Introduction To Sound Engineering

The profession of sound engineering is a vast craft that encompasses all the technical aspects of music and sound. Although it is inextricable from all areas where sound is produced, manipulated and presented, it is arguably most central in the world of music; here it can be the difference between an enjoyable or regrettable experience for the audience. Sound engineering in music is a highly technical profession that combines experience and expertise to present art while keeping in mind a gamut of physics at play.

What is sound engineering?

Sound engineering in music can be classified in two broad categories: live and studio engineering. These two domains of the profession are generally self-explanatory. In live engineering, Van Der Tuin says, the job of the front-of-house engineer is to facilitate a flawless synergy between the artist, sound system and all other sound technology employed at an event. He says the main job of the studio engineer is to capture a great performance, while producing in studio is more about getting a great performance out of a musician. Eckhart believes that the line between studio engineering and producing is getting increasingly blurred, with both professions requiring a broad understanding of the technical and aesthetic principles involved when capturing sound.

Whether it is live or studio engineering, Van Der Tuin suggests that aspirant engineers should look out for internship opportunities at studios or event companies where they can learn about the principles, jargon and organisational culture to become successful professionals. In the live sphere, for example, the front-of-house engineer needs be able to work closely with the monitor engineer, stage manager, lighting engineer and even the event organiser to deliver a high-quality service. If an engineer can deliver great results, then he or she can expect to be booked more often and for bigger events.