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What Does an Audio Technician Do?

An audio technician should know how the various types of microphones behave in different settings.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2014
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An audio technician has three areas of responsibility: to set up and use audio equipment, to maintain audio equipment, and to find new clients. Most are trained professionals responsible for the set up, use, and maintenance of highly specialized audio recording equipment. They typically work as independent contractors, with business relationships with multiple recording studios, performance halls, and other venues.

People who enjoy working with others; are musically inclined; have a good, natural ear; and are naturally outgoing report the greatest satisfaction as an audio technician. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that a sound recording is of the highest quality possible. The ability to interact with others while communicating clearly and effectively is very important.

As a freelance professional, a technician is responsible for finding and winning new jobs or business. Audio recording services are typically arranged through the venue, so these individuals need to make business connections with club and venue managers, as they are responsible for arranging for audio work. Quality of workmanship, pricing, and overall business relationships are critical in the service industry. A lot of work is gained or lost through reputation, so it is important for a technician to dedicate sufficient time to maintain these relationships.

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The primary role of the audio technician is to set up and operate sound and recording equipment. The scope of work can vary from a simple microphone and recording equipment to a complex sound stage with multiple instruments. The technician sets up the equipment in advance of the performers’ arrival and must be available for sound checks, adjusting the settings and equipment as required.

Finding new clients is an important part of the job. This can be done through a combination of local, targeted advertising and building important business relationships. For example, someone who works in small venues might build a business relationship with local event planners, corporate event hosting firms, or related businesses. These contacts can provide information regarding new jobs and other potential business opportunities.

The career path is highly dependent on an individual's skill and dedication. People who are willing to travel might secure a position with a large musical act or production, touring the world. Other people specialize in a genre of music, building a reputation within a specific community. Advancement opportunities are rather limited, but many people build a long, rewarding career as an audio technician.

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JessicaLynn
Post 3

@Azuza - Most audio visual jobs involve the same over all duties the article mentioned. The main differences between working as an employee and an independent contractor are in pay, benefits and flexibility.

Usually contractors get paid a lot more per hour than the employees do. However, independent contractors generally don't get benefits such as health insurance. Even though hours for employee AV technicians aren't constant they are usually more regular than for independent contractors who have to continually find places to contract with. That being said, a contractor always has more flexibility. The employee must work the hours the company sets out but the contractor always has the option of saying "no thank you" to a job.

Both options can be good ones depending on your needs and lifestyle.

Azuza
Post 2

@JessicaLynn - Your boyfriend works as an employee instead of an independent contractor. What is the difference between the two in the AV world? I'm considering an audio technician career and I'm trying to find out a little more about the industry.

JessicaLynn
Post 1

My boyfriend is an audio visual technician so I know a lot about this job first hand. It is true a lot of AV technicians work as independent contractors. However they can also be employed by a company.

My boyfriend works for a company that contracts with hotels. He usually ends up doing work for things like corporate events and weddings. The work can be pretty interesting but the hours aren't that good. In fact, most AV technicians are paid by the hour and aren't guaranteed a 40 hour work week. They pretty much work whenever there are events to tech-so this may mean they work 70 hours one week and 20 the next.

Even though it can be a little erratic my boyfriend really does enjoy his job.

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