A sound (audio) engineer invoice is a form dedicated to requesting payment for services provided by a full-time, often contractual sound engineers for the rendering of musical-related tasks, which can include mixing, editing, and mastering of recorded music for studios and independent artists. With a digital invoice, sound engineers can list the services that were completed for the client, list any important notes (such as thanking them for being a great client), and can provide their contact information to ensure the client has a means of reaching out to them for questions or additional work.
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A sound engineer, also called an audio engineer, is an individual that works on the technical side of the commercial music, film, video game, and radio industries to record and improve audio through the use of digital instruments. The career is often described as a mix of both creative and technical skills, as audio engineers often rely an equal amount on their ear to improve the sound of a recording as computers and other tools. In the music industry, sound engineers are responsible for completing four (4) major steps in the production process, which consist of sound recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. Sound engineers can choose to focus on a single aspect of the production process or provide them all complimentary.
Within the field of sound engineering lie several types of specifications and job types. Some of these include:
- Studio Sound Engineer
- Recording Engineer
- Mixing Engineer
- Mastering Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Front-of-House Engineer
Regardless of the exact sub-specialty, all audio engineers are rooted in both the artistic and technical sides of music creation.
Sound engineers can hail from backgrounds rooted in formal education to those based on first-hand experience and self-taught skills. Like many jobs, the path to a financially rewarding career is just as dependent on networking and skill than on education. For example, in the music industry, famous singers and bands are likely to work with sound engineers that are known in the industry and have been working with other famous musicians – not because other sound engineers are necessarily worse, but it’s often less of a risk as the more well-known engineers have already proven they harbor the skill to record, master, and edit a hit song or album. For those looking to receive a formal audio engineering education, the following paths can be pursued:
Associate’s Degree (2-year) – Earning an associate’s degree can offer students with the working basics, giving them the means of obtaining employment in the audio industry as entry-level audio technicians. It is recommended that online colleges are avoided, as audio engineering is very hands-on due to the varying types of audio equipment, which include audio workstations, MIDI controllers, microphones, and other studio gear.
Bachelor’s Degree (4-year) – Those looking to earn a bachelor’s degree should expect to dedicate four (4) to five (5) years of their life to studying a wide variety of courses made up general education, business, music fundamentals and creation, and technical classes. After completing a Bachelor’s degree, masters options are available in select universities across the United States.
Certifications (Optional) – Certifications demonstrate to customers and potential employers that a sound engineer has an adept understanding of a certain subcategory or field of audio production or expertise in a type of digital tool. Two (2) very popular certifications that are acquired by practicing audio engineers is the Avid Certified Operator in Pro Tools, and the Certified Audio Engineer issued by the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE).
The salary of a sound/audio engineer is dependent on a variety of factors, including the experience of the engineer, the field or company in which they work, their education, and their desired workload. According to glassdoor, and PayScale, the following are the average national figures for both:
Salary: $44,796/yr (source: glassdoor)
Hourly rate: $20.26/hr (source: PayScale)