Let’s take a closer look at such concepts as a sound engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. Of course, they all stem from sound engineering, but in our time these concepts are increasingly boldly going into “free swimming”.
A sound engineer is a person who can work at all stages of recording, digitizing and correcting sound in real time. This is a person who can fix a broken device, connect all the necessary equipment at a concert venue or in a recording studio. He should be able to balance the sound, arrange microphones, tune monitors, do equalization and fill with effects.
So isn’t this a mixing engineer?
You are right, all that is listed above – mixing and mastering engineers should be able to, but their role in this case is more detailed. A mixing engineer must be able to professionally bring together projects. It can be projects on television, radio, or studio projects (songs). He has to find frequency conflicts, do panning and the whole “kitchen” (in more detail: equalization, compression, reverb and delay, chorus, expanders and many, many other extremely important in this case).
The mixing engineer arranges the projects “on the shelves” so that every sound in it can be heard, primary and secondary tools are highlighted. In a project, each sound must flow from one to another.
What is the role of mastering in this case?
Mastering is 10-15% of the quality of the track. The main task of a mastering engineer is to work on an already mixed track. He deals with those nuances that can be harmlessly corrected (if they cannot be corrected, the project rolls back to the information phase, where the mixing engineer makes adjustments). The mastering engineer does an analysis of the track and reference, evaluates the style and idea, and tightens the quality of the sent material. Its task is to make the track loud and dense. The less changes are made to the track at the mastering stage, the better it is brought together.
It is often said that a sound engineer (concert or theater) cannot mix and master professionally. There is a deal of truth in it. Due to the fact that the sound engineer works in real time, his understanding of the sound is a bit blurry. In addition to this – mixing concert material and media – two radically different sides. Do not twist, the hearing tends to get used to. That is why mixing engineers listen only to high-quality mixed music (tuning in to work, or for fun). A sound engineer can come after work (or what’s better – he does it at work) and begins to make many mistakes in mixing.
Yes, there are exceptions and they can be found among very famous people, but it would still be better if the sound engineer dwells on one thing.
Decide for yourself whether you want to work at concerts or work in the studio. If you choose the first option – you will have enough public education and experience. In the second case, besides everything, it will be necessary to discover a large layer of information that is not given in existing educational institutions (only in foreign ones).
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