Thoughts From A Tulsa Studio Engineer

Not to be biased, but the audio engineer is perhaps the most unheralded person in the music studio. The impact he or she has on the outcome of any production is obviously immense. Every decision made regarding how a music performance is recorded, stored, edited, processed and mixed can have a tremendous effect on the final product. Therefore, artists and producers in Tulsa need to be very careful when hiring their audio engineers.

Mobile Audio Mixing Board and Engineering

What is an audio engineer?

An audio (sound) engineer works with the technical aspects of sound during the processes of recording, mixing, and reproduction. The audio engineer sets up the performers’ equipment and instruments in the studio, sets up and manages the sound levels and dynamics, records the sound, mixes tracks on tape and compiles the recordings into the final master. They also keep logs of all the recordings for the archive.

So, the audio engineer is about the details: setting up the mics in the right spot, dialing in the EQ and compression settings, and pushing the record button. In doing this, the engineer frees the producer to focus on the song, the artists, and the performance. It enables them to keep a clear head and guide the direction of the song without getting bogged down in these details.

What are the benefits of hiring an audio engineer?

1. They set up audio equipment.

The audio engineer sets up the performers’ equipment and instruments in the studio. He/she is responsible for the placement of microphones and setting up the conditions for the musicians to play comfortably. They’ll set up recording levels, pre-amp settings, compressors, and EQs amongst other technical things, all towards the goal of recording the best possible take they can get.

2. They ensure that all recordings have high quality, crystal clear sound.

Sound engineers develop a high quality recording of music, speech and sound effects in the music studio. By controlling microphones, sound levels, and outputs, sound engineers combine their well-trained ears with their knowledge of acoustics to produce the best quality of sound for a variety of purpose.

They usually start a recording by building up individually recorded performances, usually leaving any vocals until last. They can record different sections of music or vocals onto a multi-track system. Once all the performances have been satisfactorily recorded, they produce a rough ‘mix’, before making the finished version that everybody is happy with.

3. They help during post production.

Individual components or tracks are recorded separately, and often repeatedly. Strings, drums, and vocals are isolated to perfect each one separately. Post-production involves mixing the tracks recorded and mastering these tracks, or creating the final, finished product. The sound engineer manipulates all the tracks and weaves them together while tweaking tone, intensity, and tempo, applying effects, and editing with the console. It is a process of constant revision until the desired result is reached.

4. They choose appropriate audio equipment to use for various situations.

From experience working with a particular local music studio, the sound engineer will know whereabouts of where the music instruments should go to achieve the right kind of sound— there may be five different possible positions for the drum kit, and each corresponds to a certain recorded sound, for example.

5. Equipment upkeep.

It’s important to make sure a studio is ready for a recording session, and the sound engineer ensures all equipment functions properly prior to a session. After a recording session, the engineer breaks down the equipment and also takes care to properly store it.

6. They coordinate with directors, editors, video operators, bands and other entities.

Audio engineers often assist record producers and musicians to help give their work the sound they are hoping to achieve. For example, an audio engineer will piece together parts of a Hip Hop song, use auto-tune on a recording, and/or add synthetic sounds to a track.

A close up of a mixing board in Tulsa

What should you consider when hiring the audio engineer?

· The audio engineer’s education requirements include a high school diploma and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in audio engineering, the recording arts, or music. The latter is not a necessarily requirement for the role of sound engineer, but it is definitely an added advantage. If the candidate has audio engineering experience and practice producing audio, this will be a plus for your Oklahoma music studio.

· The engineer generally should have a clear understanding of the qualities and operation of technical equipment such as the desk, tape machines, microphones and amplifiers, as well as audio effects such as compressors and reverb units.

· A good sound engineer should be well versed in all types of recording technology, whether it’s analog tape or digital multi track recording programs such as Ableton or ProTools.

Let’s get you going on the right track by getting involved with the right professionals in the studio to make your next project pop!

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written by: Noble_Strength

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