amounts of time into the wee hours more times than not. Owning a studio is a major money hog with the relentless quest to stay current with the latest gear...not to mention the gear lust.

    To become an audio "Engineer", you will need to eat, sleep, dream & study the fundamentals as well as go to school for that specific profession. You will need to have a huge appetite and determination to succeede. After all of that, chances are that you will have to spend a considerable amount of time honing your skills and building your reputation. Oh, let's not forget that running a session is very much like being a psychologist...
    Knowledge by itself is not "power"...APPLIED knowledge is POWER!

  9. #9
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    Maybe look further afield than recording bands. I work at a radio station producing commercials for a living and although I'm not well off I do alright, with a regular wage, monthly bonuses, holiday pay etc.

    Although I have no particular interest in advertising it does allow me access to and time to experiment with pro-studio kit that I would never be able to afford to buy myself. It's also now giving me an opportunity to sell some of my music for advertising.

    Even this job was pretty hard to get in to originally though. I had to do 7 months getting work experience, 2 years getting paid crap money before changing company's and only then beginning to earn a livable wage. As well as learning the skills, one of the main things is to become friends with people already in the industry (I don't mean that in a mercenary way, more just show that you're a decent guy who's good to work around).

    On the other hand, I don't see myself doing this job in 10 years time but hopefully it'll have served as a spring board to bigger and better things.

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    Shagg,

    Dude, I would only pursue it if you were totally, a bazillion percent hellbent on it, such that you would sacrifice all else (like food, shelter, health insurance, money). If you're thinking about it through a process of what-do-I-wanna-do-when-I-grow-up thinking, you probably won't last long.

    The actual craft of doing it is cool as hell. It's everything else about it that sucks...
    Insect Massage Therapist
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