A career in sound engineering can be exciting, fulfilling and rewarding. A sound engineer is a professional media technician who manipulates the output of sound of various amplification and recording devices. Moreover, the engineer utilizes his or her abilities at indoor and outdoor theaters, music recording studios, and concert locations.
A sound engineer may team with producers and recording artists to create a specific product, whether it is tracks for an album, or voiceover for a film or commercial. The engineer utilizes a mixing board to alter the product via edits or mixing. The engineer may convert the recording to a variety of formats as well as experiment with the sound quality and dimension. And more importantly, the engineer performs a check of his or her equipment to find and correct problems that could affect desired performances.
Below are some of the various types of sound engineering niches one may consider as a career along with necessary requirements to get started. Read on to learn more.
Monitor/Fold Back Engineer
A monitor engineer’s job requires attentiveness to sound output for theater, concerts or any live performances. The monitor engineer controls the output based on the artists’ requirements for a desired result or effect. This sound manipulation may include the utilization of various sound effects (i.e., fading, echoing, chopping, or “screwing” down the tempo).
A mixing engineer’s job entails track mixing. He or she takes two or more separate tracks and fuses them together to create a unique sound. For example, the engineer may take a phrase from a movie and weave it into a song that is relevant to those words. The result can be very impressive. Track mixing spans beyond mixing music. It can be achieved with any type of recorded media and sound effect.
The recording engineer’s job is very similar to that of the mixing engineer in that s/he operates a mixing board to fuse different types of media to achieve a desired effect. The exception is that they work with a performer, tailoring to his or her satisfaction. Sound effects (such as Auto Tune) may be implemented or tempo adjustments may be applied to produce a certain groove.
Live Sound Engineer
A live sound engineer’s job requires obtaining the best sound output for live events. This may include strategic speaker placement, manipulating sound and operating a mixing board. This type of engineer may team up with music artists for a concert.
Game-Genre Sound Engineer
And there are those engineers who create special sound effects (and even the soundtrack) for video games. In order to achieve a natural-as-possible effect and appeal, this engineer will need to be knowledgeable of the particular game he or she is responsible for editing.
A system engineer’s job requires the outline, arrangement and functioning of public address (PA) systems. Careful crafting is a must in order to allow for seamless operation of this type of system. Otherwise, an already-complex system could lead to complications.
Audio Post Engineer
The audio post engineer’s niche is TV and movies. S/he performs editing and mixing sound tasks and applies them accordingly throughout the show or film. It is crucial that the sound output is naturalistic. Moreover, adjusting the sound effects is important so as not to overpower the audio of the actors.
To begin a career in sound engineering, one must have obtained at least a high school diploma (or GED). The next step is to obtain the career knowledge necessary to become a successful sound engineer. These required competencies include learning relevant technology, equipment and applications within the sound engineering field. A wealth of information on training schools and job opportunities can be found via the Audio Engineer Society website.
- Books for Beginner’s: Diving Into the Audio Engineering World (thegangisound.wordpress.com)