With the advancement of technology, one can get away with music production without essentially having any clue in music theory. All the same, having a basic understanding of music theory will stand you out of the sea of recording engineers there are in the field.
The Audio Industry is such a vast one, and it offers diverse professional opportunities. Some of which you can learn either by understudying a practitioner or by acquiring a degree and also understudying an experienced practitioner. There is a debate on which method works best, but that is not the focus of this post. This post will be talking about Audio Engineering as one of the numerous professions available in the audio industry. When it comes to Audio Engineering, there are specialisations of this profession within the audio industry.
As the name implies, the recording engineer is in charge of recording. Mostly responsible for setting up the recording studio, making sure the right microphones are being used, works with the producer to apply the best recording techniques for different situations and sounds the band or individual is going for. Basically making sure the equipment in a recording session is working well and are optimally used. They communicate with all parties involved to get a recording that is satisfactory to all (Berklee, n.d., para 2).
A mixing engineer is saddled with the responsibility to mix separately recorded tracks into a single harmonious file. For instance, after the recording engineer has recorded instruments and vocals on their individual tracks, it is the job of the mixing engineer to edit these tracks to sound as though they were all recorded at the same time. He sees to it that the end-user is able to hear both vocals and instruments sounding great together. Agarwal (n.d.) states some of the aims of a mixing engineer as making sure there is a balance on all the tracks, using equalisation (EQ) to ensure the mix sounds good, adding effects that are necessary and sometimes making specific corrections on the vocals (para 3).
The recording and mixing engineers have a lot in common with a slight difference when it comes to specifics. For example, both engineers can work on the same project at the same time, such as in the case of a live concert. While the recording engineer takes care of setting up the stage, making sure all the equipment are in their right positions (musitechnic, 2018, para 4), the mixing engineer ensures that there is a perfect mix of all the signals coming into the console for the listening pleasure of the audience (para 6).
A mastering engineer is usually the last call in the production chain. He is responsible for the final mix of the master before distribution takes place. A mastering engineer is often expected to put a final touch to the mix already done by a mix engineer. There are different schools of thought as to what a mastering engineer should and shouldn’t do. Steve Albini is of the school of thought that the mastering engineer “should do very little to a master tape that is already satisfying” (Ereten, 2015, 12-15sec).
On the other hand, Murphy (2010) thinks a mastering engineer should do more to get the best output (4:12-4:41). Whichever school of thought a mastering engineer belongs to, the end goal is to have a piece of work, music or otherwise, have the same quality across various device it is being played on. An important quality any of these engineers must possess is the ability to listen and pay attention to details.
Agarwal, R. (n.d.). Mix engineer-job profile, qualities and more [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.audioshapers.com/blog/mix-engineer.html
Berklee. (n.d.). Careers in music production and engineering. Retrieved July 10, 2018, from https://www.berklee.edu/careers-music-production-and-engineering
DIY Musician. (2015). [photograph]. Retrieved from https://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/5-ways-get-moneys-worth-every-recording-session/
Ereten, A. C. (2015, August 30). Steve Albini talks about mastering engineers and mastering process [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuvCIoiNPdI
Murphy, R. C. (2010, April 15). Recording boot camp: what is mastering and what does a mastering engineer do [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asgXZVhytUo
Musitechnic. (2018). The difference between a mixing engineer and a recording engineer. Retrieved July 12, 2018, from https://musitechnic.com/en/differences-mixing-engineer-recording-engineer/
Yamaha. (n.d.). [Photopgraph]. Retrieved from https://th.yamaha.com/th/news_events/2018/0316_10_plymouth.html
The audio or music industry is one with various positions that students in the audio creative media class can look forward to. Some of these include the following:
- Artiste: Responsible for giving life to all the creative work put together by every other member of the production team.
- Producer: The producer is often responsible for the coordination of the whole process of recording from the start till finish. He ensures that the end product is of top quality.
- Engineer: He/she ensures that the recording is done in the best possible way and with the best quality. They make sure the idea of the artist and the producer is well portrayed.
There are more positions, some of which are shown in the diagram below.
One of the primary aspects of audio is recording, whether it be a song, or soundtrack for a movie, or jingle for an advert. There is a process involved in recording, and these are represented in the diagram below:
As with every other career path, being in the audio or music industry or developing a career path in this field, requires a high level of motivation and an excellent networking skill (Huber & Runstein, 2013, p. 23).
Kopplin (2016) carried out research on some best practices in Music Industry Studies (MIS). The research sought to answer the question of what the most experiential learning method is for MIS students among other questions (p. 74). In answer to this question, his research found that one of the most effective experiential learning methods was an internship in the music industry. Based on the opinion of his interviewees, it is difficult to create real-life situations in classrooms (Kopplin, 2016, p. 86).
To have a basic understanding of what experiential learning is, watch the video below.
I have seen several funny expressions from people when they ask me what I am studying, and I say “Audio”. They often go; “I’ve never heard that before” and then I start to explain to them some of the various opportunities in the audio industry. However, I got more insight myself after reading an excerpt from Modern Recording Techniques by Huber & Runstein. If there is one important lesson for me after the reading, it is that fact that to develop my career in this field I need a high level of motivation and an excellent networking skill which I am already working on.
I have always known this quote by Penelope Douglas “Experience is the best teacher.” And I couldn’t agree more. However, I think it’s great that Kopplin took up this research to establish the fact that there is not enough hard evidence that this statement is true for students of MIS (music industry studies). In his concluding statement, he wrote that schools offering MIS should have more classes that allow students to learn by doing (Kopplin, 2016, p. 90). I am glad that at SAE Institute this is the model that is being followed as students are made to learn by experience, creating a well-equipped and conducive environment to learn from and sharing internship opportunity with their students. Another interesting part of the Kopplin’s recommendation is that schools should follow up on the student’s success after graduating in other to acquire more data that supports the already firm belief that experiential learning is an effective way to learn.
Family Board Meetings (2015, June 15). The 6 Pillars of Experiential Education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/pAlCHO_kDr0
Huber, D. M., & Runstein, R. E. (2013). Modern Recording Techniques (8th ed.). Burlington: Focal Press.
Kopplin, D. (2016). Best practices in music industry education. MEIEA Journal, 16(1), 73-96. Retrieved from http://p2048ezproxy.saeaustralia.edu.au.saeezproxy.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.saeezproxy.idm.oclc.org/docview/1882382176?accountid=145504
Whew! where do I start? God has been marvelously amazing to me. What the Lord has done for me, I cannot tell it all. At the beginning of 2017, I released the song ‘I WILL GET THERE’ and the feedback has been wonderful. All glory to God. As if that was not enough, just before my birthday in April, this lovely God-sent angel in human form Inyang Otu, called me up that she wanted to shoot a video for me, I didn’t believe it until it was all done and released, still, to the Glory of God.
Then came June and hallelujah challenge was set in motion, I followed through with it, with the whole of my heart, and in the midst of it, ideas started rolling in and then my website was set in motion. There was so much struggle with it that I didn’t even believe I would launch it in this first quarter, but as OLOWOGBOGBORO would have it, on this last day of June, the end of the first quarter, my website is ready and I am also dropping a cover of a song that will help me profess my daily living for Christ, also an effect of the daily one hour praise challenge.
Indeed I can say it with all boldness that
OLOWOGBOGBORO IS TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR MY GOOD.
The First half of 2017 is ending on a good note and the second half is coming with so much to be done and achieved. “Though it’s rough, I am tough and I am ready for this Journey” and because OLOWOGBOGBORO is in charge, I WILL GET THERE and I will keep praising Him EVERYDAY!!
EVERYDAY drops at midnight. Anticipate.
Thanks for reading and for your support.
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