When people think of music producers or audio engineers, they often picture someone mixing the latest top 40 hits and hanging with the newest pop celebrities making songs for the radio. While mixing albums and songs for radio artists and producing bands is an important and prominent part of the audio engineering business, it is only one of many facets of the industry. There is great demand for audio engineers in the job market, as every field of media strongly utilizes music and sound in its production—whether it is for radio, television, film, gaming, or all other things entertainment.
Audio production in a given field is a complicated task that requires a great degree of the collaborative skills of a few specialists in order to achieve perfection in a project such as the completion of a film, event, and studio or live album.
We will take a moment to detail the different kinds of audio engineers below.
Regarding the sound production needed for the before-mentioned album recording, there are three kinds of audio specialists involved in the job.
The studio engineer is primarily responsible for mixing tracks to give them the highest sound quality. Studio engineers undertake a technical analysis of an artist, using industry standard equipment to realize their client’s artistic vision, enriching tracks with a professional, polished finish.
The recording engineer works a mixing board to manipulate different sounds from music, television, and radio. They may also install sound effects and speed up and slow down tempos depending on what sound they are attempting to create. They are most responsible for adjusting the audio to please the customer.
The mixing engineer mixes and layers separate tracks together. This handles the important and delicate task of balancing the performer or speaker with the accompanying music to achieve perfect harmony. They meticulously adjust the multiple to achieve a finish that does not detract from the desired atmosphere of the media piece.
Gaming sound engineers arrange the music for video games. They are responsible for orchestrating the scores and all the sound effects that makes a game interactive and realistic. They must thoroughly familiarize themselves with the world of the game project they are working on and place appropriate sounds to correlate with any nature, dialogue, weaponry where needed. Sound in gaming has progressed to much more than the mere blips and bleeps at its inception. Gaming is a respectable growing market increasing in sophistication every year, with some games having budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Scoring a AAA video game can be as great of an undertaking as any large blockbuster film, and audio talent is sought and relished in the current market.
Another important aspect of audio production is mixing live sound, whether it be for concerts, conferences, seminars, or other live events. Proper management of the soundboard at a scheduled event can make the difference between a successful show or gathering verses a disappointing disaster. Live sound requires its own specialists for operations to run smoothly.
The live sound engineer has the responsibility of setting up and arranging speakers in the fitting places, operating the mixing board, and managing any audio or video required. They often work along with the performing artists and bands to actualize their vision for how they want the show to be.
Fold back engineers are important parts of live events as well. Their job is to monitor and enhance what the audience hears. They ensure that the event audience hears clearly everything that they are supposed to at the level of prominence that is most appropriate.
Additionally, System engineers oversee the layout, setup, and operation of PA systems. These systems can be very complex, requiring diligent management of all fluctuations in amplifier execution, but also requires a degree of creativity regarding positioning and display of stage set pieces.
Film and Television
Audio post engineers edit and mix any sound produced for film production, television programming, or even commercial advertising. Post engineering handles all the different sounds that are required to make the images on video seem natural and realistic. This includes the task of mastering the voice dubbing for actors or cartoon characters to achieve fluid dialogue or narration.
There are several different branches that a person interested in audio engineering can choose from, and skilled, experienced professionals may manage multiple specialized tasks at once. An aspiring audio engineer should choose which area of music production best fits his or her interests and talents for a career path. An effective sound engineer must the passionate, adaptable, creative, and competent at using a variety of modern technologies and equipment to be able to a real audio professional.