What is an audio engineer? If you’re are making music, or recording audio you are an audio engineer. Of course, this is a broadest answer possible. To be more specific I have come up with a list of 5 duties that I think define the modern audio Engineer.
Capturing performances – The Audio engineer is responsible for capturing the performance of the band or artist. As an audio engineer your job is setting up the microphones, arming the tracks in your DAW and hitting record when the artist is ready. This also means that the audio engineer listens back to the captured performance and analyzes the recording that was captured to make sure it is an accurate representation of the artist’s performance. Furthermore, you need to know if the performance is of good quality, or if there are mistakes and the artist needs to perform it again. You also have a microphone ready to go at all times so that you are can capture an artist’s idea at a moments notice.
Thorough Knowledge of Audio Equipment – As an audio engineer you must understand your equipment and be able to use it properly. You understand how to capture a performance and make sure it sounds the way the artist or producer has envisioned.
Know how to edit – The most powerful thing about the modern DAW is it’s ability to edit quickly. In ye olden days there was a producer, an engineer and 1 or 2 assistants and any one of them would edit takes together by cutting tape. It was a very time consuming process. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to record many takes of a vocal and then quickly go through with your mouse and make a comp of the best parts those takes. The power of editing in a DAW can be a massive time saver on a project and any audio engineer should understand how and when to make edits.
You work for the client – As an audio engineer you work for the client. In home or small studio setting that is most likely going to be the artist. In a larger commercial studio setting it could be the artist, but it could also be the producer that hired you. If you’ve been hired as the engineer your role in some situation will be to capture the audio, understand the gear and make the edits, and NOT give production advice.
Know your role – On the other hand there will also be situations where the producer or artist will want your input. I have been on sessions before that I wasn’t producing and found myself contributing ideas, or playing guitar parts while also being there as the audio engineer. You must know your role on every session, and always bring your best work.
Please watch the video below to see my full answer to the question what is an audio engineer! Thank you ever so much for watching and do leave some comments and questions below!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,
Haha yes @plap-disqus-4462bf0ddbe0d0da40e1e828ebebeb11:disqus! Marvellous!
Thanks very much @plap-disqus-5a5a2994bba00e071d152145344b741d:disqus!! Marvellous in fact!
One lump or two? 🙂
Thanks @pat_fleck:disqus! I do love a good cup of tea! Have a marvellous time brewing that tea! By the way I’m a PG Tips man! Many thanks Warren
Remember the chimp ads Warren?… Have you passed your MOT?
Haha yes indeed @disqus_yVh2EHM2VA:disqus!! I do remember them well! Do you remember ‘Bond, Brooke Bond’?
Yes I do, but my favorite chimp vid was the one of Right Said Fred with the chimps moving the Piano.
Haha yes indeed @disqus_yVh2EHM2VA:disqus! Hilarious
Just for those who may not know ;0)
Nicely stated, Warren…
Just simple, straight-up practical advice any engineer can implement in their day-to-day…
Thanks ever so much @randalpatrickmcmurphy:disqus! I am glad to be able to help! Have a marvellous time recording!
Personally I have a hard time calling myself an “Audio Engineer” being I come from over two decades of Engineering that did not allow for generalization of the term “Engineer” nor allowed to even refer to ourself as an Engineer until the education path was completed and you passed specific test in your field then you had to serve time under a P.E. (Professional Engineer) then take a State level test to be able to provide services to the general public as an Engineer be it Electrical, Mechanical or Structural. When I started my path in Audio Engineering a few years ago I literally looked and searched for Audio Engineering test to take, I hunted for a licensing board of Audio Engineers to study under, etc… But I found none of this applied to Audio Engineering. I figure when a client refers to me as an Audio Engineer then maybe I’m an Audio Engineer. Maybe…
Hi Friends, I hope you’re doing marvellously well! This a huge question I get asked so often! For many people starting up this can be so confusing! They read Blogs and Forums that tell them they are not qualified and then they read about the most successful Audio Engineers in the business and see that they learned by either Assisting in Studios or by learning on the job! I hope this short video will help clarify some of that. Have a marvellous time Engineering! Many thanks Warren
a worker amongst workers…that will serve you well no matter you are..wish i would have had that mindset 20 years ago
thanks for the vid you guys
Thanks for your amazingly positive outlook @plap-disqus-f64eac11f2cd8f0efa196f8ad173178e:disqus! You are a great asset to our community! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Yes, thanks Warren! I’m in over my head at times. January will be my PLAPA anniversary. I’m just starting to apply my knowledge gained here. I started the year with a Black Friday Mac, gathered equipment as I could and things are good. Tracked my own house kit the other day for the first time, not sunset sound but I’ll make it work. In the last month I’ve had the opportunity to track four different singer/songwriters a three piece blues band, a cello, wow… I’m still a total noob but PLAPA has made me look better than I am for sure. Thanks Warren. You and Glenn need to do a vid about the things bands will do, like randomly move microphones, pull cables, headphone cables getting stepped on, getting water, you know, the other stuff we get to do too. 🙂
Hi @plap-disqus-4122cb13c7a474c1976c9706ae36521d:disqus thanks for your amazing comment! So glad we’ve been able to help! The community in here is so amazing! Thanks for being a big part of it John! Have a marvellous time making music! Many thanks Warren
Well done Warren. As an Audio Engineering student I agree with everything you said.
It is precisely what we are being taught.
So easy for people to become confused with this role and going off on some tangent.
Remain focused on your job and enjoy!
Thanks for the videos.
Wow that’s fantastic @plap-disqus-db0cf003e7db9592288d809665cfeb2a:disqus! So glad to hear that! Where are you going to School? Have a marvellous time making music! Many thanks Warren
Thanks for the video Warren! I do enjoy the non-technical “pep talk” videos with solid advice. I’m still learning all aspects of recording and I appreciate the motivation. And YOU sir, have a marvelous time recording!
Thanks @davidhadel:disqus! You Rock! I am so glad to be able to help in any way I can!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
A engineer is someone who sets up the easel and supplies the paints so a producer can paint the vision in their head.
Lovely analogy @edwenzel:disqus!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Great information, so grateful for your unparalleled mentoring.
Thanks ever so much @plap-disqus-2e65f2f2fdaf6c699b223c61b1b5ab89:disqus! You Rock my friend! Have a marvellous time making music! Many thanks Warren
I think you’ve done a pretty great job on your tutorials. continuing to follow you!
Hi @Jezmyr:disqus thanks ever so much! I really appreciate it! Have a marvellous time making music! Many thanks Warren
Thanks Warren for giving the exact points that are important. Sometimes our mind, skills or emotions let us do different, but these is pretty nice to know and we should remember in some situations.
I have now an example that show us “this is not an audio engineer”.
Haha genius @plap-disqus-dfd7468ac613286cdbb40872c8ef3b06:disqus! That’s so cool! Have a marvellous time making music! Many thanks Warren
LOL! Priceless 🙂
Great breakdown Warren on the engineer’s role in the studio.
I too have had to wear MANY hats in the lab, producer, editor, engineer, vocal coach, etc.
and gladly continue to do so even now. 🙂
It can be stressful at times, but I love it though. Especially when everything finally comes together.
Thanks ever so much @shadowmixx:disqus! Agreed! These days I have to wear so many hats it’s crazy! However I love being busy!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren