The Science of Sound as a Career

By Irshaad Gangat, Journalism & Media Studies Lecturer

Do you perhaps have an ear for sound, music beats and sound effects? 

Sound Engineering might be the perfect career path for you in the mass communication industry – Radio, TV, Film and Music. 

Sound engineers are creatives who work with sound and are sometimes called sound technicians, audio engineers, broadcast engineers, and recording engineers and they oversee the recording and production of sound files. 

Sound engineers work in a variety of venues, such as concert halls, stadiums, and theatres. They also work in recording studios, where they may work on production or post-production for music and movies. 

The sound engineer often directs a team, and they have to ensure the team works together for the best possible production and are usually responsible for maintaining and repairing the equipment with which they work with.

They also work with clients to make sure teams are performing to their level of satisfaction to produce the best advertisements on television or radio 

Sound engineers often have no set schedule, as they usually work around events that are being performed at the venues in which they work, film schedules, advertising campaign schedules and even artists schedules. 

Engineers employed on a fulltime basis in a studio still have to work around the schedules of their clients and most likely will find themselves working many late nights or erratic hours. 

It is pivotal that if you want to pursue a career as a sound engineer you must keep up with the newest in digital equipment, software, and hardware as they apply to the field.

Sound Engineer Tasks Include but are not limited to:

 Create, update, maintain, and add to sample and sound libraries.

 Assist in post-production with improving sound quality or adding sound over video.

 Record, layer, and produce sounds and sound effects for desired impact.

 Spot, arrange, and edit audio into video or other delivery mechanism.

East London-based sound engineer Gary Ndlovu believes that in today’s current contemporary moment if you want to enter into the communication and/or journalism fields, to record and edit would be to your advantage, to be able to multitask and be multi skilled. 

“If you can edit and record, just basically, you can get things done” said Ndlovu. 

“Editing does not make you a sound engineer it just makes your recording great,” he said.

Ndlovu elaborates that “Sound engineering has more involved in it, there’s a lot of science put into it. Here we see setting up your interview or stage sound acoustics is important so your audience will be able to hear clearly and have a good quality recording to work with and edit later. The setting up your sound is where the science comes in.”

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