Introduction to the Audio Industry (AUD201)
Assessment Task 1: Essay
The Engineer as Creative Mediator
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In the last 30 years, recording, editing and mixing techniques have changed dramatically due to new technology. This allows today’s Audio Engineers to engineer much greater sound vastly improving the outcome of a final mix. Whether it’s the sound you hear on radio, film, television, or of live bands, or whether it’s the final outcome of recording artists in a studio, it’s the Audio Engineers job to fine tune, edit and master the sound to deliver the best quality sound to an audience. In order for an Audio Engineer to do this, he/she needs certain skill sets such as excellent hearing and excellent knowledge of today’s audio production, editing and mixing technology. It is essential that Audio Engineers be able to work with different clients and have a good understanding of what sound they are trying to create. Being able to step into any recording studio or live performance situation, and know how everything works, is crucial.
Before any recording, editing and mixing takes place there is Pre-Production. Pre-Production is simply the planning process for the album. This includes various meetings with the client to discuss the style of music they want to create. Reference tracks with similar style and sound are analysed to give the engineer a good idea of what the client is after (JMC Academy, 2011). This is arguably the most important part of the recording chain, as this is where all the planning gets done. It’s not ideal if the artist wants a different sound from different instruments or wants to change the arrangement after everything has been recorded. The Engineer needs to discuss in depth all the creative, technical and artistic concerns with the client (Care R, 2011), such as what kind of sound they are after, what instruments they will be using including digital instrumentation. This information can be put on what they call a “Track Sheet” which is a chart containing what instruments will be used and how many of each instrument, if more than one. The engineer will also get the band to run through their material and make sure their instruments are freshly tuned. Microphone choice and placement is very important in order to get the best sound out of the instruments. This is something that the engineer should devote serious attention to.
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It is really important that the engineer knows how to communicate properly with the client, as this can make with whole project a lot easier.
If you where to generalize and say, artists can be hard to work with, it’s because they are very passionate about what they do but can often be quite insecure about what they do. So you have to learn to be extremely diplomatic dealing with them and establish a good repour (Jacques D, 2011).
In other words you should never be demanding or a know-it-all even though you may be right. For example you would not walk up to the bass player and say that the bass sounds bad and way to muddy as the artist could take it as a personal attack which will get you no where. It is good diplomatic skills that will move the musician in the best direction and let them know you want to work with them. A good engineer should agree with what ever is best for the band, and it’s the engineer’s job have them sound their best (EK P, 2009)
When it comes to getting the best sound out of the band, it’s not as easy as getting them into the studio, setting them all up and starting recording. There’s an emotion within every song and to really bring this emotion out when recording the track, the artist needs to be in the right mood and be surrounded by the right energy to bring out the emotion. The psychology of a recording session is very important in order to get the best sound out a song. “I think there’s a ton of respect in the...
References: JMC Academy, 2011, Introduction to the Audio Industry AUD201, Production Considerations, Melbourne, Accessed 10 April 2011, from <http://myjmc.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=5043>
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