Engineer, Recording

What do Engineer, Recordings do?

Recording Engineers (sound engineers or audio engineers) usually work in recording studios making high quality sound recordings, mainly for the music and entertainment industry. They need to be able to operate complex electronic equipment to reproduce music, dialogue, sound effects and other audio content to the highest quality. This may be for commercial music CDs or albums, radio, television and theater, commercials or corporate presentations and promotions.

They operate sophisticated electronic equipment to record music, speech, sound effects and other high quality audio content covering all types of sound. A Recording Engineer will set up the performers' equipment and instruments in the studio, set up and manage the sound levels and dynamics, record the sound, mix tracks on tape and compile the recordings into the final master. They will also keep logs of all the recordings for the archive.

Recording Engineers operate mixing consoles and balance the sound from different sources, often enhancing the recording using effects and processors. They may record directly onto a computer and often use specialized computer software.

Recording Engineers may spend most of their time working in recording studios, but they may also work on location at live concerts, events and productions. They are often employed to record sound at concerts and gigs, sporting arenas, theater productions, or film and video productions. Recording Engineers often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They need to be very flexible about the hours they work as they depend on the availability of artists and producers. They may need to work away from home or go on tour.

The tasks Recording Engineers carry out in their work include: reproducing and duplicating sound recordings; setting up, testing and adjusting recording equipment, keeping logs of recordings, and compiling recordings into the final master.

A Recording Engineer will need a musical background, as well as experience in sound recording, editing and mixing. Although there are no specific requirements for this role, a qualification in sound engineering is useful. A musical education and experience in the music industry is helpful, especially the ability to compose music and play an instrument. Competition for jobs as Recording Engineers is fierce, and most entrants need to use their initiative. Experience and the ability to make personal contacts in the industry are vital. The industry is going through huge changes due to the development of cheap digital technology. Professional quality recordings can be made using high tech equipment in home studios, resulting in a significant increase in self employment.

There are a number of qualifications on offer for Recording Engineers at all levels, such as music production, music technology, audio technology, media and sound technology, sound engineering and electronics. A lot of Recording Engineers begin their careers as unpaid volunteers to gain experience. Many studios employ young people with few qualifications as assistant recording engineers. Larger commercial studios may require a degree qualification. Assistant sound engineers often begin their careers as runners, carrying out all the basic routine jobs to gain experience, before assisting in sessions.

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Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.