What you need to know before you start a career in the audio industry

    There are many professions connected with sound - they are the musicians themselves, and the audio engineers in the studios, the creators of the equipment, the DJs on the radio, and others. In this article we will tell you what will be experienced by those who decide to start a career in this area - what should be prepared for.

    Photo by Pedro Semitiel / CC BY

    DJs, musicians and vocalists

    The first profession that is usually associated with music is the profession of performers . Djing also applies to this: the ability to pick up samples and tracks, create smooth transitions, and collect several melodies into one solid work is not an easy task.

    All those who plan to make a living playing music need to know for whom it is they who perform. The target audience determines the repertoire of the musician, especially at first. Already later, a successful performer who has found his own sound can bend his own line. And at first, you may have to play such things that contradict your own sense of beauty, but are required by the public.

    Musicians and vocalists, however, have the opportunity to become part of a musical group with a specific repertoire, where it is not necessary to overstep themselves. And ideally, you should find like-minded people, a group in the intimate soul genre.
    We should not forget about the image: the artist interacts with the audience not only with the help of sound, but also visually. Stage image, movement, conversations between tracks - all this creates a mood. At the same time, it is important to feel the moment and understand the audience.
    If for musicians and vocalists, the presence of special education is implied (although there are very talented self-taught teachers), then with DJing, everything is a bit simpler. Digital tools like Traktor or Virtual DJ will allow you to understand the basics of mixing tracks at home. You can study for free, by videos in the network (which, however, explain more basic points). Music education, of course, will help you feel the music better, but you can collect high-quality sets without it.

    And most importantly: it is worth understanding that overnight the success will not come. We will have to work hard, give the profession a lot of attention, constantly learn something new (new music scenes, trends, interesting tricks and features) and invest in this work. It is important to know that at first such a profession is unlikely to bring tangible income - time will be spent on promoting its own brand, searching for an audience and a niche, searching for sites and its own sound, creating its own name. The artist feeds fame.

    Sound engineers

    The sound engineers are engaged in mixing and mastering the recordings: they collect whole compositions from the material recorded in the studio and polish them to form a finished product that sounds acceptable on different audio circuits. They, like DJs, should start with mastering the basics on their home system - from the same Pro Tools | First, which cost students $ 10.

    Photo 3V Photo / CC BY-SA

    Free and low-cost programs will allow you to understand how the equalizer, compressor and other settings work, why they are needed. After that, it makes sense to assemble your own small studio and start more serious experiments.

    Experience for a sound engineer is important, and it is measured not by dozens of recorded songs, but by hundreds, ideally by tracks in different styles and genres, in order to understand where you want to move, what you get, what you need to work on additionally. It is also necessary to constantly study trends, new tools and technologies - to keep abreast of the industry.

    Networking and communication skills should not be underestimated: connections in music solve a lot.
    “You need not only to be able to press the buttons and move the faders, but to be a competent diplomat ,” said Scott Weber, an Emmy award winner for the soundtrack of the TV series “Survive”, “World of the Wild West”, “In line of sight". This way you can get a job, get on interesting projects.
    Scott also said that it is important to have a goal and understand what you want to strive for, but not disdain working in other areas and not abandon the proposed projects. Each project is unique and allows you to learn something new.

    One of the most universal advice was given by Noah '40' Shebib (Noah '40' Shebib), producer Drake: “The best advice I can give is to work with what you have and try to get the best result. You will see the doors open in front of you that will lead you to where you need it. ”

    Radio hosts

    Radio presenters are the people who fill in the music radio station with gaps between songs, jingle, news, interviews and other blocks with interesting conversations. The main working tool of a DJ on a radio or radio host is a voice, so much attention should be paid to its development and condition, learn to master it: warm up, train diction, avoid defects.

    Examples of works are necessary not only to musicians and sound engineers, but also DJs on the radio. The demo format (or demos) is a 30-second airing that will allow the possible superiors to evaluate speech and abilities. In fact, the demo is a short one-man show. You should say hello in it, introduce yourself and announce the next track with a small background. Record demo stands at the studio.

    It is important to understand the format of radio stations and their features. Different formats for the presentation of news, regulations, repertoire, even the moments on which the presenters focus attention in their conversations. It is also useful to know the key persons and stars of specific radio stations: usually, conceited people work on the radio, for whom attention is very pleasant.

    But you can not find out all the nuances of the radio station, not starting to work on it, so much will have to learn after the delivery of the workbook to the personnel department. Everybody will be taught the newcomer - editors, advertisers, senior colleagues, even office managers. Among the nuances are corporate subtleties, and features of broadcasting, and even a sticky button on the remote.

    Photo by Marvin Jansen / CC BY

    You will always have to train - study music and news agenda, warm up bundles, improve diction, listen to colleagues and remember their advice, go to workshops and conferences, get acquainted with new equipment. The industry does not stand still and continues to develop - it means that those who work in it will also have to develop.

    People - the main resource of the radio station, and with them it is necessary to maintain good relations. However, this applies to almost any team: you cannot know in advance when, for example, you urgently need to take time off and start looking for a replacement, and in a friendly team this quest is a little easier to complete.

    Video game industry

    There are two types of people working with music in the gaming industry: audio programmers and audio designers . The former perform audio coding, work with digital signal processing (DSP), create utilities for audio designers, embed music into the game.

    The second ones create sounds, record them, mix, master, edit dialogs, test sounds. But first of all, they still write music and sounds for games.

    In the video game industry, freelancing is very common, and it is precisely the writing of music that is often given to composers sitting in a cozy home studio. As a rule, freelancing is more specific and narrow range of tasks than office work. In the latter case, you can reduce the dialogues in one day, and strum the guitar in another. On freelancing, one person is engaged in the creation of what was stated in a single contract.

    Photo by Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY-SA

    A diploma is unlikely to help with getting a job: portfolio, demos and connections are important. Making demos should be paid a lot of attention - called so that it was clear who sent it, register the metadata, provide convenient access to the records (and not just throw a link to the nameless folder in the cloud).

    Ian Stocker, an indie developer who worked for eight years under a contract, believes that the main thing is to attract the attention of the employer, because dozens of composers claim the same place, and among these dozens it is necessary to stand out. “Be brief and offer the employer something that he cannot ignore, such as a remix of the soundtrack from the company's latest game,” says Yang. “Then you can try to sell yourself by talking about your skills.”

    Film industry

    A group of people, workers over the sound during the production and post-production of cinema and TV series, in Russian called zvukotsehom. Depending on the scale of the project, this sound shop includes from two to several dozen people. For example, a sound engineer and a microphoneist are working on the set (one monitors the quality of the audio recording, the other - the location of all the microphones), and the other team (sound engineers) takes the recorded material. Separately work noise makers, composers and other creators of sounds.
    The film industry, perhaps, is even more closed than the music industry, and therefore communications decide a lot. The easiest way to start them at the training stage. In Russia, the two strongest film schools are VGIK in Moscow and SPbGIKiT in St. Petersburg. And training in sound engineering in cinema is very different from the musical version.
    The sound engineer at the cinema needs to make a mix of hundreds of tracks, but due to the fact that there are a lot of tracks and the sounds often differ in nature, it is difficult to track all the conflicting frequencies, adjust everything to one tone and timbre. Moreover, it is necessary to compare the sound picture with the visualization, to synchronize them correctly. Because of the presence of a picture, it is worth considering the volume of sound, its direction.

    The recording process is also special, since all microphones - both buttonholes and “guns” - should be invisible in the frame, but as efficient as possible. Ensuring the invisibility of microphones and high-quality recording is the task of the sound engineer and microphone speaker working at the site. You also need to understand that, for example, a dialogue simultaneously with a noisy helicopter will not be recorded cleanly, and here you will have to impose noise later.

    Sometimes you want to create sounds that do not exist in nature - for example, to voice, as a huge beanstalk grows. This is what the noise collectors do. They are the ones who come up with the voice acting for the flight of the bumblebee, of astonishingly wide-open eyes, juicy blows or drop-down doors of the “Enterprise” bridge.

    Photos of Vancouver Film School / CC BY

    Most often, non-trivial sounds from real life are used to create noise: noise collectors aggressively chop cabbage, creak with plastic on glass, record a whistle of pneumatics in trolley buses, and build unique constructions. Creativity and the ability to notice interesting sounds around - one of the basic requirements for the profession of a shumovik.

    Creating acoustics

    Sound engineers and designers of speaker systems develop speakers that meet customer requirements. The modern creation and design of acoustics is somewhat reminiscent of the designer: engineers need to assemble a device with the correct sound handwriting and adequate cost price from the available element base, fitting into the TZ.

    Yury Fomin, the chief designer of Arslab, believes that it was the Soviet engineering education that was necessary to create acoustics: it gave a wide base (materials science, physics, electrical engineering, strength of materials, the theory of machines and mechanisms), on the basis of which delve into the acoustics.

    Photo "Audiomania"

    In the audio industry, there are quite a few stories of sound engineers and sound engineers who could not find the speakers arranging them and therefore began to create them themselves. Also in the creation of columns succeed and amateur engineers who have achieved the recognition of industry experts.

    Now in the creation of acoustics, special mathematical algorithms are regularly used. In order to work with them, you need to know specialized software - for example, Leap and Clio for optimizing and calculating the parameters of audio systems.

    Designing acoustics is a multi-step process, and the first prototype at the beginning of a career is unlikely to be immediately successful, since it is difficult to take into account all the nuances with little experience. The process of fitting the parameters is very tedious, since the columns are a closed system, and changing one parameter can entail a chain reaction, due to which you will have to redo everything.

    However, experience increases the speed of development. “If you have learned how to calculate a project in two days in 20 years, and you would have taken a couple of months before, then it’s just because you’ve been doing this for 20 years,” says Fomin.

    It should be understood that the design of acoustics as a hobby and in the quality of work are two different things. In the first case, a considerable part of the pleasure is delivered by the process itself, in the second, the main measure of success is the finished product.

    What is the result

    As with any business, working with sound requires scrupulousness. Take and get into the industry with a swoop, on one desire, "I want to make music" or "I want to work with music" will not work. For any profession related to audio, are important:

    • Having basic skills and relevant experience, and in some cases, education;
    • Willingness to learn and the desire to constantly improve, learn new things;
    • Ability to communicate and make connections;
    • Perseverance and determination;
    • Stress resistance;
    • Creativity;
    • Of course, the love of music.

    The music industry is not alone. But the sensation of touching something beautiful — art — reconciles many to unsustainable and unpredictable work.

    Additional reading - our World of Hi-Fi and tg-microformat about sound:

    Unusual musical instruments
    TestHiFi - we measure your system for 299 rubles.
    Are there special headphones for TV shows?
    How to turn a computer into a radio, and other ways to extract music from the calculus. systems
    Eight audio technologies that will fall into the hall of fame TECnology in 2019

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