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Career as an Audio Engineer



Who is an Audio Engineer?

An audio engineer (also known as a sound engineer or recording engineer) helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound.Audio engineers often assist record producers and musicians to help give their work the sound they are hoping to achieve.They don't have to work strictly in music. Some end up designing and controlling the sound at conferences, in theatres, and in any other venue that requires sound projection for an audience.

What does an Audio Engineer do?

An audio engineer works with the technical aspects of sound during the processes of recording, mixing, and reproduction. Audio engineers often assist record producers and musicians to help give their work the sound they are hoping to achieve.


For example, an audio engineer will piece together parts of a song, use auto-tune on a recording, and/or add synthetic sounds to a track. Audio engineers are different from producers. However, some audio engineers go on with their careers to double as producers or assume the role of producer. There are several subfields of audio engineering that one can become involved in.


The workplace of an audio engineer varies by what each engineer chooses to specialize in. Audio engineers are found working in places such as music studios, film studios, television studios, with band crews, tour crews, event crews and maintenance crews, opera houses, play houses, theatres, conference centres, auditoriums, government offices and institutions of higher education.

Types of Audio Engineers:

Studio Engineer A studio engineer works closely with producers in a studio. Sometimes studio engineers double as the producer and work independently.

Assistant Engineer An assistant engineer usually works in a studio setting as well. They are often apprentices to studio engineers who own or work in large facilities.

Recording Engineer A recording engineer is someone who focuses specifically on the aspect of recording sound.

Game & Audio Design Engineer A game & audio design engineer helps work with the sound engineering on video games, as well as how to appropriately add sound to the game.

Mix Engineer A mix engineer focuses on mixing together different tracks to mesh and create a new track.

Mastering Engineer A mastering engineer smooths over the results of a mix engineer, making the final product into a whole.

Live Sound Engineer A live sound engineer works at live events to make sure the sound is of appropriate value and high quality.

Monitor Engineer A monitor engineer works with live sound engineers to help the performers at a live event hear themselves.

Systems Engineer A systems engineer manages the entire experience of sound at live performances. Systems engineers manage both live sound engineers and monitor engineers, and also work to set up the entire live sound system at many live events.

Audio Post Engineer An audio post engineer works to mix and edit audio for television and movies.

Research and development audio engineers

They invent new technologies, equipment, and techniques to enhance the process and art of audio engineering

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired:

Education:

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 most common degree held by audio engineers is Sound Engineering, held by 19% of audio engineers. Other common degrees include Music and Related Studies, and Cinema Studies.

Institutes offering courses related to Audio Engineering are:

  • IIT Kharagpur (MTech in Media and Sound Engineering)

  • ZEE Institute of Media Arts (ZIMA) Mumbai (Diploma in Sound Engineering - 9 months)

  • National Institute of Film and Fine Arts NIFFA, Kolkata (Certificate in Sound Recording and Editing)

  • Government Film & Television Institute in Bangalore (3-year Diploma in Sound Recording & Engineering)

  • Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (Post Graduate Diploma in Sound Recording & Sound Design)

  • Digital Academy- the Film School Mumbai (Sound Recording & Engineering Course)

  • Department of Music, University of Mumbai (6 Months certificate course in - Sound Recording and Reproduction Course (SRR))

  • College of Applied Science, Vadakkencherry (Post Graduate Diploma in Audio Engineering)

  • Biju Patnaik Film and Television Institute Cuttack (Diploma in Sound & TV. Engineering)

  • Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication, School of Arts New Delhi (Sound Recording & Design)

  • Department of Film & TV Studies, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan New Delhi (Diploma in Video Editing and Sound Recording (EDT))

  • CRAFT Film School (Post Graduate Diploma in Sound Recording & Audio Engineering)

  • ARM Academy of Radio Management (Certificate in Sound Recording & Radio Production)

  • Asian Academy of Film & Television (Video Editing & Sound Recording - 3 months programme)

Skills:

  • Excellent communication skills are essential in dealing with supervisors, other employees, sound talent and others in this people-heavy industry.

  • Audio engineers often have to solve complex technical issues quickly and completely. This takes expert-level technical skills with the equipment in use and complex problem-solving capability. Eye-hand coordination is a key skill, as audio engineers work closely with small wires and complicated equipment.

  • Computer skills are essential as well, as most sound-mixing occurs digitally.

  • Prepare, operate, and maintain technical equipment such as microphones, speakers and amplifiers, and digital audio workstations (DAWs), addressing and solving technical problems as needed.

  • Organize a recording session, ensure that sound quality is optimum by placing microphones, performing sound checks before performances, and monitor the sound throughout (adjusting levels if necessary).

  • Be aware of signal flow and patching techniques necessary to record live sound to a high standard.

  • Edit and mix recordings of various genres of music using software programs like Pro Tools.

  • Select and produce appropriate sound effects and synchronize them to video.

Technology Skills:

  • Technical expertise in sound engineering techniques (e.g. equalization)

  • Experience with sound editing and recording equipment (e.g. mixing consoles)

  • Working knowledge of recording software and hardware (e.g. Pro Tools)

Abilities:

The set of hard skills audio engineers use on their jobs usually comes from a combination of formal or on-the-job training and experience, but certain soft skills to succeed including the following:

  • Problem Solving: When equipment malfunctions, an audio engineer must be able to identify the problem, then make the repairs and necessary adjustments.

  • Critical Thinking: To fix problems, engineers must come up with alternative solutions and then figure out which solution will have the best results.

  • Manual Dexterity: Setting up equipment, connecting wires, and using knobs and buttons to make adjustments requires excellent manual dexterity.

  • Monitoring: Audio engineers must continuously monitor volume levels and sound quality.

  • Communication: Engineers must possess excellent listening and speaking skills to collaborate on projects with others involved in the project.

Personality:

  • Patient: Working with people is hard, but collaborating with someone on something creative and personal to them is a lot harder. Collaboration is a balancing act between the artist and the engineer.

  • Well organized: It’s the engineer’s job to make sure the session is running smoothly and the only way this can get done is if things are organized.

  • Positive: Negativity is the single most morale draining characteristic when in the studio. There is nothing that can bring down the energy of a session more than negativity.

  • Humble: There is always room to grow and always room to learn. The best engineers are incredibly humble and always learning and looking for new ways to improve their skills.

  • Perceptive: Paying attention to how everyone around is acting and make sure you are giving them an environment that allows them to best do their work and be creative.

  • Eagerness to learn: In this rapidly changing industry, technology moves quite quickly. Keeping up with the news and the industry, staying informed on what products are being released and making sure to demo them and stay relevant is how they rule.

  • Diligent: Attentive and careful. Making mistakes is okay and will happen, but there is no excuse for being lazy and not paying attention to detail.

  • Reliable: Showing up and finishing projects on time, giving accurate time frames for how long things will take, answering emails, text messages and phones calls in a reasonable amount of time is part of the job.

Job outlook:

With the surge of Media and Communication due to technological advancements, the scope for Sound Engineers, Audio Technicians, etc. has risen remarkably in the past few years or so.India remains a heavy consumer of Audio and Video.Close to 500 million YouTube views are from Indian Users. More the content, the more the requirement for professional audio and video technicians.A Sound Engineer, can work for about 5,000 INR a month to 5,00,000 INR a month depending on the complexity of her equipment and his job profile.

There is also an emerging, yet a very promising freelance market for Music Mixing and Mastering Engineers. But, a very high standard of service is expected from such freelancers. And they would be able to earn surplus of 30,000 INR by just mixing and mastering a handful of projects.

Average salary (Salary estimated from 96 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. Last updated: 18 March, 2020): ₹ 22,258 per month.

Some other found details are:

· M/S. Persang Entertainment Private Limited Sound Engineer: ₹ 30,000 per month

· Job Box India Sound Engineer: ₹ 25,000 per month

· Teleone Consumers Product Pvt. ltd Sound Engineer: ₹ 16,626 per month

· Somya info edge services Pvt Ltd Sound Engineer: ₹ 12,000 per month

· HRBalaPaytm Sound Engineer: ₹ 2,80,000 per year

· Acoustic Control (P) LTD Sound Engineer: ₹ 3,70,559 per year

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is some good advice for Audio Engineers?

· Learn about the gear you need.

· Know how to use microphones.

· Be aware of your surroundings.

· Avoid digital recording mistakes.

· Learn to understand the frequency spectrum.

· Learn to record vocals.

· Know how to get a great guitar sound.

· Create a massive acoustic guitar sound.

· Get a great drum sound.

· Learn how to find the ‘sweet spot’

· Know when to edit.

· Learn how to plan a mix.

· Learn to use compression.

· Learn how to use reverb.

· Know how to mix drums.

· Learn how to mix the kick drum and the bass together.

· Learn to process vocals with effects.

· Protect your ears. They are your most valuable asset.

· Always strive to improve your mixes.

· Learn to use the multiband compressor in mastering.

How can I become an Audio Engineer in India?

It is an Aptitude based course. Not everyone can study Sound (Audio) Engineering and go on and build a rewarding career in this area. Students who are genuinely interested in different types of sounds, music, and have creativity will find this course to be of use and will enjoy pursuing it.

Students may pursue the 2 years long Diploma in Sound Engineering course. To pursue this course, a student must have completed 10+2 Schooling with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics subjects. In case of Admission process, some Institutes may even conduct their own entrance and Aptitude examinations.

What are the various work opportunities for Audio Engineers?

Career opportunities for sound engineer and technicians are available in various fields like radio stations, tv channels, studios, multimedia design, animation, advertising firms, movies and more. One can opt for specialised courses in technical skills such as sequencing, mastering, editing and recording.

Certain designation Audio engineers can work with are:

· Production Engineer

· Audio Visual Technician

· Audio Visual Design Engineer

· Audio Engineer

· Chief Engineer

· Producer Virtual Reality Video Engineer

· Audio/Video Technician

· Audio Visual Engineer

· Live Sound Instructor

· Acoustic Engineer

· Audio Research Engineer

· Backend Engineer

· DSP Audio SW Engineer

· Senior Audio-Visual Engineer

· Broadcast Engineer

· Technical Support Engineer

What is it like being an Audio Engineer?

Audio engineers use machinery and equipment to record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects. They work on the production of movies, music recordings, live shows, or video games. They sometimes work under the job titles sound engineering technicianand audio equipment technician.

Are Audio Engineers happy?

Audio engineers are one of the happiest careers in the United States, right after Musicians and Gamers.

Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that's enjoyable and a career that's fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here's how Sound Engineering Technicians job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.

Upward Mobility (Opportunities for advancements and salary): Average

Stress Level (Work environment and complexities of the job's responsibilities): Average

Flexibility (Alternative working schedule and work life balance): Above Average

What are thedifferences between Music Producers & Engineers?

A producer is the creative leader of a recording session or album. He oversees the recording, mixing and arranging of tracks and songs, advises musicians on how to approach or play on a track, helps artists select which songs to record and enhances individual tracks. Often, a producer will play an instrument or add sounds to a recording. An executive producer performs many of these functions, but also oversees the recording budget, hires session players and oversees nonrecording studio personnel.


A recording engineer is a technician who operates the soundboard and other equipment during a recording session, under the supervision of the producer. They also set up studio and recording equipment. An engineer's main job is to use her technical skills to bring the producer's and artist's vision to fruition. She also is often responsible for mixing recorded tracks and making sure the final recording is free of any unwanted sounds or noises.

What are the differences between Sound Engineer and Audio Technician?

Creative duties typically establish the distinction between audio technician and sound engineer. Often working alongside a producer, sound engineers use their creativity and expertise to make recordings sound good and mix audio. Sound engineers often learn their craft moving up from the audio technician role, working as assistant engineers in recording studios, for example, to refine technical skills and to master the application of creative skills under the tutelage of experienced engineers.


Audio technicians tend to the nuts and bolts of capturing sound for recording, broadcasting and live music applications. Prior to sessions or rehearsals, audio technicians are found connecting microphones, amplifiers and speakers, and tracking down any issues with audio signal chains. While performing many of the same physical duties as a sound engineer, audio technicians are frequently entry to mid-level workers, gaining experience to advance to the sound engineer role.

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