Are you looking for a job as an audio engineer?
This job is ideal if you enjoy spending time in recording studios or at live concerts. You will need to use your specialist knowledge to record, mix, synchronize, or reproduce music, sound effects, and voices.
Audio engineers can be found working on movies, music, video games, and live recordings like concerts and podcasts. And if you are lucky, this job may also allow you to rub shoulders with the stars.
So, let’s take a look at the audio engineer job description and other important elements of this role.
- Audio Engineer Job Description
- Audio Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
- Typical Audio Engineer Salary
- Audio Engineer Education, Training, and Certification
- Important Audio Engineer Skills
- The Work Environment
- Specialist Audio Engineer Tools
- Looking for More Superb Career Opportunities?
- Final Thoughts
Audio Engineer Job Description
A typical job description for an audio engineer will outline the details of the project. It should specify the type of project an audio engineer is needed for and where it will take place. It should also explain whether this is a short-term or long-term project.
The job description will also outline the specialist skills that the audio engineer needs to have. This will include being detailed-orientated and having a good ear. The job also may require the audio engineer to contribute to the recording in some way.
The job description will also provide an overview of the associated tasks. This is likely to include creating and editing recordings, setting up equipment in the studio or at events, and following detailed instructions.
Audio Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
The specific duties and responsibilities will vary according to the project. However, there are typical duties and responsibilities that come with most projects. Therefore, it is important to make sure you can rise to the challenge and take care of these aspects well.
This job can sometimes involve working with an audiovisual team to record events like weddings. The audio engineer needs to work out the best places to put microphones and recording equipment. They also record voices and/or music in a studio for albums, movies, and audiobooks.
Mixing and Editing
Audio engineers enhance the final product, often in collaboration with other people. This can include working with a singer to layer music and achieve a particular effect. As well as working with producers and A&R representatives from Record Companies.
A big part of this job is setting up and taking down audio equipment. It is essential to test the audio equipment to make sure it is working properly. This includes regularly testing and troubleshooting equipment, making the necessary repairs, and replacing faulty components.
It is also necessary to do more mundane duties such as making sure cords are taped down so that performers do not trip over them.
Contribute to Performances
Audio engineers often need to alter and produce sounds during live performances. This can include adjusting microphones and providing special sound effects. If there is a sound-related problem, audio engineers need to be able to resolve it quickly.
Other typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Meeting the clients’ quality standards
- Minimizing unwanted sounds
- Safely setting up equipment
- Regulating sound quality and volume levels
- Providing oversight during live productions
Typical Audio Engineer Salary
The salary for an audio engineer depends on the amount of experience you have and your specialist skills. The starting salary for this role is typically around $24,000 per year. When you gain experience, you can expect to make at least $43,000 per year. If you end up working on serious projects for major artists and bands, the sky is the limit!
Audio Engineer Education, Training, and Certification
Audio engineers need to hold a high school diploma and show they have the necessary skills. There are also certain programs and certifications that can increase your chances of getting hired.
There are several vocational training programs that audio engineers can take part in. These provide hands-on equipment experience so that audio engineers learn while practicing and using certain skills.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers an exam that allows you to become a certified audio engineer. However, you need to have at least five years of experience in the field before you take the exam. Holding this certification can help you land more high-profile jobs and those that require specialist skills.
Important Audio Engineer Skills
Most of the skills that audio engineers need to have are technical and involve understanding equipment. There are also certain soft skills that audio engineers use to perform different tasks.
Audio equipment is likely to fail from time to time, and it could happen during the middle of a recording. When this happens, you need to be able to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This includes working out the issue and being prepared to make adjustments and repairs.
If you are working outdoors or remotely, you may not always have the right tools to fix an issue. You need to be able to work out alternative ways of fixing the problem quickly and effectively.
You need to be good with your hands and fairly physically fit to do this job. Audio engineers often need to crawl into tight spaces to connect wires. Manual dexterity is also needed to perfectly adjust buttons and knobs while recording.
It is necessary to continuously monitor sound quality and volume levels. Any necessary adjustments have to be made quickly and seamlessly.
Other important skills include:
- An excellent ear for sound
- The ability to work well under pressure
- Strong customer service and interpersonal skills
- The ability to provide clear directions
- Teamwork skills
The Work Environment
The working environment varies depending on the project you are working on. A lot of this work takes place in a recording studio; however, audio engineers can also work in outdoor venues such as arenas. You need to be prepared to travel and may even need to go on tour at some point or even most of the time.
Audio engineers also need to be prepared to work a wide range of different hours depending on the project. It may be necessary to work very long shifts to get the project completed for a release deadline. If you are working on a concert or other live performance, you may have to work late at night.
Specialist Audio Engineer Tools
Audio engineers need to use specialist equipment to get the job done. It is important to be able to use these tools well and keep up to date with new equipment and software as they are released. Here are some of the most common equipment that is used by audio engineers.
These are used to collect sound during recording sessions. Audio engineers need to be familiar with the different types of microphones and their different polar patterns in order to select the right model.
They also need to know exactly where to place the microphone in order to get the sound that is required, as well as be familiar with pop shields and other items that ensure that the best quality recordings are made.
Audio engineers use several different types of computer software and plugins to record, edit, and mix sounds, music, and voices. Some of the most common software include Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton, etc.
Audio mixing console
Audio mixing consoles are also known as mixing desks or soundboards. These are used to control volume, combine sounds, create effects, and anything else necessary to produce the sonic results that are required. Audio engineers need to be very familiar with all the features of an audio mixing console.
Equalizers, Compressors, Effects, etc.
Equalizers are used to regulate the volume of specific frequencies, compressors to dynamically limit the sound sources, and effects to add something to the sound, such as a delay or reverb. It is essential to be able to use all of these very effectively and have a good ear for frequencies and the sound that is produced after processing.
Looking for More Superb Career Opportunities?
Or, if you have decided that work in the film, music, or entertainment industry is for you, then take a look at our Universal Studios Application, our Cinemark Application, our AMC Movie Theatre Application, our Carmike Application, or our Regal Cinemas Application.
There are also a number of superb resources for audio engineering information that will really make you an expert and get you the salary you deserve. Remember that there is no such thing as too much knowledge. So, check out the excellent Recording Secrets for the Small Studio and Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio. These are both produced by the industry-standard Sound on Sound magazine and will give you so much useful information you really won’t know what you did without them. Highly recommended!
Other great options include Modern Recording Techniques, Audio Engineering 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Music Production, Recording Studio Secrets: How To Make Big Money From Home!, The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, and the incredibly entertaining Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording by Grammy Winner Engineer and Producer Sylvia Massey, again highly recommended.
The best way to get a job as an audio engineer is to take part in on-the-job or vocational training. This usually means you would work for free and shadow a qualified audio engineer. Working in the field gives you the chance to make connections and could lead to a job offer later.
After you have gained a little experience, you could work on a certification in the audio engineering field. This shows potential employers that you have both the skills and experience to get the job done. There are lots of jobs for audio engineers, and this industry is constantly growing and evolving.
All the very best with your career as an Audio Engineer.