The Best Books About Audio Production for Beginners – Part Two

Read Part One for my other three top book picks.

4) The Mixing Engineers Handbook by Bobby Owsinski

This is an essential book for anyone who is interested in knowing more about audio production. This is simply one of the best books out there to give you an excellent grounding in the art of mixing sound. Bobby Owsinski is well known in the industry as one of the best sound producers and engineers.

He has written many bestselling books on the subject which are widely acknowledged as some of the very best resources available for those looking to improve their audio production knowledge. This is an excellent book which the beginner can gain a lot from, as well as being useful for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge no matter what their level of experience.

One particularly useful section of the book is where there are lots of comments from experienced sound engineers. Audio production has science involved, but it really is more of an art. You can have all the technical skills that you need, but if you are not a talented artist you will not be a great audio production engineer. This book gives some insight into how to develop your artistry and includes advice from some of the top people in the industry.

5) Audio Production Work Text: Concepts, Techniques and Equipment by Samuel J.Sauls and Craig A. Stark

This is an excellent book which was published very recently so is up to date with the latest technology and techniques. It is a good balance of technical and practical techniques so that the reader can learn more about audio production.

6) The Art of Mixing: A Visual Guide to Recording, Engineering and Production by David Gibson

This is a great book, particularly if you have a visual learning style. It has a lot of pictures which explain the text with a good amount of detail. This book does a great job of explaining basic techniques and is highly recommended for a beginner.



The Best Books About Audio Production for Beginners – Part One

If you want to learn all about audio production you will need to have some great books to get you started. If you are just starting out learning about audio production you will spend most of your time actually experimenting and learning practical skills. This is a subject where a great deal of the learning is done through actually having practical experience. However, there is always room to learn and improve your skills by reading some great books. If you are a beginner here are some great books to get you started learning more about audio production.

1) Audio Engineering 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Music Production by Tim Dittmar

This is an excellent book if you are just starting out learning about audio engineering and production. This book covers the basic principles very well, including choice of equipment and covering essential elements of audio production.

There is a very comprehensive and helpful discussion about the types of microphones which are available and which are the best ties to use for particular situations. The reader does need to be careful with information about audio technology as it is not possible to keep a book up to date about actual products which are available. Having said that, there is a lot of information in the book about the technical aspects of audio equipment, which will give the reader the knowledge to make more informed decisions about which equipment to choose.

This is a very practical guide which is written by someone who actually knows the industry. It is both academic and practical. An excellent balance for anyone looking for a good starter text about audio production.

2) Audio Production and Postproduction (Digital Filmmaker) by Woody Woodhall

This is an excellent text for a beginner and those who want to increase their knowledge about audio production. Woody Woodhall is a very experienced independent sound editor and designer for film and television. He shares his many years of experience in this excellent book.

It is easy to understand and the author discusses many aspects of audio production in tandem with actual practical solutions to working in the industry. It isn’t just a technical text – it is a great overview of how skills can be learned and practical difficulties can be dealt with on actual projects.

You can tell that this book is written by someone who has many years of experience in the industry. As you would expect it covers the basics, but what makes it uniquely valuable is that he also discusses how to deal with problems before they even arise. This kind of insight can only come from someone who has been there and done that. Preventing issues is so much easier than dealing with them when they inevitably arise. This book deals with such things as planning resources and managing a team. These skills are essential when you are working in the field of audio production. You may know the best microphone for the job, but unless you can actually pull everything together this is not going to help you much when you are actually working in the industry.


3) Audio Postproduction for Film and Video: After-the-Shoot Solutions, Professional Techniques, and Cookbook Recipes to Make Your Project Sound Better (DV Expert Series) by Jay Rose

This book doesn’t just have an excellent title – it can really help you with our learning process if you are wanting to improve your audio production knowledge! It is a little more advanced than some books and it does require a basic knowledge of audio production techniques, but if you are looking for something to broaden your knowledge this is an excellent book to add to your collection.

Rather than just talk about broad topics the author is not afraid to get very detailed and specific. You can tell that the author has detailed practical experience in the field and that he communicates very well with the reader.

A very useful feature of the book is that it includes a CD which has pre and post production audio included so that the reader can compare the before and after results.

Read Part Two for my other three top book picks.

Top 5 Tips for Landing That Freelance Job in Audio Production – Part Two

4) The Customer is Always Right

It is very important that you have excellent technical skills to succeed in the world of audio production. However, people skills are equally as important. You are working in an industry where it is very important to get on with people. If you cannot relate to the client and translate their vision into reality, then you will not succeed in the industry.

When you are employed to work on a project you are bringing your technical skills and artistry to someone else’s vision. Always remember this. The customer is always right. You may think that the finished product could be very different, but you need to be careful that you do your best to make the client happy. We all know that some people in the industry can be incredibly difficult to deal with. You have to find a way to communicate with all kinds of people with different temperaments so that you can do your job.

Always remember that people skills are one of the most important requirements for this role. Getting a reputation as being easy to work with is worth its weight in gold. Future jobs will be so much easier to find if you are known as being highly skilled and an easy person to deal with.

5) Be Innovative

You have to think about how this point fits in with the overall rule that the customer is always right. We do not mean that you should stifle your creativity because you think that a client isn’t going to like it. You have to strike a balance. If you have an idea which you think is great you should present it to your client. Give them the opportunity to hear what you are saying, but if they still don’t like it, you have to know when to back off. Don’t force an idea which they clearly don’t like, but don’t be afraid to innovate.

It is always good to be known as a person who has ideas. You shouldn’t blindly listen to what the client says and not have any ideas to give them. Just be careful to present them in a way which will mean that they trust you to experiment. The most important thing that the client has to be able to do is to trust that they are safe in your hands. If you have just one happy client this can lead to so many things. You never quite know where things will lead next.

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Top 5 Tips for Landing That Freelance Job in Audio Production – Part One

The world of audio production is very competitive. There are many people out there with the required skills and not enough jobs for them. If you want to land that freelance job in audio production you have to make sure that you stand out from the crowd. Here are our top 5 tips to help you land that freelance job in audio production.

1) Have Great Skills

You may be able to somehow bluff your way into you first freelance job in audio production, but if your skills aren’t up to scratch you are going to be found out pretty quickly. Your finished product is the important thing and you will soon either become known as someone who is great, or someone who really should be looking for another career. This is a very competitive field and only the very good to great audio producers get to survive.

Therefore, before you even start trying to land that freelance production job, make sure that you actually have the skills that you need to impress. You want to be remembered for being great. This will undoubtedly lead to more work. It’s a small world and your reputation is everything. If you aren’t capable of doing the task, aim for something different, or take more time to refine your skills.

2) Don’t Aim for The Big Guys – Yet

We are all about aiming high and having ambition, but landing jobs in audio production you have to walk before you can run. It is all about gaining experience and building up a great reputation. We know that you want to land those big clients, but this is going to take time. Target some of the up and coming artists and studios. This will help to build up your portfolio of work.

Once you get more experience you will then have the confidence, the ability and the reputation to aim for the more difficult to win clients. You need a solid foundation so that you can gradually build up to the work that you really want.

Being able to network successfully is crucial in the industry. There is often a lot of luck involved as well as hard work. You never know when one contact will lead to another, so be prepared to network as much as you can.

3) Have an Online Presence to Impress

We live in a digital age. The world of audio production is deeply rooted in advanced technology so you must show that you are aware of the importance of an online presence. You can be sure that any prospect is going to Google your name, so make sure that when they do there is something impressive for them to see.  This website is exactly what I’m talking about!  Read about me on the About page.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to set up a website. There are so many easy ways to build a website these days. You do not need an expensive web designer to help you. All you need is a decent domain name and some time to set up a website. You can use this to showcase your work and to say something about who you are.

Once you have set up your website you need to think about your social media presence. People who are thinking of hiring you for a project will look at your Facebook page. Think about how you want to present yourself to prospective freelance clients rather than how you want to connect with your friends.

It is advisable to have a Facebook Page which relates to your professional portfolio as this is an excellent way to promote yourself with possible clients. They want to see how great you are at your job, not whether or not you have liked the latest cat video.

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Do You Really Want a Career in Audio Production?

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in audio production? If you have a passion for music recording you may think that a future in audio production is the way to go. It may be time to take a couple of steps back and really consider if this is the direction that you want to take. Here are some things to consider before you decide that you really want to make a career in audio production your goal.

Hobby or Profession?

Many people enjoy activities as a hobby, but when they start to pursue it as a full time career they discover that they wish they had just kept their passion as a side line. When you are considering which career to pursue, you should always do something that you love, but you have to consider the practical side of whether you really want to make your hobby a full time job. Will you lose your passion because it becomes part of the daily grind? How do I know about this?  I’ve lived it!  Many friends in the industry keep a day job and do this on the side.  I have friends with “real” jobs at:

All of them make the bulk of their income Monday to Friday, then moonlight on the weekends.  This is a great recipe for preventing burnout and having a flexible schedule.

The Competition is High

Jobs in audio production are scarce and there are a lot of people who are competing for those positions. There is a lot of luck involved in getting a job in audio production. It is difficult to get an unpaid internship, let alone get a full time job which is going to be enough to pay the bills.

There are many recording schools who are training a huge amount of audio recording specialists. There simply aren’t the jobs in the industry for all of these newly trained people, let alone all of those others out there who have experience in the industry. It can be very difficult to get even your first unpaid job. You have to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. This is not easy and will test your resolve to pursue audio production as a career.

You Need to Be Innovative

As we have seen, it is difficult even to get an unpaid internship in audio production. If you want to get yourself noticed, you need to stand out from the crowd. You could have amazing skills, but you need something just that little bit extra to get yourself actually hired in the industry.

You have to have the personality to get yourself out there. To deal with rejection and still get back up and face another day looking for a job. Do you have the right personality to do this? Do you really want a career in this industry so much that you can take the rejection and carry on?

It is Hard Work

If you do find a job, paid or unpaid, you will be working long hours. Whilst you may have enjoyed audio production as a hobby, how will you feel when you are working minimum 12 hour days on a project that you are less than enthusiastic about? Until you get a lot of experience and can pick and choose your work (not many in the industry can do that) you will be working long hours on projects that you may not be enjoying.

The job has the potential to completely wreck your social life too! Many people think that it is a glamorous job, but it has long and very unsociable hours. Family and friends will have to understand that working into the early hours of the morning is a normal part of your working life. Staying until the early hours of the morning working on a project will become a daily work pattern. This can be very difficult for others to understand.

Not all Projects will be Enjoyable

When you are enjoying audio production as a hobby you are most likely enjoying it as a solitary pursuit. You have your studio set up and you are working on the projects that inspire you. When you are enjoying music production as a hobby you can work on the projects that you choose. You don’t have to work on projects that don’t interest you.

When you get a paid job in the music industry it is likely that, for at least some of the time, you will be working on projects that do not fit well into the type of music that you really enjoy. Even if you get a job in a recording studio which specializes in a type of music that you love, you may spend many hours working on projects which you simply don’t enjoy. You can love a style of music, but if a project is not something that you enjoy, you still have to make the best of it.

Can You Work with People Too?

What you must also remember is that in a paid job you will be dealing with people. You are making their artistic vision a reality. Your opinion may be valuable, but you are working with someone else to help create their vision. You can steer them in the direction that you want them to go, but if they do not like what you are doing, it is their call at the end of the day.

Consider how well you can work with different personalities. You can have amazing technical skills, but if you can’t work with the people who are employing you then a career in audio production is not for you. We are all aware that many people in the music industry can be highly opinionated. They have very strong views on how they want their final product to turn out. Can you deal with those strong personalities every day of the week?  Read this for some pointers.

People skills really are one of the most overlooked aspects of the job but they should come very high on the list. It is essential that you can work with the artists. That may be a tall order as some of them will certainly be challenging to work with!

There are many skilled audio production engineers around, but the ones with great people skills are few and far between. If you have both talents, you have a huge advantage over the competition.


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Is Going to School for an Audio Production Degree Worth It? – Part Two

Looking for more info about an audio production degree?  Check out the first part of this article here.

Are You Good at Making Coffee?

It really doesn’t matter whether you go to school and learn about audio production or you are self-taught. Your first tasks in the audio production industry are most likely to be making the coffee. You will most likely have to start at the very bottom whether you have a college degree or not.

If you have managed to get a start with an unpaid internship in a recording studio you are most likely going to spend a lot of time running errands for other people. You will most likely initially spend way more time picking up dry cleaning for your boss, or going out to get the lattes for everyone than you will doing anything relating to the actual job that you want to do. You have to start small and you tend to have to do that no matter what qualifications that you have. A college degree is not going to save you from starting at the bottom.

What Will You Really Learn?

If you do decide that you will go to college to get an audio production degree, will you really learn the skills that you need? There is no use spending time and paying a whole lot of money to learn skills unless they are relevant and will help you get a job in audio production.

A training or degree course in audio production can be a great way to practice the skills that you need. You can learn in a safe environment where it is fine to make mistakes. These errors probably won’t be tolerated so well in the high pressure environment of a recording studio!

You do need to really think about the course content and how relevant it is for teaching you skills which are going to help in audio production. Industry technology moves very quickly, so you need to be sure that the school you pick will keep you up to date. You need to be sure that you are going to learn the things that you need and are relevant to the industry right now.

Remember that all life experience is relevant and that you need to decide which is the best option for you. The route to a job in audio production most definitely does not have to be by getting a college degree of any kind.

You need to weigh up the options, the costs and the likely chances of success of each route. Then you need to make an informed decision about which route is the best one for you to take. Only you can answer the question of whether you feel that you need a college degree – the industry definitely does not demand it.

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Is Going to School for an Audio Production Degree Worth It? – Part One

One of the most common questions from those wanting to go into the audio production industry is whether or not you need a specialist degree. We all know that going to college to get a degree is so expensive these days. Is it really a requirement that you need an audio production degree to get a job in the industry?

The simple answer is that you do not need to get any formal training or paper qualification to get a job in audio production. There are many people who are very successful in the industry who are completely self-taught and have not had any formal education in audio production.

You may be surprised how many people at the top of the industry have had no formal training in audio production at all. Some may have gone to college and studied a different subject. Others may never have been anywhere near a class room after high school graduation. You will find a whole range of different academic and training backgrounds in the audio production world.

That is the simple answer. You don’t need to get an audio production degree to have a career in the industry. However, many people do. So is this the best option for you? Here are some things to consider.

Do You Have the Funds?

No matter which college you go to, it is going to cost money. You have your tuition costs and your living costs. If you are just starting out you will most likely have to rely on your parents to pay for your college degree.

You not only have to factor in the cost of actually getting the degree, but also the money that you won’t be earning because you are devoting most of your time to study. It is possible to fit in paid employment around getting a degree, but it takes up a whole lot of your time. You will have to get a part time job which fits around your college schedule. You do need to take account of the fact that you will mostly be paying out money, without much time to earn any.

We are not saying that college isn’t a great experience. It certainly can be. However, you do have to work out the overall benefit in the bigger picture. Is it really worth spending the money to gain skills which you could get anyway and don’t have to pay for? Really think about what the value would be to you of an audio production degree.

The reality of the industry is that there really aren’t enough jobs to go around. There are plenty of training schools and colleges where you can spend a great deal of money so that you can get a paper qualification.

If money isn’t a consideration, then you are one of the lucky ones. Most students will come out of college with considerable debt. You will be starting out in your early life with a debt which may be difficult to pay off. This may not be quite so bad if you are fairly sure that you can go into a well-paid job when you get out of college. Unfortunately, the odds are against you getting a well-paid job straight out of college if your chosen career is audio production. Do you really want to risk starting out with that kind of debt knowing your chosen career is so competitive?

You need to weigh up the options, the costs and the likely chances of success of each route. Then you need to make an informed decision about which route is the best one for you to take. Only you can answer the question of whether you feel that you need a college degree – the industry definitely does not demand it.

Not satisfied?  Check out the second part to this article here.

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Strategies for Landing a Job in Audio Production – Part Two

Get Online

You have to take every possible opportunity to market yourself when you are looking for an audio production job. One essential thing that you must have is your own website. It isn’t difficult to set up and can be done for very minimal cost these days. You really need an online presence for so many things and audio production is certainly one industry where it is pretty much essential.

A prospective employer is very likely going to want to see an online presence which showcases your work. They will most likely also want to see something about who you are. This is the age of social media so you need to be out there on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use this as the opportunity to showcase who you are and what you are capable of. Make sure that when prospects type your name into Google they are going to find something well worth looking at and listening to.

Be The Best

This really is a very important thing. Get as much experience and make as many contacts as you can. At the end of the day you will get work based upon your abilities. It is true that there are many excellent audio production engineers that are out of work, because they haven’t had the luck and the marketing abilities to get themselves noticed in the industry. However, you can have all the good fortune and excellent marketing skills in the world, but if you aren’t good at the job, word will get out very soon. If you aren’t up to the job, that will become known very quickly within the industry. Your reputation for excellent work is essential.

If you are great at what you do things will become so much easier. You will soon get a reputation in the industry as being someone who does great work. That is the point when people will approach you to work for them, rather than you having to chase jobs all the time. This of course is your ultimate aim and you can only have that privilege after devoting a great deal of time to learning your craft.

Go Niche

You may want to consider a particular niche within the industry that you are interested in. There are often specialist areas which are lacking in highly skilled people to take the jobs. Try to broaden your outlook of the type of work that you want to do. If there is a shortage of people who are great at live audio production and you think that you have the skills for this, you should target those jobs. There are certain elements of audio production which are lacking in highly trained people, so you should make sure that you are looking towards improving your skills in these areas.

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Strategies for Landing a Job in Audio Production – Part One

The audio production job market is very competitive. There are many people who have excellent audio production skills who find it difficult to land a great job. How can you make yourself stand out in this very competitive market, so that you can get the job of your dreams? Here are some strategies that you can use to get a job in audio production.

Start Small

You have to be prepared to work your way up the career ladder in audio production. This means that you have to start with small jobs, many of which will be either offering no money at all, or which will be paid at a low rate. The object is to get as much experience as you can and to build up your list of contacts. These can be crucial when it comes to landing a great job in audio production.

It may be that artists only want a part of the job doing. They may have done a lot of the pre-production elements themselves in their home studio. Be willing to take on small jobs.

If a job offers you the opportunity of making great contacts or getting new experience always be prepared that you may have to take these on for free when you are first starting out. There are always many people out there willing to give up their time for nothing so that they can get a start in the audio production world.

There comes a point when you are just being taken advantage of this. You need to recognize when you are at a point when you can start charging for your work and refusing the freebies when it really isn’t helping your career or your ability to pay the bills.

Be Flexible

A career in audio production may mean that you have to take on projects which are outside your major interests. You may want to specialize in post-production audio for movies, but the only work out there is recording classical opera. Take the work that it is available. It will increase your range of experience and it may lead you in directions which you would never have taken otherwise. You can often think that your area of interest lies somewhere, but then after experiencing something else you find that you are inspired by that too. We never know quite where life will take us.

Win Friends and Influence People

Connections are very important for landing a great job in the audio production industry. It really is vital that you network as much as you possibly can so that you get your name out there. Getting your foot in the door of a recording studio is the very first step to take on the road to getting a great job.

Be prepared to work for free. You will increase your skills, but equally importantly, you will be widening your circle of connections. This is a difficult industry to break into, so the more people you know and have contact with, the more chances you have of finding work. Jobs are often not publicly advertised so you need to be on the inside to even find out where the opportunities are.

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