SSR Success Story - Jon Paul Williams, Testing Engineer at Music Group

Jon Paul Williams

Testing Engineer at Music Group

3D Film Production BSc (Hons)*

Paul Williams graduated in 2014 from our Audio Engineering Techniques & Technology course (now called Music Production & Sound Engineering).

After graduating, Paul went straight into employment working as a testing engineer for MIDAS.

We had a catch-up with Paul to see what his job involves, how it came about and what advice he would give to others!

Hi Paul, thanks for letting us interview you! Have you always been interested in music? What are your favourite bands?

"From as early I can remember! Buying my first single in 1977 at the age of 4, (Queen - We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You) I have always had music with me. Picking up a few instruments along the way from the age of 8 then settling down with playing keys after strong 80’s electronica influences and being gobsmacked after seeing Jean Michel-Jarre performing Rendez-Vous on my tellybox.

Favourite bands - Inspiral Carpets, New Order, Cardiacs, Chameleons."

Do you remember your first gig? And your most memorable gig?
"I have no idea who we saw on my first ever gig. All i know is that it was at St Helens Citadel. I couldn't possibly pick one most memorable gig. The ones that stand out are Inspiral Carpets gig in 1990 at the G-Mex, Rage Against The Machine at Hyde Park 2010 and Reading Festival 1992 (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Ride, Smashing Pumpkins, Charlatans, Cardiacs, Suede).

1993 wasn't bad either with Blur and Radiohead on the same night IN THE SMALL TENT!"

What made you want to study Audio Engineering and Live Sound?
"Time for a change. I’d always wanted to be involved in audio from a young age but ended up falling into a job at 18 then doing the 9-5 with a mortgage and kids. At 40 I realised that I should do what I should have done 20 years earlier and followed a career in sound."

You work for MIDAS now – what is your job role and how did it come about?
"I’m a testing engineer in the research and development department for Music Group (MIDAS, Klark Teknik, Lab Gruppen, Lake, Tannoy, Turbosound, TC Electronic, TC Helicon, Behringer). My main role is the testing of MIDAS consoles and I/O boxes to ensure that they work with new software releases consisting of new software/bug fixes/new effects/functionality. In addition to this we will also test brand new (top secret) products to ensure that the perform as expected and are fully compatible across our range.

I fell in to the job straight after my course at SSR finished. In the last few weeks of the course, Jay Beard (Head of Live Sound at SSR) had arranged a visit for the class to attend some training at the MIDAS office and I had been made aware of the role which he passed on to SSR students. I applied for the role and started work there one week after completing my course at SSR.

In addition to this, I still try and do some live work whenever my time permits on top of the Mon-Fri job."

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to study Music Production and Sound Engineering?
"Start as soon as you can! Get in there, get involved with everything you can. Get studying and shadow, shadow, shadow! Shadowing puts in to practice everything you learn at SSR and puts it in a real life situation. Experience counts for a lot. During my studies I shadowed at several venues in Manchester and also helped out at a couple of studios.

Also, use your studio time! Get bands in to record. Again you will gain experience and maybe a name on an album if you’re lucky."

Jay Beard, Head of Live Sound:

"Paul shows a perfect example of hard work paying off. During the course he was constantly looking for opportunities to shadow and work with people, and he was also instrumental in running the sound at Bankswood Festival."

We would like to thank Paul for taking the time to speak to us and we wish him all the best for the future!