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post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am a 16 year old high school student and I am really big into headphones and would like to go into a field of work that deals with designing and constructing headphones. I have a problem, though. i have no clue what field of engineering would deal with this kind of stuff. Anyone want to a brother out give me some info on the education needed for the kind of work.

 

Thanks fellow sound production device enthusiasts smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by dohner9 - 5/15/13 at 7:34pm
post #2 of 6

First, be good at math.

post #3 of 6
What country are you in? I think there are really only a few segments in the headphone market:

1) Big name brands that probably use contract manufacturers and may also outsource the entire design and engineering to a contract design house that does similar work for many brands. The brands may do some or all of the engineering themselves, or they might just be marketing & distribution companies. A significant amount of the engineering is done in the Pacific Rim.

2) Headphone specialty companies that do the engineering themselves. The components are sourced from vendors, and assembly may or may not be done in-house. In the USA, Grado is the obvious example of this type of company. Not very many of these companies are left in the USA - there seems to be more in Europe and Asia.

3) Small niche players that do it all - but the volumes are very low. As head-fi has become more popular, the number of these companies has also grown - but it might be very difficult for an young & inexperienced engineer to break into this segment - unless you already know someone in the business.

One other comment: Almost all young engineering students (of any engineering discipline) say they want to "design" - but the reality is that in most companies the actual design work is typically done by the most senior engineers. It often takes many years to get to that level. Junior engineers are more likely to be assigned to clean-up, complete and test the design given to them by the senior engineers, or do other jobs such as trying to make an existing design easier to manufacture or qualifying substitute parts. You might also be required to do lots of paperwork to make sure all the engineering change requests are properly documented and approved. Engineering is not all glamour and glitz. That's something the engineering professors & guidance counselors usually forget to mention. It doesn't mean engineering is not a great career or that it's not fun - it's just that you shouldn't have the expectation that your first job is going to be designing the new flagship for Audeze or Fostex. smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

What country are you in? I think there are really only a few segments in the headphone market:

1) Big name brands that probably use contract manufacturers and may also outsource the entire design and engineering to a contract design house that does similar work for many brands. The brands may do some or all of the engineering themselves, or they might just be marketing & distribution companies. A significant amount of the engineering is done in the Pacific Rim.

2) Headphone specialty companies that do the engineering themselves. The components are sourced from vendors, and assembly may or may not be done in-house. In the USA, Grado is the obvious example of this type of company. Not very many of these companies are left in the USA - there seems to be more in Europe and Asia.

3) Small niche players that do it all - but the volumes are very low. As head-fi has become more popular, the number of these companies has also grown - but it might be very difficult for an young & inexperienced engineer to break into this segment - unless you already know someone in the business.

One other comment: Almost all young engineering students (of any engineering discipline) say they want to "design" - but the reality is that in most companies the actual design work is typically done by the most senior engineers. It often takes many years to get to that level. Junior engineers are more likely to be assigned to clean-up, complete and test the design given to them by the senior engineers, or do other jobs such as trying to make an existing design easier to manufacture or qualifying substitute parts. You might also be required to do lots of paperwork to make sure all the engineering change requests are properly documented and approved. Engineering is not all glamour and glitz. That's something the engineering professors & guidance counselors usually forget to mention. It doesn't mean engineering is not a great career or that it's not fun - it's just that you shouldn't have the expectation that your first job is going to be designing the new flagship for Audeze or Fostex. smily_headphones1.gif

That part is really the reality. Granted unless you do a DIY and got a good amazing product out of it which shows potential into something bigger for investors, its hard to get at that level. I think another requirement is like PH.D(7+ years of study roughly) . I remember one of my colleagues complaining it was mostly doctors in the design field so he had a hard time fitting in as a co-op.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well I am really good at math so I have that one down. And all of this is new information to me but I'm talking about the name of the branch of engineering that I would have to go in. For example, would it be audio engineering, computer engineering, or electrical engineering. I want to know the name of college major I would need to apply for in order to learn the basics of the mechanics working inside speakers.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dohner9 View Post

Well I am really good at math so I have that one down. And all of this is new information to me but I'm talking about the name of the branch of engineering that I would have to go in. For example, would it be audio engineering, computer engineering, or electrical engineering. I want to know the name of college major I would need to apply for in order to learn the basics of the mechanics working inside speakers.

Well, if you want to start manufacturing then Engineering studies would help but to understand the inner workings of speakers to begin with.... You probably will need a course in Audio engineering but the thing I have found with the courses over hear is that it's mostly recording, television and rarely live sound technique and equipment operation but they touch a bit on everything. This should include stuff like the technical aspects of sound like inner workings but some courses also explore basic electronic skills that apply to audio. 

If you want to find out, just email a bunch of smaller companies like the ones you see on headfi every now and again and ask around.

 

Hope I could help, I'm 15 and I really want to do audio engineering (specifically live) as a uni course but it's just finding the right course

All the best,

Sound

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