Making the Band: Audio Engineering Careers in Miami

Making the Band: Audio Engineering Careers in Miami

Miami is an international melting pot for culture and entertainment and that is even more evident in its music. From merengue and calypso to reggae and cumbia, Miami is truly a hot spot for music styles from across the globe. In the early 1970's the Miami disco sound became popular with bands such as KC and the Sunshine Band. The 1980's brought the syncopated sounds of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine and Freestyle dance music featuring acts such as Debbie Deb, Stevie B, Expose, Pretty Tony and others.

The 90's also brought the high energy sounds of Miami Bass to dance floors and car sub woofers across the country. Miami Bass popularized artists like 2 Live Crew, 95 South, Tag Team, 69 Boyz, and Quad City DJ's. More recent artists out of Miami include Trick Daddy, Trina, Pitbull, Rick Ross, and Jackie-O.

It would also be impossible to ignore that all of these incredible artists, at some point in time, have had to employ the services of an audio engineer.


In commercial production of a recording, there are four distinct steps. Recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. Typically, each is performed by a sound engineer who specializes only in that part of production.

Studio Engineer

Either a sound engineer working in a studio together with a producer, or a producing sound engineer working in a studio.

Recording Engineer

Recording engineers manipulate audio consoles to mix sound and dubbing machines to record dialog, music and sound effect tracks.

Mixing Engineer

A mixing engineer creates mixes of multi-track recordings. It is not uncommon for a commercial record to be recorded at one studio and later mixed by different engineers in other studios.

Mastering Engineer

A mastering engineer is trained and skilled in the art of taking audio that has been previously mixed (in either the analog or digital domain as mono, stereo, or multi channel formats) and preparing it for use in distribution, whether by physical media such as a CD, vinyl record, or as some method of streaming audio.

Other Related Career Fields:

  • Game Audio Designer
  • Live Sound Engineer
  • Foldback or Monitor Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Audio Post Engineer

Audio Engineering Degree Programs

Obtaining an audio engineering degree is the best first step to getting a job, or starting a career in audio engineering. Several community colleges, technical schools, junior colleges, and many universities in Seattle offer degree programs in audio sciences leading to an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree.

Areas of study may include:

  • Music Theory
  • Digital Audio
  • Audio Recording Sessions
  • Sound for Film & Video
  • Concert Sound
  • Audio Technology
  • Fundamentals of Editing

While usually associated with music production, an audio engineer also deals with sound for a wide range of applications, including post-production for video and film, live sound reinforcement, advertising, multimedia, and broadcasting. When referring to video games, an audio engineer may also be a computer programmer.

Outlook & Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 29 percent of sound engineering technicians worked in broadcasting (except Internet broadcasting), and 15 percent worked in the motion picture, video, and sound recording industries. About 13 percent were self-employed.

Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average through 2018. However, people seeking entry-level jobs as technicians in broadcasting are expected to face keen competition in major metropolitan areas. The National median annual wages of audio and video equipment technicians in May 2008 were $38,050. For Miami, the average salary was $53,200 (7.1% higher than the national average).

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