Sound Engineering Essay
As a future audio engineer, it is in my best interest to learn the techniques of audio production. For editing sound you need the proper equipment, whether it is software or hardware. In order to give sound a little flavor you will need to know about mixing. Mastering is what ultimately completes the sound. Equipment, mixing, and mastering are the most important steps in audio production. The majority of audio equipment is known by audio engineers and non-audio engineers alike.
These common devices include microphones, radio receivers, tape recorders, CD players, amplifiers, AV receivers, mixing consoles and speakers. Although these devices can be used by the average Joe, the can be put into further use by a sound engineer. A microphone for instance is a device that a live sound engineer would use for setting up a stage performance. Another microphone would be used for a studio engineer setting up the sound booth. The difference is that one microphone is specifically made for performing, while the other one is specifically made for recording.
Multiple types of microphones is only one part of the audio equipment used by sound engineers. Some of the audio equipment consists of devices not too common to a non-audio engineer. This unfamiliar equipment is known as the mixing consoles. Mixing and editing sound is just as important to a music-related engineer as it is to a game audio design engineer or an audio post engineer. An audio post engineer is responsible for mixing and editing sounds for films and/or TV shows. On a movie set or TV set, what gets recorded on video is not the sound.
Sound has to be recorded separately and some sound effects are a generic kind. Such as the lightsaber from Star Wars, which was a blend of TV static combined with a 35mm projector? The mixing console can track the audio to a built-in video feed, which is very helpful when the audio and video are both done separately. Being a video game sound designer is quite different from editing film and TV audio. The video and the sound being separate is a similar concept, but there are not many others. Video games require loops to perform some of the actions and in a lot of games to play the music.
A lot of the music played in video games is computerized, but many designers will want at least one live instrument. Linear and interactive are the two types of audio that can be heard when playing a video game. Interactive sound is while the player is playing and linear is for the cut-scenes and introductory movies. While the linear audio is a stereo based sound, interactive acquires mono effects. It’s easy to forget sometimes how much is involved with sound. Almost everything uses sound, and as explained earlier it is definitely used in media.
The most obvious form of media that uses sound is none other than music. As a music engineer mixes for a recording artist it is important to understand the artist’s style. The three tools that music engineers use can be found on mixing software such as pro tools. These tools are equalizer, dynamic range compressor, and the pan tool. Panning the vocals moves it more to the left or right or completely to the other side. The dynamic range compressor shortens the distance between the lowest low and the highest high. The equalizer changes the audio frequencies of the vocals.
For every engineer who mixes or edits sound there is someone to put the final touches on the audio. This person is known as the mastering engineer. The ME (Mastering Engineer) is very precise about the audio when listening and seeing. They see audio through frequency special analyzers, phase oscilloscopes and sensitive peak meters. The ME also has to make sure the music is sounding good in the car, that it is also sounding good on the computer. The quality mastering is very dependent on the mixing, but it is up to the ME to know how much work is to be done based off the mixer.
The mixer also has to pay a fee in order for the ME to tell how good their mixed version was. There are many processes behind the scenes to the sounds we hear every day. There is a lot more to it, but that’s some of what sound engineers go through on a day to day basis. As someone who plans to pursue a career in sound engineering, it was important for me to do the research. Hopefully, after covering some of the basics of sound engineering, there was a spark lit. Next time you use media think of how much work is required, just for you to be able to hear it.
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