Josh Loar, a 2007 graduate of SAE Institute, was honored as the Live Sound Engineer of the Year at SAE’s 2013 alumni awards in New York City.
Loar’s vast experience includes:
- teaching sound design and engineering at the Yale School of Drama
- working as the founding technical director and sound systems/mix engineer at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan
- being head engineer/technical director for Galapagos Art Space and Carroll Music, both in New York City
- designing AV and control systems for large concert halls around the U.S. as well as theme parks in Shanghai, Seoul, and Dubai
- mixing and producing live performances and concert recordings for such artists as Mos Def, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon, Charlie Haden, and Philip Glass
- engineering and producing music, film, T.V., commercial, gaming, interactive, and theater projects at his studio Electric Lights Music
“It means a lot to me to be recognized for my work, particularly in a field like sound consulting and design, which isn’t typically the focus of many awards,” says Loar. “I always say that one of my goals in life is to make the world sound better, one room at a time, and I’m deeply appreciative of SAE’s recognition of my work towards that objective.”
Loar graduated from UCLA in 2001 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Theater. In an effort to gain a greater understanding of, and a broader foundation in, the theory and science of audio, he decided to pursue an additional degree in Audio Technology at SAE.
“While I always found that I could make the projects or shows that I was working on sound great, I had no idea how I was doing it – I just operated on instinct, says Loar, who is currently a Professor of Practice in Sound Design, Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. “After looking at other schools, SAE impressed me the most because of their flexible study program, amazing studio facilities, and prominent and award-winning faculty.”
As he began to build his resume with high profile jobs following graduation from SAE New York, Loar gained additional appreciation of the school’s audio technology program.
“SAE was clearly offering superior education compared to the programs of other schools,” says Loar. “In fact, SAE’s training was so strong that when I hired interns, I found many with Masters’ Degrees in Audio Technology – some even from New York University – who had only a fraction of the knowledge that I had gained during my time at SAE.”
Along with his busy schedule teaching, consulting, designing, and running his studio, Loar is managing to find time to finish his own country music and electronic music projects; create DJ mixes in his alter ego of Madman; and seek grant funding for an archival transfer project, some scientific listening research, and an installation art project that’s centered on an abandoned religious amusement park.
Loar advises SAE students that “it’s great to have goals and to work toward them, but many of the most interesting jobs and projects I’ve ever worked on were things that didn’t seem at first like exactly what I wanted to do, but were instead things that crossed my path. If SAE students remain open to these types of unexpected opportunities, they’ll discover a lifetime of exciting and rewarding experiences.”
Loar also recommends that “SAE students train their ears and then trust them. The best scopes and meters in the world are still only aids to help you articulate what you hear. The ultimate arbiter of a sound experience is still the listener, so become the most attentive and astute listener possible and then trust your skills.”