Welcome, all to this article. In today’s article, we are going to move towards the primary and predominant steps of jumping into the music and audio learning industry. It takes us deeply to know about what audio engineering is, how to Become an Audio Engineer, how listening plays a major role for an audio engineer. Various online platform courses and individual permanent courses taught in audio/music-related specializations in original institutions and colleges, what are the internal qualification that is present naturally to fit in as an audio engineer, steps needed to be followed in running as a freelancing audio designer or engineer and to make money out of it. With no further due, let us get started!!
What comes to your mind when you listen to your favorite collections of pop/rock or even jazz(I’m a jazz lover deeply)?? Have you ever tried to find out the different instruments and voices played in a song?? Or do you ever try distinguishing between the disguised noises or sounds played in the background music of a movie that you watch?? If not, at least do you feel the audio or instruments traveling from one ear to another when you plug-in your earphones or headphones, any of your hearing instruments/devices??
If you say a big YES to all these queries, you are naturally known as a non-technical Audio Engineer. Yeah, you heard that, and it is true!! For those who have a half YES and half NO reply for these queries, you ain’t having a bad audio recognition, you are doing good half-the-way, and you can surely get into to completely trained as an audio engineer. If someone tells you that they have no idea of what these queries are and if you have never felt this in life, then I don’t completely isolate you from the above-categorized set of people. But chances are, who knows, this article creates an interest in pursuing audio engineering shortly if your readout. The choice is up to you.
The absolute truth is really fond of learning and pursuing a career in Audio Engineering. They have a great growth in studios, post-production of movies, and various other live gigs that most clients are expecting to hire good Audio Engineers. And who knows, you might also be one among them if you follow some simple tips and career notion of shaping your life in Audio Engineering. Then, you have glistering growth in the audio/ music world’s career. Here comes the other concern where people think about whether they can make money out of this career. And it completely “YES, you can,” there is no doubt that you do a lot of amazing job in this field provided you need to master in the following area of the “Audio Engineering,”
- Understanding the concepts of what Audio Engineering is, differentiating from Music-making production Industries.
- Acing well practicing the Tools associated with the audio and acoustic tools, controlling the tools and components involved in mixing and merging the audios and various sounds.
- Seamlessly working with the clients whoever linked with the field you are pursuing and giving a quality audio output.
We are stopping here, but these touchpoints related to Audio Engineering are further elaborated on in a more conceptual note when explaining things to be an Audio Engineer.
As mentioned, I’m a jazz lover, and I love other genres of music too. This is what I do when I’m at home, and whenever I’m alone, I start to plug-in my earphones completely and get drenched in the jazz rain. It’s the way of composing, mixing up the instruments alone, and a blend of both vocal and instruments coming out as jazz music in my earphones. These small cues triggered me to research more in the career of audio and music itself. I myself started involving the world of Audio Engineering when I got to ask my dad about the field’s concept and how it is worked in the studio. Because I’m a proud frenzy audio/music-loving child of my Sound Designer dad. YES, my dad has nearly 25 years of experience in this audio designing field, working in large gigs like live shows, movies (post-production field) dubbed in various languages, and studio recordings of new bands and groups, etc.
So whenever I get time after finishing a day in my college, especially during weekends, I take up a lot of tiny exercises to learn about audio engineering through online mediums like Coursera, Udemy, Berklee College of Music, and other resources suggested by my music folks in my college. My dad didn’t study any music or audio courses and jumped into this profession, but he naturally wanted to understand how the audio sounds when we hear it in songs or movies. So, he was mostly doing on-the-job training in studios initially recommended by his college colleagues who were music lovers. And hope you understand how people enter into this field, which is not the same.
He tended to grasp how an Audio Engineer trained to get along with the other music producers, movie producers, or separate gigs arranged in various institutions to handle the live performance or shows. That’s how he is growing in his field. After some years, he found it difficult to practice with the advanced technological instruments used in this field. I need to thank the technology in many ways, reducing much of the difficulties in recording and designing the audios. When we bounce back after a few decades, the audio recording and mixing are not that easy. It contains various heavy handled audio pieces of equipment that manually need to be tuned and set properly for recording the sound itself. The output is only brought through other expensive instruments that digitize the audio in a human audible manner.
These were some of the constraints that my 24 years old dad faced when he was initially taught to handle the instruments and properly plug-in the wires of microphones and other musical instruments in his work studio. Nonetheless, he strived hard to know the gimmicks and technical aspects of working with the advanced pro-tools that are used by popular musicians in today’s world. With the great knowledge that my dad gained in his experience, he taught me some audio releasing methods and techniques to mix several audios and other external plug-ins used as interfaces when recording the vocal and musical instruments.
I’m an Engineering Graduate who specialized in the Electronics and Networking field. I don’t even get a proper full-day to spend focusing on my music career where I’m fond of Audio Engineering. But later on, my work pressures in Engineering slowly faded away and brought me a bright grin on my face that I’m going to handle a few more technical tools pursuing the Audio Designing field, which will surely shape me as a professional in my music field. Now, I’ll tell you about the overview of how an Audio Engineer works, what are the internal aspects needed, what qualifications, what basic steps needed to be taken to grow your Audio Engineering career in a detailed manner.
Let’s move on…
Who is an Audio Engineer?
Audio Engineer or Sound Engineer is a person who works in mixing different audios by merging balancing, and reinforcing the quality output-driven from the proper input, analysis of that audio and produces the outcome as a live, studio recording, post-production movie work, or working in various TV shows and big stages.
The Audio Engineer needn’t necessarily be in particular age but should have a relevant background experience related to sound mixing and audio recording. For example, when you are getting booked with some clients who need to record their single album song with a rock genre of music, You must know to integrate the sounds that are required to mix when recording their song if the band needs the guitar to be a dominantly heard sound compared to the other instruments, you need to equalize and balance in such a way to hear out the guitar tone to be the most heard sound. Or else if the client needs the voice to have an echo and delay applied in most of the places, you need to ask for the places where to infuse and mix the sound of the echoes and delay in the vocal to give their desired touch of the song to be.
Some might ask for the lows and highs of the pitching to get properly balanced and aligned with the instruments mixed along with them, or even some might ask for the drum and saxophone to be a dominant sound mixed with the audio of the drum to be heard center and panning the saxophone to be heard moving from left to right or vice versa. Because your only way to satisfy the client’s needs is to do what they tell, and sometimes great audio advice can be reverted to them from your side if you feel like suggesting good sounds that would fit in their music.
How to Become an Audio Engineer?
To frankly, tell, there is no particular white collar degree required to pursue Audio Engineering. Still, the essence of science under physics, signal processing, acoustics, communication theory, and a few more related to Sounds and Audio studies are needed to be well known for an audio aspirant person interested in pursuing Audio Engineering. This basic requirement is needed for an audio aspirant who wants to pursue this field because he will have some fair knowledge in understanding how does the sound gets digitally transformed, not just the automated digital sound is made through the equipment, he needs to be strong enough theoretically and practically applying those abstract knowledge and understand the work much better.
Because for an Audio Engineer, he has to understand at least how the sounds are getting transducer, which is probably a microphone and Loudspeaker, as one records the sound and one plays the sound we recorded.
We need to understand that it is not just the vocal recorded and the crystal clear audio is playing out in the speaker. The filter-like High pass, Low Pass, and Bandpass present in the microphone help modify the audio in applying filter options if used in the software. You can also modify the filter manually as you work in the studio inside the glass fit room.
So this set of audio-based studies wouldn’t be known if you learn the basics of mastering sound engineering concepts, acoustics, psychoacoustics, and much more. There are plenty of colleges available in the United States that offer excellent courses like the individual college itself(Berklee College of music, The Los Angeles film school, etc.), online platforms like Coursera, Udemy mastering Audiology, and recording sound studies.
Other than this, you needn’t be a certified engineer, and it pulls us to another option of learning and experiencing by working hands-on in the studio by joining as an intern. This I would suggest because most of the baby boomers category of the audio aspirant who started their career getting on-the-job training in the studio are most successful Audio engineers, including my dad as a sightful example.
Listening is “Key” to Audio Engineering
Like I had mentioned from the beginning, people should have a good ear and sense of listening to audios, which are good or bad, and must select the best ones and reject the worst audio pieces when recording the sound. All the time, you can expect a single audio-based sound or song. If you might have to listen to 50 sets of instruments, tune the frequency accordingly, and filter, modify, and bring all the 50 instruments, including the vocal, is a big set of challenges that ought to be learned through experience by every Audio Engineer in this field.
Sometimes it tends to be easy to get the output while playing it without recording them applying filters as a plain audio output. Still, when you have to work with signals which you need to Blanca along with the tune and at the same time merging with the instruments, you have to be agile, holding a great level of patience producing the quality as desired by the clients.
If you are bad at listening, try to develop a habit of attending concerts and get a chance to hear them with patience, like what are the instruments, vocals, and any other different sounds found while performed in the concert. Or else find a silent room to fit in yourself with an earphone, an iPod, or your desired music player to listen to the song analyzing the different sounds mixed in it. Try developing your listening by working yourself with the mixing console, equalizing the studio, and finding new sounds that you can recommend for your clients to use in their music. So be a creative individual as much as you can. Don’t leave out experimenting with all those Pro-tools available as that is a great mini-home studio to work with testing all your favorite and new sounds.
Recommended Online Courses and Physical Courses
The University of Rochester offers a course, “Fundamentals of Audio and Music Engineering,” split into part1 and part 2. The course elaborates a basic understanding of music sounds, sound waves, electronic instruments, and some principal amplifiers and speakers’ application applications. This is a complete 4 weeks course exclusively created for the aspirants who are willing to excel in audio and sound systems.
Berklee College of Music offers a specialization in “Music Production.” It is packed with four such loaded audio courses, giving us a wide background in pursuing Audio Engineering. This covers courses such as “The Art of Music”, “The Technology of Music Production”, “Pro-tools Basics”, “Music Production Capstone” and Capstone stone finally is a hands-on project where you will be carrying out the challenging project based on the course you pursued by working with your peers. This course turns you to be a master in just 16 weeks, totally learning all the courses.
The course called “Audio Equalization(EQ) Techniques and Tips” by Marco Galvan is an excellent quick bite audio basic course that you can use for knowing about any of the DAW like Logic, Cubase, and any other Pro-tools, etc. This requires 1.5 hours to invest your time on this crash course to excel in the Pro-tools you want to work.
- New York University/Steinhardt
This college offers a physical experience in learning concepts “Acoustics Phonetics.” It exclusively deals with the acoustic theory and systems applied in audio, distinctive features of acoustics, physiological and perceptual characteristics in designing audio for such acoustics sound systems. It also has “Music Summer Programs,” a higher study course offered by this college. It includes Audio-based courses like “Screen Scoring Summer Workshops, helps you tuning your skills used for advertising, video gaming, and console,” “Music Technology summer Intensives, helps you in learning about the electronic and contemporary music production.”
- The Los Angeles Film School
This is again one of the top-rated colleges recommended to pursue a career in the Audio Engineer, as this offers a separate degree to learn in the “Audio Production” containing Bachelor Degree and an Associate Degree in knowing about the concepts of sound designing, understanding the recording engineering and basics of audio production skills. The college again presents a student kit, “Adobe Creative Suite,” for each student taking up a bachelor’s degree course as a part of this program. Apart from that, if you initially have Logic Pro X and Avid tools in your Mac, you’re ready to use it in the course all along.
Internal Qualifications Needed for an Audio Engineer
For an Audio Engineer, as I have mentioned listening, skill is a mandatory skill needed for analyzing the different sounds along with the vocal mixed together, resulting in a quality audible level of the song performed live at stages or background music in movies or any other mediums of reaching to people.
The natural qualification that an Audio Aspirant must have is a sense of distinctively analyzing the instruments even when there are multiple types mixed. It is not understandable when hearing once. The Audio Aspirant must be in love with pursuing acoustics and systems as their hobby by playing with microphones recording different sounds, applying filters, and checking out speakers of the demo sounds you created.
Habitually experimenting with various continental music types and finding out some new instruments or audio to reinvent them using other types of instruments and modifying them to reproduce sounds in different forms. These are some of the internal qualities that one must-have for pursuing this Audio Engineering as it is inherently built with oneself and is the triggering point of advancing in this field to grow in this career. Kindly note that these are not the only habits that everybody has internal audio skills pursuing in this field. Still, some people might choose this based on their own perspective of liking, and again that depends on an individual.
10 Steps to Become a Successful Freelancing Audio Engineer
Apart from the Audio Engineer who are working in a studio, there is also another way to start working as an Audio Engineer by freelancing at your home or at other places which you are comfortable working with. Let’s us build this process in the following steps given below,
- Pick a Good Spot
Before building equipment and other audio systems in the preferred spot, you have to decide whether to integrate them in your house or a studio that you will own or some friends recommend a place. Because you need to record audios in a noiseless space, only then would you be able to properly get the quality of the audio.
- Budget Planning
After deciding which spot to arrange for the studio at your home or other preferred location to record audio, you need to fix a tight budget to build a cost-efficient recording theatre or studio at your own cost with worth investing in advanced tools and third party plug-ins used in your mixers or software. Because you wouldn’t spend alone designing your space, but you have to integrate the equipment inside your space as per the allocated budget you wished for.
- Buying Cost Efficient Tools
The important aspect of being an Audio Engineer is to produce a quality-driven sound for the people to get the actual atmosphere of being involved with the love of the sound itself when listening to your audio mix. For that, you need to work with effective tools to give such a great output. Apart from the actual mixtures, you integrate into your theatre, you need to have some advanced Pro-tools, which gives you some benefit for identifying and creating new audios and adding them to your client’s project if they desire. So, you can get those tools in preferred online apps that are sold at an affordable rate, or even you can purchase third-party plug-ins subscribing for a good plan or scheme.
- Learn the Basics of Audio and Acoustics
I have previously listed some of the important courses in the online and offline platform, which helps you get trained with the practical working atmosphere to record the audio. Master in those areas to upskill your knowledge in Audio Mixing so that you would be able to apply the practical skills that you learned from theoretical studies.
- Develop the Listening Ability
As mentioned multiple times in this article, you need to improve in understanding the various mixes of sounds along with the vocal sound, test whether it aligns properly with the tune, or listen to a live recording of concerts and gigs where you can find how other engineers are balancing the audio right at the instant. This is the important step that you need to develop regularly.
- Develop a Personal Website
Once you are done with your integration setup and created the atmosphere, you can start a simple website to identify a new leader who can approach your site and communicate with you to have an appointment. Don’t worry about the cost part of creating a website because many platforms of website designing offer a cost-friendly subscription yearly scheme that helps you end up creating a neat and professional website with good customizing options to design your website.
- Advertise in Social Media Platforms
After creating your website, you can create some attractive social media post or blogs about your studio and your working projects with your current leads, or previous workings and feedback from those clients including some visual elements to it, helps to gain new clients to work for your future projects and enhance your brand image in all the platforms that you publish about your home studio or whichever studio in your preferred spot.
- Don’t Miss the Opportunity
It is so hard at the initial stages to get the clients from the online itself. So, if you hear from other places like any TV shows, Advertisements, Small Production Movies, any functions at Institutions or colleges, Small Concerts, etc. don’t try to avoid those opportunities as it is the starting point of developing your experience and that is how you grow in your life, especially for this field you can make mistakes in the beginning and at the same time you need to correct form the mistakes and learn it not make that again when you work in Big gigs.
- Networking with Engineers
Try not to forget and develop the habit of communicating and have some meetings and conferences with the experienced sound designers who can suggest their working tips when they work during their projects. Many such platforms formed in online forums like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn are some of the important platforms that you can stay in touch with various Music communities/Audio Groups/Orchestral Troops who can help you out by suggesting good working options.
- Make Your Clients Extra Happy
I would always insist you satisfy your clients more than they expect, and this is a place where you need to suggest them new sounds and tell them to check the new sounds you created. The advantage that you gain is your footfall of similar clients starts to increase again with future projects. They tell you to other people so that the word-of-mouth technique works well with your existing clients, turning them to multiple traffic to generate new leads to your spot.
I think that you would have been a long interesting readout about the importance of audio engineering as a career and how you can grow in this field to showcase your talent in excelling in sound mixing, modifying, creating different sounds, learning about new instruments, and acoustics, also you would have a clear idea of who should pursue Audio Engineering in the respective areas of designing sound in various platforms. Follow the 10 step procedure to build your career in freelancing for Audio Engineering at your favorite picked spot to work as an Audio Specialist.
Typically if you start doing hands-on work in the studio’s it slowly enhance your rate of working giving you excellence and as some days pass on you get several experiences with all the familiar instruments by staying up to date following the trend set and researching more sounds from new acoustics that gives the people a different feel in the sound when they listen to such related type of songs that you create using those sounds and make them amazed!! Meet you all in the next article.
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