Audio mixing is an essential process of the recording, production, and performance fields. Sound mixers are trained professionals that operate a variety of equipment to produce the sound for a variety of programs.
What does a sound mixer do?
Sound mixers are responsible for the overall sound quality and controlling the volume for a variety of recordings, productions, and performances. They operate audio equipment to record and edit sounds, music, and dialog for recordings, radio and television programs, films, videos, and live performances. They often produce soundtracks for television programs and movies by inserting a variety of sounds after the recording or filming process. Sound mixers usually use control boards to organize and balance sounds that are pre-recorded. They also test and adjust recording equipment, troubleshoot problems, and perform the necessary maintenance and repairs. Sound mixers keep detailed logs of their activities and make copies of original recordings.
What kind of training does a sound mixer need?
Sound mixers must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer candidates with some postsecondary training and related work experience. Many sound mixers have postsecondary diplomas, certificates, and or degrees. Prospective sound mixers typically complete courses in sound recording, sound mixing, digital mixing, computer-based recording technologies, recording devices, and recording formats. Many aspiring sound mixers complete volunteer experiences or internships at television stations or related facilities to gain practical experience. Some sound mixers start out in entry-level positions and move into sound mixing positions as they the necessary skills and experience. Some employers provide on the job training to enable new sound mixers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Sound mixers complete additional training as needed throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay current with technological advances in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a sound mixer?
Employment of sound mixers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% through 2018 (1).
Job prospects should be good with keen competition. Sound mixers with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.
How much do sound mixers make?
As of 2012, the average annual salary for sound mixers is $39,000; average annual sound mixer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a sound mixer is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in performing a variety of sound mixing tasks for many different venues. Sound mixers must have a solid understanding of music theory and a variety of recording devices and formats. Patience, flexibility, good listening skills, good problem solving skills, and detail orientation are necessary characteristics. Sound mixers must be open-minded and have the ability to adapt to a variety of musical styles. They must also have good communication and interpersonal skills because they often interact with a variety of other professionals.