Recording Engineers

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Recording engineers have the unenviable job of making performers sound great without receiving any credit for their efforts. Sure, recording engineers are acknowledged in liner notes and album covers, but quick: who is your favorite recording engineer? How about your favorite record producer? Now, who's your favorite singer or band?

To make matters worse, recording engineers are often required to have at least as much as, if not more, skill than the artists they're recording. There's the study of acoustics, signal flow, track mixing, and sampling, just to name a few areas of specialization. On top of that, recording engineers must understand the realities of live recording versus playback, every nuance and capability of the sound console, as well as stay abreast of emerging technologies. Britney Spears might have more than a little trouble juggling all those responsibilities and yet she's the one with all the zeros in her paycheck.

Aspiring Recording Engineers

If after learning all of this you're still committed to a career in music production, you may find enrollment in recording school is the right move. There you'll learn the finer points of console theory, electronics, and editing, among other core skills. You'll also have access to equipment that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for a journeyman engineer. To cap it off, you'll work with many of the minds behind the creation and development of industry-standard products.

Recording engineer schools train musically savvy individuals to handle jobs all throughout the industry. It's possible that after a year or two of intensive workshops you realize that producing is more your cup of tea than recording and engineering. You may, on the other hand, discover that you've refined your ear so well that you're ready to embark on a career as a studio player doing sessions for the bands you love. With your background, you'll be qualified for jobs that many newcomers could never handle, which is even more reason to pursue a career in engineering.


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