Skip to main content

Thoughts on What Makes a Good Audio Engineer

By April 18, 2013March 16th, 2016Audio, Blog
photo of audio engineer sound technician

This week’s audio blog from the audio team at Tahoe Production House is about having a good engineer to do your project. I have seen, experienced, witnessed, and worked with many engineers in my career since the 70’s. Not mention as many the artists. Some were really good, and some not so good, and some that really need a lot of help. No one engineer or artists knows it all. Most artists however, know just what they are looking for or want and how to get there. Others have no clue and leave entirely up to the engineer. The later is mostly for this blog.

A “good”audio engineer should understand what the artist wants in the final product be it recording or live. Then the audio engineer should know or have a good idea of how to get to that final goal. This is where his tool bag comes in: from audio training, knowledge of equipment, experiences, “Brian Files” as I spoke about in the blog #4, hands on experience with operating the gear, and even learning from past mistakes. You can’t be a pro audio engineer and not have made some mistakes. Having a good engineer or producer, and or both, along with what the artist wants to hear, is key to success.

You can have the best gear in the world and without a good engineer, you’ll likely not be successful. You may get lucky here and there, as it has happened, but there is nothing like an engineer with knowledge of technique. From the discussion about the final product before even starting any recording or live show set-up. And there is a technique to having a discussion before anything happens. Knowing what to ask and how to ask it is key to get the info you need. This is generally the starting point for a successful project.

Now with the above said, I have done recording sessions on the fly many times. In other words, there was not too much discussion at all. Instead, it was “let’s just start and see how it goes”. In these cases, the artist did not have the whole project in mind nor did the producer. However, they were pros and could play and sing very, very well; they had gone through the recoding or live show process many times. Also from the starting point I spoke of earlier, I knew what my gear could do and what it could not do. I knew my limits from an engineer’s point-of-view and what would probably work well in this situation or that. This all came from the above-mentioned preparations.

Be as prepared as you can and whenever possible, use a “good” audio engineer. It will be a big part of the key to a successful final product.

TPH Sound Team

Leave a Reply