Sound engineers play a vital role in the music industry. Anyone who ever has been to a concert and impressed with the clarity and overall quality of the music can thank a talented engineer for controlling that sound.
By controlling microphones, sound levels, and outputs, sound engineers combine their well-trained ears with their knowledge of acoustics to produce the best quality of sound for a variety of purposes. In addition to the music industry, sound engineers might work in film, radio, television, computer games, theatre, sporting events, and corporate events.
Different Types of Sound Engineers
Operating a large mixing board at a live show to adjust the sound the audience hears is also known as mixing the front-of-house sound, but it is only one aspect of sound engineering. There are four distinct steps to the commercial production of a recording including recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. As a result, there are other types of sound engineers with particular roles and specializations.
Keep in mind, however, that it is common for all of these roles to be taken on by one sound person at smaller events and shows because a whole team of engineers is a luxury usually reserved for large, well-funded venues or tours. Some of the other roles and titles common to audio engineers include:
- Monitor sound engineers: This type of engineer takes care of the sound a band hears on their monitors on stage. A band member who asks something along the lines of, “can you turn down my guitar a little bit?” is talking to the monitor sound engineer.
- Systems engineers: They take care of setting up amps, complex PA systems, and speakers for bands and the other sound engineers.
- Studio sound engineers: They work in studios to make high-quality recordings of music, speech, and sound effects.
- Research and development audio engineers: They invent new technologies, equipment, and techniques to enhance the process and art of audio engineering.
- Wireless microphone engineers: They are responsible for wireless microphones during theatre productions, sports events, or corporate events.
- Game audio designer engineers: They deal with sound for video and computer game development.
How to Become an Audio Engineer
Sound engineers can come from a variety of backgrounds and educational experiences. Postsecondary training in radio, television, music, audio, performing arts, broadcasting, or electrical engineering all can lead to a career in sound engineering. Many colleges and universities offer specific training in audio engineering and sound recording. Often, though, audio engineers have no formal training, but instead, attain professional experience and skills in audio through extensive on-the-job experience.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers an exam to become a certified audio engineer (CEA). Five years of experience in the field are necessary to take the exam, and having the certification can make audio engineers more appealing as job candidates in some circumstances. A bachelor’s degree in a related field of study counts as four of those years, and an associate’s degree counts as two.
Sourced from Balance Careers