How to Become A Sound Engineer

It's not hard to find somebody who wants to be a rock star. So many of us dreamed as kids of being on stage and having thousands of fans cheering for us like the musicians we love. It's less common to find a kid who dreams of becoming a recording engineer, yet it's often the engineers who play the biggest part in making the artist successful. The recording engineer is the important first step in turning some people standing around with microphones or instruments into an actual production, followed by the mixing and mastering engineers for recording studio work. All these sound engineers are the difference between a great experience and a lackluster one.


Recording engineers have a number of responsibilities. They are the people who set up the instruments and microphones the best way for a recording sessions. They tell the artist or band when to start recording. They also handle setup and recording duties in television and radio studios. There are other types of engineers in the recording process, as well. Among these are mix engineers and mastering engineers, who are responsible for different steps in taking the recording produced by the recording engineer and making it as polished as possible for release. Producers are responsible for putting everything together into a quality package. They might be responsible for some or all of the engineering of the recording, but not necessarily.


It never hurts to get a head start, so if you can, set up a small studio in your home. It can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars for some recording software and a decent set of speakers to test things out on. This won't get you a job, but it will give you some advance knowledge. Next, find a good accredited school and get a degree or certification in audio engineering. If you're still in high school, you may be able to find a program associated with your school. Otherwise, look for colleges or trade schools that specialize in sound engineering.


Be sure to get an internship for valuable experience and include it in your sound engineer resume. Hands-on experience is important for new hires because gaining a customer's trust is so important in the recording business. While in school, you'll be offered internships. Be sure to learn as much as possible and communicate with your superiors well. That experience will be very important to getting your foot in the door of the recording business. It's hard to get into engineering with an established company if they don't have documented reason to believe in you. Even after graduation, you may have a hard time finding a position. If this is the case, don't be afraid to volunteer services. You won't be getting paid, but it will give you experience in a professional environment, which is the only thing keeping you from finding a steady paying gig.


Being an audio engineer isn't as glamorous or exciting as being a rock star or TV star, but those people depend on their engineers to make them look as good as possible. It takes hard work and dedication, but sound engineering is a very rewarding career. You won't have the screaming crowds, but you may come away with something even more satisfying.