Media

Studio sound engineer

Sound engineers work in studios and make recordings of music, speech and sound effects.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Studio sound engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll use electronic equipment to record sound for many different uses, like:

  • commercial music recordings
  • radio, TV, film and commercials
  • corporate videos
  • websites
  • computer games and other types of interactive media

Your day-to-day duties might involve:

  • planning recording sessions with producers and artists
  • setting up microphones and equipment in the studio
  • making sure the volume and recording levels are set correctly
  • operating recording equipment and adding effects
  • recording each instrument or item onto a separate track
  • mixing tracks to produce a final ‘master’ track
  • logging recordings and other details of the session in the studio archive

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

  • sound engineering and production
  • audio engineering
  • music production

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

College

You could take a college course like:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Sound Production
  • Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

Apprenticeship

You could complete a creative venue technician or technical theatre advanced apprenticeship, which have options in sound.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Other Routes

There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need a good knowledge of music and recording technology. You may also find it useful to understand physics and electronics.

This is a job where getting experience and making contacts is important to help you to find work.

You'll need a good knowledge of music and recording technology. You may also find it useful to understand physics and electronics.

You could gain knowledge of recording technology by:

  • taking a music technology course at college or university
  • starting as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio
  • working on community music events, DJ projects, hospital or community radio, or mixing and recording music in a home studio

Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES) has more information about becoming a studio sound engineer.

£15,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £15,000

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £30,000

Freelance earnings can vary, depending on your reputation and what you can negotiate.

These figures are a guide.

Variable

You’ll mainly work in recording studios. 

You’ll need to be flexible about working hours, which can be long and irregular. You may need to work in the evening, at night or at the weekend, depending on when artists and producers are available.

With experience, you could specialise in a particular technical skill, become a music producer, studio manager, or start your own recording studio.

You can find out more about working in sound engineering from Joint Audio Media Education Support and Creative Choices.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need: 

  • good hearing, for distinguishing sound quality
  • a good sense of pitch, timing and rhythm
  • a knowledge of electronics and acoustics
  • practical skills
  • patience
  • the ability to cope with long hours and tight deadlines
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