Sound Mixers have become all the rage in recent times and a common presence at concerts. The role of this device, which is available in two forms- analog console and digital console, is to accept, combine, process and monitor audio. The use of sound mixers is not just limited to concerts, as they are equally essential for broadcasting audio, a recording studio, or even movies and television.
Movies like Gladiator or Black Hawk Down would not be the same without a good sound mixer. Professionally pursuing this field is certainly an exciting prospect that will bring you success and give you plenty of reasons to enjoy work.
Sound recording is not all fun and games, however, as it takes a lot of discipline and training. You have to understand the use of every knob, switch or fader on your mixer. Some of the top sound mixer competencies that every aspiring sound engineer has to have are as following:
- Audio Equipment
Can you imagine a brilliant musical like Les Misérables with a patchy sound or a stand-up comedy show where the audio feed is disturbed? It would be far from an enjoyable experience. Audio equipment plays an integral part in creating good sound, be it microphones, loudspeakers, mixing consoles, amplifiers or more.
Among skills of a sound engineer, use of audio equipment is pivotal. You have to ensure that the sound system provides clear amplification, which is only possible when the correct audio equipment is selected and optimized wisely.
Interested students who want to gain these skills should look into audio processing and the signal path, which are covered in the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal.
- Mixing Techniques
We hear soundtracks that blend various layers and textures to create a perfect sound. This technical process of using various mixing approaches is another skill that a proficient sound engineer possesses. Merging soundtracks together, in order to create something phenomenal, requires creativity and technical capabilities.
The Thriller album by Michael Jackson is a brilliant example of mixing techniques and the genius behind it was Bruce Swedien, who engineered and mixed the album. If you have a knack for this skill then you can add it as a specialization to your resume.
If you are keen to learn mixing techniques then check out the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program offered at Trebas - Montreal campus, which includes it in its curriculum.
- Sound Design
The reason why spaceships in the movie Alien sound so realistic or we are able to immerse ourselves in the fight scenes of Avengers is due to excellent sound design skills. They make everything, from footsteps to doors creaking, sound life-like in TV shows, animations and movies.
Good designing skills include the ability to create, record and optimize sound samples for movies, theaters and more.
If you are intrigued and want to learn more about sound design then check out NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal, which focuses on sampling and synthesis, along with advanced sound creation techniques.
Being able to identify different sound frequencies is another attribute that is needed for sound recording. Guitar pedals and instrumental amplifiers or amps are some common examples of tools used for equalizing, as they can modify sounds accordingly.
As a sound engineer, you should be able to change the balance of various frequencies to get the best final product. Equalizers are not just used for adjusting the tempo of music but also to modify the voice of a person during recording.
Aspiring sound engineers keen to learn equalizing skills must study studio recording techniques, which are included in the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program offered at the Montreal campus of Trebas.
- Digital sound software
Understanding Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) is pivotal if you are keen to become an audio engineer. DAW is an application software or electronic device whose purpose is to record, edit and produce audio files.
In-depth knowledge of DAW is necessary if you want to master post-production techniques of audio recording. This can help you get excellent job opportunities as well.
You can further explore this subject through the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal, which has MIDI Studio & Digital Studio courses in its curriculum.
- Music theory
Knowing basic aspects of music theory is important if you are keen to pursue a career in music production. Theoretical studies of music go over some interesting topics like ear training, which will teach you how to differentiate between various frequencies and notes. This learning, along with knowing how musical terms like meter and tempo differ from each other, is very useful for a sound recorder.
If you are interested in knowing more about music theory then check out the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal, which focuses on digital music production and beat making.
- Sound effects or SFX
Sound Effects, which are also known as SFX, are a big part of movies and games. Along with music and various other sounds of human speech, SFX is added to movies, TV shows, games and more in post-production.
Sound effects are pre-recorded and later edited into different mediums to give a more dynamic layering to them. Some common SFX sounds are nature, weather or city sounds.
If you are keen on learning this competency then check out the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal which will give you expertise in audio post-production & sound design for video games.
- Knowledge of acoustics
Acoustics is a very common term when it comes to sound but its importance in sound recording is crucial. Technically, acoustics refers to the bouncing of sound waves off any physical surface. Hence, every room, material and surface used for sound recording creates various acoustical opportunities. A sound engineer should have an understanding of the same and implement it in creating the perfect sound effect.
You can gain this important expertise by studying Audio Processing and the signal path, which are part of the NNC.0V: Sound Design Program – Montreal.
- Being adaptable
Adaptability is an essential skill that an audio engineer must possess. It is as vital as any technical expertise because it allows you to be innovative and stay in touch with all new discoveries. It also helps you modify your approach and be open to using new techniques for each project. Being adaptable gives you space to understand and process new options, which may be applicable to sudden unexpected situations- such as working on sound recording in a live performance.
According to Academy Award winner British sound engineer Simon Hayes, ambition and passion are key elements for anyone keen to work in the sound department. As per him, if you have the right attitude then the technical aspect can always be taught.
If you have the right drive for this field, check out the Sound Recording Program offered by Trebas Institute at our Montreal campus. This 12-month program is taught by professionals who are well versed in state-of-the-art recording and editing equipment. This program is designed to help you gain various skills, such as understanding studio recording techniques, how to navigate through the industry and even how to set up a professional recording studio.
To know more, click here
This article is written by Nandita Kaushal and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole