A sound engineer (or audio engineer) is the person responsible for mixing, producing and reproducing sounds, and recording it. His responsibility is different from that of a sound producer or the rest of the crew as he only deals with the technical and the mechanical aspects of music and sound and nothing else.
A sound engineer manipulates the technical requirements of sound during the recording, mixing, and reproduction. He can help other crews put up parts of the song, use auto-tune, and make sounds sync in with the tracks. Again, the sound engineer is different from audio producers but there are times when he does the job of both.
There are several subfields of sound engineering. A studio engineer is responsible for making sure that the sound inside a studio is just right. A recording engineer focuses solely on the aspect of recording sound. A game and audio design engineer is responsible for creating sounds for games. A mix engineer is the person in-charge for mixing different sounds to make a new one. A master engineer checks the input of other sound engineers in his team.
There are no standard criteria to become a sound engineer. However, it is always recommended that a person should finish higher education if he wants to pursue a career as a sound engineer. Sound engineering courses are available in some universities and can be taken in bachelor’s degree , associate’s degree or vocational program. It needs four years to finish a bachelor’s degree, two years for associate’s degree, and less than 10 months for a vocational certificate. After graduation or while studying, the student can land a job as an assistant engineer.
As an assistant engineer, he will get himself familiar with the skills needed to do the job as well as the difficulties and sacrifices that a sound engineer needs to get used to. Most often, audio engineers work independently rather than being employed by an agency.
Sound engineers can work in varied environments depending on what they choose to specialize in. They can be found working in TV stations, recording studios, film studios, event crews, tour crews, theater, opera houses, auditoriums, and even in government offices. Where they work depends on their personality, experience, location, the field of specialization, and the salary. There are several major cities in the U.S. where sound engineers are in demand.