A whole new arena of audio engineering, live sound engineering is as fun a job as its daunting. Unlike studio mixing, there is no scope for re-editing or undoing anything when you are working with a live artist or band. For a live sound engineer, very few things are constant. The artists keep on changing. The venues can change. The acoustic environments are different from place to place and day to day. Even the equipment are rarely the same at different venues. This makes live mixing a difficult job.

However, it is perhaps one of the essential works when it comes to giving a great live performance. In a live band performance, each artist is a solo performer focused only on their instrument and the microphone in front of them. It is the live mixer who balances each note from every instrument and creates the best output that the audience finally gets to hear. A daunting task indeed.

Mumbai Music Institute, purveyor of one of the best live sound training and live sound engineering courses in India, present ten benefits of becoming a live sound engineer.

  1. Overseeing work: Most artists or bands performing have a preset output value for each channel they work with best and those are often provided to the live sound engineer in advance. This just leaves the overseeing work to the live mixer. A few tweaks here and there are all that’s required if the artist on stage knows their work to give a great performance.

  2. More Exposure: Unlike a studio mixer, a live sound engineer doesn’t work at a single venue or studio all the time. Interacting with new and different artists or working at a variety of venues provides a lot of exposure. Additionally, it also refines the resume for future job application by providing a lot of badges under the ‘experience’ heading.

  3. More contacts: Every venue or artist that a live sound engineer works with enables them to engage with a lot of different people in various wings of the music and drama industry. This is a field where every additional contact is a next step in getting their feet through the door and establishing themselves as a dependable and reputed figure.

  4. Immediate Feedback: A studio engineer works for hours to create the perfect music version but has to wait a long time for a large scale review. On the contrary, a live sound engineer works with the reviews that he is getting as soon as the sound leaves the PA system. A jumping and the screaming crowd is a signal to not touch the mixer while the first sign of any weird output is the cue to get your fingers flying over the board to fix the problem before the booing starts.

  5. Travel Opportunities: A live sound engineer associated with a band or a label gets the opportunities to go on various tours and concerts along with the artists. This is in itself a great benefit for any travel enthusiast in this industry. For those who are not big on travelling, these tours can fine tune the skill set of the engineer and increase their exposure.

  6. Job Opportunities: Besides the sound and music industry, live sound technicians can find the job opening in a multitude of other fields that includes but is not limited to motion pictures, stage plays, video recording, etc. Other than that, there is also the option of radio and television broadcast or, if so desired, associating with an independent band or artist or be a freelancer.

  7. Appreciation of personality: When your job description requires 10-12 hours of work, not all interactions with your colleagues will be about lightning and audio. A sound technician has to handle not only a lot of knobs but also a lot of people at once. This is where an excellent personality and good interaction ability gives you an edge over other technicians in the industry. No one is a huge fan of working with a sullen person. Personality and attitude along with a reasonable skill can go a long way in this job.

  8. Salary: India has seen an emergence in the audio and video market consumption. This also increases the demand for professionals in the field. The pay of a salaried live sound engineer can vary anywhere from 5000 to 50000 and at times, even more. A freelancer too can earn quite a lot depending on the gigs they bag.

  9. Creating a connection: A live sound engineer is essentially the person who connects a band or an artist performing on the stage to the audience before them. A great show will be attributed to the band and their skills while you will have to go back with only a rare pat on the back. It’s a sense of self-satisfaction and pride in your own work. The brighter part is to know that you did your part in making that show a success.

  10. Thrilling work experience: Even though sound engineering is not an adventure sport when you are standing in front of the mixer during a live show, the thrill is no less. The technician needs to stay on the edge the entire time and watch out for any static or feedback or any disturbance arising and deal with it reflexively before the problem reaches the PA output. This makes it an extremely challenging job that keeps you on edge the entire show long.

Benefits aside, it is an extremely demanding field where the job opportunity is hotly contested. Hence, for anyone looking to start a career in this field, it is essential to undergo some live sound engineer training provided by a reputed institute to give your CV a boost.

Mumbai Music Institute is one such place that offers excellent live sound courses with hand on the job experience.