What is a sound engineer?

A sound engineer must know how different types of microphones behave in different configurations.

A sound engineer operates and maintains sound equipment used for television, film, theater and concerts. Sound engineers are hired by a client to ensure that the audio effects of an event, recording or performance meet established standards. This is a growing field, with an increase in job opportunities projected in 2016 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Audio equipment technicians often service equipment at rock concerts.

There are several different types of sound engineers who specialize in different aspects of the job. Audio equipment technicians configure and operate speakers, microphones, mixing boards, and other recording equipment. Audio equipment technicians work at concerts, press conferences, sporting events and other performances. Sound engineering technicians are responsible for the machines that record, mix and play music and other types of audio. A sound engineering technician would work in many of the same places that an audio equipment technician works. A sound engineer works closely with producers, artists and directors to ensure the desired sound effects are achieved. Sound engineers also often work in film post-production.

Audio equipment technicians configure and operate speakers, microphones, mixing boards, and other audio equipment.

There are many programs for anyone who wants to become a sound engineer. Most sound engineers complete vocational programs or hold an associate’s degree. On-the-job training helps engineers refine their skills. A sound engineer can also complete an internship, which enhances skills and helps with job placement. Sometimes a licensing exam is required before a sound engineer can begin work. Many workers in this occupation are promoted from “servant” and auxiliary positions.

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In some cases, sound engineers may be hired by an amphitheater or other concert venue.

Being a sound engineer requires knowledge of computers and other technical equipment. A sound engineer must also be able to adapt to new technologies, as equipment innovations happen frequently. A fine arts training can help those who work in theater or with musical artists. As with many professions, customer service and people skills are important as sound engineers work with a wide variety of clients. Good hearing and the ability to focus on details for an extended period of time are also advantages, as many hours adjusting equipment or working in a recording studio may be required.

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