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How much does a Sound Engineer earns a month where you live?
Old 28th November 2020
  #1
How much does a Sound Engineer earns a month where you live?

Hey guys,


I want to make some changes in my life after the Covid Pandemic, and I was seriously wondering, how much does an Assistant Engineer, and a Main Engineer in a Studio earns a month? And how much does a Studio as a whole makes a month in Dollars? My focus for this is in NY, L.A, S.F, and London. Places I have access to. But all experience's in all places count. Also how much do they pay Engineers who are around for general help?

For this purpose we can catalogize studios into Small Studio, Middle Studio and Large Studio. Having good gear that relates to the size of the studio and of course being a competent Sound Engineer with extensive knowledge of all the fields of this discipline.

I know this depends upon a lot of variables (If its a Studio centered on Band Recording, Studio built for Vst based projects, et all) but every experienced response counts. This would help me make long lasting life plans and therefore choices and is very much appreciated.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Nothing to thousands per day.

It really all depends on who you are, what your track record is, where you are, what you’re doing, and what the demand is.

You can’t assume an income, or assume that a studio turns over a given amount (not that anyone who hasn’t had experience of this should be starting a studio!).

If you have no track record, you’ll be working for what you can get until you’ve proved your worth - if you’re fortunate enough to get into that situation.

Studio size doesn’t mean much - most of us do a lot of work from smaller spaces, size only matters when you’re hiring a studio for a task.

If you want to know studio day rates - ask them! But you can’t know what regularity of bookings is....you can get a decent sized tracking space for the equivalent of £4-500/day in London I should think - more for bigger spaces, less for vocal only spaces. But that doesn’t mean you could start a space and be booked at £400/day for 5 days a week.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #3
Thanks, you're very kind. I'm used to studio talk since long ago. Assuming how much money a studio pulls in it's often wildly off the real charts. I just wanted something in the ball park to get an idea of how much a studio and the staff were making in 2020 or before everything closed down.

I know that in San Fran the most sought out Indie Rock Recording Studios, the ones with best rep and high quality serviced expensive equipment, middle sized, a First Engineer's rate for the band is about 250 bucks on up an hour, of course a First Engineer is mandatory in every session. I was wondering how much of that sum goes to the Engineer per hour, per example.

I'm guessing that in a smaller all in the box studio with a decent vocal booth the rate for the First Engineer will vary. And if a Producer is booked in recording or post recording (producing the song) his fee would be another one. And if it's down in New Mexico how much it would vary from LA. Or say from zone one to zone four in London.

I was wondering what were the Engineers, Producers and general staff making who were reading this post and their experience but I know not everyone is comfortable sharing that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It’s just so impossible to generalise it’s useless information really.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
I mean, for example, to bring my original post home, a guy who is a in House Engineer in a mid size studio in Brooklyn who's reading this could post "I make so and so figures by doing so in a studio with these qualities when we're booked most of the time".

I forgot that most people in this forum are public like me and not annon so no one is comfortable talking figures.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lfoxxx View Post
I mean, for example, to bring my original post home, a guy who is a in House Engineer in a mid size studio in Brooklyn who's reading this could post "I make so and so figures by doing so in a studio with these qualities when we're booked most of the time".

I forgot that most people in this forum are public like me and not annon so no one is comfortable talking figures.
It kind of depends why you’re asking, and everyone’s circumstances are different.

There aren’t, relatively speaking, many “house engineer” jobs. In Sydney I can think of maybe 3 people who have a guaranteed salary from an engineering job - and I’m one of them! Everyone else is freelance. Or they’re running their own space, so it’s more that people come to work with them at their spot rather than booking the studio and whatever engineer it comes with.

If you’re a freelance engineer with a regular gig at a bigger studio, you’re likely to accept a lesser rate if it means you get first call to work. I certainly make less per hour in my “day job” than I do from my freelance work. But longer term it’s more profitable.

You’re also forgetting that to stay booked “most of the time”, rates need to vary. Most people, faced with an empty week, would do a last minute deal rather than sit empty.

But really - what are you looking to find out? Most people don’t make a living wage working in audio, however great they are - supply simply outstrips demand. The true “average”, looking at those who are capable of pro level work, is kept low because a lot of people aren’t able to charge. If you’re looking at “what can I hope to make if I choose to be an engineer”, you’re looking at things the wrong way. What you should be doing is saying “how much do I need to live” and then working out how to achieve that whilst attempting to establish yourself.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
Thanks for the response psycho_monkey! It helps to know how things are working currently in that field in Sidney. It certainly helps to hold down a steady job.

My understanding is that studios that make mandatory a First/House Engineer is because not everyone knows how to use properly that expensive Studer or how to screw in properly those U87's to the stands, or even use that Apollo Interface so they have to be around so the musicians and Engineers who don't know the gear, even the mic stands, don't break those sought after assets. And well how to use the studio set up, routing, studio quirks, etc. Even if they are not that expensive, but "less than a thousand" gear. That's a hefty price for a mic for a lot of people, I know atm it is for me. I know I wouldn't leave a band and their producer/engineer in my apartment studio alone at work unsupervised and my gear is far from those described.

I was asking so to get a conversation going because I have a few connections here and there and after we get through this Corona Virus I wanna split where I'm stuck at the moment and get something going. I play live as well. So I just wanted a friendly chat of how things are atm around the globe, but none the less my options are limited to certain cities but I enjoy talking anything related to music. Was wondering if new ideas would pop into my head. If you do a search in YouTube you can get similar results but talking personally to people it's way much more fun and symbiotic for the topic.

Where I'm at at the moment I had to choose if to work as an Engineer or if to pursue my music and chose to play live full time and produce n engineer my own stuff. That's just the nature of the beast here. I produced some stuff for other people and worked in other fields of music and arts none the less, but the overall scene was very different from Madrid where I was coming from. Like you say you have to ask yourself "How much do I need to eat" then "How much do I need to pay rent" and then work from there your way up. Having UK citizenship by birth has helped a lot.
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