What they do
Sound technicians operate technical audio equipment, to support television or radio broadcasts, film or video productions, or in live performance. They use equipment to record, reproduce, mix, enhance and amplify sound. They set up, test, operate, monitor or repair equipment and work with performers and other production staff to attain the desired sound.
Many sound technicians work in the field, in venues, such as the pubs and clubs of Northbridge and Fremantle, concert halls and outdoor events. They can also work in businesses renting or selling audio monitoring and recording equipment, as well as undertaking maintenance and repairs.
Specialisations include: Audio Operator, Dubbing Machine Operator, Foley Artist, Re-recording Mixer, Sound Editor, Sound Effects Person, Sound Mixer, Sound Recordist, Video and Sound Recorder
Sound technicians are often expected to work long hours including late nights and on weekends, for example when they are responsible for setting up, monitoring and then packing down the sound equipment at concerts and other live performances. Sound technicians' work can also involve heavy lifting and the co-ordination of other technical crew.
Sound technicians can also be required to work in loud, dark concert venues, or in variable weather conditions at heavily populated outdoor events, like the Big Day Out in Claremont. They may also work in wholesale or retail businesses.
Tools and technologies
Sound technicians work with a detailed and complex range of very specific sound recording, mixing and production tools. These may include audio mixing consoles, noise reduction systems, audio filters, microphones, radio frequency transmitters or receivers, sound and video editing software, cable testers and many different types of cabling. Sound technicians will need to know how each of these pieces of equipment work together, and are responsible for using them in conjunction with each other, as well as setting them up or packing them down.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a sound technician without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in sound production, music, screen production, film and video or other related area.
The Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Music Industry, and the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
You can also undertake a traineeship in music industry (technical production). The traineeship takes 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing