• 30 Aug 2023 10:04 PM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    At the beginning of this year, Team ASD embarked on a new research project to better understand who makes up the membership.

    This work is feeding into our goals for how the Association can best serve its members in the coming years, and will also inform the current name change exploration.

    As part of our research, we invited all members to fill out a membership survey.

    Here are the results of that membership surveY

    ASD Membership Survey 2023.pdf

    ASD Membership Survey Summary 2023.pdf

  • 19 Jun 2023 11:53 AM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    At the beginning of this year, Team ASD embarked on a new research project to better understand who makes up the membership. This work is feeding into our goals for how the Association can best serve its members in the coming years, and will also inform the current name change exploration.

    As part of our research, we're inviting all members to fill out a membership survey.

    Take the survey here!

    This is your chance to tell us about yourselves, how you work, how you use the ASD and what could be improved.

    By filling in this survey, you will be entered into a prize draw where you can have the chance to win a £250 sound voucher. This voucher can be exchanged for Theatre Ticket Vouchers or at or or a prize of your choosing!

    This is the most comprehensive temperature check we've taken of the Association in its history so far, and we really value the time you give to share your answers with us. They will help us grow our brilliant association together.

    Thank you!

  • 12 May 2023 12:37 PM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    GSA is delighted to present the 2023 graduates from our BA (Hons) Theatre Production and MA Stage and Production Management programmes. We train professional practitioners in the areas of stage and production management, construction and scenic arts, lighting, sound and video, with a great foundational knowledge of all disciplines.  Please visit to view their websites and digital portfolios.

  • 06 Feb 2023 1:27 PM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    The ASD Mentorship Scheme has been re-launched today, and we are welcoming applications through our website.

    The Mentorship Scheme is open to Professional, Future Professional, NCO and Associate members of the ASD and aims to connect anyone working, preparing to work, or in enforced pause from work in theatre sound, to helpful and inspiring one on one conversations with peers or mentors.

    Whether you are a future professional looking for advice on how to shape your career aims, a professional looking for peer to peer learning on a specific area of interest, or conversations to spark new ideas, the mentorship scheme can match and connect you with like-minded, or experienced sound professionals from across the community, for useful conversation, practical help and unique insight.

    As of 2023 there is financial support available for some Mentor/Mentee programs. 

    Find out more here

  • 18 Jan 2023 12:16 PM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    You can find the minutes for the ASD AGM 2023 here:

    ASD AGM 2023 Minutes 4th January 2023.pdf

  • 18 Jan 2023 12:15 PM | Helen Atkinson (Administrator)

    Our new board members voted in on 4th of Jan are:

    Sound Educator - Clare Hibberd

    Sound Designer - Ella Walhström

    Well done to them 

    Thank you to all the candidates who put themselves forward. 

  • 01 Jan 2023 10:33 AM | Association of Sound Designers (Administrator)

    On Wednesday the 4th January, The Association of Sound Designers is holding its Annual General Meeting at 1pm on Zoom. We will be holding elections to recruit two new members to our board, expanding the board by 2. 

    We have Six candidates for the election, and you can hear more about each of them below!

    Mark Cunningham

    I am a freelance PSE with significant experience in sound for mid to large scale theatre touring and new writing.

    I previously worked as a sound specialist at the Central School of Speech and Drama, in technical and production support. There I taught and supported students, maintained the school's sound systems, developed relationships with leading manufacturers, and advised on technical developments. I also developed my coding and electronics knowledge and gained a PGCert in teaching and learning in higher education

    I am interested in online teaching mediums and have participated in ASD educator's group meetings. 

    I have also toured Europe and the World for mid to large scale theatre and new writing productions, lived in Australia working in fringe theatre and now am based in Yorkshire.

    My diverse experience would make me a valuable asset to the ASD board and I hope to contribute to the excellent work that ASD does.

    Keegan Curran

    I have been a sound engineer, production manager and sound designer for theatre shows, corporate conferences and rock and roll shows for the last 10 years and am currently regularly teaching at Drama Schools as well as designing, production managing and PSE'ing in London and regionally.

    Growing up in a working class family in the North West of England and engaging with youth work and outreach in my local area in the arts and technical theatre training, it has been a passion of mine to ensure equal opportunities for all within our industry, providing training, opportunities and support to all - regardless of background, socio-economic upbringing, racial background or sexuality.

    I believe being a part of the board for the ASD, I can help facilitate this and support in whatever way I can.

    I believe my experience as an engineer, production manager and sound designer gives me a breadth of experience which allows me to relate with most positions within the sound department of theatres, rock and roll shows or corporate conferences.

    Joseff Harris

    I want to put an emphasis on the importance of supporting emerging sound designers through regional theatre. I believe it should be a priority that regional theatres open up associate or assistant roles on their own productions. 

    Having come through the regional theatre system, only realising that there weren’t many opportunities there, I have had to take a lot of work in London with me only be asked back once I had reached a certain level.

    We see plenty of assistant director roles, but why not prioritise other creative roles too? Learning to transition your work from smaller studio productions to larger scale work can feel like a daunting step, and to have the support of being in an assistant role can be so integral to making this jump successful.

    Regional theatres are missing out on wonderful, diverse talent because they simply don’t have the infrastructure to support them, and as a result so many sound designers have to leave local theatres to pursue a career in the industry. I would fight to change this.

    Clare Hibberd

    I am the Sound Lecturer on the BA Production Technology Management course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

    In 2004 I graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in Sound Design for Theatre. From an educational context, I have a PGCE in middle years, a PGCert in Higher Arts Education and I am currently studying for a Masters in Education with a focus on teaching creativity.
    Previous sound work includes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium and National Tour), Chichester Festival Theatre (Summer Season), Nicholas Nickleby (National Tour), Mamma Mia (International Tour), Love Never Dies (London), Shrek the Musical (London), Matilda the Musical (London), Senior Sound Technician at the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman) and Counting and Cracking (Belvoir St Theatre- UK tour). 
    I contributed a chapter to the book ‘Audio Education: Theory, Culture and Practice’, edited by Daniel Walzer and Mariana Lopez.  

    Currently living and working in Scotland, I would be able to bring more events, workshops and socials to the North of the country.

    Kieran Lucas

    I’m a sound designer, sound artist and educator working primarily in new-writing and devised work. 

    After benefiting hugely from membership of the ASD I’d love the opportunity to give back to this community and feel I could have valuable input into the direction of the association and help continue the invaluable support it offers its members.

    I’d like to focus on ensuring that the sound industry is providing sustainable career routes for those graduating and those entering the murky waters of ‘mid-career’.

    As a Northern based sound professional I’d also like to continue the work of the ASD in helping to create a strong community outside of London and ensure there are opportunities across all parts of the UK.

    In addition to my experience in sound design I also work as an educator providing teaching and supervision at a number or UK Drama Schools. I would love to use this experience to ensure the ASD is supporting students and graduates as well as ensuring there are accessible avenues for those entering the industry from non-traditional routes.

    It would be an honour to serve on the board of the ASD.

    Ella Wahlström

    I’m a London based sound designer and a mother of two.

    I’ve been a member of the ASD for 10 years and I’d love to do my part in serving our wonderful community as a board member.

    Our industry is at a turning point and we have an opportunity to make the changes needed to improve it. I may not have answers to all the problems, but I bring to the table the point of view of a parent and a full time designer.

  • 14 Jun 2022 8:08 PM | Association of Sound Designers (Administrator)

    Last year, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre reiterated their commitment to the 10 Principles for Safe and Inclusive Spaces at work. These 10 Principles are widely supported in the industry from both producers, venues and associations representing freelancers and employees. The 10 Principles are:

    1. Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that is positive and supportive.
    2. We recognise that harassment or discriminatory language or behaviour may be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.   
    3. We will explicitly address and seek to prevent racism and all other forms of discrimination and bias, their manifestations and effects.
    4. Those of us who are employers accept our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
    5. We do not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination on any grounds, and will ensure that processes are in place for the reporting and investigation of these serious issues.
    6. We recognise that bullying, harassment and discrimination can have significant adverse impacts on the productivity, long-term physical and mental health and well-being of affected people and we will work to eradicate it. This will mean providing adequate protection for complainants and victims, and, where bullying, harassment or discrimination is found to have occurred, taking appropriate action against the perpetrators.
    7. We value inclusivity, appreciate difference, encourage self-education and consider people equal without prejudice or favour. We build relationships based on mutual respect. We will all work to give and receive feedback in a constructive way, which we know will improve creativity and productivity.
    8. We understand that reporting bullying, harassment or discrimination can be intimidating. If anyone comes forward to report any of this behaviour we will endeavour to make the process of reporting clear and straightforward, investigate objectively and respect confidentiality where possible. Individuals who have made complaints or participate in good faith in any investigation into bullying, harassment, or discrimination should not suffer any form of reprisal or victimisation as a result. 
    9. We will respect each other’s dignity and differences, regardless of the seniority of our role in an organisation. 
    10. As we continually work to better understand, develop and deliver this work, those of us who are employers commit to paying professionals with lived experience and/or specialist knowledge in these areas to advise us.

    The ASD supports these 10 principles. For more information on the development and distribution of them, visit the link below.

  • 14 Jun 2022 7:43 PM | Association of Sound Designers (Administrator)

    Apple are currently undertaking a major refresh of the Mac line up, transitioning from Intel CPUs to custom Apple Silicon, using the ARM Architecture. This marks arguably the largest change to the Mac line up since Apple moved to Intel chips in 2006. 

    Right now, Apple sell a combination of both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. While the prices might deceive, the best deals are often to be found on the newest hardware, which offer significant upgrades in terms of performance as well as power consumption. The transition has not been without questions around compatibility of software and hardware, but 2 years into the transition, it is unlikely to be much of an issue. Software designed for Intel chips can be run using a translation layer (Rosetta 2), which allows almost all software to run with only a minor performance hit. 

    The new M1 Chip comes in a few different flavours, each of which are scaled-up versions of the Core SoC (System on Chip). Unlike many traditional CPUs the M1 has many components built onto the chip, including a GPU (graphics processing unit) and Unified RAM (Random Access Memory). Let’s look at the current releases and what they offer us. 

    13” MacBook Pro

    The 13.3” MacBook Pro was part of the first wave of Apple Silicon machines. Released in November 2020, it offered the same physical format as the previous generation of Touch-Bar MacBook Pro’s, albeit with entirely new internals. The standard M1 Chip has an 8 Core CPU as well as an 8 Core GPU. This offered a huge upgrade in speed as well as thermals, with roughly 2.8x better CPU performance over the entry level Intel MacBook Pro and 5x better GPU performance. It even manages to outperform far more expensive Intel Models that cost well over twice as much. 

    Another area of significant improvement is battery life. Despite containing the same 58-watt-hour battery as the Intel version, it manages to double the battery life from an already impressive 10 hours to more than 20 hours of usage. This isn’t just marketing hype either, it is backed up by real world results (some have experienced over 24 continuous hours of video playback). 

    The 13.3” Model offers us a few standard storage options, ranging from 256gb to 2tb of SSD storage. This storage is not user upgradeable after purchase, so it might be worth upgrading this if you are keen on future proofing. The RAM offering is fixed at either 8gb or 16gb, and also cannot be upgraded later. 

    I/O is the same as previous 13” models, offering 2 Thunderbolt 3 Ports, which also double as USB 4. These are both Type C, and support charging, video output and data transfer. Thunderbolt 4 offers speed of up to 40gbps, fast enough to connect many devices. There is also a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the right-hand side of the device. 

    One large caveat to the performance is the display outputs. The M1 SoC is limited to just one external display on both the 13” MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. This is a limitation of the SoC itself, which also does not support External GPU’s. While this may seem terribly limiting, it is certainly not workable. The display can be up to 6K at 60Hz, which is easily separated out using hardware like the Datapath X4. There are also display-link adaptors that allow you to run multiple displays despite the limitation. 

    13” Macbook Air

    Released at the same time as the 13” MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air shares many similarities with both the M1 MacBook Pro, and the previous generation Intel based MacBook Air. Sticking with the physical format of the previous Air, it too got an M1 chip. You may notice the base model MacBook Air does not come with the same 8 Core CPU and 8 Core GPU, but instead has only 7 GPU Cores. This is not a different chip per se but is what is known as a ‘binned’ version. In CPU manufacturing there is undoubtedly units that do not meet the standards for the chip, so instead are sold as a slightly lower end model. It reduces waste as well as lowers the need for multiple production lines of variants, as they need only produce one chip type.

    Storage and RAM follow the same system as the 13” Pro, with the only real differences being in the physical format. The MacBook Air doesn’t have the Touch Bar, instead having the traditional row of Function keys. It also doesn’t have internal fans, relying on passive cooling. This may seem like a big differentiator as better cooling often yields better performance, but in this case, it isn’t quite as cut and dry. In my year of using a 13” M1 MacBook Pro as my daily machine, the fans have never once spun, despite me subjecting it to large logic files, QLab playback and 4K Video editing. Certainly, for work in Sound, I think you’d be unlikely to find the point at which it throttles. In hindsight after my year of running the 13” MacBook Pro, my overriding thought was that I probably could have gotten away with a cheaper machine as I never really reached the limit of what I had.

    14” and 16” MacBook Pro

    In October 2021, Apple announced a further update to the MacBook Pro line-up, releasing a 14” and 16” Model running on Apple Silicon. These arrived with much fanfare, promising a return to the I/O heavy Macs of years gone by, and significant upgrades to the power offered.

    The new SoC’s, labelled the M1 Pro and the M1 Max (naming conventions from here do get a tad confusing), offered up to 10 CPU Cores and 32 GPU Cores, with smaller binned versions offering as low as 8/14 configurations. These do come at a higher cost than previous models, but it is worth noting the performance this offers is still orders of magnitude higher than previous generations. If you previously bought higher tier Mac’s, you may find yourself getting a significant improvement at a lower cost. 

    The 14” and 16” both increase the I/O to 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports as well as the return of the SD Card slot and the HDMI Port. These machines are larger and bulkier, looking very similar to the 2013 era Retina MacBook Pro’s. They also feature an advanced headphone socket, still 3.5mm but now capable of driving high impedance headphones, which is a handy feature for Sound Designers. 

    Display outputs have also increased with this generation, the M1 Pro offering 2 6K displays from the Thunderbolt ports, or 1 6K Thunderbolt Display as well as a 4K display from the HDMI port for a total of 2 display outputs. The M1 Max chip adds an additional 6K display alongside an HDMI output for a total of 4. The internal display receives a large update, featuring a Liquid Retina XDR Display, with far improved colour accuracy, brightness and contrast. I can’t speak on the display without mentioning the famed ‘notch’, though as a daily user of the 14” MacBook Pro, I can safely say it really doesn’t impact my day at all. 

    The Touch Bar is also gone, with a new keyboard providing a vast improvement over the ‘butterfly’ keyboard of previous generations, and the MacBook Pro keyboard and trackpad are still by far the envy of the laptop industry. The M1 Pro and Max chips also offer higher RAM configurations, up to 64gb.

    Unified RAM

    A quick side note on Unified RAM, which is important to differentiate from traditional RAM. Many have commented on the seemingly low RAM offerings on the M1 Laptops, and when we think of traditional RAM, 8gb would be quite low. Composers who use a lot of virtual instruments would probably balk at such a low amount, but Unified RAM works in a slightly different way. 

    The first main difference is speed. Unified Memory is incredibly high speed and very low latency. Being directly on the SoC, the CPU and GPU can both access the RAM far quicker, making a smaller amount of RAM much more efficient than traditional RAM. 

    The Unified RAM also differs by being available to both the CPU and GPU rather than having separate pools. A 16” Intel MacBook Pro for example would have 16gb of standard RAM available to the CPU as well as 4gb of RAM dedicated for the GPU. While this is technically more in a total pool, the Unified RAM can offer the full amount to either the CPU or GPU depending on the needs at any moment, so if you often work in GPU intensive workflows, you will actually have significantly more RAM available to you. 

    Choosing a Laptop

    Having looked at the full range of Mac Laptops available now, deciding might seem tough. The truth is, for the vast majority of Sound work, any of the laptops here will suffice. The base model MacBook Air costs just £999 (and discounts/reductions can be found) and will probably last you a good number of years. The higher end laptops will only yield limited performance for those working in Sound, but yield significant gains in anyone working in Video.

    If you want to buy a laptop with the hope of it lasting the next 8 years, the 14” MacBook Pro is a good buy. The improved I/O will be useful when on the go, and the Screen/speakers make it a great device for watching content as well. The battery life doesn’t hit the heady heights of the 13” Air/Pro so if you are someone who needs truly all-day usage without charging, they will be the best option. 

    In all honesty, for most people, the 13” MacBook Air or Pro will probably do the job. Regardless of what machine you are currently running, it is likely an upgrade. If you are looking to spend more, consider upgrading to a higher storage capacity or RAM config.

    For Students and Educators, don’t forget Apple offer educational discounts on the Mac – this can be up to 10%, taking a MacBook Air from £999 to £898 and a 14” MacBook Pro from £1899 to £1708.

    ASD Members can also access a discount through the Edenred Benefits Programme, though these employee benefits programmes often won’t apply to the newest machines. 

    Apple are also in the process of transitioning their desktop range to Apple Silicon as well, starting with the Mac Mini, and more recently the iMac and the newly released Mac Studio. These offer many of the same advantages mentioned in this article. 

    Some Resources on the Apple Silicon Transition – A guide to what software is compatible on Apple Silicon. - Apple Silicon Developer Resources




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