How do I Become a Recording Engineer?

G. Wiesen

There are a few different paths you can take to become a recording engineer, though some are more likely to work for you than others. In general, you should strongly consider receiving a structured, official education in sound engineering and design from a technical school, college, or similar program. You can also potentially become a recording engineer by buying the equipment you need and teaching yourself to record and mix music and audio, though this can be quite difficult and will require a fairly large investment on your part. It can also be helpful to work as an intern for a recording studio as you are getting started.

An internship may be available at a recording studio.
An internship may be available at a recording studio.

To become a recording engineer, you should be sure you have a serious passion for music and audio recording. A recording engineer works with recording artists and studios to record, mix, and balance music and other audio. You typically need to have a strong combination of technical and musical skills and abilities to effectively hear the music being made and help refine it. This is also a technologically complex profession, and you need to be able to use computers and other hardware and software to become a recording engineer.

Recording engineers should have a passion for both music and audio recording.
Recording engineers should have a passion for both music and audio recording.

One of the most straightforward ways to become a recording engineer is to attend a school that offers a program in sound design or studio recording. This type of program may be offered by a technical school, though many colleges and universities also offer programs in sound design. You might also be able to find a non-traditional program in sound design, such as an online course or a program that uses a mentor-apprentice method. Whichever method you choose, you should ensure you attend a school that will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to become a recording engineer.

Recording engineers should know how and where to position microphones in the studio.
Recording engineers should know how and where to position microphones in the studio.

You can also purchase the hardware and software you need to become a recording engineer and teach yourself what you need to know. This can be a difficult route to take, however, and you would need to make a sizable financial investment for the equipment. You are also unlikely to make the contacts that can be found while attending a school, which may make it more difficult to break into the industry.

Once you complete your education, then you should look for record studios in need of a recording engineer. You may need to work as an intern before being hired on by a studio, and if you are quite fortunate, you can find a master engineer willing to train you personally. It can be difficult to become a recording engineer, but proper preparation can make the process easier.

Recording engineers can create a polished song for a recording artist.
Recording engineers can create a polished song for a recording artist.

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