How an AV engineer self-taught himself audio programming.

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In this podcast episode, I was lucky to interview Ruurd Adema: a freelance audio developer from the Netherlands working primarily in JUCE and C++ (but not only).

I met Ruurd at the Audio Developer Conference 2023 and I believe his story is incredibly inspiring; he went from being a live sound engineer doing front-of-house (FOH) mixing at the biggest events in the Netherlands to contracting as a freelance audio developer.

In the interview, he shares his story and a ton of useful resources and tips to help others follow his footsteps.

If you’re looking for inspiration and a clear learning path to become an audio developer this is an episode for you!

Note: If you like the podcast so far, please, go to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review there. You can do so on Spotify as well. It will benefit both sides: more reviews mean a broader reach on Apple Podcasts and feedback can help me to improve the show and provide better quality content to you. You can also subscribe and give a like on YouTube. Thank you for doing this 🙏

Episode contents

In this podcast episode, you will learn:

  • how Ruurd become a mixing engineer of one of the largest live shows in the world,
  • the secret to mixing it right 😉
  • how he started learning audio programming on the side (and how you can too),
  • how he successfully launched his freelance audio dev career by taking 5 (sic!) projects at once,
  • top resources to learn audio programming on your own,
  • top tools to use in audio software development,
  • how to find new clients in freelance audio programming, and
  • how to structure your workday for maximum programming productivity. 🚀

This episode was recorded on December 13, 2023.

Ruurd Tips

Here are top tips given by Ruurd regarding learning audio programming and freelancing.

  1. You can’t do it wrong in audio engineering
  2. Never drop a sample!
  3. You have to love it
  4. How to approach new clients:
    1. Ask the client for a meeting
    2. Ask questions, understand the problem, own the problem
  5. To attract new clients:
    1. Post on LinkedIn
    2. Reach out to people
  6. Always archive your release debug symbols
  7. Document your code


Below you’ll find all people, places, and references mentioned in the podcast episode.

  1. People
    1. Ruurd Adema
      1. Personal website with contact form
      2. Mix to Mobile
    2. Chris Lattner, creator of Swift
  2. Companies & Organizations
    1. LPB Media church organization for recording ceremonies, where Ruurd volunteered
    2. bano, where Ruurd was an AV engineer
    3. Audio Electronics Mattijsen, where Ruurd was a support engineer
    4. Texas Instruments
  3. Places
    1. JUCE forum
    2. The Audio Programmer community
  4. Technology
    1. DIN connectors
    2. SDN connectors
    3. Public address (PA) systems
    4. Linear Timecode (LTC) encoding for audio synchronization
    5. Solid State Logic Live L500 mixing console (modern variant is the L550)
    6. C programming language
    7. C++ programming language
      1. vcpackage package manager
      2. CMake generator
      3. ninja build system
      4. spdlog logging library
      5. format library
      6. clang-format, clang-tidy utilities
      7. Thread sanitizer
      8. Address sanitizer
    8. Python programming language
    9. Swift programming language
      1. Swift Playgrounds
      2. SwiftUI framework
    10. Avid’s AAX plugin format
    11. React Native UI framework
    12. Android operating system
    13. Java Native Interface (JNI)
    14. JUCE C++ framework
    15. CLion IDE
    16. GitHub Copilot
    17. AudioTest on MacOS

Thank you for listening! 🙏

Who should I invite next? Let me know in the comments below!