What Does it Take to be a Sound Engineer?
by Renier Henning
When listening to a song, watching a movie, playing a computer game, hearing a voice on
the radio, or going to a concert or political gathering, a sound engineer will be involved at
the event. When something goes wrong at a concert, people are sure to turn and look to the
sound engineer for the issue because if everything goes as planned, the engineer is invisible.
Sound engineers are responsible for the reproduction and mixing of sound. Their
responsibilities include setting up microphones for instruments and voice artists, choosing
preamps, adjusting equalizers and compressors, and adding effects to ensure the listener
does not notice them. Sound engineers can spend years training their ears to improve their
craft while combining that with their knowledge of room acoustics and psychoacoustics to
enhance the sound of an instrument or vocal during production. Good sound engineering is
like good movie lighting; only the performance is enjoyable when done right.
Audio engineering consists of various fields, including :
How to become a Sound Engineer?
Historically, to become a sound engineer, engineers would typically concentrate on
completing a degree in electrical engineering before continuing their education by doing a
degree in music. Only then would they be able to call themselves sound engineers. Abbey
Road Studios prides itself on having some of the best studio engineers. These engineers
have excellent knowledge of electrical and electronic components and their function in a
circuit. They are also confident in working in a studio along with musicians because of their
understanding of music.
Dedicated courses for sound engineering and music production provide a good balance
between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Students should also be
encouraged to do practical internships outside the institution, working under established
producers and engineers. Internships fast-track their knowledge and help them network
with other professionals in the industry.
What qualities are required to be a successful engineer?
Have the perfect balance between technical and creative skills.
Sound engineers are creative. They have the same creativity that most artists use when
writing songs or composing music, but they also have the technical skills to utilize all the
gear found in the studio.
Successful sound engineers can understand the musical jargon spoken by musicians and
engineers when discussing the requirements for equipment or software.
Their abilities stretch from advanced problem-solving to remarkable organizational skills.
This balance empowers a sound engineer to run a recording session and give creative input
to the artist when needed.
Dedication to their craft
Speak to some engineers, and it will become evident how much they love what they do.
Most highly paid engineers to work hard to improve their craft or finish projects. Be aware
that this profession will take a lot of time and dedication to become successful. Be willing to
do what is necessary to meet deadlines, with no excuses.
For this article, let us focus on studio engineers. Just as a financial manager needs to grasp
numbers to work with money, a sound engineer who wants to work on music must have a
love of music and some musical background. Most artists in interviews mention that they
will only work with musical engineers and that it is sometimes even a requirement for their
engineer to play an instrument. Musical skills help the artist communicate ideas more
clearly to their engineer or producer. When working in the music industry, it will be a
benefit to invest in learning an instrument. Getting a decent understanding of music theory
improves a sound engineer’s career.
When working in a studio, excellent communication with artists, producers, managers, A&R
people, record labels, and session musicians is critical to the project's success. An engineer
can add to the stress people experience in the studio as he will need to be able to
communicate ideas to artists while recording and deal with mixing revisions when trying to
close out a project. A good attitude can go a long way to diffuse it. Introverts can find
proper communication to be a skill that can be learned and practiced – it might not come
naturally and is essential.
Good Aural Skills
Ear training is required to get the quality of music required for the project. Sound engineers
are known for having proverbial Golden Ears. They spend most of their young adult lives
training their ears to identify minor nuances when mixing a song or picking out the most
negligible differences between microphones or miking positions.
Problem Solving Ability
Technical problems arise in the studio and live sound situations all the time, and it is the
responsibility of the sound engineer to identify and solve the problems. Be prepared and
able to identify and solve problems more effectively. When running into a problem, do not
just ask technical support to fix it – have a go at solving the issues and improving knowledge
Attention to Detail
Good sound engineers will spend hours trying to improve minor details of a song they are
working on if it is not exactly what they have in mind. On the other hand, artists love
working with mix engineers who can give them exactly what they envisioned within the first
couple of mixes. The music industry is challenging because there is no room for tardiness
and lack of effort, so put in the work from the start to succeed.
When planning a career as a sound engineer, a lifetime of learning and studying in the music
industry can be very rewarding, be sure to back up a passion for music with clear,
marketable skills in the studio to rise above the competition. Please do not hesitate to
contact Emendy Multimedia Institute and arrange a meeting with one of our staff to find