#1
Hey guys, I'm going to school for engineering and I am at the point where i need to decide which field I want to specialize in.

At first I thought mechanical would be for me because i liked all the courses it contained. However, the idea of making microphones/ amps/ pedals/ synths/ vst's/ guitar wirings and pickups also seems awesome! I don't like the classes in electrical as much, but i find nothing would be more satisfying than having a job where i work on audio equipment and for a company like shure, alesis, akg, korg, etc

That being said, do any of you guys know what the job market is like for these audio companies when it comes to hiring engineers? Is it really hard and competitive to get into the field?

Thanks for your help!
#2
I am a Master student in acoustics that did his bachelor degree in Mechanical engineering. I study sound field reproduction, as it is the nearest I can get with my academic formation to a job in audio engineering. (In north america, there is not a recognized audio engineer/acoustician title)

As I progress in my research topic, I find out more and more students that want jobs just like you... and they are all amateur musicians with an electrical or info degree. "Mechanical" guys often work on modeling systems, enclosures, sound waves propagation, manufacturing, cost efficiency for mass production, etc. With my current knowledge, I cannot compete with these guys for these kind of jobs you are talking about. Sure, I have the motivation and capacity to learn the stuff I need in electrical design and computer stuff, but it would need a massive investment of time that I don't have.

If I could come back 5 years in the past, I would have chosen an electrical degree, not a mechanical, even if at that point dynamics and structural design was also an interest of mine.

I always find out this when I take classes, regardless of the subject: the course is fun if I learn AND can find an application in side projects outside of school. If it is too easy or academic, I loose interest.

The choice is yours.

Additional details: one of my current specialization could be used in future video games. Presently, sound in games comes from samples and recorded sounds. We are at a point where sound is enough known to synthesize a complete orchestra or any noise with sinusoidal signals and filters. The future will see the avent of audio cards, just like graphic cards, where a user can benefit of more realistic ambient sounds, effects and dynamics, just as a hardcore gamer appreciate nice graphics and fast response in first person shooter.

don't hesistate if you have other questions.
AGEGBand
Guitar / Bass / Keyboard / Back Vocals

Sterling JP50, Fender CP Jazzmaster, Danelectro Danoblaster 12 strings, Aria 5102T, Epiphone LP STD 7 string => Carvin V3M

Peavey Cirrus BXP-5 => Trace Elliot GP7SM250

Korg X50
Last edited by Anthoje at May 29, 2013,
#3
Quote by Anthoje

If I could come back 5 years in the past, I would have chosen an electrical degree, not a mechanical, even if at that point dynamics and structural design was also an interest of mine.

Mechanical here. Everyone I've asked says the type of engineering isn't that important. Apparently most engineering graduates get a career in a different field of engineering than they majored in, anyway.
#4
Maybe, but in the University I attend, it is different. We don't have majors, but a 4 years program of courses focused on application of theory to our field, and a design&build project each term, mashing all the knowledge acquired during that term. An exemple: both electrical and mechanical engineers will learn the same equations, but each group will learn them by applying it to concrete projects. Plus, here, mechanical engineers don't get to learn signal processing, magnetic fields and programming ; and we don't get in details of discrete maths.

Example of electrical projects: audio amplifier, speech encoding, image recognition algorithms.
Example of mechanical projects: bridge for pedestrians, damping of a resonant structure, anemometer.

A resonant(vibrating) structure is governed by the same fundamental equations than the amplifiers, but the latter is a much more fun way to learn
AGEGBand
Guitar / Bass / Keyboard / Back Vocals

Sterling JP50, Fender CP Jazzmaster, Danelectro Danoblaster 12 strings, Aria 5102T, Epiphone LP STD 7 string => Carvin V3M

Peavey Cirrus BXP-5 => Trace Elliot GP7SM250

Korg X50
#5
Quote by Anthoje
4 years program of courses focused on application of theory to our field, and a design&build project each term, mashing all the knowledge acquired during that term. An exemple: both electrical and mechanical engineers will learn the same equations, but each group will learn them by applying it to concrete projects. Plus, here, mechanical engineers don't get to learn signal processing, magnetic fields and programming ; and we don't get in details of discrete maths.

Now that actually sounds useful. Over here, it's three years of theory, most of which is review (I just took basically the same statistics course twice), and a senior-year design project. On the other hand, we have to take some electrical courses, but that's mostly for dealing with sensors and CAD. I guess the curriculum is just more specialized where you are, but it sounds more useful that way.

Quote by Anthoje

A resonant(vibrating) structure is governed by the same fundamental equations than the amplifiers, but the latter is a much more fun way to learn

Well, yeah.
#6
alright, thanks for the feedback guys!

And how my university works is that the first year is a general year, taking courses that apply to all feilds (calc, chem, physics, programming, etc) and then we specialize into which type of degree we want (mech, elec, chem, etc)

Anthoje, its intresting that you say that about mech, that if you were back 5 years you would have chosen electrical. i hear this is actually the case amongst a fair portion of the mech engineers i know

But does anybody know about job availability? do these companies hire alot? is it dependable to think about working for these companies?
#7
You'd be better off asking a careers advisor than us on that front.
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#8
Quote by Cavalcade
Mechanical here. Everyone I've asked says the type of engineering isn't that important. Apparently most engineering graduates get a career in a different field of engineering than they majored in, anyway.

most engineers i know ended up in a different sub-field, but pretty much all ended up in something applicable to their major. i would probably say this is the most true for electrical engineers, as they teach EE people things a lot of different stuff from people in civil or mechanical (which tend to overlap more). maybe not true at every school, but among the ones i am familiar with.

Quote by bassbrotha
That being said, do any of you guys know what the job market is like for these audio companies when it comes to hiring engineers? Is it really hard and competitive to get into the field?

doing what you want to do is what i thought i wanted to do after school. i do something completely different and i love it. i did look into working for one of the audio type places when at some point, and they did seem very competitive. it seems to me like lots of people who enjoy playing instruments (which is a lot of people) seem to want to get into that kind of thing. and yet it is a fairly small field, so it would be a lot of people for not a lot of jobs.

my advice would be to decide what you want based on what looks the most interesting in general. trying to be too narrow in what you want (such as audio) is going to limit you into doing only that if the other areas of EE don't interest you.
#9
If you want to do some of those things, you could always make Amps, Pedals and VST plugins in your spare time.

A lot of the best VST stuff at least are made by hobbyists.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at May 29, 2013,
#10
thanks again guys for the feedback

from what you guys have said, im thinking of maybe staying in mech now. I already know how to code pretty well and have planned to make some free vst's in the near future.

If its more general, i think id prefer mech engineering. I just had a constant fear that i would just be one of those engineers building machines that arnt "fun" at all (like the food production plants that are always shown on how its made, or steel mills and factories)

Thanks for the insight guys
#11
Quote by bassbrotha
I just had a constant fear that i would just be one of those engineers building machines that arnt "fun" at all (like the food production plants that are always shown on how its made, or steel mills and factories)

Well, maybe those are "fun" to the people that make them. Different people are attracted to different things; this thing looks pretty fun, for example, even though it's some sort of industrial processing-type machine. People tend to pick jobs they'll find interesting, and you can do the same.
#12
My cousin is a mechanical engineer. He works for a government contracted company that makes firearms. On thanksgiving a few years ago, he brought over an M16 he was working on. Sounds pretty badass to me LOL.
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#13
Cavalcade, i know exactly what you talking about, thats why i put the fun in quotation marks :P!

I dont like the idea of guns, but damn the mechanics are awesome.

Thanks again guys