What Is an Audio Engineer And What Do They Do?
A quick guide into the world of audio engineering
First off: What is an audio engineer?
An audio engineer is an educated, trained, and dedicated musical professional whose job it is to work with the technical aspects of mixing, editing, reproducing, and recording sound. They are responsible for turning songs that are WIPs (works in progress) into professional quality finished products.
It’s important to note that audio engineers do not actually create the song itself. This means that being an audio engineer is not the same thing as a sound engineer or music producer! Music producers create the music from scratch, while audio engineers are there to assist with all mechanical elements of creating music and developing the final song.
What do audio engineers do?
All great audio engineers are able to record, mix, master, reproduce, and add great workflow to all recording sessions. They are there to assist everything that musicians need while they are recording (if a vocalist is having trouble with the microphone, if the guitarists’ strings sound too distorted, if something is wrong with the mixing console, etc.) and to be the musicians’ “right hand man!”
Also, there are many different types of engineers that are not just purely audio/studio engineers. There are engineers that operate giant mixing boards at live events, some engineers that mix/master sound for movies, games, TV shows, etc. It all just depends on how some of the same skill sets can be applied in different professions!
Some common job titles for engineers working in the music industry are:
Sound Monitor Engineer: These engineers control the speakers that musicians hear when they’re playing out live. Have you ever noticed how bands/DJs usually have some speakers faced towards them? That’s what sound monitor engineers are controlling!
Sound Engineers: These engineers usually control sound effects, speech, and other audio instances in movies, tv, shows, etc.
Video Game Audio Engineers: They are responsible for dealing with sound in video games.
Note: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of audio engineers is around $43,000. This salary is obviously not set in stone, and you can either earn more or less depending on who your clients are.
That’s why networking is so important!
If you’d like to become an audio engineer, there are lots of music schools and audio engineering programs that can help you get there. Schools like SAE, Icon Collective, Point Blank, etc. can be a great service for you when you’re trying to pave your career in the music industry!
If you choose not to pay for school, you can always internship with professional audio engineers! This is not only a great way to network, but it’s a free (or possibly paid) way you can learn more about this field, and possibly get your foot in the door to become an audio engineer!
If you’re looking to work with or connect with professional audio engineers, feel free to browse our amazing team of engineers by clicking here!
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My name is Nick Voorhees, and i’m an Icon Collective graduate, music producer, and owner of Melody Nest. I am in no way an expert in music production (or in any field), but I just wanted to share some insight on what helped me along the way. I hope this is at least a little helpful.