Sound Engineer Salary

Nov 11 2018

The bottom line is working with clients to help them bring their visions to reality. At Sound Lounge, we use Pro Tools as a digital audio workstation (DAW) for all the audio work. Knowing the software well enough to accomplish your sonic goals is important. I work a lot with voiceover actors and help direct them into the best performances for the spot.

There’s also a little bit of administrative-type stuff: managing resources so that the job gets done in time and within budget, sussing through the most efficient ways of accomplishing those tasks, and helping guide the client into getting the best talent and making the creative decisions that will benefit them in the end. It can be a lot to keep track of, but the more of this prep work you do, the more efficient and smooth the creative process will be. It’s a hodge-podge mix of tasks, but I enjoy doing a little bit of everything.

When you’re working in post-production, particularly on the advertising side of things, you generally have it a little better off than if you’re strictly in music or film production. My hours are generally pretty regular at Sound Lounge. That said, when I leave, I often spend a couple hours working on catching up on my other projects. I try to keep up with a solid schedule so that things don’t slip through the cracks. In general though, I get to work around 9am and leave around 6pm. Most sessions during those hours are booked in few-hour chunks. In a typical week I may meet up with a colleague or client for a drink on a night, do some of my production collective work a night or two, and then try to lay low or work out the other couple nights. My weekends don’t generally get flooded with work at all unless I have something that’s really time sensitive.

This completely depends on what part of the industry you’re in: commercials, film, or music; and what you do: sound design, mix, direct, compose, etc. It’s fair to say that you may start somewhere around $20-30k a year (either salaried or broken up hourly) as a fresh-out-of-school hire, and depending on where you go in the industry, can make well over $100k as you go on (particularly in advertising). Average for the general audio engineering field as a broad career choice, in general, is probably closer to $50-60k – especially considering much higher potential salaries in urban markets like NYC and LA (higher profile gigs), and lower in suburbs or smaller general markets. It can vary a lot depending on the niche you’re in.

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