Sound quality is an important element of the entertainment industry, from television to the stage to radio and more. A sound technician is in charge of making the proper adjustments to sound equipment so that performers can be heard clearly. This job requires a great deal of technical knowledge and some schooling often is necessary. Unique skills and duties are needed to help engineers create memorable broadcasts and performances for audiences around the world.
Education and experience are crucial to success as a sound technician. Most positions require at least a high school diploma and many more require an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in sound or broadcast engineering. These classes teach students about acoustics and equipment in order to prepare them for a life as a broadcast engineer. Experience also can be gathered by finding work as an assistant sound technician at a studio or a performance venue.
The technician, or sound mixer, primarily is responsible for maintaining and setting up sound equipment. There typically are a series of microphones and cables that must be properly hooked up to a sound board and properly tested before any performance can occur. The sound technician must have strong acoustical senses to know when something sounds good or needs to be adjusted. A sound technician makes adjustments in order to achieve greater clarity and signal strength.
There are many skills a sound technician must possess in order to perform this job well. The biggest attribute is excellent stress management skills, because most broadcasts and stage performances are live, and adjustments must be made quickly. Communication skills also are a necessity, because a sound technician often will be supervising many assistants and working with directors, so he or she must clearly state the audio needs to both parties. Also, a technician must have what are called "good ears" and be able to hear slight differences or problems that others would not notice.
A sound technician can be found working in a variety of locations. The most common place for this work is within broadcasting studios for radio and television. Stage performances also require many microphones and a sound mixer in order to get the voices clearly from stage to the audience. Another place where sound engineers find work is with musical acts, in order to capture instruments and voices perfectly in a club or theater.