Audio Production v Music Production: Which one is right for you?

Audio v Music Production

You’ve got big decisions to make.

It’s nearly time to take the next step into your future and start thinking about carving out your career.

But that isn’t always simple. Especially if you’re not entirely sure of the best route to take.

The thing is, you know you want a career where you can immerse yourself in sound.
That much is clear. Which makes studying either audio production or music production a no-brainer.

But which one to choose? That is the burning question.

Of course, there’s big crossover between the two. Both deal with sound, music and recording. But they do so in very different ways.

Your choice depends on two important factors: your career goals and working out which path you’re best suited to.

In this post we’re going to take you through the ins and outs of audio production and music production. The types of jobs you could apply for after you’ve finished your studies. And what type of person would be best suited to each profession.

So you’ll have all the info you need to help you make an informed decision.

Ready to dive in? Off we go.

What is Music Production?

Think of all the tracks you know and love.

The hit songs that inspire you. Beats that you can’t get out of your head.

Every single one has been through the music production process, where music is created, captured, manipulated and polished. All so it can be shared among the masses and enjoyed by a captivated audience.

And music producers are the driving force behind it all, overseeing every aspect of production to make sure the artistic vision comes to life.

The music producer wears many hats, depending on the project. Anything from composing and arranging, to recording, editing, mixing and mastering the final tracks.

So yes, it’s majorly creative, but a strong technical skill-set is a must-have. Because there’s a whole host of tools and software that you’ll have to get to grips with. From digital audio workstations (DAWs) to virtual instruments and effects processors, the music producer toolkit is immense.

How well you harness those skills will determine your success as a music producer. Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Nile Rogers—these are some of the greatest producers of all time and they depend heavily on their rock-solid technical ability.

Music production: The process

1. Pre-production

It’s time for the music producer to kick off the creative process by brainstorming ideas, selecting instruments, and getting musical concepts down. During pre-production it’s typical for an artist to supply a demo so that the producer can give feedback and make suggestions for improvements. Depending on the project, a music producer may also be heavily involved in the songwriting process.

2. Recording

Then comes the recording phase where instruments and vocals are tracked. And the producer will work tirelessly to get the sound they’re looking for, using all the production techniques and skills they have under their belt. The producer will also help make any creative decisions that will ultimately fulfill the artist’s vision. 

3. Editing

This is where post-production begins. It involves a lot of editing and comping to highlight the best takes or performances. 

4. Mixing

This is the stage where individual tracks are fine-tuned through equalization and effects—both individually and as a whole—to create a final well-balanced mix.  

5. Mastering

And now for the finale, where the producer ensures the tracks are balanced and optimized for distribution across different platforms.

Music production is right for you if:

  • Your love of music runs deep
    Those who are serious about music are on to a winner as they’ll have the best chance of bringing a track to life.
  • You’re a natural with tech
    You’ll be working with a ton of different audio equipment and software, so understanding what you’re working with will help you navigate the process with ease.
  • You’ve got a keen ear for detail
    Producers need to listen carefully to the music to identify areas for improvement. Sometimes the tiniest change can transform a track, so noticing those subtle nuances in sound matters.
  • You can think outside the box
    If you’re naturally creative and are open to pushing boundaries, you’ll do well as a music producer. You’ll be more inclined to experiment and come up with something truly unique in a competitive market.
  • You’re an effective communicator
    Let’s face it: you’re going to deal with egos. It makes sense, these artists have created something personal, that’s come straight from the heart. So being a natural communicator will serve you well.
  • You’re a problem-solver
    Challenges and technical issues are known to arise during the music production process. So being able to troubleshoot is essential. If you’re resourceful, adaptable and a critical-thinker, music production could be the career for you.
  • You handle pressure like a pro
    It’s likely you’ll be under tight deadlines, and potentially face situations that are high-pressure. If you can remain calm and maintain focus, you’ll thrive in the fast-paced nature of the industry.

Types of Jobs in Music Production 

  • Music Producer
  • Arranger/Editor
  • Songwriter
  • Music Supervisor
  • Video game music composer
  • Midi/Daw Operator
  • Concert/Tour Manager
  • Artist Management
  • A & R Director
  • Music Supervisor
  • Record Label Manager
  • Music Marketing Manager
  • Entertainment Publicist

Music Production Degree at The L.A. Film School

Our degree focuses on showing you how to record, mix and produce your own music using the latest digital technology. 

Either online or on-campus we make sure you thrive in either space with your student TechKit® and online learning platforms.

Associate of Science degree

Course Length: 20 months

Areas of Study: 

  • Music composition
  • Recording principles
  • Producing music for media
  • Mixing concepts and techniques
  • And much more

View full course info: Campus | Online

Bachelor of Science degree

This program builds on the knowledge taught at associate degree level, providing a deeper and more advanced understanding of the industry.

Course Length: 38 months

Areas of Study: All areas of associate degree, plus:

  • Advanced mixing and songwriting
  • Leadership behavior
  • Commercial music production
  • Building a portfolio
  • Cultural studies
  • And many more

View full course info

What is Audio Production?

Audio producers have the job of capturing sound, and then manipulating and refining sound elements to create audio recordings of the highest quality. 

And unlike music production, this can be any sound—not just music. 

Audio producers are in demand across many different industries including music, podcasting, radio broadcasting, film and television soundtracks, sound effects and sound design for video games. Which means they often find themselves working closely with artists, musicians, voice actors and sound engineers.

At its core, audio production is about capturing sound with clarity and accuracy while keeping the artistic intention in mind. Audio producers will be heavily involved with professional audio equipment and software to enhance audio recordings. 
It can be a successful and rewarding career. Just ask Phillip Bladh, our very own L.A. Film School alumni, who just won his first Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing. You can check out his success story here.

Audio production: the process

1. Pre-production

This is the stage that sets a strong foundation for success. It involves project planning, goal setting, equipment selection and scheduling recording sessions, as well as reviewing demo/pre-production tracks and reference mixes. 

2. Recording

The recording stage brings the audio to life. Musicians, vocalists or voice actors perform while sound engineers capture their performances using microphones and other recording equipment.

3. Editing

In the editing stage, recorded audio is carefully reviewed and manipulated. Unwanted sections, mistakes or background noise are removed, and adjustments are made for timing and alignment.

4. Mixing

Mixing is where the audio elements are blended to create a balanced and cohesive final product. Sound engineers adjust volume levels, pan sounds in the stereo field, apply EQ, and add effects to enhance the overall sonic experience. 

5. Mastering

The mastering stage adds the final polish to the audio. It focuses on optimizing the sound for distribution across various platforms and mediums. Sound engineers refine the overall tonal balance, dynamics and loudness across all digital and physical mediums. 

You should study audio production if:

  • You’re driven by a love for sound
    If you’ve got a love for sound, music and audio in general then you’ll be well suited for a career with audio.
  • Tech is your thing
    In the audio world, being tech-savvy is a must. If you’re a natural with tech such as microphones, mixers, digital audio workstations and plug-ins, then you’ll adapt easily to the heavy tech demands. 
  • You keep up with trends
    The field of audio production is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques emerging all the time. Keeping up with trends and embracing new tools and methods means you will thrive in the ever-changing landscape. 
  • You have a keen eye for detail
    You’ll need to be able to identify and correct imperfections in sound, meticulously edit recordings, and fine-tune audio mixes as part of daily working life.
  • You have a great aesthetic ear
    Having the ability to appreciate and evaluate different sounds, tones and musical elements is crucial to making informed creative decisions. 
  • You thrive working in a team
    Working in audio production often involves collaborating with artists, musicians, sound engineers and other professionals. Strong communication skills are needed to get ideas across, interpret client requirements and work seamlessly with others.

Types of Jobs in Audio Production

  • Chief Audio Engineer
  • Mix Engineer
  • Foley Artist
  • Sound FX Creator
  • Television Audio
  • Radio/Media Audio
  • Audio in Game Design
  • Studio Manager
  • Audio Post-production
  • Live Sound Engineer
  • Assistant Engineer
  • Sound Designer
  • Maintenance Technician

Audio Production Degree at The L.A. Film School

Audio Production students at The L.A. Film School explore the many facets of audio through live concerts, post-production sound and other interactive digital media.

You’ll get your very own Student TechKit®, where you can meet and mingle with other like-minded students on their own page in the audio world.

Associate of Science degree

Course Length: 18 months

Areas of Study:

  • Signal processing and effects
  • Live sound production
  • Post Production
  • Live Sound

View full course info: Campus | Online

Bachelor of Science degree

This program builds on the knowledge taught at associate degree level, providing a deeper and more advanced understanding of the industry.

Course Length: 36 months

Areas of Study: 

  • Advanced training in audio engineering, music production and post-production
  • Building a portfolio
  • Interactive Audio
  • Show Production

View full course info: Campus | Online

Audio or Music production? The choice is yours.

There you have it. The difference between the two is now demystified. 

And hopefully now you’ve got a clearer idea of which route to take.

Remember, there are no right answers, it all comes down to the individual. 

Our advice? Go with your gut. Whatever lights the fire in your belly. Makes you feel inspired and ready to take the next step into your future.

Follow that feeling and you can’t go wrong. 

Good luck!


The L.A. Film School team