What Does a Recording Engineer Do?
Recording engineers, like record producers are involved in the recording, editing and mixing of live audio.
It is often the record producer who crafts a vision of a song and carries that out by stirring the performances of the singers and musicians, whilst artfully attuning faders on a mixing board to arrive at just the right sound.
However the recording engineer will usually be the one, who has set up the singer’s microphone, miked up the drummers kits and plugged the guitar, bass and keyboards into the sound board. Recording engineers deal in the most hands on aspects of recording live music and audio.
It’s common for recording engineers to work with artists for days or even weeks before a recording session begins. Engineers assist recording artists in arriving at the studio and setting up their instruments and other gear. Recording engineers work with artists to arrive at good instrument and vocal sounds before an actual recording session takes place.
Once recording actually begins many recording engineers will essentially serve as producers. Others merely act as engineers, allowing the artists to record as they will and sticking to the technical aspects of the process. Still others may work with an actual producer in a role that can fall anywhere between collaborator and studio lackey.
Whether it’s providing another set of ears for a producer, being a soundboard for ideas to bounce off of or ducking into a room to fix a harmonica mic, life as an audio engineer can be very creative and fulfilling. It can also be fairly lucrative.
If you love working around music and enjoy the technical aspects of what makes a recorded song come together, then being a recording engineer might be an ideal career for you.
Good recording engineers are often musicians themselves. However while being a musician is helpful it is also important to have good technical and computer skills. Recording engineers must understand musical instruments and how to capture their sound onto tape or digitally. They must also know how to balance the whole skillfully.
There are many technical aspects to doing this and a good recording engineer must be on top of them all. Soundboards, mixing boards, microphones, cables, guitars, computers, preamps, drums, horns, turntables, synthesizers and more. Somehow it must all come together to create a song. Life as a recording engineer means being the one who can balance it and coax it into all coming together somehow