Blind Sound Engineers
and Accessible Digital Audio Production! Guide To Careers and Technology
Overview of This Guide

(Choose specific topics from the collumn to the right, or follow the information in the left collum and click continue to review the entire guide.)

What kind of information is provided in this guide?
This guide attempts to provide all of the essential information you will need to plan a professional career in audio production.

How easy is it to establish an audio production career?
Nothing about this process or this profession is particularly easy. The process for planning and funding an audio production career is lengthy (usually nine months or more) and is replete with paper work (proverbial red tape). The actual task of using a screen reader program to access digital audio and MIDI applications is not particularly easy either. If you dislike computers or technical mumbo jumbo, this is not the career for you. The point here is that it is certainly possible for those with a strong aptitude and interest to acquire the appropriate technology and develop a lucrative career producing music, radio commercials, and other industrial recordings for businesses.

What knowledge does a person need for this profession?
A solid comprehension of basic computer skills is absolutely required for this profession. An ability to effectively use word processing software, database software, and internet applications with screen reader technology is strongly recommended before attempting to learn to produce audio products via computers. A clear understanding of the paths that information travels through a computer is necessary. Thorough knowledge of the meaning of terms like RAM, Hard drive, processor speed, PCI slots, ribbon connector, CDR, SCSI, SMPTE, MIDI, analog vs digital, and plug-ins is also important. The most overlooked and underrated necessary information is knowledge of the audio production industry and general business principles. Current market conditions and trends vary from one geographic location to another and from one year to the next, but a good understanding of the actual business environment is a MUST in order to succeed in this profession. Who are the large and small players in the field? What services do they provide? What do they charge for those services? Who are the undeserved customers? In the long run, answers to these questions will far outweigh any answers to technical questions in terms of earning a comfortable living.

How does one obtain an accessible audio production system?
This guide describes methods to obtain an accessible audio production system through funding from state or charitable organizations. Obtaining a system through these channels is a lengthy, complicated process in most cases, and results are not guaranteed. HOwever, several inividuals have received systems in this way. This guide describes basic principles of designing a request for funding.

What kind of equipment is needed?
Usually, the question of what to buy is addressed much too early in the process of developing a career. This question cannot be answered properly until other issues have been resolved such as:

  • What opportunities exist in the local audio production field?
  • What applicable knowledge and skills do you already possess?
  • What type of audio production work will be your primary service?
  • What size budget are you likely to have?

When the time comes to determine specific components of a particular system certain basic elements must be considered: The computer--what platform? The highly recommended Macintosh or for other reasons perhaps a Windows based system? Which screen reader technology (if Windows is the platform)? Which type of MIDI interface (based on anticipated type of work and existing MIDI gear)? How many channels of simultaneous audio input is required (according to type of work)? Which analog to digital converters to use? What speed, size, and brand of hard drive to use for audio? Whether to use ProTools or Logic Audio? If not using ProTools, which audio interface card to use? What type of MIDI control surface is necessary (according to the extent of plug-in programming needed)? What type of monitoring system? Are any additional plug-in effects required?

How Does one Succeed in this Career?
Anyone interested in sound, computers, music, radio and related subjects might be a good candidate for training in the audio production field. Deciding exactly what type of position would be most suitable and deciding what type of work would be most profitable and desirable are the two most important considerations for achieving success. Each individual must determine whether a path of self-employment would be most appropriate for him/her, or whether seeking a position at an established audio production company would be a more suitable option. This guide discusses criteria for making that decision.

How To Get Started
Getting started involves acquiring information from several different sources and writing down specific plans. This guide discusses how to conduct a market survey to evaluate the supply and demand for audio production services in your geographic region or targeted type of work. Potential sources of funding for equipment must be identified. Competing bids on a final list of needed equipment are usually required. Letters offering employment may be necessary for some applicants for funds. Specific plans for acquiring customers and overcoming competition must be developed. These processes and general business planning tips are provided in this guide.

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