Is learning at the SAE Institute worthwhile?

I’m big on education. The more you know the better your music will sound, the more jobs you will get, the more money you will be paid and the more fun you will have. Last week I was talking to a friend of mine in Spain and he was telling me about his experience at the SAE Insitute over there. First off, he told me he paid about 9000€. Immediately I let out a big gulp. Teachers should be paid yes. Equipment is expensive yes… but still. I give him “props” as he’s not a native Spanish speaker and all his classes are in Spanish. Because of this however his grades are low. This doesn’t reflect on his music or drive because his tracks are well produced and he’s involved with some decent commercial work already. However, he complains that he can never get studio time at the school except for early in the morning around 8:00AM. He also mentioned that he has several rotating substitute teachers, none of which he has confidence in. He doesn’t like that they gave him the cheapest Mac laptop (the white one). I guess he should have known which computer he was going to get before entering into the program.

I know this post could be seen as a little controversial but I got the notion it was a good topic because over at the Sound on Sound Magazine forums a new bloak asks what people think about SAE almost daily. Almost daily the reviews are mainly negative. Here’s an example: click here

“i’d do a cost analysis: student loans versus potential income. hmmmmmmm, let’s see… potential income = zero” – Sqye, Gearslutz Forum Member

So are any of you currently enrolled at SAE? What do you think? Any allumni want to chime? Is it worth it? I think a lot of people coming into the music business want to know.

Some forum threads on the subject at Gearslutz: click here and another one.

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

448 thoughts on “Is learning at the SAE Institute worthwhile?”

  1. LOL at Anon Anon He (the manager) forgot to order power for the new sae college.

    I’ve heard and read many things on the net regarding the new sae school in london, and I agree with Sandro that you should do your research. I quickly googled the names that you say are heavily involved in the industry and I didn’t find anything apart from Roey wrote a book. So I decided to dig further and through facebook got in contact with some former staff and it teurns out that both Carlos Lellis and Roey Itzhaki were former students and nothing comes up when searching for productions etc. I suggest anyone who wants to join sae to do a bit of research, there’s enough on forums, facebook, youtube etc.
    I managed to get other stories such as the people who live next door to the new sae college are complaining and therefore recording is not allowed over night? I need to get this confirmed of course so next time I come up to london I will try and get more information (speak to people). also the fact that they (sae) are closed over the weekend so no more 24hr access.

  2. I agree Arno if my lecturer turned out to be a former student and I’d paid so much money to attend the sae institute college/school I’d be furious. I would demand to have someone with industry experience and a teachers degree at least!!!

  3. I’ve been to 3 different SAE’s and all of the teachers are either old students or just people who needed jobs and only had basic knowledge. Many of my friends who graduated ended up teaching or supervising because they couldn’t get a job anywhere else.. To the many people that consider going to SAE, indeed do your research on different schools before you start with SAE. It’s all about marketing and that’s the only thing SAE has been succesful in.

  4. Wow! I’m not one to write in these forums but I want to say that I had an AMAZING experience at SAE-LA when I went there. Since I graduated last year I have started my own publishing company and can FINALLY do all of the things I always dreamed of dong: like write, Produce AND Engineer my own music from the spark of an idea early in the morning to micing the drumkit and mixing a full-fledged recording.

    A lot of the work I do is conceptual and involves coordinating with engineers. Because I now AM an engineer, I can speak the professional language of audio and I am never intimidated in any studio situation.

    Nothing is guaranteed in life. Gaining knowledge does NOT mean an instant job; but it sure helps!

  5. A very lively discussion indeed. I usually do not see the point in getting involved in childish discussions in the style of “You suck” – “No we don’t”. However, I see a couple of wrong and demagogic “facts” here that need to be set straight.
    Generally speaking, whoever is interested in audio will need to decide if structured training is for him/her. Secondly, they will then need to decide whether SAE is the right place for them. I would invite anyone who is doing this consideration to come in and see us. The facilities obviously being an important point (SSL G+, Neve Genesys, Icon, SSL AWS, Neve DFC, TL Audio VTC, 02R96, Tascam DM-3200, Mackie Onyx32, Euphonix MC, Control24) but also to get a chance to get direct answers. I am happy to meet anyone who would like to find out first hand about our college.

    The internet is a great resource to get a variety of opinions. However, behind anonymous posts can often be people or organisations with a specific agenda. Who would have an interest in going into company details while SAE is unarguably the most established, largest and solid educator in this field, in the UK and internationally? I am not aware of anyone being bothered of any company changes we’ve gone through in almost 25 years of operating in the UK – when what counts is the delivery of education and training.

    As Sandro already indicated, one needs to ask with common sense: If everything is apparently so bad how does it happen that SAE has established itself as the longest-running, expanding training provider in the field ? Whilst there are negative opinions around that are usually more vocal and visible, there are numerous students who were/are satisfied. If every single of our students was unhappy, the internet would look differently.
    SAE London has indeed undergone a challenging period of re-shaping. This does apply to the much needed move/expansion and it also did coincide with other changes. SAE would not be what it is today if it was not constantly adapting and to some extent even taking an almost evolutionary approach. It is important for our quality to make sure the best staff are around and this also does involve that people who are stagnating in their development or that do not have what it takes to push a school like this forward will be left behind. In addition some people don’t like change and then prefer to go – fair enough. At the end of the day I am confident to say that we have a great team, better than ever before and numbers mentioned are not correct and exaggerated.
    One reason for me to jump in here is that students and staff feel rightly concerned about the negative and anonymous campaign on this blog, which unfairly undermines their efforts, career perspectives and professionalism. I can’t help but notice that several posts were anonymous and wonder why some are pointing at competitors which since years simply copy SAE’s successful concept and keep employing SAE’s ex – staff ?
    Lastly, apart from looking at internet opinions which anyone reading this is obviously doing, I would suggest to look at all the aspects that SAE has to offer these days:
    – The worldwide network
    – The ever growing track record of graduates and recognition (e.g. ‘hall of fame’ at the SAE Alumni website , SKillset Media Academy status )
    – what’s going on at SAE worldwide – see the latest SAE Magazine and
    – the solid academic track record: 10 years of successful collaboration with Middlesex University, further expansion into postgraduate programmes
    – and many other things to explore at

    I can be contacted via for any questions.


    Matthias Postel
    Manager SAE London

  6. I don’t agree and believe sae had the best team up until the end of last year

    A team that wanted the best for the students
    A team that questioned “why are we getting the cheapest projectors for the classrooms, students can hardly see what’s displayed”
    A team that was contantly put down every time they wanted to make things better.
    A team that left due to the introductions of badly written staff contracts that would mean we would be unable to take on any freelance work. and therefore unable to work in studios or do any productions outside sae.
    A team that gladly accept offers and work from other colleges because they would treat them with respect.

  7. Hi, I just stumbled on this discussion and, not being someone who normally joins these things, I feel compelled to chip in with my view as a new audio engineering student at SAE London. Firstly, Matthias (above contributor and manager of the institute) is a very friendly and helpful guy so don’t hesitate to contact him if you want to as he said.

    Secondly, a month into my course I am absolutely loving it. You know when something exceeds your expectations and you feel vindicated that you followed your gut instinct? It’s exactly how I feel. I was unsure originally about the course fee and what the competition was like etc. but am so glad I went for it. The equipment and facilities at SAE are second to none, my lecturer is everything you want in a teacher and more – patient, knowledgable, entertaining, clear, enthusiastic, inspiring etc, the guest lecturers are of a very high calibre (tomorrow we have an engineer visiting who has worked closely with the Rolling Stones, U2, Faith No More and others) and the environment itself is as condusive to learning and as comfortable as you can get. One other student with me left a similar course at another college as he said it was just impossible to learn properly with 20 people crammed in a small studio room writing on their laps and he’s so much happier at SAE.

    I could go on but I’m just putting off my homework!

    So far so superb from my point of view and I am yet to meet a student who is dissatisfied either. I’m really excited about the rest of the year.

  8. Hi Everyone,

    First of all ..Wow what a Long heated thread this is indeed!
    I have read all of the comments below with much interest. It’s interesting to see non-Sae people argue with Sae-staff and students. The point of all this is, is that clearly some of the students don’t have a clear vision of what it means to be an Audio Engineer and as alot of you mentioned before me,’s about the SOUND people..the sound, it is NOT about create the killertracks..i’ts about getting that KILLER-SOUND! I’ll be attending the SAE Amsterdam or Rotterdam in Holland very soon. Courses commence in September and I’m choosing SAE because in my opinion they offer nothing but the best. I’ve read tons of negative stories, but I Also heard tons of positive ones ..and let me tell you..only the strong survive. Its a cruel world people and no one will stop to give u anything,’ll have to work for it and earn it. Even though it’s alot of money, it’s worth it. The SAE also has a online community where you can browse through various job openings..a friend of mine is actually now working with Top Artists in the UK.

  9. I came across this link on the SAE Institute’s facebook pages. Normally I don’t write on these blogs but wanted to tell a few facts.
    I did the Electronic music production course last year and had a great experience, my lecturer was fantastic but he left just before I finished my course.

    In my 6 months at the college I never even knew who the manager was, no introduction was ever given nor did he turn up for the class representation meetings.

    Only at the end when we were asking for an extension due to the incomplete college move to hackney did we try to find out who the manager was, we emailed him on many occasions but had no reply.

    Since I left I’ve kept in good contact with current as well as former staff and students, and here’s a few points I’d like to share though normally I don’t write on these blogs.

    1. My friend went on to do the diploma course but left as students were unable to record or play loud music in the evening/night. The sae college is NOT running 24 hrs per day 7 days per week.

    do I really want to support this in todays struggling music business?
    There are more posts confirming that this is still happening on other forums.

    3. I also googled the names: Carlos Lellis, Ian Walman, Roey Itzhaki and found nothing on productions/recordings

    4. I know for a fact my lecturer didn’t leave due to “stagnating in his development” as Matthias Postel puts it or because he simply wanted to go.
    Like “Former” mentioned it was because of the staff contracts Matthias Postel introduced. and the same was the case for the many other people who left.

    5. I do however agree with Matthias that anyone who consider studying at SAE london to contact/email him and ask for the following:

    a) get him to email you a complete list of productions that current staff has worked or working on ( you can then double check these on the net before signing up, and make sure you get the quality of teaching you deserve when paying a huge amount of money)

    b) a personal tour and talk from/with your lecturer or the manager (I had that before signing up to the EMP course and it made a difference) normally the supervisor shows you around!

    c) Make sure you read the contract before signing up (my friend had loads of problems when he wanted to leave and had to pay even more money)

  10. I am currently a filmstudent at SAE Frankfurt.
    I absolutely love it. It´s the best choice I have made to go there.
    the people are wonderful. Helpful, understanding and very cool. We get
    people that work in the business as teachers and they tell us stories right
    out of the workplace and teach us on that basis.
    I love my class, all good people with a lot of motivation. We work together and we
    really get to develop our talents with the equipment and the programs provided.

    every once in a while there comes an oppurtinity along I just couldnt get as a couch potato.
    Working on the Musikmesse, or being on a real life set and shooting stuff for an actual
    DVD. Its really really great.
    People that always bitch about the SAE Institues are mostly people that didnt pass the tests, or didnt get along with the people for some reason. If you have the proper motivation to go along with the teachings at the SAEs its a great opportunity and really fun.
    Could it be less expensive? Well, there I have to agree.
    People that want the good jobs, money and knowledge just stuffed into their pockets and do nothing for it, better not go to a SAE Institute. But if you´re willing to work for your (hopefully) dreamjob, then this is the place. I love it there, and thats my experience.

  11. A few facts about SAE from the inside

    a) about a year ago we had a really great team, it was a joy going to work because we were all very good friends as well as colleagues. It’s not like that now, no offense to anyone, but I personally believe that Tom Misner and Matthias Postel messed it up with the introduction of some appalling contracts.

    b) We have nowhere near the student numbers we used to have, why? maybe because we lost a good team? or bad management? who knows

    c) I see Staff members names plastered all over these and other web pages in a some kind of propaganda for sae institute? at least they could have the decency of asking us first!

    d) SAE is not open 24-7, complaints from neighbours limiting recording hours.Though we have longer opening hours than the council granted us in the first place lol.
    Hours of Operation

    The use hereby authorised may only be carried out between 08:00 hours and 21:00 hours Mondays to Fridays, 08.00 hours and 18.00 hours on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays and Public Holidays.
    full story:

    e) SAE Oxford, contact the littlemore council in oxford and you will find that the so called “sae college” has no permission to be operating as a school or college. Another thing is staff members are permanently living on the premisis which is against regulations and the law.
    for more info contact:

    d) I passed the course! not everyone is a failed or disgruntled students. YES most of us are former students but remember there are no jobs out there once you have completed your course so we all gladly accepts a job from sae, we look at in a way of getting some of our money back.
    Hope this helps other people in making a decision, sae institute is not for everyone I agree, remember a lot of expensive equipment doesn’t equal a good education.

  12. As a former student of SAE Brisbane and Byron Bay, I can safely say that the AE-D (Audio Engineering Diploma) and B-AE (Bachelor Of Audio Engineering) are well worth while, only if you’re well aware you’re only getting out what you put in.

    In my time at the colleges I found everything to be well above average for other music industry based courses available to me (I’d previous spent a year studying AE at Griffith University, which was frankly sub-par). All of the faculty were first and fore-most entirely friendly and approachable, beyond that they were all highly knowledgeable in specific areas of the industry (as you’ll find most people favor one aspect over another). Across the 14 people who I came into contact with at one point or another I gained a great deal of knowledge pertaining to the physics of sound, gear quality and maintainence, advanced techniques, home studio building, music business operations and all the rest of it. This is not to say that I had 14 intermittent lecturers over 4 years, I pursued this extra knowledge myself as all well prepared students know they should.

    Facilities at both campuses were to die for. Seriously my obsession is with mixers and microphones and I could hardly contain my excitement when the SSL K was made available to me along with the SE Gemini and other such beautiful microphones. It was simply heaven. Training on all of the gear far exceeded my expectations, judging by the fact that 75% of what we do as engineers involves experimentation I half expected them to give us the block diagram and send us on our way. How incorrect was I? I organized private session times with my teacher to get really deep into the operations of the more versatile equipment (the K again?).

    One the same note of gear, we were able to access it from 8am-2am every day, excluding weekends (something like 6am-6pm SAT-SUN), to get our assessment done, or just to muck around (within reason). It bugs me to hear that some foreign colleges have restrictions greater than these in place. That however is something I never had trouble with.

    I will point out though that any sound/multimedia course is a very personal thing (to the student) you have to be 100% comfortable in your environment and you have to like the operations. I found SAE to be a lot more relaxed than the ‘big’ universities. But in that relaxation came a certain accessibility, whereby I knew that my attitude towards assessment was somewhat more important than the outcome. If perhaps a mix didn’t come out as they’d expected, but I’d created it that way on some streak of creative insanity, I’d still come out getting the grades I wanted, doing it my way. The point here is that if you’re not comfortable you won’t achieve your best. If (for example) SAE London restricts you, don’t go there. If you find a better fit for you at another institute, go there and give it all you’ve got.

    My experience can’t be applied across the board to all SAE campuses, but I can 99% guarantee that if you’re in QLD, Australia and you want to pursue audio engineering then you’ll love SAE Brisbane and Byron Bay (the 1% of course being your personal preference). If you don’t like SAE then JMC, UQ, QUT, GU and Bond all offer relevant courses. Try them on for size and see what fits you.

    Ego Booster: I’m 22 years old. I was employed by AusStereo 3 months before I graduated my degree, I now currently work for them as a V/O, Imaging and Advertisement Producer/Engineer and I’m mid way through my gargantuan home/shed studio build.

  13. Being a former SAE lecturer, I agree with JH that the management’s attitude is simply unacceptable. Staff is not treated with respect and this might reflect on students. However I believe the quality of the teaching was (I can’t tell for the present) not as bad as it is said. All lecturers had excellent technical knowledge and decent experience in various small projects. They might not have engineered Beyoncé but would they be teaching at SAE if they had?
    If you take a course in Politics for instance, there’s a good chance that the lecturers aren’t Members of the Congress.

    A fact is that signing up for SAE means giving money for a big company whose main goal is to make profit. Does that mean good education? Well, I’ll you reflect on that…

  14. I just finished the AED course at the SAE in Rotterdam and I must say that my class also experienced something very peculiar:

    Out of 9 pupils, only 3 passed for the final project. Why? I’ll explain.

    During the entire course, we only got 4 (!) opportunities to hand in a mix and get feedback on it. And if we did, the feedback would usually be 2 lines long. Most often the sentence : “Your sound is too dull.” was used. And if you asked a teacher for further feedback, they’d refuse and simply tell you that you had to turn it up a notch. Which was very odd in my case, because I always had the best grades of the class for theory exams and I never got a grade below 73% for practical assignments. Furthermore, I missed 3 lessons in total during the entire course.

    Then when my class handed in their final projects, 6 out of 9 students were told that their mix was completely sub-standard. One student even got a score of 35%. The question I’d like to ask is: Which standard? During the entire course everybody got grades between 60 and 90 %, never below 60% let alone 35%.

    Now, I completely realize that a final project should be graded more strictly then a practical assignment, BUT they simply cannot demand from their students to hand in a perfect mix at the end of their course when they were only given the opportunity to get feedback on their mixes 4 times during the entire course. Mixes made on 4 completely consoles, I may add.

    I have read most of the comments here and a lot of SAE students say: “You have to work hard to get something out of it.” I agree, but of those 6 students at least 4 were completely devoted students who put their entire financial situation at risk to get their diploma and now they have a €10.000 debt with nothing to show for it.

    I am genuinely glad that I have found a (completely recognized and accepted) bachelor-study that has triggered my interest (Audiology) and guess what? I’m getting a scholarship. So I wont have to pay a damn thing. Eat your heart out SAE!


    A former Student at the SAE Institute has created what is basically the whole SAE Curriculum, for you to read, study for FREE. YES you do not have to pay 10000.

    as a former lecturer at the SAE Institute I have had a quick look through this and it’s the SAE Institute diploma/degree curriculum. Though this is even 100 times better and more detailed and it’s FREE, FREE, FREE

    Any Students currently studying at any SAE institute please read this and compare with your own notes, lol

  16. Thank for our appreciation anon, I’m glad you liked and suggested to other people my online Course.

    I followed the discussion and I’d like to say a couple of things about it. I studied @ SAE in London (quite a long time ago now) and I never regretted this choice and the money I spent was worth it!

    The thing is that sound engineering is the theory behind it but also practice, a lot of practice. Then in SAE you have the chance to study on the best equipment around; is not for granted to learn on mixers such as NEVE and SSL. You never know when, in your professional career, you’ll meet them again…

    If you read all my course you’ll find that I suggest many times to put into practice what is explained in theory, because you can’t learn the techniques if you don’t apply and refine them many times.

    Furthermore, the SAE in London is open 24h a day, 7 days a week. They close only for fews days throughout the year. You record real bands, you work on your own music project. I loved that.

    The last thing I’d like to say is that I wrote this texbook first in italian, which is my mother tongue, and I asked to the SAE in Milan if they were interested in any way in it. My idea was that they could offer it as a kind of reference for students. Their answer was that my book “didn’t fit the covered topics”. So now, I’m so glad of the appreciacion of the SAE students from all over. That’s it.


    Marco Sacco

  17. Sadly SAE London is no longer open 24 hours per day 7 days a week.

    Great stuff Marco :) I’m currently at the SAE london and your book is much more detailed than what we are given through our lecturers.

    Not sure that SAE is worth the amount of money though, there are loads of issues and problems here at SAE London.

    1. I really have no idea how or where these rumors started about SAE not being open 24 hours a day, but it is. I think everyone giving these negative comments really just aren’t cut out to be engineers or made a bad career choice.

      You get out what you put in. you can’t be spoon fed this. your not children.

      1. Speak with SAE Institue London or any other SAE for that matter.

        Since last year everywhere was told they would not be open on Sunday any more due to restraints given by certain high level people in the company.

        It is very simple to confirm this, simply give them a call.

        The London campus couldn’t do it even if they wanted because they council have forced them to stop..

  18. is learning at the sae institute worthwhile?

    I went to the Open Day at the SAE Institute in London a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest I had not read this or any other bad press about SAE before going there. (I have now though thanks to YouTube and facebook lol)

    But I asked specific questions while being showed around their studios, after all it’s a fair amount of money :), and wasn’t impressed as it seemed that the general mood of staff was very poor and questions were normally answered with ” we are the best” and “There’s no competition” (at first please read on)

    And though the equipment is impressive I noticed that the studios are square with window panes on both the left and right side of the engineer so in the middle and affecting the so called sweet spot of the listener/engineer, (Yes I do know a bit about sound engineering from reading a few books) and none of the people /Staff i spoke to could explain why they had been build in this obvious wrong way, and i was told that maybe I was too advanced already for their courses!! WHAT?!!!

    is learning at the sae institute worthwhile

    NO! No chance I will hand over such a huge amount of money to a College ?? is it really a school? or Institute even.

    Chris O’neil

  19. I’ve studied at both London campuses, new and old. To be honest, yeah the new place looks great but it’s a total waste of money. There is absolutely no guidance or encouragement for students in this branch. The staff are pissed off, there’s no passion or flare. ( Carlos is the only asset along with the equipment). The place is completely disorganized. The studios while excellent are pretty much ornimental as they are mostly locked up. students are expected to sit in slow theory lectures taking in all the information on an almost hypathetical basis for the guts of a year before they can so much as look at a console. This theory aspect is essential as it is an engineering subject but you will find little by way of tangibility in the first 12 months. Most lecturers don’t give a shit either, you might as well be doing a distance course. Their lack of confidence in their own knowledge of engineering and the subjects taught is embarrassingly obvious.
    …Hear me when I say this is SAE London..not SAE in general. I have friends who have studied at various SAE’s around Europe and got what they paid for. Luckily I could see it was the staff and management who had made SAE London the joke that it is. I have since transfered and graduated at another SAE and it is an AMAZING school. A totally different story. Enthusiastic lecturers, Studio time, experience, much more professional and hands on. A theory lecture is not complete until it is then repeated practically in the studio so that all students have a fully comprehensive demonstration and leave with a clear understanding. There you are being prepared for employment, thats the difference. At SAE London once you’ve handed over the money no one gives a shit, the lecturers ( you may have up to five different lecturers in the space of 3 months) turn up looking pissed off and uncomfortable, and give of the strong impression of sad failed musicians/producers who are making a vain attempt to repay their college fees by disinterestedly reading notes of the internet. ANYONE can do this, how fucking dare you. Get a job in a record store or something cause you are not educators and you are not engineers. It’s actually insulting. I don’t know if the manager is entirely to blame but every superior has a superior and someone should be accountable at this point.
    Anyway my point is, SAE..shame on you for allowing this happen to one of your branches, after so much money has been spent on it and such a great city it is’s pure extorsion. It could be a credit to the industry but this particular branch is just giving the rest of us a bad name.
    However, there are some excellent campuses with excellent lecturers who care and have great teaching methods..and EVEN LET THE STUDENTS INTO THE STUDIO..what a novel idea?
    Yes I have used SAE for what I wanted from it, I found a good one and am delighted it finally went the direction it promised to from the beginning. Engineering is an art to be taught by artists.
    But SAE LONDON you’re a fucking joke, thanks for nothing.

  20. I agree, SAE London is nothing but a joke. The Staff especially the management doesn’t care at all, if you have any complaints they simply just ignore you, you try to arrange a meeting with the manager and you end up in a meeting with the head lecturer instead.????
    I suggest that everyone stops attending this school it’s a complete waste of money and like it says on here you might be taught by a 20 year old former student.

    Stop giving them any more money, there are much much better options out there with industry active people teaching you. If you are already at this school do like I did and leave.

    if you think the degree they offer with Middlesex Uni is such an amazing thing, remember that the topics are still being taught at SAE by former students, so not worth anything.

  21. SAE Institute claims to be an Authorised Apple training centre?
    how come I never got to sit the Apple exam?
    When I asked my lecturer, who was Apple Certified, he told me the manager doesn’t want to go through with it? because SAE apparently have to pay a small amount for each student who sits the exam

    So like a lot of other people I had to pay another college to sit the Apple exam, which i passed! I have now contacted Apple to find out what the story is, and I have included this and other links about SAE.

  22. Many things written on here are completely true.

    That’s all there is to say!!!

    SAE ? It’s not worth it.!!!


  23. I read on facebook that SAE institute in London recently sacked the 20th staff member since they first started getting rid of staff a year ago! Is this a college in decline or what lol

    I studied the film course, a complete waste of time.
    Half of the equipment broken,
    lecturers not on time,
    a management that doesn’t care. as soon as you sign up you might as well forget about help, the staff is miserable and you can understand why if each day they turn up to find if they have a job or not.

    A lot of the Audio students are also unhappy as the college is closed From saturday till monday so if you study part time and work fulltime or parttime, you can’t even do any of your work over the weekend. One of them told me that it’s impossible for them to record a band during the weekdays when they have to get up early for work.

    So like many on here are saying;

    STOP going to SAE, spend your money on equipment or another college. There are so many options out there, if you want a degree you are so much better going to a proper University.

    Let’s all join together, create a group on facebook? so people can get the truth from staff, former staff and students!

    Sorry if I sound a bit upset. but it was a lot of money wasted.

  24. Haha, they gave him the cheapest laptop from a´pple – the white
    Or studio time in the morning

    Is he a pro?
    Don’t you thing you will get best the time u are a noob in music production..
    You will always get worse..
    To make the best out of ist and to become noticed is everythiong in that businnes !
    Think ’bout it man

    You will only get good things when u pay for them
    And that’s much more than 10000$.
    The mixers there for example cost more than 900000$ don’t be silly.

  25. lol
    SAE is not worth 10000$ or £, to be taught by former students, yes the equipment might be top notch but so what, a lot of other proper colleges have loads of good equipment and a better education structure.

    I agree with Holly, stop wasting your money.
    especially SAE London, telling you that place should be shut down!

  26. Wow. what a thread.
    As a former student at SAE London I really hope that they will never get the BAC approval!
    SAE is not a proper college, they don’t have procedures on how to deal with students, it’s run by a wannabe or failed sound engineers with little or no knowledge as they are simply former students.
    I read somewhere that even the manager is just a former student lol.
    Let’s give the BAC approval to good British colleges, and not some Australian or Austrian who endorses the use of illegal software.

    Thank you!

  27. I studied at SAE Barcelona and I loved it, the teachers I had where amongst the greatest teachers I’ve had in my life, very knowledgeable indeed, always patient and willing to explain things.
    Gear and equipment where also top notch.


  28. Absolutely a joke.
    a complete waste of money.
    SAE should be closed down for use of illegal software a fine is simply not enough.
    Stop attending this so called college.
    the London branch is an absolute mess, one day you attend and have one of the best lecturers in the whole college, the next you come in and that person is no longer there. At least you would expect them to replace the person with someone of the same level, but as it turns out they are simply trying to save money.
    So the bottom of the story is that you still pay the same but get a worse level of education?
    help yourself – go somewhere else.

  29. Hi,

    Contrary to belief this is only my second post on this forum.
    I am a former student and member of staff at the Byron Bay, London and Oxford campus of SAE and Qantm.

    I am currently in the process of taking legal action against the SAE Institute within the UK and more specifically regarding individuals such as Matthias Postel and Joachim Mueller.

    If you are a current or former student and/or staff and are interested in providing various statement and/or testimony regarding SAE UK please contact me via
    The court date has been set for some time in November. Anyone who has been held under a non-disclosure agreement (like most former staff) will receive court approval to provide these statements without any risk of breaching the agreement you hold.

    I understand that there are a large number of staff and students who have not been happy with SAE Institute UK over recent years and would invite you to make your complaints known via the UK legal system.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  30. The following is about Tom Misner the owner of SAE. LOL He claimed to have recorded the Beatles. We all laugh at this every day :)

    “Within a few months of the school opening, Tom had acquired an Ampex 8 track-recording machine, which apparently had been stolen. As senior partner I made him remove it from the school premises. The shock of discovering I was managing a school with someone who functioned at this level was for me overwhelming. In a meeting we had a few years ago he said, “You didn’t have what it takes”. He was absolutely right. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next….

    I was responsible for the training, but behind the scenes Tom independently held court with the young students, boasting of his fame.

    He claimed he was an honorary member of the Audio Engineering Society of New York, authorized to give students he approved of, a license to record in any studio in the world. He also claimed he recorded the Beatles, and personally knew The Rolling Stones. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” he said, “You’ve got to tell them what they want to hear”.

    Approximately a third of the students were young and naive, and believed their God had arrived and started worshiping him.”

    Read the full article here:

  31. I recently went for a viewing at SAE. I wasn’t that impressed and after reading the comments on here, I wont be following it through.

    I also went for a viewing at London School of Sound. They seemed very professional and had some really experienced teachers. Has anybody been there? What are your thoughts?

  32. I recently saw the link with the illegal use of software at SAE institute, and realized I might as well burn my diploma as it’s worth nothing now.

    I’m sure all studios big or small do their research and will take everything written here into account when looking through CV’s.

    It’s amazing that this school/institution is still running!!!!

  33. @ Richard

    Yes one of my friends went to the London School of Sound, he enjoyed the course and said it was very professional. (Management & Teachers) Not former students like SAE lol.!!!!

    He landed himself a job at the BBC shortly after finishing his course, during his interview he asked how many other people were going for the position and was told: “once they got rid of the SAE Institute CV’s, there were only about 8 left”

    Good luck :)

  34. To N Oliver

    Since studying at SAE London I’ve returned to my home country, but I can only say I’ve never been so unsatisfied with an education and organisation as with the SAE.
    We were treated like pigs as soon as we paid the fees, noone listened to us, we tried hard and spoke to most staff about the poor and unqualified teaching staff, the poor state of the equipment and finding out later that they are all former students just makes it even more hurtful.
    It was a lot of money especially for my parents
    in my country I could almost buy a flat, but I wasted it all on SAE and really I hope you win your court case.
    I clearly remember Matthias Postel as a coward, a gutless individual with no mind/brain of his own. I had one meeting with him after having tried for 2 months to get through to him.
    During the meeting he would sit there and say “yes” “i understand” but nothing was done after the meeting, the equipment was still broken and other members of staff said it was down to Matthias Postel to authorize the repair and he wouldn’t do so as he was all about saving money??
    Even my lecturer Luca only had complaints about Matthias and suggested that we wrote letters/emails but nothing was done.
    I passed my course and stayed at the college as canceling would have meant me losing nearly the same amount.

    Sorry for my bad english.


  35. Agree with Julia

    I studied at The SAE London, and I clearly remember what a bad state the equipment was in and how poor the teaching was. I
    Matthias Postel simply don’t have the backbone and guts to run a college this size. My lecturer also said that since Matthias took over they’ve had nothing but problems and that staff were very unhappy with his day to day lack of running the college, my lecturer even told me how staff were laughing behind his back as he spent most of his working time on things like facebook.

    SAE is nothing but a good business, and as long as we keep paying to go there, they will keep operating.

    The use of illegal software at SAE London is frankly scary. I remember how we used to go to the supervisors to tell them that the waves plugins had expired, and they would say give me 5 min in the studio to sort it out, and then like magic we had another 14days of demo trial. lol.
    My friend who studied that at Qantm told me they couldn’t all use the programs at the same time due to SAE not having enough licenses and therefore had to unplug the network cable to get it to work.

    You pay a lot of money and all you do is help an illegal organisation to keep operating.

    I too regret it now, I wasted so much money

    And all the best to N Oliver :)


  36. In a reply to the people claiming the lecturers are a bunch of ex-students who failed to make it in the industry:

    I can only speak for Oxford lecturers since I’m a student there, but I have to say I couldn’t ask for more from the lecturers. Ian Wallman is incredibly knowledgeable, and despite not showing up much on google, he is in fact very successful in the industry as a producer. He works under an alias of course, as do a lot of producers which is why you cannot find any info on him on google.

    Gareth Green is the most knowledgeable lecturer I have ever met, I came to this college knowing nothing about engineering, no background, didn’t even do music technology in school. I now feel like I know a great amount about it. I know the whole class agree that Gareth is fantastic and if it weren’t for him, half the class would have left by now – which leads me on to the impressive fact that after a year of opening, with three intakes, not one student has dropped out. He has actually had UK number one hits, including one that stayed at number one for six weeks. So to say our lecturers are failed engineers is very inaccurate in Oxford’s case.

    Despite being an Oxford student, I have actually had the pleasure of being lectured by Roey from London, who is an ex-student, granted, but despite this, it was by far the best guest lecture I’ve had, including Alan Parsons. He was brilliant, and it’s obvious why he was made a member of staff at London. And it’s not only me who thinks this, a lot of us were hoping he would transfer here since at the time we only had one supervisor.

    I do, however think the tuition fees are far to high. Yes we have fantastic lecturers, and fantastic facilities, but not for a second does this justify the tuition being £12,500 a year. I have a feeling they might drop them down a little as soon as they get more students since at the moment we are dealing with about 35 students over three intakes. They are getting as much money out of us as possible in order to pay for the building, the studios etc which is ridiculous, but the fact is, I knew it was going to be this much when I enrolled and I’m not even considering leaving so… I guess I can’t really complain about it.

    I actually remember N Oliver roaming around our college at the beginning of the course, I thought it was strange since he looked about 12 years old but had his own office. I can’t really comment on the whole issue with staff signing a contract to keep them quiet, I’m a student so I have no view on it. All I can say is that the SAE in the end is a business, they offer a service, which we students have to decide whether it is worth our money, and enroll on their course.

    Businesses tend to have marketing departments, SAE’s marketing department may be ruthless and force employees to sign a ‘keep quiet’ contract but I had to sign a contract like that when I was employed at a high street retailer. It’s what businesses do, if I ran a business with a name and a brand, I would make my employees do the same. You don’t have to sign the contract – if you don’t like it, then don’t sign it, get another job.

    Then there’s the post by someone with the initials ‘JH’ – suspiciously similar to the initials of a certain member of staff, no? To those who are thinking this is coming from this person… put yourself in this person’s position, you are posting information that you have signed a contract agreeing not to share. You’re quite high up in the management chain, are you going to risk your job on some childish forum started by some pissed off ex-employee who threw a fanny fit because he didn’t get his way? I know if I was in that position I would certainly not use my initials as my alias.

    If you ask me, all this ‘inside information’ by anon posters is all from N. Oliver who’s just spreading crap about everyone and trying to get other members of staff in trouble.

    Just as a side note,

    “contact the littlemore council in oxford and you will find that the so called “sae college” has no permission to be operating as a school or college”

    Littlemore doesn’t have a council – you might need to check that out before saying it in court Mr. Oliver.

  37. LOL funny to see the above post, pretending to be a student but the “inside” information actually suggest you are a staff member?
    Maybe you are JH? LOL
    I read on another forum that the contracts excluded staff from working elsewhere in the music business, and this is the reason why none of the staff members have any industry experience and are all former students—– I believe you can download them or read them (the contracts) on another site/forum, (will post it later when I find it)

    I don’t know anything about JH or N. Oliver, but from an outsiders point of view and reading what it says on a lot of other forums, I think that a lot of these posts are from different staff/students, former and current.

    My friend went to the SAE in London and said it was not worth the money, staff are moody and unhelpful, and she left shortly after.

    You can almost guess which posts are from current staff and I must say to N. Oliver that its very brave of him to post under his own name,( if that is his real name ) and other staff at SAE should really do the same.
    There’s the one from Matthias Postel which just makes me laugh as I recently watched a movie of him promoting SAE

    This guy doesn’t even seem to know what Audio Engineering is :)

    Anyway I’m signing this under anon and I have not even been to sae ever lol

  38. I have received a letter from the lawyers of SAE Institute within the UK requesting that I ask for certain comments to be removed.

    However, just to confirm and in defense to the post by SAE Oxford Student. I am glad you like SAE Oxford, it was actually me that project managed the build out jointly selected the staff that you speak so highly of. If you notice, this is why in-fact I do not discuss any staffing problems at SAE Oxford.
    Your comment in relation to my age is here nor there as if age played a part in ability to complete tasks then individuals such as Mark Zuckerberg would still be working in a cafe no doubt.

    As discussed, and possibly the forum moderator could confirm this by way of IP addresses, I have only made two such posts on this forum. One was under the name of anon anon in which I requested individuals contact me via and the second under the name N Oliver.

    I have no problem writing under this name as I have no intention of making groundless accusations or defaming the company.

    And finally, a link to the Littlemore Council website..

  39. whats with all the hate? im doing my web design course at the new sae london and i have no problems with it. great tutors, facilities and i’m actually learning stuff unlike in my previous college 2 years ago. after i finish my course here in sae i get my degree which is issued by both sae and middlesex uni (not the best uni but its better than nothing.

    and i feel alot of my classmates are more serious/experienced. someone i met in one of my classes is a certified adobe instructor.

    i dont know why people complain about the lecturers, my graphic design teacher in sae is a successful graphic designer, another tutor is a flash developer and 2 others are web developers.

    but then again im studying in the multimedia/development section of sae which is completely different from the film/audio engineering students.

    but from my experience with my course so far everything is perfect, they just need to fix up the air conditioning in one of my lecture rooms :P

  40. SAE was a complete waste of money, the staff were all yewts and I could never get in the studios due to the booking system. I am seriously considering legal action. They make a lot of promises to entice students that don’t materialise. There are no jobs for SAE students in the alumni either unless you want to learn German and relocate.

  41. Well i have read alot about SAE and with all this information most people who did attend SAE gave positive energy for those who are willing to attend like my self. Janurary 12, 2010 is my year to go in for the diploma and I’m feeling great and confident because I’m going to become the best at it.

  42. Hi there,

    was wondering hat all the fuss was about because i’m an undergraduate and i’ve been looking into doing film at SAE London. however after all these comments, i’m actually pretty confused as to whether it is worth going to or not. is there anyone that did film and regretted it?? is it worthh going to??

  43. ive been planning to go to sae in amsterdam? what other options is ther in amsterdam anyways? i didnt kno that ther was so much bad feedback :S i just want to be around other ppl that r like minded, into music production and how it all works..

    does someone recommend what courses/schools/work or rly “groups” i can get into/start in amsterdam? i guess if sae is so expensive for what it is promising, i could do something more on my own. help??

  44. Hi!I was about to join SAE next year to do filmaking but I read too many bad things about this places.I dont know you 10 grants is a lot of money I almost sell a kidney to study there.My research tells me not to do so…
    Also when you get to see the final film students projects,compare to london film school or academy, they are crap.I dont say my videos are far better but my kidney stills intact.

    1. My girlfriend is attending SAE in LA and loves it. They extended studio time and the advantage SAE has over other schools is the studio time given to students. Like anything in life you get out of it what you put into it. Audio engineering is not for everyone. Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons and not as a hobby.
      She feels she is getting a good education, and it was $ well spent.

      1. SAE is not franchised all over like someone said. there are a couple of franchises one is Dubai not sure of the other but 99% of all other campuses are run by SAE home office. Even the franchised locations stay under the strict quality guidelines SAE has in place. I did this research prior to starting Audio Engineering at SAE LA. Don’t believe the bad stuff as this is probably from people who couldn’t cut the mustard as this is not an easy field to get into. SAE challenges me daily and the instructors know their stuff. I chose SAE over the LA Recording School due to its family feel and individual studio time. All my classmates are happy as well with the exception of a guy who quit last week due to missing too many days. If you are lazy and not ready to give it 100% plus do not waste your money as SAE is for people who are serious about music.
        I would recommend SAE to friends and family any day as I love it so far! Don’t listen to the handful of nay sayers who probably have never seen the campus or attended and couldn’t hang..

        1. You were still a student at the time of this posting?
          I’m sure you’re still very excited, but as a successful former student of two SAE schools and a former employee of one, I have to say the naysayers are right. I have a 10 year history with this school and the main focus is on making money- NOT the students.
          You’ll get the same basic information you’ll get in any audio tech program that’s under a year. The retention & placement are generally terrible throughout the schools and there’s a revolving door with instructional staff.
          Go to a school that spends more than four 3-hour classes on important subjects like music theory or effects. Go to a school that actually helps you find an internship or job after you graduate. And, just in case you don’t end up becoming a Grammy winning engineer, go to a school that gives you an actual degree- not just a diploma.
          Having said that…..the LA staff of SAE is pretty great compared to the other locations.

    2. SAE Los Angeles is dope! staff listens, cares, and most importantly I am earning! I love the field trips to the real studios on Hollywood. Awesome school! As far as SAE LA is concerned its good 2 go!
      Hope you make the best decision for you!

    3. I am attending SAE now in LA, and can only come to the conclusion that the negative comments come from people who couldn’t cut the mustard. It is not an easy business to learn, and SAE never guaranteed me a job, but did say they would do their best to help me. I am learning a ton and the staff is great. My only complaint was that I wanted longer studio hours. When I asked for extended hours management extended the hours! Audio Engineering is just like any other industry where you have to pay your dues. You have to work your way up from a studio runner, to an assistant, then an engineer.. Thats if you have the talent and are humble enough to climb the ladder with out expecting to do it all right out of school. I like that SAE painted the picture of how competitive the audio engineering field is.. Only the strong survive :-) . I like SAE and would recommend friends and family as long as they know what to expect from the industry.
      So much hatred from folks that probably have never had a tour and seen SAE or from others who never had any business trying to learn this stuff in the first place. Its not easy! and you need talent!

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