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Audio Engineering Graduate’s DJ Experience Creates Opportunities as a Studio Engineer

J.R. Noble, an audio technology graduate of SAE Institute in Los Angeles and a DJ in top Hollywood clubs, has leveraged his classroom and clubland knowledge into a job as session runner at L.A.’s famed Westlake Studios.

Westlake’s clients include such chart toppers as Madonna, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Van Halen, Rage Against The Machine, Josh Groban, and Marilyn Manson, and is regarded as one of the finest recording studios in the world.  Noble’s hiring was facilitated by Doug Fenske, a Grammy-nominated recording engineer at Westlake who’s also an instructor at SAE L.A.  Since coming on board at Westlake, Noble has been involved with a number of sessions for top tier artists, including Island Records recording artist Iggy Azalea.

“Westlake was my first choice for a job after I researched the top studios in Los Angeles,” says Noble, who graduated from SAE in June 2013.  “Doug was a big help to me while I was at SAE, and I knew that if I wanted to one day be at his professional level, Westlake was the place where I needed to begin my engineering career.”

Originally from Greensburg, PA, Noble was in the Army for almost 14 years, beginning in 1998.  He was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC and then in Aviano, Italy and worked as a Parachute Rigger.  After the Army, he attended SUNY at Buffalo, and was also a member of the Air Force National Guard, working in Aircrew Flight Equipment.  After establishing himself on the Buffalo club scene as a DJ after college, he moved west in 2012 to attend SAE’s Los Angeles campus.  While attending SAE, he was also performing in some of the hottest spots in the L.A. area, including the hip New Orleans-themed club FiveOFour.

“DJing has helped me to be a better engineer and engineering has absolutely helped me to be a better DJ,” explains Noble, who favors funk, soul, rap and R&B in his spinning, and describes his style as party-rocker-mixed-with-turntablist.  “The skills that I learned at SAE have given me a better understanding of the gear and sound systems that I use in the venues where I perform.  And my DJ ears give me an edge in the studio, especially when I’m working on tracks that are aimed at the dancefloor.”

Before enrolling at SAE’s L.A. campus, Noble compared the school’s curriculum to the programs of other audio engineering colleges.  He chose SAE because he preferred the school’s classroom approach as well as its emphasis on studio work and practical learning.  He also was impressed by SAE’s vast international network of alumni, which is accessible to graduates when they’re ready to begin their job searches.

“SAE grads have all of the necessary knowledge and networking tools that they’ll need to succeed as creative media professionals,” says Noble.  “The education I received made me confident that I would be just as prepared as, if not more prepared than, students from other top audio engineering schools.  SAE also opened my eyes to the many career possibilities for audio engineers in today’s marketplace, and I’m excited about all of the opportunities that are out there.”