A Sound Recorder records and reproduces any audible noise, including voice, using many different types of audio equipment. Besides equipment, learned techniques are also used to record, manipulate and enhance sound. Sound engineer, recording engineer, acoustical engineer and audio engineer are other names used to describe the Sound Recorder. While there are slight differences between these distinctions, they do essentially the same functions and as a Sound Recorder.
Audio engineers use equipment for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sound as well as being knowledgeable in the use of analog tape, digital multi-track recorders and understanding how to transfer analog sound to a digital format.
Using software and hardware specifically designed for audio recording, the Audio Engineer synchronizes and improves audio recording for a number of applications like movies, computer and console games and videos.
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Using various techniques, a Sound Recorder will perform a wide range of tasks like noise control, acoustical design, and sound level setting. Depending on their project role, an audio recording engineer will be called upon to perform tasks on any level, from the basics of microphone placement to the more advanced aspects of sound waves and sound wave integration.
Translating analog to digital sound and synchronizing sounds to visual media is also an important aspect of the work of an Audio Engineer. In the studio, an audio engineer is responsible for not only recording but also editing, mixing and mastering the sound recording. They must also be familiar with design, installation and operation of equipment for sound recording, reinforcement and broadcasting.
Although they should be educated in the overall process of recording, typically an audio engineer will specialize in one or two steps in the total sound recording process. The four steps involved in the production of a recording are: recording, editing, mixing, and mastering.
There are many career paths in Sound Recording, including the Studio Engineer, who works within a studio facility, and can work with a producer or on their own; the Recording Engineer, who specializes in only the recording of sound; the Assistant Engineer, which is an entry level or training position in larger studios and usually assists full-time engineers with microphone setups and sometimes rough mixes; the Mixing Engineer, who creates mixes of multi-track recordings (often a commercial record is recorded at one studio and later mixed by different engineers in other studios); Mastering Engineer who makes any final adjustments to the overall sound of the record before commercial duplication; Game Audio Designer/Engineer who deals with all sounds included in game development; and the Audio Post Engineer - a person who edits audio for film and/or television.
If you are thinking about becoming a Sound Recorder, it would be beneficial if you have an interest in music, sound, creative arts, broadcasting, or electronics. An audio recording engineer should also have the ability to operate complex equipment, to listen to complex sounds and distinguish individual components, and to have effective communication skills.
While traditional education is not required for many positions in the field, colleges and accredited institutions around the world offer degrees for the sound recording field, such as a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production. The University of Miami was the first university in the United States to offer a four-year Bachelors degree in Engineering Technology. Experience also plays a big role in the sound recording field, and being mentored by others in the field can have a great influence on your career.
Audio engineers can work in a variety of settings, depending upon whether they work for a large studio or are self-employed. Often they work with other creative individuals in a collaborative work environment. Flexibility, a positive attitude, reliability and a willingness to learn are essential when working on a film or game. With the increased use of computers and software designed to manipulate audio feeds, Sound Recording is becoming more and more mobile and large amounts of time are not required in a studio, but a thorough knowledge of the trade is required. There are typically long hours, sometimes all night, in sessions in the studio. Sometimes these sessions take place away from home, in other parts of the world.
Sound Recorders can be in a position to make a very comfortable living while fulfilling artistic and creative drive. Salary is dependent upon the type of recording and whether you are working for a large company, a small company or are self-employed.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for a Audio engineer as $38,110 per year. An entry level salary for someone with very little experience can start at $18,540 and can go up to $100,000 or more per year for an experienced and talented Audio Engineer working on a major project.