A sound engineer manages and delivers pre-recorded and live audio by electronic means through various formats. A sound engineer has a wide variety of career options. Example: Mastering Engineer for a CD-Manufacturing, Audio engineer, Research and Development Engineer, Broadcast Engineer for a Radio station, Game Audio Designer Engineer, System Engineer, Front-of-House Sound Engineer and Monitor Mix Engineer for a touring show.
While they are different, all the possible positions require some basic skills:
- Strong interpersonal skills for handling multiple revisions and/or changes in real time
- A mastery of audio processing hardware and software
- Ear Training for all types of music
- Ability to measure and control acoustics
- Basic to intermediate electronics proficiency
- An ability to translate recording and live artist needs into a matching audio mix
- High level of organization
- Exceptional understanding of audiology and the physics of sound
In the live Shows, a Live Sound Engineer will typically do the following Roles:
- Maintain a detailed Tech Rider and work accordingly. Manage data and collect information necessary for each performance, type of inputs and outputs from the console and how many required, stage plots, changeover details, performance itinerary and output format for the show.
- Set up the performance environment with appropriate microphones; direct input boxes; and tidy, unobtrusive cable flow
- Test and tweak the sound system
- Troubleshoot any signal chain problems prior to performance and ensure seamless backup protocols are in place
- Coordinate cues with lighting and stage engineers
- Attenuate and/or enhance frequency levels and dynamics during the performance
- Effectively mix instruments or signals and apply effects as needed
- Prepare program audio for recording output, if needed.
In the studio arena, a sound engineer will typically conduct the following tasks:
- Collect and manage data necessary for the studio session, with detailed track listings, signal chain map, and output format for the audio program
- Interact closely with the content developers and artists to determine the needs and functional purpose of the final audio material
- Set up the audio signal chain, both hardware and software, to ensure highest resolution and eliminate unintended coloration
- Effectively mix, edit and apply effects to tracks to reach a cohesive, clear mix with the intended functional purpose
- Closely Examine the audio for unintended transients
- Make sure audio output meets required standard
The work profile for Sound Engineer can be divided into two Categories: Live Sound Engineering and studio Engineering. Studio Sound Engineers work in Broadcast, Sound Designing, Film Mixing, Surround Sound, radio, reality show, location sound engineer, recording, Mixing and Mastering Studios. Live sound Engineers work in Live Concerts, Live Shows, Arenas, System Engineers, Mix Engineer, Artist Personal Engineer or Band Engineer, Handling Conferences, Working With Sound Companies, Become FOH or Stage Mix Engineer, Theaters, and Outdoor Venues
Wages of a Sound Engineer
A full-time professional sound engineer can earn approximately up to $30,000 to $70,000 per year.
In general, Sound Engineers have non-traditional working hours. It depends upon the project they are working.
The majority of live sound engineers are self-employed and free lancers as they get to go to different places based on the location of the show. They are required different areas like Films, Radio, Television, Music Concerts, Theatre, Sports and Corporate events. Also, there are large professional Sound Rentals companies that employ engineers and pay a monthly salary to handle shows and manage their setup. Studio engineers usually are a part of an Organisation or a group, so they are employed by either a creative services firm or directly by a client company.