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Slaytanic55
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:53 pm
Posts: 153
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:05 am 
 

Hey all,

I've been curious about this career path for a while and have been pretty much in the dark about it all and figured this was a good place to ask. How does one become an audio engineer producing metal albums? Is it possible to work for a label, or would one work at a studio producing all different sorts of albums? Also, what type of schooling would one seek in order to 'get into' this industry, so to speak? Again, I'm pretty ignorant about this all so sorry if this came off as really naive.

Thanks in advance

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IntoNevermore
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:31 pm
Posts: 980
Location: Venezuela
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:36 am 
 

Don't worry, you can start by learning how to use a DAW, and having an audio interface and watch youtube videos.

Also, I guess you may find this thread useful:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=103480
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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1459
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:12 am 
 

I'm not in the music industry but I'm pretty sure making a career off of engineering isn't very feasible, unless you happen to be really good. The amount of slots for that job are few and pay is sketchy. Plus today you're competing with more and more people who are learning how to do it on their own. I could be wrong though, maybe the inflation and multiplying number of artists requires more people to record and produce for them, but it's still one of those narrow shot jobs.

I still wouldn't discourage learning how to do it though. Getting a good sound from recordings is a very useful skill.
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somefella
Veteran

Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:57 pm
Posts: 2595
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:22 am 
 

I don't encourage it as a profession either. At least learn to do it for a variety of genres rather than specialising in metal.

If you must, I absolutely advise going to an audio engineering school. Self-experimentation is cool but if you expect to become good enough for you to make money with your engineering skills alone you have to be very, VERY good and people have to know it. It's not for everyone, some people just don't have a good ear for sound (this is always an ego and kinda subjective thing so no one will actually admit to it) or the right kind of personality for the job.
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thrashinbatman
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 395
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:10 am 
 

Very difficult, but not impossible to do. I'd recommend you learn the basics of recording, things like DAWs, EQ, compression, etc. etc. Look for free songs to mix, the internet has them all over the place. Practice a lot, and get good at mixing. Practice doing basic recordings and learning how to mic things. When you've gotten to a decent level, then I'd say to start looking for work. Basically, look for local bands needing recordings, and offer them to record for fairly low cost. Build your name then work your way up. It's very hard, but if you love it, it can be very rewarding.
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Nameless_Rites
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:21 am
Posts: 184
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:06 pm 
 

It's very difficult. My friend studied it at a prestigious, expensive school. He's really talented, has a great ear, great education, totally knows what he's doing but still did not find steady work in the field (although he has gotten freelance gigs doing studio engineering and live sound). I have heard his work and it's top notch - there's just not many consistent jobs with a steady salary. He ended up working in software development instead.

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teh_Foxx0rz
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 9:38 am
Posts: 321
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:11 pm 
 

I'm currently doing a highish level Audio/Music engineering course and the top thing I've learnt from my teachers is that the jobs are in the live work. Whether that's front-of-house, monitoring, planning or just grunt work. They said there was a single job going at some world-renowned studio (unfortunately I forget what it was called) and about 903 people applied and the pay was only £18,000 a year or something. Can't remember the specifics as well as I'd like, but yeah, that's basically their point. Don't expect to work in a studio without working to get there.

The second most important thing is, as lame as the term is, networking -- getting to know people who can do things, or who you can do things for. If you want to do studio work, the most likely route there that I can glean is to wind up being taken on by a band or something for live work, and them deciding they could do with you working on their studio material too.

Thirdly is to just work your arse off, volunteering for all kinds of jobs in everything to get a reputation, things you can put on your CV/résumé whatever, and get those contacts in the process. And just volunteer for everything you think you can manage, even some things you think you can't, so long as they're not too far outside of your field of knowledge. What thrashinbatman says about finding local bands is very good advice. But be up for anything of course, not just metal.
Just remember that in the media job market, your reputation and contacts are your most valuable assets, since the good jobs nearly always go to people who are known to the people offering the job and have proven their worth.

As for schooling, I had absolutely 0 music education outside of compulsory stuff (which is peanuts of course), and still managed to end up in a pretty well accredited course -- I just happened to be in the right place, since I'd already been at the university doing a dumb course I realised I had no interest in. Look for opportunities. At the very least look for low-level courses at colleges or something- they may or may not be the best standard, but they should likely introduce you to important basics, and importantly, put you in an environment with other people doing the same thing as you -- some of whom may have links, or even get or become links in the future. And a qualification is a qualification at the end of the day as well -- something you can put onto your CV/résumé to get you one step up the ladder. Education does help if you get it, although it's likely just a matter of working even harder if you can't.

Don't expect it to be easy though, and certainly not inherently glamorous!

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