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The Ultimate Guide to Live Sound Engineer Salary (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

We have previously explored the average pay scales for professionals in the audio industry through our discussion on sound engineer salaries in Singapore. Now, it’s time to shift our focus to live sound engineers and examine their salary prospects in greater detail.

Examining live sound engineer salary prospects is beneficial, especially if you aspire to join music school or music course and be a professional in the audio industry. It sets a benchmark that allows you to determine the reasonable pay before you go in for interviews.

Knowing the pay scales also helps in salary negotiations with prospective employers. You can gain bargaining power from this, resulting in a decent income to support your career in the long run and avoid shortchanging your expertise for a low wage.

Eager to learn more about live sound engineer salary prospects? Keep on reading and gain valuable paying insights before starting your career in the audio industry!

What is Live Sound Engineering?

For starters, live sound engineering is an act of blending and balancing multiple audio sources during live events. The audio sources will include instruments and voices that are picked up by the microphones (e.g., vocals and musical instruments) and pre-recorded materials like backing tracks.

The live sound engineer plays an important role. They use a mixing console or software to produce equalised, routed and amplified auditory elements through the venue’s sound system. It requires expertise, experience and a cool head to balance multiple audio sources to suit the event.

In achieving a perfect front-of-house mix, the live sound engineer brings the event to life. The audience has an opportunity to experience the magic of live performances and make unforgettable memories. 

What does a Live Sound Engineer do?

A live sound engineer is in charge of blending and balancing audio elements in real time to produce high-quality sounds that are reproduced through loudspeakers. They achieve this by relying on software and electrical components, so they must be proficient in both.

Furthermore, a keen auditory sense is also essential. This means that live sound engineers must keep their focus throughout the event. They’re responsible for making the necessary adjustments to cater for the changing moods of the performers and the audience.

The fluctuating moods call for different sound requirements, and often they can happen unexpectedly. For instance, a performer may switch from a slow ballad to a fast-paced song, or the audience may start cheering and clapping loudly during an exciting moment.

In this case, the live sound engineer must be able to adjust the sound levels and effects on the fly and in real time. As a result, the sound quality will be consistently in high standards and appropriate for each moment of the event. 

Where Do Live Sound Engineers Work?

Live sound engineers work in a variety of settings that require live audio mixing for optimal audience experience. Due to the vast multimedia environment, there are now numerous fields that require live sound engineers, as listed and explained below:

Music Concerts

Music concerts typically require audio equipment such as microphones, musical instruments, speakers, mixing consoles, and many others. Live sound engineers are responsible for setting them up and balancing the sound elements for the maximum auditory experience.

They usually work closely with performers to ensure that their music sounds great in the venue. Besides, they’re also responsible for adjusting the sound throughout the show to cater to the performance changes.

This way, all elements—including the vocals and instruments—will be balanced and heard clearly. As a result, the audience will have a more enjoyable experience while watching the performance.

Theatre Performances

Theatrical performance is a form of art requiring dialogues, sound effects, and music to support the story. Live sound engineers will be responsible for providing audio blending and balancing so that the sound elements match the performance.

Live sound engineers work closely with the director and audio engineers to create a soundscape that enhances the performance. After determining the soundscape, they’ll ensure that the audio is balanced and synchronised with the action on stage.

Overall, the work of live sound engineers will enhance and liven up the theatrical performance. With the help of real-time audio blending and balancing, it’s easier to make the audience entertained and carried away by the story.

Seminars

Seminars, especially large ones, may need the help of live sound engineers. Large seminars typically have a larger audience. The assistance of live sound engineers can enhance the audio elements and improve message comprehension by the audience.

Live sound engineers will help set up and operate audio equipment such as microphones, loudspeakers, and audio mixing tools during seminars. They will also maintain their focus throughout the event, allowing them to adjust in real time to any changes.

In addition, live sound engineers may also be responsible for recording the event for archival or streaming purposes. As a result, anyone can rewatch the seminars with high-quality audio whenever they want.

Religious Gatherings

Some houses of worship require audio elements to guide the congregation to engage in religious gatherings. In this case, they will need the help of live sound engineers to optimise the audio quality during the service, which includes prayers, music, and sermons.

Live sound engineers in religious gatherings usually work closely with worship leaders, singers, and music teams. They do this to make sure that real-time audio mixing suits the worship ambience and message.

Other than that, live sound engineers may also be asked to record the service for archival or streaming purposes. As a result, the recording will be available for anyone to view online or whenever needed.

What is The Average Salary For a Live Sound Engineer?

Salary Expert reports that Singaporean live sound engineers earn an average of $80,254 per year. The lowest reported salary is $58,599 per year, and the highest is $98,839 per year.

The amount, however, is an exception to other forms of compensation. According to Salary Expert, live sound engineers earn a yearly bonus of around $1,549.

In addition to salary and yearly bonuses, live sound engineers also receive health insurance. As reported by Payscale, the insurance covers medical, dental, and vision expenses.

Live Sound Engineer Salary Prospect in the Next 5 Years

Based on Salary Expert’s survey, Singaporean live sound engineers have a promising future. They could receive an 18% salary increase over the next five years, bringing their annual income to $94,673.

This positive salary trend is correlated with the growing demand for live sound engineers in the entertainment and multimedia industries. With Singapore a premier venue of choice in Asia for concerts, musicals and other performances, demand for highly competent live sound engineers will continue to grow. Artists and companies are now looking for high-quality audio production, making the demand for skilled audio engineers increase. 

In turn, live sound engineers must keep themselves updated with the latest tools and techniques to gain a competitive edge in the job market. Investing in their skills and knowledge helps them to earn higher salaries and better job opportunities in the coming years. Getting internationally recognised qualifications like the Dante Certification and building up skill sets in live streaming will help you stand out from the crowd. 

Overall, live sound engineer salaries in Singapore have a bright prospect in the next five years. The future looks promising for those in this field as long as the demand for live entertainment and multimedia keeps growing, followed by continuous skill improvement.

What Factors Influence the Salary of a Live Sound Engineer?

We previously discussed the average annual salary of live sound engineers, as well as the lowest and highest salary levels. However, the number of years of experience influences how much one earns. Let’s see what Salary Explorer has to say about it:

Experience

Less Than 2 Years of Experience

Junior live sound engineers typically earn less salary than those with more experience. They typically earn around $3,800 per month, which is a good starting salary for a career.

2 – 5 Years of Experience

Live sound engineers typically receive a 29% salary increase as they gain more experience in the field. With 2 – 5 years of experience, they can expect to earn around $4,880 per month.

5 – 10 Years of Experience

Mid-level live sound engineers with 5 to 10 years of experience earn an average monthly salary of $6,730. This results in a 38% pay increase compared to professionals with 2 – 5 years of experience. 

10 – 15 Years of Experience

Moving forward, live sound engineers with 10 – 15 years of experience can expect a monthly salary of $8,340. The amount is 24% higher than those working in the same field with 5 – 10 years of experience.

15 – 20 Years of Experience

A live sound engineer with 15 – 20 years of experience can expect to earn around $8,940 per month. This figure is 7% higher than for those with 10 – 15 years of experience in the same field.

More Than 20 Years of Experience

Finally, live sound engineers with more than 20 years of experience can expect a monthly salary of $9,530. This is 7% more than live sound engineers with 15 – 20 years of experience, and it is also the highest compared to previous experience groups.

How to Hone Your Skills in Live Sound Engineering?

Honing your skills is essential if you want to thrive as a live sound engineer and earn a decent salary. There are several methods you can do to become a skilled sound engineer, as explained below:

Self-learning

Self-learning is the most affordable way to hone your live sound engineering skills. However, it takes a greater effort to become a professional through this method.

You’ll need to figure out the necessary equipment, network with potential professionals, and practise everything on your own. These can be tricky for you, especially if you’re just starting. You would find it difficult to access the equipment typically used in live sound setups and you would not benefit from learning from seasoned professionals.

Enrol For a Live Sound Engineering Diploma

Enrolling to a music course and take focus in a live sound engineering diploma helps you foster your knowledge and skills. You’ll have experienced professionals teaching and guiding you through the journey to becoming an exceptional live sound engineer. 

Furthermore, you’ll be challenged with real-world scenarios that give you a glimpse of the world of live music and events. This allows you to better harness digital technologies and create exciting and memorable live events.

In music course, you will be able to learn about the future direction of the industry and familiarise yourself with the latest live streaming techniques. Learn about audio syncing, camera set-ups and broadcast specifications and become a well-rounded live events specialist. 

After completing a live sound diploma programme, you can become a live sound engineer or continue your education to earn a bachelor’s degree. If you wish to expand your knowledge beyond this field, a bachelor’s degree makes a good option.

How to Get Experience as a Live Sound Engineer

Live sound engineers need the experience to advance in their careers. If you’re just starting, you might wonder how to get your first job in this field. Don’t worry. You can jumpstart your career and gather experience as the years pass through the following methods:

Apply For Internships

Applying for internships can help you gain experience as a live sound engineer. What makes an internship special is that it allows you to work on real-world scenarios while having assistance from expert professionals.

You will be able to learn from them as you carry out their instructions. Right after completing your internship, you can consider it a work experience that will help you land a full-time or freelance job.

Join a Sound Engineer Community

Joining a sound engineering community will not only help you gain valuable insights into the field, but it will also keep you ahead of available job information. Some community members may post a job opening, which you can directly enquire about.

Aside from that, a sound engineer community allows you to promote your skills and background as a live sound engineer. Someone might be looking for one and ask you to participate in their projects.

Apply For Entry-Level Positions

Some entry-level positions may perceive years of experience as unimportant as long as the candidates have the required skills and show their willingness to learn. This is because entry-level positions are designed for individuals who are just starting their careers.

However, it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. Some other entry-level positions may require candidates to have some experience. Hence, you’ll need to carefully review the job requirements and see if you fit the position.

Be Open to Freelancing Projects

Live sound engineers can benefit greatly from freelancing. Concerts and other live events frequently hire them, providing them with opportunities to gain experience and income aside from their full-time jobs.

Furthermore, freelancing allows live sound engineers to work with a wide range of clients and venues. Subsequently, if you open yourself up to freelance positions, you can establish your reputation and network within the industry. 

Another advantage you shouldn’t overlook is that freelancing gives you more flexibility and control over your schedule. This, in turn, enables you to balance your professional and personal lives.

Final Thoughts

Finally, you’ve come to the end of this live sound engineer salary guide.

Before we close this article, let’s do a quick review of what we’ve learnt. First, live sound engineers earn a decent income, with an average annual salary of $80,254. And second, experience and education play an important role in determining the salary that one earns.

Now, if you wish to become a live sound engineer and hone your skills, you’ve come to the right place! 

Let us introduce you to our live sound engineering diploma programme, which will help you expand your knowledge while providing you with hands-on experience. As a creative music school in Singapore, we’re eager to prepare our students with authentic industry-led experience.

Take your time to read all of the requirements to enrol in a specialist diploma of live sound. Once you’re sure, you can fill in the submission form, and our education counsellor will get in touch with you.

FAQ

Is it hard to become a live sound engineer?

It takes a willingness to invest in skills and knowledge to become a live sound engineer. However, the effort will pay off as more and more industries are looking for high-quality audio production.

About Orita Sinclair

Founded in 2002, Orita Sinclair is one of the oldest music and design schools in Singapore. We are committed to fostering a love of design and music in our students by encouraging them to be bold and imaginative in their endeavours.

Here at Orita Sinclair, we believe that theoretical and practical foundations are equally important with the music and graphic design courses that we offer. For that reason, we have put in place a forward-looking curriculum that grounds students in key principles before being guided by field practitioners in applying theory and technical craft in authentic, industry-oriented projects. One of our best programme is Diploma in Interaction Design.

Our supportive learning environment prepares students for the demands and challenges of the music and design industries. At the end of their graphic design courses or music courses, our students are ready to step out into successful careers or pursue degrees at renowned universities.

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