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.

Published by

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. I think the amount of written things against and about SAE tells the truth, SIMPLY NOT WORTH IT!!
    My friend signed up this year and regretted it within a month, managed to get most of the money back and is now studying Film Making at the London Film School.

  2. I have started the audio diploma at SAE London this september and am so far finding it great :) I believe it was a good choice as my teachers seem to be very knowledgeable and I am learning lots. After around 8-9 weeks of Golden Ears practical sessions, the EQ & Dynamics assignment, the audio edit assignment and many lectures I am seeing my knowledge of electronics, physics, maths and my ability to mix improve which for me is exiting. I imagine the course can only get better as we haven’t started our recording/post production assignments yet.

    Don’t let everyone put you off SAE.
    If you have the money, take a tour, ask students in the building of there opinion
    and If its not your thing, I’m sure there are many other colleges equally as good!

    You really can’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it.

  3. WOW!!! I love this discussion. lol so much propaganda, as for me im going to be finishing a National diploma next year and want to go further with my education as i feel there is alot more for me to learn. Whether its getting my foot into a studio or going to an educationl faciity, to be honest SAE seems like “The Shortcut”. I’ve been looking into going to sae london for about a year and decided last week that im not when i found out SAE is actually a franchise..

    I think i might just sign up to, get a bank loan and have my own little SAE branch in canterbury!!! Why not!!! lol

    Now from what i gathered some SAE institutes might be brilliant some might not, due to the nature of who owns which franchise. I dont want to study with a corporate company that may or may not have good managers and staff.

    Regardless of their quality gear having passionate lecturers that care about where you want to be is important for your own confidence, having someone lecturing that doesnt give a crap about you and just want his/her pay check it can be very damaging not only to the student but the institution aswell.

    At the end of the day your putting in £10000 and for that you expect to get at least a basic level of compitence and lecturers that cre about their jobs and the students. other than that the £10000 opens a door
    that not many people get the chance to go through.

    As for the illegal software it shows to me that the business men/women investing in opening up new franchises dont know how exspensive the whole professional studio shabang is, day one of my music tech course we learnt that, along with how hard and cut throat the industry is. I find this disgusting as not only have they tarnished the whole SAE franchise but the audio engeering industry,

    I shall stop rambling and leave you with some little advice from my personal research:

    Remember SAE is a franchise, who knows who own each individual one, lets just hope most of them are music industry proffesionals…..

    For £10000 you could setup a basic recording setup, start recording local bands for free, with these recording you stick them in your portfolio, if you have the drive and know about audio engineering.. If your someome who knows nothing about music technology i recomend going to your local college, yes they may not have £600 000 mixing desks but you will learn a lot of the basics in a wide aspect of areas within the music industry, and if you have the drive you will go that extra mile and do some researcing and epanding your knnowledge.

    Once youve built up a little portfolio start requsting jobs within studios, show them your work, tell them what equipment youve used on your recordings! But dont expect to be hands on on the mixing desk if you do get a job. Just starting off as a tea boy is great! you’ve got foot in the door and from that point you put 110% in, it might take 6 months it might take 6 years but if your passioate and you have a dream you’ll get there in the end.

    oops ive rambled on again :)

    Anyway SAE isn’t for me so i believe that SAE is not worth the money!


    1. Forgot to mention this is what is said on the licensing website in their investments and benifits section:

      “In the creative media industry and its related sub sectors, there will never be a saturation point for formally trained engineers and producers because of the dynamic nature of the industry. There will always be new technical innovations which require trained and re-trained engineers and producers before the creative talent can leverage upon it. Therefore, to invest in the business of providing education in these fields will always be relevant provided that the curriculum is always updated to keep up with current technology levels. ”

      So if youve got the drive to become a studio engineer or something then GO FOR IT! Engineer and producers in the feild! SAE is your place!!

    2. Hi Marcus,

      If you look more closely, on the saelicensing website there is an animation with the title “Territories for Licensing” showing the countries that this applies to, e.g. countries like Botswana and Belarus. You will not see countries like the UK or Germany there – as these are not franchises. All operations in ‘core’ (‘western’) countries are directly owned by SAE. Sorry to disillusion your ideas about your own SAE in Canterbury, but that’s not going to happen …
      All SAEs whether they’re franchises (e.g. India, Thailand) or ‘normal’ (UK, USA, etc etc) are subject to quality control mechanisms – in addition to all sorts of regulations and approvals in each country (e.g. ISO9001 in Germany, state accreditations in USA, BAC/Skillset in UK etc).
      So, you can be assured that there is not this uncertainty as you describe it.

      I hope this helps.


      Matthias Postel
      SAE UK

  4. SAE Amsterdam is definitely not worth spending any money on.
    These guys aren’t to be respected at all.
    I can’t even imagine how these guys can bare to live with themselves putting off this awful scam.
    Not only do I find it an insult to people who have
    The only way I found a job is because I have the passion, but I really feel insulted and disrespected.
    I was naive and actually I knew the school would have been a total joke.
    The only reason I went there is because I had to chance to use studio’s, but man, you could rather do a daytime job and bag to be a coffeeboy in a studio and climb all the way up.
    The point of studying is that you get a good education so you shouldn’t do this coffeeboything in the future.
    If you don’t have any talent, there is no way you are going to make it with this education.
    I did it, I did the goddamn thing, and please…spare me to even consider going back there.

    The only thing they are after is your money, i even think they don’t want talent at there school, cause these people who get attention can tear the whole thing down…
    Everywhere I come, I try not to speak about it, I just have my portfolio and never say a goddamn word about the school.

    They are worse than a bunch of crack-junkies doing what they can to get some money…
    And really, the things I heard there from teachers, man, it’s just sad!


    Even if you’d like to record music, consider something else…
    You are not going to go out of the school with a job, a good feeling or connections…

    the only thing you know is that you lost 10000 precious dollars, and really than they become precious, that’s even the worst thing…
    It’s all about the money, it’s almost like a sect!

    I tell you, go there for a tour, and laugh, laugh hard…so they wake up and get a sense of respect…

    Bunch of losers there, man!

    1. Hi there
      I was thinking of joining for the Film direction course in SAE and today I was just browsing for some discussions and lo! I found this!
      Do you really think itz not worth to do @SAE amsterdam. I looked at the Dutch film academy, but then its in dutch. My dutch is just ok, so thought not to take any risk.
      Any comments.

      I appreciate


      1. Hi Noby,

        From what I’ve heard the Dutch film academy is a good school. They offer a different kind of structure than we (SAE Institute Amsterdam) do.
        Their course is a lot longer due to a year of internship and a lot of focus on theory like film history, film analysys etc. in the first year, and only available in full-time.

        SAE Amsterdam offers a 2 year part-time film diploma program which now includes animation. (add another year for the bachelor) , it’s less theoretical and more hands-on in that period.

        At the Film Academy you specialize in one direction e.g. director while at SAE we try to keep your horizon as broad as possible so you will become an all-round film maker.

        Although quite different from eachother both are good schools, it really depends on what you’re looking for and what your personal goals are in this matter which school would be suited best for you.
        I suggest you pay both the Dutch film academy and SAE Institute Amsterdam a visit and make sure you get all the info you need to make a decision which works in your favor.

        Kind regards,
        Jan Klomp
        SAE Institute AmsterdamHi Noby,

        From what I’ve heard the Dutch film academy is a good school. They offer a different kind of structure than we (SAE Institute Amsterdam) do.
        Their course is a lot longer due to a year of internship and a lot of focus on theory like film history, film analysys etc. in the first year, and only available in full-time.

        SAE Amsterdam offers a 2 year part-time film diploma program which now includes animation. (add another year for the bachelor) , it’s less theoretical and more hands-on in that period.

        At the Film Academy you specialize in one direction e.g. director while at SAE we try to keep your horizon as broad as possible so you will become an all-round film maker.

        Although quite different from eachother both are good schools, it really depends on what you’re looking for and what your personal goals are in this matter which school would be suited best for you.
        I suggest you pay both the Dutch film academy and SAE Institute Amsterdam a visit and make sure you get all the info you need to make a decision which works in your favor.

        Kind regards,
        Jan Klomp
        SAE Institute Amsterdam

        1. Jan,
          Don’t do it! I don’t know if I’m too late but SAE is a fraud. A lot of the staff wouldn’t know it because it is at the top and they enter in trying to do good and meaning well having no idea. Any film school or trade school beyond traditional college is a risk but I would earn a legitimate degree from university and get whatever job you can in the film industry and work your way up. Save your money and do your research.

          Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. If you already started at SAE, get your money back. I know they make it sound great on the surface but if you peel back the first layer you start to see inconsistencies. Do yourself a favor and look up the article on Tom Misner by Business Review Weekly titled, ” A Wrong Way to The Top”. That should tell you a lot. Good luck and God bless!

  5. Found this on the Sound on Sound Forum.. SAE Institute has gone into liquidation :)

    (Company Number 03077134)
    At a General Meeting of the above named Company, duly convened
    and held at One Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London,
    W1H 7LW on the 19 October 2009 the following Resolutions were
    passed as a Special Resolution and an Ordinary Resolution
    “That the Company be wound up voluntarily and that N A Bennett,
    of Leonard Curtis, One Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch,
    London W1H 7LW, be and is hereby appointed the Liquidator of the
    Company for the purposes of such winding up.”

    Full Story here:

  6. SAE Institute

    From : youtube

    Company Number: 03077134.
    Nature of Business: Educational services.
    Type of Liquidation: Creditors.
    Address of Registered Office: One Great Cumberland Place, Marble
    Arch, London W1H 7LW.
    Liquidator’s Name and Address: N A Bennett, of Leonard Curtis,
    One Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7LW.
    Office Holder Number: 9083.
    Date of Appointment: 19 October 2009.
    By whom Appointed: Members and Creditors

  7. From all I can see SAE is run by a different company:
    I ordered a brochure the other day and there’s only reference to that company on the letterhead etc.
    I visited last week for a tour in London and the college is most definitely up and running (quite impressive actually). They mentioned that they have christmas holidays now until first week of January, but I think that’s like every year.
    So I think what you found must be relating to some old company structure.

  8. I noticed on the SAE website that this Matthias Postel is no longer the Manager at SAE London. Probably his fault they went into liquidation anyway by reading the comments on here. He also writes on here “are subject to quality control mechanisms” if he’d been subject to quality control maybe SAE would not have gone into liquidation in the first place.

  9. hey people,

    is there anybody who actually got a job offer after graduating from SAE? im planning to go to SAE NY. in an interview Misner claimed that he has to place the 75% of his graduates in NY due to a state law. (sry bout my terrible english) i really want to get a job in NY related to audio engineering cause some of my relatives live there. i’ve been recording/composing/performing music for 7 years. do you think its possible?

  10. went to sae london to study web design. biggest mistake of my life.

    7 grand for the first year, 90% of the stuff you learn can be learned online at the comfort of your own home for FREE.

    my fucking tutor was an ex student and my web design skills were better than his.

    my graphics design tutor couldn’t even speak english properly, even made a few spelling mistakes in one of the e-mails he sent me. he couldn’t even run a lesson properly. classrooms were packed and smelly.

    they’ve tried putting me 2 grand into debt when all i had to pay was a cancellation fee.

  11. I read this post with interest after noticing that SAE were starting to broadcast a few more interviews with music producers and industry types. Great news, i thought, finally i might start learning a little more post my HND qualification from SAE Liverpool in 2003, something that might be comparable to graduate support……

    I ended up there after enrolling at Liverpool uni to do Music as they had promised they were building a new Recording suite in 2002 which we would have lots of access to. After the 1st year it was still not completed so i started to look at LIPA (the Mcartney funded/ affiliation) organisation, before discovering SAE which was newly opened.

    I finished the audio engineering diploma and after a spell being treated like a retard in Metropolis studio London (all through my own contacts, nothing to do with SAE graduate support) i spent some (considerable) money making what is now cut and sussed records studio. Its been a lot of hard work with very little finincial reward for the last 7 years. Truth be told, i built a recording studio in Durham (UK)- possibly an error in hindsight as since the 70s Durham might as well not exist on the music map. I get by doing a mixture of DJ work, PA hire and recording sessions, mostly for new- ish bands and solo singers. Barely break even, but (like a fine wine……. ahem) im improving with age.

    I do love working with people making music so its not all doom and gloom, and i make a living now but only after 4 or more years of not having ANY money whilst i built the contacts necessary to support myself. This is the key point i wish to make with my comments here. SAE have been, in a word, TERRIBLE with grad support. I will balance that with the following facts: we were supposed to visit SAE London to work on their Neve Legend but the trip was cancelled, so when i had a chance to get some work engineering for Paul Tucker (Lighthouse Family) a year or so after i graduated, who happened to have a Neve Legend, i was allowed to re- visit SAE Liverpool to sit in the classes who were learning how to use the newli installed Neve (replacing the Soundtracks Jade console).

    But back to my point- there is no grad support as far as i am concerned. Never once have they pointed an opportunity my way, and i’ve never received any emails telling me about vacant posts in the industry, or inviting me to revisit the college for talks from Industry people. As i mentioned: terrible. So, what should you take form this if you are considering going to SAE??

    My advice is to go if you are 100% committed to being an audio engineer and will do ANYTHING and stop at NOTHING to get into the industry. You Must be prepared to act as anyone who works freelance does- you gotta be brazen, sell yourself at EVERY poortunity, say goodbye to being mr nice/ shy/ retiring guy and focus instead on getting your feet in doors, talking (often lying in fact) to people and essentially continually push to get a lead in the industry, as SAE are not going to do any of this for you. Be prepared to diversify. Be prepared to have no money for at least 2- 3 years after you graduate (unless you FLUKE it and record a demo of a band that gets signed, has a few hits and you get a royalty or similar). I’ve made enough money to pay tax for the last three years, and am on an upward curve after 7 years working at it, but previously money was TIGHT.

    SAE offers you the chance to get the experience and expertise to get ahead in audio. What it doesnt do is spoon feed you it, all it does is give you the potential to achieve it which is why it is so important to decide what you want earlier rather than later.

    I now also work as a freelance photographer, and regularly work for Northumbria University design department. As much as photography is a passion, its also just because i couldnt find enough money in recording. Their graduate recruitment record makes me green with envy, and their post grad support bears no similarity to SAE.

    Ok, ive said my piece, i hope this helps people make an important life decision.


  12. I studied Audio production at SIT, Invercargill-New Zealand, and guess what………. IT WAS FREE… ZERO… ZIP.. NOTHING! well a little bit, but over 3 years I spent NZ$8500, and most of this was to go and study at SAE Byron bay Australia.. so for three years I pretty much had unlimited studio time and some fairly decent tutors (great people!) and then went to study in OZ for a couple of months, this giving me both a SIT and a SAE stamp on my Bachelor of Audio… woop woop! I was chocked to hear what my mates over there spent on their fees and I can’t believe that I have hardly paid anything.. look into it (for New zealanders and Australians-conditions apply).. a bit of advertising there, but I seriously think to get into this business, just get out there! start working and if you want to get some guidelines go and study, but get your hands dirty!

  13. HI, firstly I want to excuse me for my elementary language, but I’m a nineteen italian student with a basic level of english.
    Next year I’ve decided to move to London to study audio engineering.
    I’ve worked in these last 3 years as a live sound engineer, but I’ve also ascertained that it’s impossible to continue these type of work in Italy. this profession is not recognized as a real work here.

    I’m confused, becouse I have no idea of what is the best school in England to study sound engineering. In Italy, for exemple SAE have not a good reputation, and it is too expensive for me ( 9,000 Euro each years).

    Can you help me?
    I’ve contacted the London School of Sound, what do you think about it?
    and SAE in London? or Point Blank ( ) ?

    from here it’s difficult to choose the right school…

    thank you! Mary

    1. Hi Mary,

      First of all I would like to say that I am also looking to study at Point Blank Music College as I have been told that many of the top producers/songwriters have either worked there or studied there! I too am in your position of wanting to find out if it is the best college. Maybe if you find some more information you could let me know by emailing me.

      Many thanks

    2. Hi Mary and anyone who is looking to be a sound engineer !!

      Let me demystify SAE once and for all…

      Read carefully how this college functions below ….

      Here is the thing : –

      1.) First they will give you too much info about simple topics of audio and this actually creates more confusion in the mind of the student…

      2.) Secondly anyone who has attended SAE college can become a teacher at the college. NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED TO BE A TEACHER AT SAE !!!

      3.) Due to the confusion created because of NO-OBLIGATION to explain the topics to the student -most students fail. This means that after paying the initial TOTAL FEE of SAE a student will have to pay MORE MONEY to SIT / APPEAR for the exam again!!! Just so he can get his certificate otherwise he walks away with nothing !! This is their way of milking YOU for as much money as possible. And mostly students have to pay the extra amount or let go of any hope of getting a certificate after all the money they have spent.

      4.)They wash their hands off the “responsibility of explaining anything”, by giving you bundles of notes from WIKIpedia that are available to you for free anyway. Not to mention this ignorant way of shirking responsibility is achieved by giving HUGE BUNDLES of print outs – on paper – which comes from trees, thus showing how irresponsible they are…(well some places they give a disc with links for the same while some places they make money by giving out bundles of printouts for material which is available for free on the net…so…)

      5.) There are some SAE branches / franchise etc that don’t even have the basic gear with them and NOR DO THEY HAVE STABLE TEACHERS.
      You will keep getting different teachers at different times !!! hahaha
      They come and go as they please(the “Teachers”)

      6.) SAE basically puts you in DEBT for a very long time when it is DEFINATELY NOT REQUIRED…
      Also SAE plays on the HOPES and AMBITIONS of PEOPLE by MARKETING.

      7.)The only reason such an instution is allowed to function is because the TYPE of people who come there to learn are musician or the like and generally are not the KIND who will get into litigation because it costs money , time and energy which is deterimental to an individual at a personal level.

      8.)Also the other reason is there is really no place where all the students can get together and approach this matter legally.

      9.) Obviously no EDUCATION MINISTRY and ANY SUCH organisation will take the initiative to ASSESS the legitimacy of their organisation as they only care for legalities to be followed and not the feedback of the student/s.

      10.) Here is what you should do :-
      Simply search the topics in reference to audio engineering from WIKI.
      Use any syllabus as a guide…
      The MONEY you were to “WASTE” on going to SAE is what you should spend on getting you’rself equipment.

      Buy :-
      A LAPTOP

      A SOUNDCARD (2in 2 out would suffice for Strictly measurement work and a bigger sound card if you plan to record bands)

      Buy an SPL meter , ideally one with a tone generator and a few extra features.

      Buy one Basic Mic to start with and as you learn more ,buy a few more…

      Buy basic self powered speakers if u r cramped for space and a Decent mixer to go with it.

      11.) I believe sound engineering is an ever growing education and like a Musician can only learn what HE/SHE is ready to Absorb according to their level – so it goes for the sound engineer too….It’s no point for a beginner to be told about advanced things when ones fundamentals are not clear!!

      12.)No one becomes a soundengineer overnight.Study each topic that is relevant to you and research it for you’rself, according to you’r questions and needs…

      13.)Eventually if you can achieve “Good SOUND” on a regular basis you will maintain a job -and NOT because you have a Certificate from SOME COLLEGE.
      I have come across illeterate / uneducated sound guys who know how to run a Sound system simply because they have been learning thru experience and have developed a good ear and understood how to work with electricals, so it is about YOU’R understanding of how sound works and not about “what college you went to” that will establish you as a sound professional.
      No one cares what college you went to…when you’r work sounds shit !!lol

      14.) If you are ready to go to a college then better to find one with “consistent” and “experienced teachers” who “genuinely” would like to share the “beauty of sound engineering” with others…… , rather than teachers who read/copy notes in class and get flustered when asked questions…because they are just photocopy machines and the college is LEGALLY obligated to have SOMEONE to WRITE ON THE WHITE/BLACK BOARD to LEGALLY FINISH THE TOPIC CONCERNED…And this is why they HAVE TO HAVE a FORMAL CLASS and SOME GUY WRITING about the topic- so the COLLEGE is in the clear legally and this is why they are not obligated to explain ANYTHING :- )

      if i gave u all the parts of an engine and gave you the manual for each part seperately – you would still not be able to put the engine together because i would have not told you “How” to put those parts together!!
      So u know that you have a Steering wheel and you know the steering wheel is used to turn the car but you don’t know how it connects to the wheel!!
      So first you figure how to connect the steering wheel to the tyre only then will i tell you how to steer the car.
      But because you have never driven a car ,you really don’t know what you want from the steering wheel ..?? Maybe if i let u drive my car first you would get an idea about how you would want to work with you’r steering wheel.
      That … the function of an experienced teacher. To reduce the learning curve of the student….

      There might be some few branches of SAE that have self motivated teachers and they might be doing better due to the above reason, but most of them don’t have such teachers. And i am amazed how shameless they are about taking money from students ,knowing fully well that the college is setting up the student for an educational disaster !! They have no shame , no regrets and no obligations.
      Only go to such a college if you have many years of experience and are in the habit of depending upon you’rself to figure out answers to you’r questions…but if u do that then why would u go there ?
      only for the gear , right ? Well drop in and check wether the gear works or do u spend have you’r practicall time fighting with buttons on equipment that have a mind of their own….

      I personally feel SAE should be banned and am surprised how come the other Audio Industry professionals have not felt responsible towards the budding sound engineer and taken up this matter seriously ?
      I heard they roped in BOB KATZ for some guest seminar and i was really dissapointed that he decided to work with them , considering he is like the grand dad who should be wise enough to choose whats best for his kids…but hey..we all gotta pay our bills….i love you BOB KATZ :- )

  14. Hi,

    You will need to make your own comparison. I visited all 3 (and more) and was most impressed with SAE. I have applied and will join their April course. Also spoke to students and ex-students who all had a good time there despite a few realistic criticisms here and there.
    Good luck,


  15. Hi my suggestion is get the software and teach yourself.
    I have never had a lesson in my life everything I have learned is through the experience of doing it, trial and error.
    I would not go on a course unless I had the software because if you cant practice forget it. I have been using Cubase for the last 15 years and I looked into learning Ableton Live, very expensive so instead I got a cut down version of the program a couple of videos from Groove 3 and learnt the basics then I went to Covert Operators and some other sites like Tom and checked out some other videos to learn the tricks and tips that I need to put across our live set onstage and create and produce my ideas
    By the way I am a teacher, but you dont always need one is what I am trying to say. All the best in your search Gerald CLING

  16. POINT BLANK is so much better than SAE, industry teachers (not former students)
    I can highly recommend it as I studied there myself and now working as a programmer in a studio.
    I have a friend who did the SAE course and he applied for more than 50 jobs, he got 7 replies saying something like: “they would never accept anyone from SAE as their diploma/degree courses are worthless.
    He now works as a salesman and thinking of doing another course at Point Blank. He’s really unhappy about having wasted nearly £20000 on his degree at SAE.


    1. Point Blank does not offer a degree, whereas SAE London offers a degree validated by middlesex university. (I have nothing against Point Blank and am not saying it isn’t worth while). Anyway what I wanted to mention is that my teacher at SAE who, yes IS a former student has recently completed recording projects at Abbey Road and The Way Studios. We also have guest lectures from industry professionals every couple of weeks so we don’t exactly miss out on industry teaching.

      I think that people who come on here and slag off SAE even though they haven’t even studied there are a little sad. people should make there own decisions. I’m not sticking up for SAE because i’m a student there. Simply because I believe that it is worthwhile.

      P.S Another good reason to go is to take advantage of the great studios they have there. I chose to go to SAE london and have not regretted it.

      1. The degree is only validated by middlesex, you don’t actually get to go in middlesex uni and get some lectures from their staff.

        i’ve studied at sae for the past two years and it was a big mistake, waste of money.

  17. My thoughts about SAE London after 6 months as an audio engineering student.

    They consider it being a full-time course.
    In reality it means you have 2,5 hours of lectures (with a 20-30 minutes break), monday to thursday.
    Every now and then they throw in a practical lecture on fridays (5 so far).

    So, you are left off with roughly 8 hours of tuition per week.
    If you want to read up on a subject, and thus making it full-time, that is up to you, the student. Also, the topics are merely touched upon, so further reading is a must.

    The first 6 months will only be theoretical and taught in a classroom, (no studio-time what so ever) and there will be one exam.

    There will be a few assignments for the students to finish on their own during this time, but they are very basic in my opinion.

    At SAE London there is no storage-room for the students to store equipment or musical instruments.
    I know it is not a music college, but there are no musical instruments to book out.
    If you need instruments to record, you get them from a rental company with a discount.

    You can’t play/record loud instruments after 10 pm, because of complaining neighbours, (they studios are not properly built for the purpose).

    There is no such thing as one-on-one tuition at SAE.
    If you are in a studio and something is not working, for whatever reason, you can ask one of the supervisors on duty for help.

    The school opens at 10 am on mondays, and closes at 18 pm on saturdays.
    The school is, and will be closed on sundays.

    After 6 months you start to learn and manoeuvre two different digital consoles, and after passing a signal flow exam, you can start using those two studios.

    For the bigger consoles (SSL G+ and Neve Genesys) it seems like I have to wait another 3 months.

    All the teaching staff at SAE London are former students from SAE.

    My class started out with 16 people. Now we are down to 10.
    The reason why people quit is because they felt let down, and not getting their moneys worth.
    In the hope for change, the rest of us still hang on, but I don’t see when things would eventually change for the better.

    From being interested in music and recording for fun for some years, I have gained some knowledge along the way.
    I thought that by studying at SAE i would get an hands-on education, filling the gaps of my self-taught knowledge.
    So far, i don’t see that happening.

    What I have learned so far, is that the SAE only want your money.
    What they teach, you can teach yourself on your own for free, (no joke or exaggeration).
    Actually, it is up to you read up on the subjects that are briefly explained by the lecturers.

    If you still feel like an education like this is the way to go, find all the information necessary from the internet, forums, friends, etc.
    Don’t trust the advertisements from colleges or universities, (that is what they do best).

    Since i have paid in instalments, I have decided to quit the course, save my money, and look for studio work as an apprentice instead.

    My tips is to buy yourself a couple of good books on various suitable topics, buy some decent equipment and try it out yourself.
    Search the web for free online tuition.

    Call a few studios and see if they would consider taking you in if you were an SAE graduate.

    My conclusion:
    I don’t think studying at the SAE institute is worthwhile.

    1. NICE ONE and so true, this so called college is only after your money. the employ students to “teach” you because it’s cheaper than getting someone pro from the industry.
      As you said their studios are not even build for the purpose of recording but build the cheapest possible way.
      Furthermore if anyone believe the degree from Middlesex is worth anything then you are fooled by them as you will never attend one single class at middlesex, no the same former students will teach you the degree stuff and SAE simply pays Middlesex for the piece of paper and the right to use their name in advertising.
      You made the right choice to quit, all the best of luck


  18. I’m am a graduate of SAE (Australia). I had a live sound job within 3 months (live sound is abundant in oz!). I got a studio job within 12 months. Travelled the world. Opened my own studio 5 years later.

    Unless you are completely focused you will not make it! Audio engineering, Music production, sounds like fun, right? Well it is, but it comes at a cost. A cost, that for me, was money well spent, and a lose of social life. My 1st studio job was 70-80 hours a week! Why have I succeeded? Because I work HARD. Why do some fail? because they do not. Simple.

    I will agree that not all SAE’s are created equal. That is why you go to the college, speak the the staff AND students! Make an informed decision not one base on other peoples opinions of other people in other parts of the world.

  19. As a former member of staff at SAE in London, I want to just say that what students write about college is true.
    Sae is not about students but about money, making money, so take a good look at the advertisement and go and see what they actually offer.
    As soon as you have signed up you are stuck in an endless circle of bad management and your dreams will soon be broken by the poor knowledge of your teacher.
    Since the day Tom Misner said he recorded the Beatles hes mission wass never been to educate anyone, before SAE he was a cleaner, not a producer or engineer of the Beatles. it’s all in his book and the use of illegal software, stolen equipment.

    Don’t waste your money, it’s far from the only audio engineering option

    1. Absolutely true! Misner is a fraud, has no engineering credits on any album and has been fined for software pirating on an immense scale! Read his own book which tells of what a disgusting, scam artist he is. Amazing the authorities in numerous countries haven’t caught up with him yet. But they will eventually.

      Staff knows what they are talking about as they would would have inside information working there and seeing how what SAE portrays and what goes on behind the scenes doesn’t add up.

  20. I am a degree student at sae Oxford.

    Plenty has been said about the diploma, but I’m a second year student (degree year) and I can tell you it is no degree.

    We have been going since november and have handed in just two pieces of work. Neither of these have been marked, nobody knows how they are doing, so we don’t know if to change our style of writing for the next assignments.

    The year before graduated in October but didn’t find out what grade they got until march. How are they meant to find a job?

    They charge us £12,500 a year to sit in a cold dark room watching a man read from a presentation that he has never seen before. The lectures are about nightmare on elm street, sociology, psychology ( all basic basic stuff) and NOTHING to do with sound.

    In the second year you are only allowed to book studios the day before. So you can’t get any bands in because you can’t give notice!

    They say “if you need help, just come to the office and we’ll help you” but the degree lecturer os only here twice a week!

    This is Oxford, the HQ? I come here from different sae so I can get the best teachers and best course. It is a total scam.

    Avoid. Consider yourself warned

    1. Hello

      It is regretful to hear that your experience has not met your expectations and that the view
      of the service you have received is less than positive. It is our mission to provide the
      highest standards of creative media education and provide a quality of service that is
      second to none.

      Having just taken up the position as Manager of SAE Oxford, I have been reviewing the
      systems, level of service and standard of education that is currently in place and have
      found a picture that is quite drastically different to the one you paint.

      First of all, i think you will find that the cost of the course you mentioned is in fact not the case and invite any readers of this blog to post an enquiry through our website to receive the latest course fees.

      With regards to late marking, i acknowledge that there have been operational problems
      that have led to short delays in the marking of the initial assignment for the degree year
      starting in November 2009. I can assure you that these were resolved quickly and that
      assignments are marked within the appropriate time frame. Continuous review also
      means that where inefficiencies are found they are addressed within a timely manner.

      Specifically with the case of the recently graduating class however, the time frame
      involved in marking final dissertations is not dissimilar to other universities as it involves
      a fairly lengthy and academically necessary procedure in order to guarantee the standard
      and validity of the degree. I would also like to correct the statement and can confirm that
      the deadline for submission for that course was mid November.

      I can also assure readers that all our rooms are well lit and well heated. The
      characterisation of the delivery of the lectures is quite frankly insulting to the
      professionalism and level of competence of the SAE Oxford team, none the less, we are
      of course interested in ensuring that all lectures are delivered to a high standard and if
      “Oxford Student” would kindly get in touch to discuss the particular lectures he was
      dissatisfied with I am more than happy to listen and investigate further.

      The content of the lectures is also misconstrued. The primary module contains a
      contextual overview that is necessary in order to operate successfully within the creative
      media industries. It directly pre-empts and addresses the challenges highlighted in the
      latest Skillset report with regard to convergence.

      “Perhaps the greatest single movement in skills requirements…due to advances in digital
      technology, transforming the ways in which content is produced…the benefits of a fully
      digital workflow will only impact when production staff embrace and adapt to the
      collaborative working enabled by new techniques.” (Strategic Skills Assessment for the
      Creative Media Industry – Skillset – December 2009, page 19)

      “Across the Creative Media industries, skills in short supply…include production skills
      for multi-platform content, understanding of intellectual property legislation,
      management and leadership, and commercial acumen” – (Strategic Skills Assessment for
      the Creative Media Industry – Skillset – December 2009, page 20)

      The modules following are more audio specific.

      The statements with regard to studio booking procedures at SAE Oxford are also untrue
      as well as the availability of tutorials that operates through an appointment based system.
      Should a student require immediate practical guidance there is always a tutor available.
      This concept has always been at the core of the SAE teaching methodology since our

      We do of course consider any complaints and suggestions from students and if the Oxford
      student would like to contact me to clarify any further issues i would be more than happy
      to accommodate as is indicated in the student handbook provided at the start of the course. I would also like to extend this invitation to any readers of this blog to
      contact me directly should they wish on

      I look forward to receiving your questions and feedback.

      Kind regards
      Gavin Attard
      College Manager – SAE Oxford

  21. Very interesting!
    I for one have come from a different background from most students at SAE;
    I did a course at point blank first.. but I felt I learnt more there in terms of getting your stuff sounding great than at SAE; However at SAE I feel I am definatly clearing up a few loose ends in regards to theory.
    I do have issues though; I have been using Cubase for 15 years now, granted and my production skill is of very high standered; unluckily the jobs I have had in the past have only ever been short lived; not because of my skill, but of things like workload (there being not enough)! But was turned down for a job simply because I didnt have a degree and didnt know protools; (thus SAE)
    However Now that I am far into the course I think that they should learn from way things are done at point blank.. I would want to sit at a proper computer (not a laptop) whilst in a class and the teacher go over stuff that we need to know in protools etc.. and then be more focused on these programmes! So far all the practice I have done hasnt been very enjoyable as even with notes I feel realy fiddly around these programmes and its not like I dont have the brain power to use a DAW look what I did with Cubase.. so all I can put it down to is the course structure for using the DAW’s.. (and I find other students are feeling the same too)
    Another gripe is the Studio time and Limiters that have recently been put in cetain rooms NOT the enviroment to mix in at all.. and as for the golden ears thing; THERE IS NO SHORTCUT to mixing well it takes years of practice! take it from someone who has been mixing at least 10 years it was around 4/5 years before I felt I was around commercial standered.. maybe I was slow (possible)
    So is it worth the money? Maybe not.. I think I would have rather spent it on my own setup and then try to go freelance.. think that might have been less of a risk..
    But on a good note my time there has been ok and I only feel I have wasted a bit of money rather than all if that makes sense…

  22. How come I see no reviews on SAE sydney branch? I am planning to get in to the Sydney branch this July and I have read out every comment carefully and they were quite helpful, but can’t help myself itch to want to read an actual review on the Sydney. Anyone?

    1. I study audio at SAE and the majority of the people are ok,but there are a few who make ongiong remarks in the form of innuendo about my downfalls and personal life.Im talking about secretaries,teachers and even the manager.

      I have made it clear this is upsetting me but it still continues.These people are not professional at all.Iam literally paying them to put me down and Iam at my wits end.I have seen it mentioned that sae hire former students,I believe these people think they are still students.

      You basically pay over 1 hundred dollars per lesson.If the teachers dont turn up ( which is often ) they sit you down and make you watch movies unrelated to your subject.

      As for the facilities,

      -The studios are tiny (you cant fit a complete band in there)and some are shared with other control rooms so its hard to do assignments because the booking system is not properly regulated.

      -The teachers are rushed to complete subjects,so theres an onus on you to self teach yourself ongoingly.There is so much info given to you that its hard to remember what you were taught

      -Student guides are taken from Byron bay (The new head office)and are not edited,so your misinformed about what you are doing on every subject.

      -The library is absolutely tiny and it doesn’t contain the books that your subjects are based on……..

      I have a lot more to post stay tuned..

  23. I went to SAE Sydney for my Degree. Did the Diploma at SAE too but in a different country. I still keep in contact with some of the ppl in local SAE (not Sydney). So I’ve seen how the 2 schools in different countries work. All I can say is I didn’t learn anything from school and everything on my own. After I gradutated and waited almost 6 months for my cert to arrive, I went to work in the live sound industry and didn’t even know how to use a mike stand.

    After more than 10 years, I’m still in the industry and doing pretty well. No thanks to school.

    If you really want to know about sound and stuff. Go out and learn it yourself. If you want a piece of paper, go to SAE. Just pay for it and you’ll get it.

    That saying, SAE did make me realize that theory is as important as practical, which I picked up myself by spending loads time in the library. You don’t have to pay me 10 grand to learn that. I just told you for free ;)

    If you’re really keen on learning more about sound, do some research about other schools. SAE is not the only choice.

  24. Oh yea, one thing I found funny was why is a “top” audio engineering school hiring fresh graduates instead of people who has been in the industry. Just because you have a 1st class honors doesn’t automatically make you a sound guru. Like I say, theory as important as practical. Realized but not taught.

  25. I must say in all fairness there are a few Guru teachers who are loaded with great info..But since Tom Misner is such a tight ass that prefers to fly around in a helicopter instead of paying his employes a decent wage and giving students more time with their teachers he has lost my vote..Sae is all about appearances and marketing , so it looks good on the outside but is crap on the inside..For example,on the website you will see a section for bands to apply to use the studios for free..But no one looks after this doesn’t exist ..So if you cant get bands to play you cant do assignments..

    1. True! SAE hires teachers who just graduated to teach, be supervisors etc. Why? Because they don’t want to pay a real industry professional. That would cost real money and be legitimate. That should tell you something. They don’t care if you actually learn as long as you pay them before you figure it out. It isn’t really interested in education and the students and parents who pay for it. The are con artists who just happen to be using audio engineering which is an under-regulated business as their means to make hundreds of millions. All that has to be done is tax the company in all countries the are operating in. Open up their books and watch what happens!

      1. Hi ‘Truth’,

        Indeed it’s possible that a talented student get’s hired as a supivisor at a certain point, that guarantees us that he/she has had a proper training, a supervisor is there to assist students in their work, not to teach them.
        Next to that we have quite a list of professionals from the industry who work as teachers here apart from their industry jobs.
        Together they provide a healthy learning environment.

        We believe in educating students in a proper manner and are interested in them, both from a human and business point of view.
        SAE get’s most of it’s new student through word of mouth, if we really would be the business that you portrait it to be we would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.

        To ensure the continuity of the schools it’s also important for us that we make a little profit, this is both in our and the students interest.
        (you don’t want a diploma or degree from a school that doesn’t exist anymore)

        SAE get’s taxed like any other company, our books get “opened up” and checked on a regular basis by various authorities.

        You are more than welcome to visit us and see for yourself how we work for example here in Amsterdam, I’m sure the positive learning vibe we have here in the school will change your view on things.

        Kind regards,
        Jan Klomp
        Central Coördinator SAE Institute Amsterdam

  26. I am about to finish the SAE Institute’s audio engineering program in Nashville, and I must say I’ve never regretted anything more in my entire life. At first everything seemed fantastic, almost too good to be true. After awhile you realize that the people teaching you (for the most part) barely have any idea what the hell they’re talking about. Half the school’s employees are SAE graduates themselves, showing you how little job potential you have upon leaving the program. Yes, true, you get out of it what you put into it. Try and you will learn some things. But a 20000 dollar education this is not. Run the other way. As fast as you can.

    1. Jimmy, I’m sorry to hear you are unhappy with your choice of SAE for an audio education. This field, and this type of education, is not for everyone. My door at SAE Nashville is always open to student’s concerns, and when they do occur, they are acted upon. You are certainly welcome to come by and discuss your concerns with me personally.
      That being said, there are some factual errors that need to be corrected publicly. With regard to the level of staff competence you alluded to, it is difficult to see where your statements apply to people like Alan Shacklock (Roger Daltry, Jeff Beck, Meatloaf) or Dallan Beck (Former head instr. of Musicians Institute with nearly 2 decades studio experience). When that is combined with guest speakers like Chris Trevett (NSync, Brittney Spears), Bob Bullcok (Shania Twain, George Strait) and Roger Ryan (Take 5, Wynonna Judd), I’m pretty comfortable with the level of instruction at this campus. I do employ past graduates as lab supervisors, and sometimes as instructors as well, provided they have the necessary competency for that. All our instructors have to be appropriately qualified in both education level and experience to receive licensure from the state, so you will never see someone go directly from graduate to teacher without any real world experience to back it up.
      Regarding jobs after graduation, there should be no illusion; this is a competitive field, and you must have drive, a good attitude, and a passion for this business and lifestyle to be successful. When properly armed with those attributes and the knowledge and skills made available to you at SAE, there is no reason you can’t be successful in this industry. At SAE Nashville, we have a placed in-field rate of 80%, which is a full 10 points higher than current accrediting benchmarks. While that certainly doesn’t mean everyone is going to be working right out of school, it is an indication of job potential, and one I’m personally very proud of.
      Finally as to the value of an SAE education, I would invite you, or anyone else, to compare us to any of our competitors in areas of Instructor experience, quality of gear, studio time, total cost of attendance, or job placement rate. I’m comfortable that we stand up very well to the competition, and in fact represent a very good value when all of this is considered; a value enhanced even further by an ever expanding global alumni network.

      Chuck Moore
      SAE Nashville

      1. Instructor experience,
        Maybe Nashville has a few good lecturers but that’s not the case in for instance SAE London.

        Quality of gear,
        Yes but that doesn’t give anyone any education when the teachers don’t even know how to use it.

        Studio time,
        London is closed on weekends and no recording at night?

        This is a joke, sorry but hardly any studio/music jobs in London are posted on there.

        So really what you’ve just pointed out is that an international college like SAE can’t even preserve their quality throughout their organisation, and if I wanted a proper education I should have gone to SAE Nashville instead of London?

        There’s no need to compare SAE with any other education facility in the UK coz SAE always come last, which this and other comments from their staff (former or current) simply just confirm.

    2. good point. now.. run as fast as you can!!!!

      run run like your being chased by huge dogs, tigers and hippos like your on a safari. run like the wind people. run

  27. I actually agree with Jimmy, sorry Chuck. You do have great teachers here especially Dallen and Alan, however for $20k I dont think this school is really worth it. I feel that the music industry is all about what you make it and I busted my butt off here at SAE but the grades DO NOT mean your going to land a job in the music industry at ALL and the certificate doesnt mean anything at all just saying I went to SAE and completed the course. I’m not going to land a job, ESPECIALLY NOWADAYS, anywhere and most studios are in homes nowadays anyway. I will say I learned what I needed from the school especially from guys like Dallan, Alan, and Mike but for $20k…. there wasnt enough in 9 months that you guys could teach us that is worthwhile to land a gig in a major studio. One thing Chuck I feel the school should also focus on is the Hip Hop industry. If Nashville is supposed to be considered the MUSIC CITY CAPITAL why are we only focused on country, bluegrass, and any other genre that involves a guitar, petal steel and vocals. There was a huge let down in the Hip Hop, Pop, and R&B areas. I think the school is good for some people but not for all! So I agree with Jimmy this school is not worth $20k and another complaint we currently have a project due next week for SSL and you all take a FULL DAY away from us for some class during our last week of studio time that makes no sense!!! Most of this stuff I couldve learned from Youtube!!

  28. Hi, I’m Italian (so, sorry for my elementary language and my probable errors!) I went to London and visited Point Blank and Alchemea, and both seemed great schools (for equipments, staff, etc.). The first one gave me the impression of a school more suitable for Djs than for Sound engineers, and they didn’t make me see all their studios, although I came from afar and strictly for this purpose. In the end, I have decided to do Alchemea, wishing my choice will not disappoint my expectations. Is anybody here who can give me his opinion about this?
    Thanks, Mary.

    1. Hi’ Mary

      Personally I think you made the right decision, as a former student at Alchemea I have only good things to say about that place, very professional, great teachers and brilliant equipment.
      I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did..
      Good Luck


  29. thank you everyone, i was going to apply for a audio engineering course there today after considering it for a few months. No i hanven’t been to view the place (London) but the way that people are commenting on the whole institution makes it obvious that its not a very good place.

    I’ll go the other way:)

  30. I left SAE and continued my studies at Alchemea, The best decision I ever made. They have a very different and much more professional attitude than SAE London.

    [Edited by Moderator: Please no personal attacks.]

    Anyway do yourself a favour and go somewhere else. Not saying that you should go to Alchemea but there are so many option out there, and as you can see from this forum and things like the Sound on Sound forum SAE is far from professional.
    Good luck to all of you out there, I’m finishing my course at Alchemea in a few months, can’t wait :)


  31. I can’t say much about SAE’s teaching because I luckily decided to not enrol after reading about what a mafioso the leader of this outfit is.

    Its funny how they’ve built their headquarters in Oxford – blatantly trying to get some of the academic merit brushed off of the uni there.

    What I can definitely say is that once you register an interest in SAE, they will spam both your email and your doorstep until you either move house or shut down your email address. Its been two years since I even registered and interest and their spam emails with no unsubscribe link still show up in my inbox.

    Purely judging from this, they must be very desperate to get students.

    In my opinion if you want to learn recording, get an internship at a real studio that records real artists.

    If you want to learn mixing, grab a laptop and learn a good DAW like Logic or Pro Tools. There are plenty of books, users and professional out there who can help you. If you want to get behind a console, again a real studio is your best option.

    If you want to learn how to master music, nobody can teach you that. Only your ears, gear and experience.

    Don’t waste your money trying to “get into” this business. There are no expensive shortcuts!

    1. Hi

      I’m, sorry to hear that SAE did not meet up to your expectations during your enquiry period.
      You make various assertions in your post which i would like to address.

      Your statement that Oxford was chosen to get “academic merit brushed off” is a rather insidious one and quite frankly without merit.

      Of course Oxford University has an outstanding reputation and lends much of this to the city itself. However you may note that there are a number of other colleges operating in the city and wider county, including a second university.
      In addition, Oxfordshire and the wider south east region have a strong creative industry.

      SAE Oxford provides a wonderful building in an inspiring setting to be used by staff and students alike, while the UK’s geographical position provides an excellent command of time zones.

      With regards to your complaint as to receiving email notifications of events and other such activities organised by SAE, i can assure you and other readers that this is indeed not the case.
      You will note that on the enquiry form the choice to receive further information is on an opt-in basis, i.e. you have to want to receive it.

      Further all notification emails have a section at the bottom of the email that allows you to unsubscribe.

      Of course should you wish you may contact me directly on and i will personally ensure that you are removed from our lists.

      Your conclusion following this point is rather perplexing, however, not wanting to jump myself to any conclusions i would be very interested to read your path of reason to this claim.

      You also delve into a opinion and subject that i have seen turn up time and time again in numerous forums. The argument of “home schooling” or the “get an internship in a real studio”, or the worse still, “buy some gear and figure it out”.

      Not wishing to make this post a long one, i will shortly post a blog link addressing this very question, for which i would like very much any readers to partake in and debate the subject.

      Once again, should any of you wish to contact me directly you would be most welcome to do so by emailing

      Gavin Attard
      College Manager
      SAE Oxford

      1. Good stuff Gavin. I.m personally proud to have graduated from SAE (12 years ago mind you) and i still receive great assistance and advice from the old stomping ground. Go to any of the open nights and talk to the students there, that’s your best feedback because those students are doing the course and any student that is proud enough to help out on one of these nights is active in their learning. Not one of these wannabe producers that have no clue what hard word is.

  32. [Moderated: Please no personal attacks]
    You have the effrontery to make assumptions and deductions as of when you please. You refute statements without proof and not once over this forum have I read anything from you where you have acknowledged the prior matters of concern such as old students teaching with absolutely no knowledge.
    What makes you think that someones comment about Oxford academic merit being brushed off is an insidious comment? Who made you Lord of the manor in the self asserted opinion of others who have seen for themselves and heard and also forthwith tested.
    Did you build oxford and did you self elect yourself or you and your cronies have embarked on a teetotal affair of placing incumbents like yourself to redesign the already known disasters of SAE as already endured in the public eye.

    You demonstrate with all pomp that SAe has the standards comparable to other fledged institutions who don’t charge as much, don’t fib and tell porkies and base their reputations on proven track records.
    The problem is when foreigners like yourself and Mathias and others come into the UK, you become self obsessed in your customary stance of superiority. And as time goes, you believe that gives you the knack to address and defend your position by damning the ideals of truth expressed by others who have already been misled by your foolish concept.

    I dont care for a building to service my needs, I care for an organization to meet up to it’s professed standards and ethos.
    Let me point out your ignorance to you clearly that HOME SCHOOLING does work. Four people I know are alrady interns with Chris Lord Algae and Tony Masserati and another is about to start with Paul Hagar. Ring any bells.
    I have seen home studios on the rise and the likes of Guitar Center and such offering specialized tuition and self help exercises.
    What makes me mad is the fact that you condemn these methods and I speak on behalf of the Arctic Monkeys and Lopez and Fantasia who have studios in their homes with professionals around them and yet they deliver more than you can ever write a documentary for.
    Contacting you is a joke and what I think you need to see with your eyes are success stories of people who have walked out of SAE London and Oxford and gone on to achieve higher than you could have conclusively offered despite your huge and unexplainable exorbitant fees.
    For a man like myself that knows the ins and outs of SAe, their methods, their cheating and software piracy decisions, throwing false reports against past students such as Kevin in fall 2001 and 2002, isaiah of 2002/2003, Mumba of 2006, Alison of 2008 and a host many more that you have told painful lies against because they confronted you, do yourself a favor and get a life.
    If you have anything to say to the likes of me rather than use cyber intelligence to defend your stupidity, I am ever ready to face you publicly or in an open debate because you set my son back a loss of ovr 19,7000GBP and we are still recovering from that.
    What did he get. Thrown out for confronting the teaching staff and blackmailed by [Moderated: Please no personal attacks. Email me for more info: click here] and the likes of you.
    I am a professional in the media industry and boy do I agree with the 98% majority that SAE needs to be scrapped or thrown down the tube.

  33. When I was at SAE LA, I was ‘fortunate’ enough to add an internship at a professional recording studio to my resume. I had never done anything near audio engineering before and other than sing in my laundry room and dabble in music business really had no experience to speak of. I was starting from scratch, at both the studio and SAE.
    One of my fellow interns had been there for two years. He was one of those “find and internship and learn firsthand” kind of guys. Which was cool. He was definitely smart….but within a couple months I had learned enough at SAE to match him in a studio. In fact, I even taught him a few things (little things, maybe, but he had never known how to wrap a cable correctly, which actually is kind of important). I don’t think that I’m the best engineer and of course I have more to learn, but I went from nothing having four album credits by the time I graduated.
    The fact that my tuition included ProTools, a MacBook, Logic, Peak, and headphones meant that I never had to stop engineering when I graduated. I was free to begin freelancing. And no, that’s not easy, but I had to tools to get me started. All I needed was the drive.
    I know plenty of people who went to SAE, dropped out, or finished and haven’t done anything of note since graduating. I know plenty of people who do that at every university. Honestly, it’s not surprising that SAE is just like any other school. It can’t promise success, or money, or a career the second you get out, but as far as schools go, it’s pretty damn good at helping you. I mean, I got the tools to start working immediately and make money and create my own career, plus connected me with the massive alumni network of over 50 schools and 30 years worth of alumnus IF I HAD THE MOTIVATION. Like ANY school, you get out of it what you put in, you take advantage of the opportunities given to you. And I took advantage.
    I learned signal flow and specifically how to use 6 consoles and 5 software programs and more importantly the underlying concepts which means I could pretty much use any console or program with little effort. I learned how to manipulate audio for film and music, broadcasting, acoustics, how to mix and master….My friend who only interned, (again, while he’s still really good), doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge that I had access to at SAE. And maybe he doesn’t want to know all that. That’s fine. He didn’t need an education to get where he wanted to go. I did.

    I’m sorry you (or your son) had a bad experience. It’s too bad it wasn’t what he wanted. Some people just don’t work at SAE. And some people do! Just look at all the other positive comments above! SAE holds you to expectations. They expect you to learn. Just like any University. And again, in my experience, NO university can ever guarantee success. And sure, I didn’t like all my teachers, but what student does? Honestly, it sounds like it just didn’t work out for you. And I’m sorry, that sucks. But it worked out for me, and it might work for other people too. It might not. I learned that you control your education, in every aspect. You decide if you’re going to get out of it what you want, and sometimes you decide you need a school to teach you.

    For me and for others it was highly beneficial.

  34. I have a problem with the way lab partners are chosen. My husband did not graduate because of his lab partner and now is 20K in debt with no degree. Nobody would help him and actually avoided him when he tried to get it resolved. Now, he has to pay 4,000.00 out of pocket to finish his degree. Up to this point I thought nothing but good things about the school. I don’t agree that his lab partners personal problems should have cost him a degree. I also don’t agree that the lab supervisor does not have records of labs. How could you not keep records of the people who you supervise in the lab? Arg! If anyone knows of a possible resolution please let me know!

    1. What school are you talking about? I assume “labs” are studio bookings? And all of those are done online….
      This is about SAE? Which location?

      1. Nashville. Yeah, I mean studio time. They are booked online but even though you sign in and out they are claiming that they can’t go back to check if he actually did his lab or test or whatever.

  35. Hi Brooke,

    Our system does allow you to see what labs (Studio time) that students have booked and attended, and there are records of all projects completed and turned in, as well as tests that were taken. Students choose their own lab partners, and we certainly will work with anybody having difficulties with their partner’s situations. Not sure what you mean by he failed “because of his lab partner”, but I can assure you that nobody on my staff purposely avoids anybody trying to resolve an issue. I would be happy to speak with you and your husband directly concerning this matter and work towards resolving it with you. You can contact me anytime at the school or at

    Chuck Moore
    Director SAE Nashville

  36. Thanks guys for your posts! They really helped me make my final decision about going to SAE London. I applied for a scholarship, went to London for an interview and got a 25% scholarship. I was in the process of getting things ready for my relocation to London for the course at SAE, but all the time a new problem would crop up, as though some powers tried to stop me from making this mistake.

    OK, I went to London for an interview, I clearly showed that I very interested in that course and in a career in music industry, and had some educational grounding necessary for the successful studies at SAE. I hoped to get a 50% scholarship, (they only offer 50 and 25 % scholarships for that course), but got only 25%, I decided to take that course anyway.

    What’s interesting, logically you might think that they are really selective about their applicants and especially about those who apply for scholarships. I wrote a troll email (saying that I didn’t have anything to do with music or music business, that I just wanted to take that course) I asked them whether theres any selective process when they choose from the applicants. Their reply was something like: don’t worry! You don’t need to be into music or music industry, just apply and pay, and you’ll get a place. WHAT does it say about SAE graduates??? What is my 25% scholarship worth? – just a marketing hoax.

    P.S. I must say everything seemed up to par at SAE when I was there for an interview, but I didn’t have the time to talk to the students.

  37. A.N.,
    I agree that you don’t need to know anything to start, but you certainly have to have an interest! I knew nothing going in, and again, that’s why I chose SAE. They were going to show me how to pursue my interests and start me from scratch. As for the scholarships, I’m 100% certain that you must show proof of financial need, interest, drive and motivation in the audio field. Like any other university you have to prove that you will be successful and that you need help to do so in order to get a scholarship. They don’t want to give money away to a drop out or someone who’ll end up working for a fast food chain! Know what I mean?

  38. Wow this is a long page lol. I just came across it because I recently went in to SAE for a tour (i’m in OZ) but I didn’t get any bad feelings about it (other than the huge cost). They had heaps of gear and all the students seemed really keen (got to see a class running) and the guy showing me around definately knew his stuff. But it might be worth checking out the staff profiles to make sure the teachers have been out there DOING. I couldn’t be assed reading every comment but it seems like there are some good and bad SAE’s. I can’t find any info on scholarships though, that would be a clicher for me :-P

  39. SAE sucks and thats about it. I am from India and went to SAE Chennai for an open day I will tell you the truth the consoles were missing buttons !. Funniest thing – I was looking at some mixers and the guy giving me the tour said “You know most of the staff don’t know what the hell are those knobs for”. I mean can you believe it. And besides they are charging so fucking much and for what?? broken instruments?!? classes being taught by ex SAE grads. If you really want to produce music get fucking out there and Do It YOURSELF. SAE is not gonna help you with anything let alone teaching you how to mix :/ Go for audio engineering only if you really want to do it and the best way to do it is to get out there and thats about it.

  40. hey guys ,
    Im from india … im actually planning to join the Audio Technology Program , diploma course at SAE , Los Angeles . i wanted to know whether im making the right decision in doing so ?? Im really passionate bout music .. im a solo guitarist as well .. since this is a really expensive investment , i want to know whether im making the right decision , keeping in mind future prospects , i.e , life after SAE , job opportunities etc., would really appreciate it if i could get some information regarding this …

  41. hi.
    i am thinking of going to sae amsterdam (sound eng.) but im not deceided so im doing some research. i think of going for a tour sometime in the next few months. took me two hours to read all the posts carefully and i have some questions to who is kind enough to answer. first of all what do you mean by “franchise” and “real”? is it true that noone recognizes the sae degree (or diploma, didnt catch that either), and if so, does it apply to all saes or just some? at sae amsterdam says “Successful completion of the 2nd stage of the Audio Engineering course is awarded with a Middlesex University Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Audio Production.” what does that mean? is the staff really as awful as some describe it here? i took a tour at sae athens and i personally thought the studios were really great.
    anyway it would be great if a sae amsterdam student wrote about his experience so i could get a more clear picture of what is it like.
    thank you for reading my post, all replies most appreciated

  42. What are you talking about? Navitas run heaps of courses and colleges already. This sounds like a good thing to me.

    @tonyflow7 – read a book dude.

  43. Yes good for SAE I agree, about time someone pro came along. Only just read that they keep their current sae management which is a bit of an issue here in the UK with Matthias Postel still involved. I would wait before signing up to see what they will do, can only get better

  44. Great. I was planning to go to Byron Bay SAE to obtain my bachelors degree but now I’m confused and stuck in a dilemma if whether this should be my career or not. I’m not much for interning at a studio because the kind of jobs available to my country suck ass. Who wants projects of audio dubbing in 100000 different languages for days together until the project is over? Such a pity it is that we need to make decisions about our ‘careers’ … pay through our asses to be able to learn them and get nothing out of it.

    1. Sucks to be you then. I’ve been doing everything from bands and music production through to acoustic design and love it. But you have to take the good with the bad because money is queen.

  45. THIS THREAD IS A JOKE. This is full of lazy former students with a sense of entitlement, and a poor idea of how the real world operates. I am a former SAE Nashville student and have been working in the industry for the last 2 years because I went out there and made it happen. Buck up and go get yourself some work rather than sitting on your couch in the fetal position waiting for a phone call and whining on blogs.

    1. I think you are a joke! SAE does not help anyone to get a job. It’s a complete scam! It is an invesment withno prospcts of return

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