What does an XR Audio Engineer do?
A XR Audio Engineer handles all sound involved in XR experiences. Spatial audio is crucial to making the user feel present in the space and therefore makes for a more immersive experience.
The job could involve a wide variety of responsibilities, some are on the technical side, such as trying to make the sound in HMD displays as high quality, spatialised and clear as possible. It also might include understanding minimising unwanted sounds through noise cancelling technology.
Others are on the software side, including working with UX designers to maximise the user experience, such as creating satisfying sound cues on menu options.
What’s an XR Audio Engineer good at?
- Attention to detail: when an audio engineer is doing their job well, the user shouldn’t even know their there – a high attention to detail is required to ensure that all sounds can be replicated realistically
- Technical ability: audio systems are incredibly complicated systems, and they require an immense knowledge of both sound and engineering
- Adaptability: Working in XR means adapting to being at the forefront of design and using cutting edge technology (or making use of previously unusable technology)
Where can being an XR Audio Engineer take me?
XR companies aren’t just competing to have the best visuals, they are competing on sound too – some people have speculated sound could make up to 50% of the experience, similar to how they did Cinema before it.
While no one can know for sure where XR will go in the future, it will have to contain sophisticated sound design. For this reason, becoming an audio engineer could you land you a job at a major hardware company.
How do I become an XR Audio Engineer?
XR audio engineer is a highly specialised role. For your degree degree, anything from engineering and computer science can get you in the field. While studying, try to choose modules that align best with audio, and if you get the chance to study spatial sound design, for example for a final project, you will have a massive head start when looking to work for an XR company.
That said, audio jobs in XR are highly complex, and for that reason rarely available at the graduate level. Working for a normal game studio can help you get some experience and build a portfolio of your previous work/achievements.