Sound engineering is the process of making sound recordings sound better. This can be done by manipulating the sound or by changing its sonic characteristics.
Sound or Audio engineering is a relatively new field that began in the early 20th century with the invention of recording technology.
However, it has quickly become an important part of the music industry. Today, nearly every major album or concert is recorded and mixed by a sound engineer.
What does a sound engineer do?
The job of the sound engineer is to make sure that the sound is as good as possible.
This can involve editing the sound, adding effects, or mixing and equalizing the audio.
This is why this industry is such a critical field.
Is a sound engineer a good career?
The short answer is yes!
Sound engineering can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career. With the right training and experience, you can find work in a variety of settings, from live music venues to a recording studio.
Sound engineers are responsible for ensuring that recordings or live performances sound clear and polished. They may also mix different tracks together, add effects, and adjust levels to create the desired sound.
What qualifications do you need for a sound engineer?
There are a few sound engineering courses that you can pass to get into this profession.
The most important is likely to be a degree or certificate in audio engineering or music production from an accredited program. This will give you the technical skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the field.
You will cover modules like the theory of sound and different types of sound, how humans hear sound, what affects sound, and how to measure and convert digital audio.
You will also move into mixing for TV, film and broadcast and sound system design.
These Universities will encourage you to build links with other professionals in the audio engineering industry. This includes organizations like the Audio Engineering Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
During your studies, it’s a good idea to use what you are learning in a professional setting. Many employers prefer candidates who have some real-world experience. This could include working as an assistant in a studio or live music venue. Even if you don’t have formal training, having some practical experience can be helpful in landing a job.
You can try:
- broadcast sound technician
- theatre sound engineer
- live sound reinforcement
- location recording engineer
Once you graduate you could go on to work in:
- theatre sound engineering
- sound designer and audio post production
- studio recording engineering
- computer music and synthesis
- live sound recording and engineering
- sound system design
- field service engineering
- acoustic consultancy (installation)
- design and test engineering for audio hardware and software
- audiology, broadcast engineering and production.
What are the responsibilities of a sound engineer?
The responsibilities of a sound engineer vary depending on the specific job.
In general, sound engineers are responsible for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sound. They may work in a variety of settings, including recording studios, live concert venues, theatrical productions and sporting events.
Some of the specific duties of a sound engineer include setting up and operating audio equipment, controlling sound levels, editing recordings and designing sound systems. They may also be responsible for training and supervising other audio technicians.
What is the job outlook for sound engineers?
The job outlook for is positive.
The employment of sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
What are the skills required for sound engineers?
Sound engineers need to have strong technical skills in order to be successful in their role.
They must be able to operate and maintain complex audio equipment, as well as have a strong understanding of acoustics and sound waves.
In addition, they must be able to work well under pressure, as they often have to make quick decisions in order to achieve the desired results.
Different Types of Audio Engineer
There are several different types of audio engineer.
The most common are production sound engineers, who work in a recording studio; live sound engineers, who work with live music and concerts; and broadcast sound engineers, who work with radio and TV broadcasts.
There are also post-production sound engineers, who work with films and video. They may be responsible for editing and mixing different tracks together, adding sound effects and adjusting levels. They may also be responsible for dubbing (adding foreign dialogue to a movie or TV show), which is a very specialised type of post-production work.
Sound engineers can also specialise in other areas, such as studio design, or theatre sound design.
List of Jobs in Sound Engineering
Front of House (FOH) engineer, or A1.
A person dealing with live sound reinforcement. This includes planning and installing loudspeakers, cabling, and equipment. It also includes mixing sound during the show. The engineer tries to make sure that the sonic experience is good. This may or may not include running the foldback sound.
Wireless microphone engineer, or A2.
This position is responsible for using and managing wireless microphones during theatre productions, sports events, or corporate events.
Foldback or Monitor Engineer
A person running foldback sound during a live event. The term “foldback” comes from the old days when people would fold audio signals back so the musicians could hear themselves while performing. Monitor engineers usually have a separate audio system from the FOH engineer. This way, they can independently manipulate audio signals to satisfy the requirements of each performer on stage. Monitor engineers typically use in-ear systems, digital and analog mixing consoles, and a variety of speaker enclosures. They also need to be familiar with wireless or RF (radio-frequency) equipment. In addition, they often need to communicate with the artist(s) during each performance.
Someone who designs the atmospheric sound effects and abstract sounds, sonic ambiances, and textures that will take the audience listening on a fabulous journey.
Systems or Production Engineer
A systems engineer is responsible for the set up of modern PA systems. These systems can be very complex, so it is important that this person is knowledgeable and capable of handling any issues that may arise. A systems engineer is also often referred to as a “crew chief” on tour and is responsible for the performance and day-to-day job requirements of the audio crew as a whole. This includes making sure the FOH audio system is working properly. This is a position for people who want to help put things into place. It is not the same as system engineering, which is a more complicated job that usually requires a college degree.
An engineer is someone who works in a studio. They work with either a producer or by themselves.
An engineer who records sound.
A person who creates mixes of multi-track recordings. It is common to record a commercial record at one studio and have it mixed by different engineers in other studios.
The person who masters the final mixed stereo tracks (or sometimes a series of audio stems, which consists in a mix of the main sections) that the mix engineer produces. The mastering engineer makes any final adjustments to the overall sound of the record in the final step before commercial duplication. Mastering engineers use principles of equalization, compression and limiting to fine-tune the sound timbre and dynamics and to achieve a louder recording.
A person who mixes audio tracks together for movies or TV programs.
Your income will vary depending on what industry you work in, how big the studio is, how small the venue is, or if you’re on a live music tour.
Starting salaries are usually low, at around £15,000. This is because you usually don’t have a lot of experience when you start out. However, with time and a good reputation, your salary will go up.
Experienced people can earn between £20,000 and £55,000. If you work with well-known artists you may command a higher salary.
Freelancing can be a great way to make money. You can expect to earn about £280 per day. The best way to freelance is by touring, which means you get paid for the time you spend traveling and also have days off.
Getting a Job as a Sound Engineer
Once you have some experience doing sound, you can start looking for jobs as a sound engineer.
There are many different places where you can find work, including recording studios, concert venues, and radio stations. You can also look for jobs online or in the classifieds section of your local newspaper.
The best way to get a job as a sound engineer is by networking with other sound people in the industry and get an insight in their knowledge and experience. Talk to your friends and colleagues and see if they know of any openings.
You can also attend professional industry events and meet-ups to make connections with potential employers.
Whatever route you choose, make sure that you are passionate about sound. This is a challenging and rewarding field, so you need to be excited about what you do.
If you are passionate about music and technology, then sound engineering is the perfect career for you!