How to become a Freelance Sound Engineer

freelance Sound Engineer

How many of you have heard of Alan Parsons, or Ashish Manchanda? They are probably two extremely successful sound engineers, with the former working with noted bands like Pink Floyd, among a host of illustrious names and the latter the sound engineer for the Bollywood musical hit Dev D.

You can be certain that it is a career highly coveted, and you will be known by your sounds. Does it sound interesting? Even if it doesn’t it is one of the most sound options for many of you out there, pun not intended. As a sound engineer, you will not only produce sound, you will look at all other aspects of how to create a recordable and well-mastered sound. As a freelance sound engineer, you’ll learn how to produce music; you will learn how to bring instrumental and vocal elements together to create music, working in teams. Over a span of time, you might end up working for many record labels, and even open up your own label.

Freelance Sound Engineer Jobs:

With every job, there are a set of duties that you must undertake, either in a full time setting or a freelance one. Some duties, specific to your career as a sound engineer much coordination and liaison with many others. You must be able to work in groups and socialize with fellow professionals, often in collaboration or alone.

The duties of the Sound Engineer are split into two groups, production and post-production activities:

Production Activities Include:

  • Assessing the acoustics of the performance area and assembling and operating the necessary equipment;
  • Consulting with producers and performers to determine the sound requirements;
  • Selecting, positioning, adjusting and operating the equipment used for amplification and recording;
  • Applying technical knowledge of sound recording equipment to achieve the determined artistic objectives;
  • Recording sound onto digital audio tape or hard disk recorders;
  • Monitoring audio signals to detect sound-quality deviations or malfunctions;
  • Anticipating and correcting any problems;
  • Maintaining and repairing sound equipment.

Post-Production Activities Include:

  • Integrating (synchronization) of pre-recorded audio (dialogue, sound effects and music) with visual content;
  • Re-recording and synchronising audio (post-synching);
  • Mixing and balancing speech, effects and music;
  • Creating and altering sound effects for use in films, television, etc.


As a sound engineer, you will need to be good at what you do. To get to that level, you must develop the skills needed. Sound engineering is a skill very crucial to the music industry and you will be remembered by your work as a sound engineer. Thus, it is important to develop skills like

  • Musical/Instrument Skills
  • Creativity
  • Motivation
  • Perseverance
  • Ability to concentrate for long periods
  • Self confidence
  • Mastery of production software like Protools, etc
  • Mastering
  • Post production skills
  • Sound mixing skills
  • Sound Engineering skills

You can learn most of these skills online. Many platforms, forums and websites help you develop and hone skills. Some of the main websites where you can learnt the basics and even specific of sound engineering, include Audio Masterclass, Audioinstitute, Coursera,Lynda And MIT Online,including both paid for and free options.

Freelance Sound Engineer Career:

More often than not, skill is not the only determinant in the music industry, with experience and credibility being the major cornerstones on which the industry bases itself. Many attributes make up a good freelance sound engineer, and certain steps that can help you become successful, usually include:

  • Master at least one instrument
  • Be able to edit, recreate and even create sounds as needed
  • Be sociable
  • Build up recommendations
  • Creating an eye-catching website, and promoting a daily blog
  • Getting out of your comfort zone as a music producer, i.e. taking up advanced jobs which require a deeper understanding of languages and socio-cultural norms
  • Being adept at post production and be able to spot mastering errors or gaps in a track
  • Being open to learning
  • Marketing yourself

Freelance Sound Engineer Salary:

Sound Engineers can make huge money, and with a little bit of skill maybe even create your own album. Alan Parsons is one of the most famous sound engineers turned musician. He mixed and produced sound for Pink Floyd. What about the freelance sound engineer? Like other freelance opportunities, musicians also earn varied amounts through different projects.

Average remuneration for freelancers based on projects and can be from anywhere from <$1 to close to around $500 for each project. The remuneration depends on the scope of work required and the skill needed to perform the task. There are many projects available where you will have to hand in composition corrections, and master and finish a track created by a musician.

Finding Work:

Sound Engineers usually work with artists, record labels or individually, collaborating with whoever puts the money up. As a sound engineer the trend of freelance is but a natural progression if you don’t play with a band, or an orchestra.

There are many websites where one can find work as a freelance sound engineer. Elance, Peopleperhour and Odesk are some of the websites which offer jobs to freelance sound engineers like you.

Learning Resources:

There is no dearth of learning resources for prospective freelance positions as a sound engineer. Websites that offer online resources for sound engineers to learn skills and tools online, are a dime a dozen. Many online courses offered here, include courses tied up to internationally recognised institutions like MIT.

You can learn most of these skills online. Many platforms, forums and websites help you develop and hone skills, to record a decent living in a career as a sound engineer. Audio Masterclass, Audioinstitute, Coursera, Lynda and MIT Online,including both paid for and free options.

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