The audio engineer, or the recording engineer, as he is also commonly referred to is perhaps one of the most important persons in a sound studio, perhaps next only to the music producer. All the decisions made by him regarding the recording, storing, editing, processing and mixing of a performance can have a major impact on how the final product sounds. This is the reason why music producers are so very careful to select recording engineers with the right blend of educational qualifications, experience, and creative talent.
What Do Sound Engineers Actually Do?
Giving shape to the sound of an audio track is the responsibility of the recording engineer. It involves recording, editing, and mixing the sound obtained from the selected assortment of microphones as well as setting the sound recording levels and manipulating the sound elements for maximum clarity and impact. Sound engineers need to be proficient in a number of recording technologies as the audio industry has progressed very fast from the older analog tape-based recording equipment to the latest in computerized multi-track programs that most professional studios now use. The recording engineer works very closely with music producers as well as assistant engineers, session musicians, artists and others involved in the operation of a sound studio. In the smaller setups, typically the sound engineer also doubles up as the music producer and looks after the technical and artistic components of the recording.
Education &Training Imparted at a Music Production Institute
If you are looking at sound recording merely as a hobby, you can perhaps pick up all the essential elements at home from the numerous Internet-based tutorials and tools that are freely downloadable. However, for those who are seriously contemplating about making sound engineering their careers, it is just not sufficient to read self-help books. You need to get admitted to a music production institute, where the curriculum focus will be on teaching students the theoretical and practical aspects of sound engineering and recording, as well as many other important aspects of music production. When you attend formal classes, you are also made conversant with the various managerial and commercial issues that need to be taken care of in a studio environment.
Experience &Skills Required For a Successful Career
Quite obviously, for a recording engineer to do well in his career, he needs to be accomplished technically. Sound engineers need to be adept in translating and shaping the audio track to the contours envisaged by the music producer and the artist. The hallmark of the truly successful sound engineer is his ability to appreciate the emotion of the artist and translate that faithfully to a digital recording. In addition to the technical skill, a sound engineer must possess interpersonal skills of the highest order since he has to manage a variety of workers that report to him and also others whose performance and dedication can affect the quality of the music production.
Essential Personality Traits
More than anything else, the sound engineer needs to be a creative person who can work harmoniously with a team that will often have members who are high-strung and egoistic. While he needs to pull along the entire team without disturbing the dynamics, he also needs to be a strict disciplinarian, as he is responsible for getting a job done in time. In many ways managing the studio is like managing all the functions of a five-star hotel with its unique crises and triumphs.