A West End sound designer designs the sound for a West End musical or play by either acquiring or creating all the audio elements needed to tell the story. He or she is basically responsible for what the audience hears.
Each job can vary considerably, depending on the type of show or musical, the performers in the show and the performance venue.
Sound Design is one of the youngest fields in theatre, second only to the use of projection and other multimedia displays, and it’s always changing and evolving. The Sound Designer not only has to be a master of many different disciplines and technologies, they also have to take on board many ideas from the director, the writer, the producer and many other creatives.
During the initial stage of the creation of the piece the sound designer will build and create any sound effects, soundscapes and sonic enhancement required for the production working closely with the other creatives and performers in workshops or rehearsals.
The West End sound designer will carefully select the audio equipment for the show, initially planning which loudspeakers to use and where to place them to achieve the best audio quality for the performance. They will then select the rest of equipment for the sound design. This could include a variety of different microphones for each cast member and instrument in the band, as well as the control equipment to mix all the incoming audio signals together. Depending on the performance space and the sound concepts the sound system will completely differ from a small number of sound sources to hundreds of audio inputs and outputs.