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Audio engineer

1 Research and development

Research and development audio engineers invent new
technologies, equipment and techniques, to enhance the
process and art of audio engineering.[4] They might de-
sign acoustical simulations of rooms, shape algorithms
for audio signal processing, specify the requirements for
public address systems, carry out research on audible
sound for video game console manufacturers, and other
advanced elds of audio engineering. They might also be
referred to as acoustic engineers.[5][6]

1.1 Education
See also: Category:Audio engineering schools

Audio engineers working in research and development

may come from backgrounds such as acoustics, computer
science, broadcast engineering, physics, acoustical en-
An audio engineer at an audio console. gineering, electrical engineering and electronics. Au-
dio engineering courses at university or college fall into
two rough categories: (i) training in the creative use of
audio as a sound engineer, and (ii) training in science
or engineering topics, which then allows students to ap-
ply these concepts while pursuing a career developing
An audio engineer (also sometimes recording engineer audio technologies. Audio training courses give you a
or a vocal engineer) works on the recording, manip- good knowledge of technologies and their application to
ulating the record using equalization and electronic ef- recording studio and sound reinforcement systems, but do
fects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound. not have sucient mathematical and scientic content to
Audio engineers work on the "...technical aspect of allow you to get a job in research and development in the
recordingthe placing of microphones, pre-amp knobs, audio and acoustic industry.[7]
the setting of levels. The physical recording of any project
is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts.[1] Many
audio engineers creatively use technologies to produce
sound for lm, radio, television, music, electronic prod-
ucts and computer games.[2] Audio engineers also set up,
sound check and do live sound mixing using an audio
console and a sound reinforcement system for music con-
certs, theatre, sports games and corporate events.
Alternatively, the term audio engineer can refer to a
scientist or professional engineer who holds a B.Sc. or
M.Sc. who designs, develops and builds new audio tech-
nologies working within the eld of acoustical engineer-
Noted audio engineer Roger Nichols at a vintage Neve recording
Audio engineering concerns the creative and practical as- console.
pects of sounds including speech and music, as well as
the development of new audio technologies and advanc- Audio engineers in research and development usually
ing scientic understanding of audible sound.[3] possess a bachelors degree, masters degree or higher


qualication in acoustics, physics, computer science or of music in a theatre.[12] Architectural Acoustic design is
another engineering discipline. They might work in usually done by acoustic consultants.[8]
acoustic consultancy, specializing in architectural acous-
tics.[8] Alternatively they might work in audio companies
(e.g. headphone manufacturer), or other industries that
1.2.3 Electroacoustics
need audio expertise (e.g., automobile manufacturer), or
carry out research in a university. Some positions, such as
faculty (academic sta) require a Doctor of Philosophy. See also: Sound reinforcement system
In Germany a Toningenieur is an audio engineer who de- Electroacoustics is concerned with the design of head-
signs, builds and repairs audio systems.

1.2 Sub-disciplines

The listed subdisciplines are based on PACS (Physics and

Astronomy Classication Scheme) coding used by the
Acoustical Society of America with some revision.[9]

1.2.1 Audio signal processing

Main article: Audio signal processing

Audio engineers develop algorithms to allow the elec-

The Pyramid Stage
tronic manipulation of audio signals. These can be pro-
cessed at the heart of much audio production such as
reverberation, Auto-Tune or perceptual coding (e.g. mp3 phones, microphones, loudspeakers, sound reproduction
or Opus). Alternatively, the algorithms might carry out systems and recording technologies.[6] Examples of elec-
echo cancellation on Skype, or identify and categorize troacoustic design include portable electronic devices
audio tracks through Music Information Retrieval (e.g., (e.g. mobile phones, portable media players, and tablet
Shazam).[10] computers), sound systems in architectural acoustics,
surround sound in movie theater and vehicle audio.

1.2.2 Architectural acoustics

1.2.4 Musical acoustics
Main article: Architectural acoustics
Architectural acoustics is the science and engineering of
Main article: Musical acoustics

Musical acoustics is concerned with researching and

describing the science of music. In audio engineer-
ing, this includes the design of electronic instruments
such as synthesizers; the human voice (the physics and
neurophysiology of singing); computer analysis of au-
dio; music therapy, and the perception and cognition of

1.2.5 Psychoacoustics

Main article: Psychoacoustics

Acoustic diusing mushrooms hanging from the roof of the Royal
Albert Hall. Psychoacoustics is the scientic study of how humans re-
spond to what they hear. At the heart of audio engineer-
achieving a good sound within a room.[11] For audio engi- ing are listeners who are the nal arbitrator as to whether
neers, architectural acoustics can be about achieving good an audio design is successful, such as whether a binaural
speech intelligibility in a stadium or enhancing the quality recording sounds immersive.[10]
2.1 Education and training 3

1.2.6 Speech detailed theoretical and practical knowledge of virtually

all aspects of sound.
Main article: Speech

2.1 Education and training

The production, computer processing and perception of
speech is an important part of audio engineering. Ensur- See also: Category:Audio engineering schools
ing speech is transmitted intelligibly, eciently and with
high quality; in rooms, through public address systems
and through mobile telephone systems are important ar- Audio engineers come from backgrounds and/or post-
eas of study.[14] secondary training in elds such as audio, ne arts,
broadcasting, music, or electrical engineering. Train-
ing in audio engineering and sound recording is oered
by colleges and universities. Some audio engineers are
2 Practitioner autodidacts with no formal training, but who have at-
tained professional skills in audio through extensive on-
the-job experience.

3 Training and background

Audio engineers must have extensive knowledge of au-
dio engineering principles and techniques. They have to
understand, to name a few, how to mic dierent instru-
ments and ampliers, what types of mics to use, where
to place the mics, how to attenuate hot instrument sig-
nals that are overloading and clipping the channel, how
to prevent audio feedback, how to set the audio compres-
Mixing sound live sion for dierent instruments and vocals, and how to pre-
vent unwanted distortion of the sound. However, to be
Producer, engineer, and mixer Phil Ek has described au- a professional sound engineer, an individual needs more
dio engineering as the technical aspect of recording than just technical knowledge. She or he must also un-
the placing of microphones, the turning of pre-amp derstand the types of sounds and tones that rock and pop
knobs, the setting of levels. The physical recording of any music bands and other musical ensembles expect in dif-
project is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts.[1] A ferent genres. This knowledge of musical styles is typ-
variety of terms are used to describe audio engineers who ically learned from years of experience listening to and
install or operate sound recording, sound reinforcement, mixing bands in recording and/or live sound contexts. A
or sound broadcasting equipment, including large and sound engineer must know, for example, the dierence
small format consoles. Terms such as audio technician, between creating the powerful drum sound that a heavy
sound technician, audio engineer, audio technolo- metal drummer will want for her kit, versus a drummer
gist, recording engineer, sound mixer and sound en- from a Beatles tribute band.
gineer can be ambiguous; depending on the context they
may be synonymous, or they may refer to dierent roles
3.1 Practitioners
in audio production. Such terms can refer to a person
working in sound and music production; for instance, a In the recording studio environment, a sound engineer
sound engineer or recording engineer is commonly records, edits, manipulates, mixes, or masters sound by
listed in the credits of commercial music recordings (as technical means to realize the creative vision of the artist
well as in other productions that include sound, such as and record producer. While usually associated with mu-
movies). These titles can also refer to technicians who sic production, an audio engineer deals with sound for
maintain professional audio equipment. Certain jurisdic- a wide range of applications, including post-production
tions specically prohibit the use of the title engineer to for video and lm, live sound reinforcement, advertising,
any individual not a registered member of a professional multimedia, and broadcasting. In larger productions, an
engineering licensing body. audio engineer is responsible for the technical aspects of
In German, the Tontechniker (audio technician) is the a sound recording or other audio production, and works
one who operates the audio equipment and the Tonmeis- together with a record producer or director, although the
ter (sound master) is a person who creates recordings or engineers role may also be integrated with that of the
broadcasts of music, who is both deeply musically trained producer. In smaller productions and studios the sound
(in classical and non-classical genres), and who also has a engineer and producer are often the same person.

You, "Blue Heartache" and "I'll Be There (If You Ever

Want Me). [21] When she moved to Nashville in 1976,
men "...didn't want to work for a woman and she was
told women in the city were "...still barefoot, pregnant
and [singing] in the vocal booth. [21]
Wendy Waldman, who became a producer after Davies,
saw that Davies had a dicult time. When Jonell
Polansky arrived in Nashville in 1994, with a degree in
electrical engineering and recording experience in the
Bay Area, she was told "...[y]ou're a woman, and we al-
ready had one"a reference to Waldman. [21] KK Prof-
tt, who is a studio owner and chief engineer states
At the front of house position, mixing sound for a band that men in Nashville do not want to have women in the
recording booth. At a meeting of the Audio Engineer-
ing Society, Prott was told to shut up by a male pro-
In typical sound reinforcement applications, audio engi- ducer when she raised the issue of updating studio record-
neers often assume the role of producer, making artistic ing technologies.[21] Prott said she nds "...nds sexism
and technical decisions, and sometimes even scheduling rampant in the industry. [21]
and budget decisions.[15]
Other notable women include:

3.1.1 Role of women Sylvia Robinson, early hip hop music producer

According to Womens Audio Mission (WAM), a non- Susan Rogers, engineer for Purple Rain
prot organization based in San Francisco dedicated to
Genya Ravan, producer The Dead Boys' Young,
the advancement of women in music production and the
Loud and Snotty;
recording arts, less than 5% of the people creating sound
and media are women. [16] Only three women have ever Delia Derbyshire, British electronics pioneer
been nominated for best producer at the Brits or the
Grammys" and none won either award.[17] Women who Lari White, a co-producer on Toby Keith's White
want to enter the [producing] eld face a boys club, or Trash With Money
a guild mentality.[17] The UK Music Producers Guild
says less than 4% of its members are women and at the Leslie Ann Jones
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, "...only 6% of
the students enrolled on its sound technology course are Beyonc, for I Am ... Sasha Fierce.[22]
Womens Audio Mission was started in 2003 to address 3.2 Sub-disciplines
the lack of women in professional audio by training over
6,000 women and girls in the recording arts and is the only There are four distinct steps to commercial production of
professional recording studio built and run by women. a recording: recording, editing, mixing, and mastering.
Notable recording projects atInclude the Grammy Typically, each is performed by a sound engineer who
Award-winning Kronos Quartet, Angelique Kidjo (2014 specializes only in that part of production.
Grammy winner), author Salman Rushdie, the Academy
Award-nominated soundtrack to Dirty Wars, [19] Van-
Studio engineer an engineer working within a stu-
Ahn Vo (NPRs top 50 albums of 2013), Grammy-
dio facility, either with a producer or independently.
nominated St. Lawrence Quartet, and world music artists
Tanya Tagaq and Wu Man. Recording engineer engineer who records sound.
One of the rst women to produce, engineer, arrange
and promote music on her own rock and roll music la- Assistant engineer often employed in larger stu-
bel was Cordell Jackson (1923-2004). Trina Shoemaker dios, allowing them to train to become full-time en-
is a mixer, record producer and sound engineer who be- gineers. They often assist full-time engineers with
came the rst woman to win the Grammy Award for Best microphone setups, session breakdowns and in some
Engineered Album in 1998 for her work on The Globe cases, rough mixes.[15]
Sessions.[20] Mixing engineer a person who creates mixes of
Gail Davies was the '...rst female producer in country multi-track recordings. It is common to record a
music, delivering a string of Top 10 hits in the '70s and commercial record at one studio and have it mixed
'80s including "Someone Is Looking for Someone Like by dierent engineers in other studios.
3.3 Equipment 5

Mastering engineer typically the person who mixes 3.3 Equipment

the nal stereo tracks (or sometimes just a few tracks
or stems) that the mix engineer produces. The mas-
tering engineer makes any nal adjustments to the
overall sound of the record in the nal step before
commercial duplication. Mastering engineers use
principles of equalization and compression to aect
the coloration of the sound.
Game audio designer engineer deals with sound
aspects of game development.
Live sound engineer
Front of House (FOH) engineer, or A1.[23]
a person dealing with live sound reinforce-
ment. This usually includes planning and in-
stallation of loudspeakers, cabling and equip-
Correcting a rooms frequency response.
ment and mixing sound during the show. This
may or may not include running the foldback An audio technician is procient with dierent types of
sound. A live/sound reinforcement engineer recording media, such as analog tape, digital multi-track
hears source material and tries to correlate that recorders and workstations, and computer knowledge.
sonic experience with system performance.[24] With the advent of the digital age, it is increasingly impor-
Wireless microphone engineer, or A2. This tant for the audio technician to understand software and
position is responsible for wireless micro- hardware integration, from synchronization to analog to
phones during a theatre production, a sports digital transfers. In their daily work, audio engineers use
event or a corporate event. many tools, including:
Foldback or Monitor engineer a person run-
ning foldback sound during a live event. The Ampliers
term foldback comes from the old practice
of folding back audio signals from the front Analog-to-digital converters
of house) (FOH) mixing console to the stage
so musicians can hear themselves while per- Digital audio workstations (DAW)
forming. Monitor engineers usually have a
Digital-to-analog converters
separate audio system from the FOH engineer
and manipulate audio signals independently Dynamic range compressions
from what the audience hears so they can sat-
isfy the requirements of each performer on Loudspeakers
stage. In-ear systems, digital and analog mix-
ing consoles, and a variety of speaker enclo- Microphones
sures are typically used by monitor engineers. Mixing consoles
In addition most monitor engineers must be fa-
miliar with wireless or RF (radio-frequency) Music sequencers
equipment and must communicate personally
with the artist(s) during each performance. Preampliers
Systems engineer responsible for the design Signal processors
setup of modern PA systems, which are often
very complex. A systems engineer is usually Tape machines
also referred to as a crew chief on tour and
is responsible for the performance and day-to-
day job requirements of the audio crew as a 3.4 Recording engineers of note
whole along with the FOH audio system. This
is a sound-only position concerned with imple- List
mentation, not to be confused with the inter-
disciplinary eld of system engineering, which
typically requires a college degree. Steve Albini
Re-recording mixer a person in post-production Jim Anderson
who mixes audio tracks for feature lms and/or
television programs. Michael J. Bishop

Bill Bottrell Neil Kernon

David Bottrill Jacquire King
Helmut Burk Eddie Kramer
Chuck Britz Greg Ladanyi
Patrick Brown Maxime Le Guil
Terry Brown James Lock
John Burns Chris Lord-Alge
Dru Castro Tom Lord-Alge
Fred Catero Reinhold Mack
Roy Cicala Mike Marciano
Bob Clearmountain George Martin
Mike Crossey Tony Maserati
Terry Date George Massenburg
Rhett Davies Mario J. McNulty
Nick Davis Joe Meek
Charles De Schutter Yuri Morozov
Tom Dowd Alan Moulder
Mark Flood Ellis Jack Mullin
Geo Emerick Evgeny Murzin
Jack Endino Roger Nichols
Bob Ezrin Clif Norrell
David R. Ferguson Justin Niebank[25]
Dave Fridmann Paul Northeld
Rudy Van Gelder Gary Paczosa
Nigel Godrich Hugh Padgham
Doug Grean Robert Parker
James Guthrie Alan Parsons
Mick Guzauski Les Paul
Roy Halee Dave Pensado
Wally Heider Lynn Peterzell
David Hentschel Tony Platt
Bones Howe Resul Pookutty
Andrew Jackson Bill Porter
Andy Johns Bill Putnam
Glyn Johns Phil Ramone
Leslie Ann Jones Emitt Rhodes
3.5 Mastering engineers of note 7

Bruce Robb (producer) 3.5 Mastering engineers of note

Susan Rogers List

Scott Salem
Bernie Grundman
Elliot Scheiner
Steve Homan
Andrew Scheps[26]
Ted Jensen
Al Schmitt Bob Katz
Tom Scholz Bob Ludwig

Jim Scott Rodney Mills

Ken Scott George Peckham

Tom Coyne
Da-Hong Seetoo

Eberhard Sengpiel 3.6 Live sound engineers of note

Norman Smith List
H. Sridhar
Dan Healy
Chris Steinmetz
Big Mick Hughes
Mike Stone
Neil Strauch
Bruce Jackson
Stephen Street Bill Porter
Bruce Swedien Dave Rat

Bill Szymczyk Charlie Richmond

Owsley Stanley
Mike Terry
Charles De Schutter
Wharton Tiers

Devin Townsend
4 See also
Ken Townshend

Phil Thornalley
5 References
John Travis [1] Interview with Phil Ek. HitQuarters. 25 May 2009.
Retrieved Sep 3, 2010.
Robert Venable [2] Dawn Rosenberg McKay. Audio Engineer. About.com
Tony Visconti
[3] wiseGeek. What Is Audio Engineering?". Retrieved 17
Andy Wallace May 2013.

[4] Daley, Dan, The Engineers Who Changed Recording:

Dave Aron
Fathers Of Invention, Sound on Sound magazine, Octo-
ber 2004
Kenneth Wilkinson
[5] University of Salford. Graduate Jobs in Acoustics. Re-
Jonathan Wilson[27] trieved 13 May 2013.

[6] Acoustical Society of America. Acoustics and You. Re- [26] Andrew Scheps. McDonough Management. Retrieved
trieved 13 May 2013. 27 October 2015.

[7] University of Salford, Acoustics. Physics and music tech- [27] Jonathan Wilson: Fanfare Reviving The West Coast
nology degrees. Retrieved 17 May 2013. Sound. Sound On Sound. Retrieved 27 October 2015.

[8] National Careers Service. Job proles: Acoustics con-

sultant. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
6 External links
[9] Acoustical Society of America. PACS 2010 Regular
EditionAcoustics Appendix. Retrieved 22 May 2013. Audio Engineering Society
[10] Pohlmann, Ken (2010). Principles of Digital Audio, Sixth Audio engineering formulas and calculators
Edition. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-
07-166347-2. Recording engineer video interviews
[11] Morfey, Christopher (2001). Dictionary of Acoustics. A free collection of online audio tools for audio en-
Academic Press. p. 32. gineers
[12] Templeton, Duncan (1993). Acoustics in the Built En- Audio Engineering online course under Creative
vironment: Advice for the Design Team. Architectural
Commons Licence
Press. ISBN 978-0-7506-0538-0.
Audio White Papers, Articles and Books
[13] Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics (TCMU) of
the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). ASA TCMU Audio Engineering School Directory
Home Page. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
Rane Pro Audio Reference
[14] Speech Communication Technical Committee. Speech
Communication. Acoustical Society of America. Audio Engineers Freelancer Marketplace
Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 22
May 2013. Audio Engineering Articles, Tutorials and Inter-
[15] Huber, D.M. (1995). Modern Recording Techniques. (5th
ed.). Burlington, MA: Focal Press

[16] Ncube, Rosina (September 2013). Sounding O: Why

So Few Women In Audio?". Sound on Sound.

[17] Why are female record producers so rare?". BBC News.

[18] Womens Audio Mission. Pro Sound News,

Oct. 2009, p. 72. Fine Arts and Music Col-
lection, libraries.state.ma.us/login?gwurl=http:
Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.

[19] Womens Audio Mission - GuideStar Prole. www.

guidestar.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.

[20] Dunbar, Julie C. (2010). Women, Music, Culture: An In-

troduction. Taylor & Francis. p. 304. ISBN 0415875625.

[21] Women account for less than 5 percent of producers

and engineers but maybe not for long - Cover Story
- Nashville Scene. Nashville Scene.

[22] Women account for less than 5 percent of producers

and engineers but maybe not for long - Cover Story
- Nashville Scene. Nashville Scene.

[23] Front of House (FOH) Engineer, Get in Media Enter-

tainment Careers

[24] Davis, G., Jones R. (1990). Yamaha Sound Reinforcement

Handbook. (2nd ed.) Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp.

[25] Justin Niebank Dicography. AllMusic. Retrieved 28

October 2015.

7 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

7.1 Text
Audio engineer Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_engineer?oldid=774277014 Contributors: SimonP, Edward, Infrogmation,
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Aranel, Walden, Egrabczewski, Nsaa, Arthena, AzaToth, Yamla, Hu, Snowolf, Japanese Searobin, Davidkazuhiro, Commander Keane,
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Thenowhereman, Stadtschreiber, Nagytibi, DVdm, Digitalme, YurikBot, Sceptre, MMuzammils, Crazytales, Hede2000, Splash, Sanguin-
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Oli Filth, Roscelese, Uthbrian, B0ef, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Harumphy, Seattlenow, Ritchie333, Iapetus, RJN, Ellioso, Aboyall,
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