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Many Paths Taken: Learning The Ways And Lessons Of Pro Audio

You don't always know where your career will take you at each turn.

By Ken DeLoria July 30, 2015

Being on the team that makes a professional audio system work optimally in a public venue is a rich and rewarding experience – especially so if you enjoy working with the artist, as well as the music that the artist creates.

In fact, many audio professionals enter the craft because they’re attuned to music; I know that I did.

While we can’t help but prefer one stylistic genre over another, as professionals, we must nonetheless always do our best.

We’re not all lucky enough to tour with our favorite band, but there’s ample opportunity to take pride in producing the best possible results for lecturers, political speakers, religious leaders, orators, and musical performers of all sorts.

When we’re at the top of our game, we behave just as the Secret Service does: serve, protect, and help each client to achieve whatever they want to achieve. This is how we should “cut our teeth” when we first get into the business, and how we should remain throughout our career.

Easy to say…harder to do. We’re only human, after all, so of course we have preferences as to what we’d like to be doing on any given gig day. So we learn the way the world of pro audio works, be it clubs, theatre, sports, corporate, houses of worship, and so on, then we next figure out how to dovetail our personal interests and aspirations into the work we perform.

That said, there is an enormous benefit in learning alternate aspects of audio work that we might never have dreamed we’d be involved with. This happened to me. I wanted to work exclusively with the type of rock music I prefer, but instead found myself installing temporary and permanent sound systems in stadiums, arenas, houses of worship, political conventions, theatrical presentations and television award shows.

Then I toured with jazz and funk artists that I would never listen to away from work, and spent time with rock bands that left me cold. It flat-out was not what I thought I had signed up for.

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About Ken

Ken DeLoria
Ken DeLoria

Senior Technical Editor, Live Sound International Magazine
Over the course of more than four decades, Ken DeLoria has tuned hundreds of sound systems, and as the founder of Apogee Sound, he developed the TEC Award-winning AE-9 loudspeaker.


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