LEVEL 2: eSET Audio examination

eSET Level 2 - Audio

The eSET Audio Examination will cover a wide variety of skills and knowledge related to the work of an entertainment audio technician. Areas covered include sound system components including microphones, cables, mixing consoles, amplifiers, loudspeakers; signal processing; signal routing; acoustic theory; networking and communication protocols; electrical theory; common practices; reading a speaker plot and common audio paperwork; accessories and procedures; tools and safety.


Go Live Information
Go Live Date:
February 25, 2020
Examination Policies

eSET Level Audio

Honesty Policy: By starting any exam, you attest that you are taking the exam for the purpose of confirming your knowledge of the content and will not accept outside input, whether from another person, book, web search, etc, for the purpose of scoring higher on this exam.


Accommodations: If you require assistance to take the exam or require accommodations to allow for an accurate assessment of your knowledge of this content, please contact info@usitt.org to make arrangements before starting the exam.


Attempt Limitations: Please be aware that limits have been imposed on the number of times any one person can take any eSET test. An "attempt" is any time the test is started, whether complete or incomplete, pass or fail. After the first incomplete or unsuccessful attempt, the candidate must wait a minimum of 15 days before a second attempt will be allowed. Only two attempts may be made in any 365 day period.

Candidates must take and pass the Level 1 Basics & Safety Exam before attempting a Level 2 - Audio online exam. Those holding a Level 2 certificate will be eligible to take the Level 3 - Audio practical exam.

Curriculum Guide & Resources

Reference Materials

eSET Audio Lexicon. PDF with terms and definitions available with order. eSET app also available for download from iTunes and Google Play


Theatrical Sound Designers Association Website Learn About Sound


Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, and Science by Jennifer Burg, Jason Romney, and Eric Schwartz. ISBN-13: 978-1590282748 Publisher: Franklin, Beedle & Associates Inc


Mixing a Musical: Broadway Theatrical Sound Techniques by Shannon Slaton. ISBN-13: 978-0240817590 Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition


The Sound System Design Primer, 1st Ed. by Josh Loar. ISBN-13: 978-1138716872 Publisher: Routledge


USITT Sound Graphics Standards - Sounds Graphics Recommended Practice, A Project of the USITT Sound Commission 10/2008


Study Guide

The following guide broadly outlines the elements contained within the eSET Audio online examination.

The test covers 20 categories.



  • Identify microphone form factors visually
  • Identify key features and characteristics of microphone types
  • Identify accessories utilized with microphone types (visually or by description)
  • Understand microphone specifications (frequency response, polar pattern, sensitivity, etc.)
  • This category includes all wired microphones (with wireless as its own category).


Wiring and Connectors

  • Identify types of cable and connectors, and their related transmission protocols.
  • Identify balanced vs. unbalanced cable/connector types.
  • Identify number of conductors in standard audio cables.
  • Understand common accessories and form factors associated with cables (BumbleBees, cable trays, plenum vs stage shielding, stage boxes, multicores, etc.)


Mixing Consoles

  • Understand and identify parts of a console and terms used to describe console sections (channel strip, master section, aux sends, buses, etc.)
  • Understand proper gain staging and basic signal flow through a console system
  • Understand essential concepts of routing and patching
  • Understand essential concepts of preset/scene programming in digital consoles


Audio Signal Processing

  • Understand fundamentals of analog to digital (and digital to analog) signal conversion
  • Understand sample rates and bit depth
  • Understand the role of (and terms surrounding) clocking



  • Identify the basic categories of effects (spectral, dynamic, time-based, convolution/modeling, etc.)
  • Understand the functions (and parameters) of essential effects units (EQs of all types, compressors, limiters, etc.)
  • Understand the difference between effects commonly used as inserts vs. those typically used via aux sends or effects racks



  • Understand fundamental parameters and functions of power amplifiers
  • Understand impedance and different types of wired speaker circuits (series, parallel, s-p, 70V)
  • Understand amplifier specs (Wattage, impedance, bridging, damping, etc.)


Network Communication Protocols, Guidelines and Tools

  • Identify and understand common audio communication protocols (Dante, AVB, etc.)
  • Identify devices commonly used in audio and audio system control networks.
  • Identify practices associated with audio system networking and configuration


Electrical Theory

  • Understand fundamentals of Ohm’s law/Ohm’s triangle
  • Define standard electrical terms (from Volts/Watts/Amps/Ohms to Ground/Hot/Neutral and others).
  • Understand basic audio system electrical practices (isolation from lighting systems, crossing audio cables and power lines at 90 degrees, etc.)



  • Identify component parts of loudspeaker enclosures and drivers (basket, surround, voice coil, cone, etc.)
  • Identify basic speaker types based on form factor (e.g. line array speaker, monitor wedge, etc.)
  • Understand basic loudspeaker specifications (impedance, sensitivity, frequency range, etc.)
  • Understand difference between active and passive loudspeakers


Wireless Microphone Systems

  • Understand fundamentals of RF transmission
  • Identify wireless system elements visually (e.g. lav element, handheld transmitter, beltpack, paddle antenna, etc.)
  • Understand basic lavalier element mounting techniques and tools (skin prep wipes, medical tape, floral wire, Hellerman tools, etc.)


Playback Systems

  • Understand principles of computerized playback software (whether via something like QLab or via a dedicated playback server)
  • Understand cue structure (audio cues, fade cues, routing, etc.)


Digital Signal Processors

  • Understand fundamental uses of DSP devices (speaker frequency leveling, time-alignment of speakers, protection from overload, etc.)
  • Understand basic options available by use of ladder logic or other control programming in DSP devices (preset recalls, flexible signal routing/muting, etc.)


DI Unit

  • Understand function and wiring of a direct inject box
  • Understand difference between active and passive DIs


Crew Roles

  • Understand the hierarchy, job titles and roles, and job descriptions for audio positions common in live entertainment



  • Technical Problems
  • System installation/strike procedures
  • System wiring, labeling, cable management
  • General system signal flow


Fundamental Units

  • Understand the various forms of decibel and what they are used for (dB SPL, SPL A/C weighted, dBu, etc.)
  • Understand speed of sound
  • Understand frequency
  • Understand dynamic range
  • Understand calculations for wavelength and period
  • Understand calculations for Wattage ratios and Inverse Square Law


Sound Plots and Paperwork

  • Understand the range of typical paperwork presented as part of a system package (Ground Plan, Signal Flow Block Diagram, I/O patch, etc.)
  • Identify block diagram symbols and structures as detailed in USITT Sound Graphics Standards
  • Identify basic device types based on plan-view symbols


Intercom Systems

  • Understand basic functions and topology of analog partyline intercom systems
  • Identify visually basic system components



  • Understand OSHA noise exposure safety guidelines
  • Understand basic electrical safety practices (grounding, order of connection/disconnection for three-phase distro, etc.)
  • Understand basic theater safety procedures and common callouts (‘Heads!’, ‘Going loud/bright/dark’, etc.)


Individual topic purchase: Selected
United States Institute for Theatre Technology
Learning Units: 1.00
eSET Audio examination
USITT Price:$45.00