The sound engineer is a professional in the music industry responsible for the technical side of reproducing sound, mixing, and recording processes.
Sound engineers can also be referred to as audio engineers. Even though these two definitions are closely related they are not completely the same. The key difference is that an audio engineer covers all aspects of studio application whereas a sound engineer is in charge of a specific part such as creating sound for films. In this case, sound engineers become an intermediary between engineers and acoustic consultants. Other types of engineers working in the music industry include monitor sound engineers, system engineers, studio sound engineers, research and development audio engineers, and game audio design engineers. Regardless of the direction, an aspiring professional is willing to choose, obtaining a degree is mandatory.
College programs to look for: music production, audio engineering, sound engineering and production, and music technology.
Being a studio sound engineer implies being a part of the creative process and working in cooperation with the producer and the artist. Prior to the recording session, the producer meets up with the engineer and explains which particular sounds need to be emphasized in the final version of the recording. So the main objective of the engineer is to make sure that the session goes smoothly: all microphones and instruments have to be set up properly to get the sound that the producer is going for.
However, sometimes neither the producer nor the artist has a clear vision of how the song should sound – that is when they let the engineer take over. In this case, the problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to different situations come in handy.
Since situations might arise, where the engineer proposes something that might be great from the technical side but does not align with the vision of the artist or producer, a professional has to be able to react quickly and propose another option in order to not derail the entire session.
"Take advantage of being a little bit naive."
Matt, Sound Engineer
Starting our learning from youtube or online platforms can be done easily, starting with UAD plug-ins, Logic, Pro Tools, and others.
DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation):
Music Notation Programs:
The majority of sound engineers work at a studio and are present during the recording sessions. However, this might differ depending on the type of engineer we are talking about. For example, for live sound engineers, a typical workplace is the concert venue, film audio engineers work on film sets, and broadcast sound engineers spend their working time in a TV/radio studio.
Sound engineers usually work at a studio and get paid on a daily rate. However, that depends on the budget of the artist. Bigger artists may afford to work on the recording for weeks while smaller artists have fewer days, but that does not have an effect on the quality of the recording.
Regarding the copyright, sound engineers do not own any of them, but there are very few exceptions to that rule. Production, songwriting, and mixing are a little bit more lucrative in that sense because there are prints involved and royalties to be made if a song is really successful.
The time spent on a project depends on the producer and the artist.
If they know what they are going for, it is possible to record up to four or five songs on a particular instrument or one to two entire songs. The same amount of time will then be contributed to editing.
In the context of songwriting and audio production, a plug-in is a component of computer mixing software that manipulates, enhances, or adds to audio. For example, an EQ plugin adjusts frequencies to equalize the track and give it a balanced sound.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
An integrated computer-based recording system that commonly offers a number of production features such as advanced multitrack recording, editing and mixdown capabilities, MIDI sequencing, edit and score capabilities, and integration with hardware devices such as controllers, MIDI, and audio interface devices.
Combining several musical takes into one, creating a “supertake” that has the best parts of each recording.
A cable with three prongs that is used for microphones.
Written by Hina
Designed by Lou
Published May 9th 2022
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