Sound Engineering


Career Objectives

Design, develop and control sound.


Professional Profile

The sound engineer is responsible for the study of the sound phenomenon from its scientific, technological and artistic perspectives.

In the scientific aspect, he addresses the physical handling of sound in relation to its *acoustics and also as a pollutant.

In the technological aspect, he has competences in the *production and manipulation of sound in all its application areas.

In the artistic side, he approaches music as an artistic expression, where he has an important musical training.


Specific tasks or activities carried out in the profession 

He is in charge of the sound equipment of events and music bands. That is, to achieve a clear, pleasant sound with an appropriate volume, for that:

-He performs an acoustic conditioning of the place so that there is no echo that reduces the definition of sound.

-He creates *sound reinforcement in order to achieve a volume adequate to the size of the hall.

-He adjusts the equalizer, that is, he controls the obtaining of a good sound or *audible frequencies, giving more emphasis to certain frequencies, for instance, that the bass and drums sound more in a certain song, achieving a more pleasant sound.

He designs and creates the whole sound universe of public entertainment in terms of ambience, atmosphere and psychological and *semiotic variants of sound.

He addresses recording and sound reproduction techniques. For that:

-He agrees with the *producer or musicians about how they would like the final product to sound.

-He develops and designs the sound, contributing to the *composition and *musical arrangements.

-He has the responsibility to create a recording that meets the wishes of the producer, the artists and the band.

-The study of sound in terms of physics and the use of formulas that sustain it, allow him to adjust very precisely the parameters of the most sophisticated equipment and apply the most complex techniques.

He handles analogue and *digital *electronic technology such as: recorders, processors and players, each with a specific purpose:

Recorders store the sound in specific media.

Recording is the process that transforms the sound of the environment in voltage variations that can be stored in different ways.

The recording can be done through two alternative ways:

-Recording directly all the sounds in a single *track, where basically one or more musical instruments are needed such as a guitar or a *synthesizer, in addition to a good microphone to record the voices of a soloist or any other sound source.

Or,

Performing the multitrack recording method, which records multiple sound sources in *individual tracks so that the sounds can be processed and manipulated individually to produce the desired results.

The sounds of instruments and soloists’ voices are recorded in individual files, keeping exactly the rhythm and synchronization between them.

For instance, after recording some parts of a song, an artist can only listen to the guitar part, “silencing” all the tracks apart from that one.

If he wanted to listen to the voices isolated, he would mute the rest of the tracks.

If he doesn’t like the guitar part, or he found a mistake in it, and he wants to replace it, he just records that part again, instead of rerecording the whole song.

This is the common way to record music at present.

-Processors modify the sound.

Once the *recording of instruments and/or voices is finished, and the musicians are satisfied with the sound, the Musical production begins, which corresponds to the audio mixing of the multiple recorded tracks.

Here, audio signal processing techniques are applied to the musical production, making a *digital treatment of the signals through a microprocessor where through *software you can incorporate special sound effects such as *reverberation, choirs, echoes, etc.

The artist can apply an effect to a specific track and other effects to the rest or keep them in their original form or mix the different voices that make up a song according to his desire or add different instruments, etc. That way, the artist retains complete control over the final form of the song and also leaves open the possibilities to remixes in the future.

-Mastering

In the Mastering stage, the sounds are gathered and subjected to a joint optimization process to give the final form to the song. This is performed through computer techniques that brings together the voices and instruments previously recorded in the different tracks and redistribute them in the two *stereophonic channels, for its recording in the commercial industry.

Players play the sound as the voice, singing, instrumental music or sound effects.

The sound reproduction is a process that transforms the electrical signal into acoustic sound waves.

Good playback equipment (high fidelity) must meet a series of requirements to ensure that the sound reproduced and the original one are as similar as possible. The sound played must be free of noise and distortion.

He formulates engineering projects for the design of *sound devices.

He develops engineering projects that interact with other fields such as electronics and computer science.

He designs, installs, evaluates and supervises the operation of audio systems for TV programs or film shooting.

He performs *postproduction tasks both in films and television. In this, he carries out the edition of music, effects and dubbing, to then take all the sound elements and connect them to the final edit of the communicational piece.

He creates and adapts music for advertisements, radio and TV programs.

He designs, builds and develops engineering projects for the noise control and the internal acoustic conditioning of venues that require specific acoustic characteristics.

He advises musicians, architects and engineers.

He prepares venues for events or shows, identifying their acoustic problems and suggesting changes in their interior design or equipment changes.

He develops research in the Music Acoustics field.

He teaches in different areas of acoustics.

He advises on the evaluation of problems related to noise pollution and designs noise control solutions.

He performs Expertise for research.


Occupational Field

-Recording studios

-TV channels

-Radio stations

-Multimedia events production companies

-*Sound reinforcement companies

-Film Companies

-Dubbing Companies

-CD and DVD factories

-Environmental organizations

-Audiovisual Production Companies

-Event Production Companies

-Night clubs

-Shows production companies

-Advisory for musicians, architects and engineers

-Audio equipment design companies

-Companies selling audio equipment

-Environmental Control Governmental Institutions


Estimated time of College years

4 -5 years approximately


Main courses considered in the syllabus

Basic Training Courses

Mathematics (5 semesters)

*Physics

Oral and Written Expression

Professional Training Courses

*Acoustics (5 semesters)

Statistics

*Graphic Representation

*Programming (2 semesters)

*Music (5 semesters)

*Electronics (6 semesters)

Aesthetics, Sound and Image

*Sound Recording and Production (8 semesters)

*Sound Systems Design (3 semesters)

*Noise Pollution

Complementary Training Courses

English (6 semesters)

Business Management

Administration and Accounting

Specialties

*Music Producer

*Audio postproduction

*Acoustic of Enclosures

Live Sound


Vocation, Skills and Interests required in the candidate to this career


Interests

- Preferential taste for instrumental musical sound.

-Keen on electric guitars, basses, drums, amplification, etc.

-Taste for different kinds of music

-Motivation for developing solutions to technological problems.

-Interest in using cutting-edge electronic technology.

-Curiosity for sound effects.

-Demanding in high fidelity.

-Interest in the physical phenomenon of sound.

-Sensitivity for art.

-Music enjoyment.

-Interest in communicating through music.

-Ability to master the musical language.

-Ability to play instruments.


Skills

-Good auditory perception.

-Ingenuity to develop solutions to technological problems.

-Fine motor skills.

-Mathematical skill.


-Skills in Physics.

-Sense of rhythm and coordination.

-Musical tuning and harmony.

-Interpreting ability in music.

-Ability in musical expression.

-Ability to create musical ideas.


Vocation

Control the physical phenomenon of sound with high technology and that the sound effect creates the magic that makes people revive sensations and emotions.

Or any specific dream or longing which feels involved or oriented towards this direction.


Candidate Personality

Creative and research spirit

Detail-oriented

Persistent

Teamwork


Work Scope

-Recording Studios and Media along with musicians and music producers.

-In offices, forming a team with other professionals.


Related Careers

Bachelor’s degree in Art, major in Sound

Acoustical Engineering

Electronic Engineering

Musical Production


*Glossary of Terms

*Acoustics: Specific properties of a venue with regard to the propagation of sound within its limits.

Acoustics is the science that analyzes and studies sound phenomena though physical and mathematical models.

*Acoustics (Course):

Physics of Sound as Wave Phenomenon

-Architectural Acoustics (Echoes, Reflections, acoustic absorption, Reverberation Time, Sound absorbing materials, Noise Control).

-Acoustic Measurements (Conditioning and acoustic insulation calculations).

-Psychoacoustic Sensations (Pitch, Sound, Timbre, Direction of Sound).

Physics applied in Musical Instruments

-Musical Acoustics (Consonance and dissonance, musical scales, Acoustic musical instruments, Electronic musical instruments).

Among others

*Musical Arrangement: *Musical Arrangement: Work where the elements of a musical piece are recombined differently without losing their origin.

*Stereophonic Channels: Recording and playback through two channels. The purpose of recording in stereophonic sound is to recreate a more natural listening experience.

*Composition: Musical creation.

*Noise Pollution (Course): -Effects of noise on people.

-Non-clinical effects. -Non-auditory clinical effects.

-Auditory effects. –Evolution of Professional deafness.

*Analogue Electronics: Electronics that work with signs which waveform is continuous, that is, there is continuous information of the values ​​that it is taking.

*Digital Electronics: Electronics that work with signs which waveform is discrete (non-continuous), because it has been coded in term of 1 and 0 to facilitate the application of logic and binary arithmetic applied by the computer.

*Sound Systems Design (Course):

-Systems and Technical means (Microphones, Speakers, Amplifiers, Consoles and Digital Recorders)

-Internal Architecture of Processors.

-Transmission and Synchronization Protocols.

-Systems and Technical means (Interpretation of technical specification sheets of different equipment).

-Automation (Modes and concepts for automatic programming of mixers, and mix editors).

-Computer Setting for audio.

-Assembly and Construction of Audio Devices

Among others...

*Sound Devices: Sound equipment.

*Electronics (Course):

Analog Audio Circuits (Circuit elements: resistors, capacitors and inductors. Circuit Behavior)

Amplifiers (Devices that by using energy, magnifies the amplitude of a signal)

Electronics (Subject that studies electronic circuits that have transistors, which are electronic devices that perform functions of amplifier, oscillator, switch or rectifier of signals).

Digital Systems (Circuits that work with 2 states represented by two levels of electrical voltage, one high and one low, and simulate highly complex mathematical logic constructions).

-Maintenance of Sound Equipment

Among others...

*Physics (Course): Concepts of Physics, Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Oscillations and Waves.

*Frequencies: Number of times that a wave is repeated in a certain amount of time, and that in a sound wave determines the tone of that sound, that is, how bass or treble it will be.

*Recording and Musical Production (Course):

Live Sound

Audio and Microphone Techniques

Electronic Synthesis of Sound (Create music electronically with the same sound as an acoustic instrument; such as emitting the sound of strings, or the sound of drums, etc)

Soundtrack Production

Recording Techniques

Sound Processors on Computer Support

Editing and Montage

Sound in Audiovisual Production

Among others...

*Musical Reading and Writing: Reading and writing in sheet music, that is, a notation system that indicates how the musical compositions should be performed.

*Microprocessor: Integrated circuit or chip that can be programmed to be part of the central processing unit of a computer or be programmed with a specific purpose to be part of audio equipment, a washing machine, etc.

*Multimedia: Way to present information where text, sound, images, animation and video are combined.

*Music (Course):

Music Theory (Musical concepts such as scales, intervals, shape and basic interpretation of sheet music)

Musical Reading and Writing (Reading and writing in sheet music, that is, a notation system that indicates how the musical compositions should be performed)

Musical Arrangements (Work where the elements of a musical piece are recombined differently without losing their origin).

Harmonization (combination of several notes that sound simultaneously from which a harmonic sound results)

Music Appreciation

Musical Styles

Auditory Training (Hearing and identification of the different sections and instruments that make up a symphony orchestra)

Among others...

*Track: Part of a magnetic medium in the shape of a concentric circle, where information is recorded.

*Postproduction: Processes that are carried out after filming an audiovisual piece, such as editing, adding titles, mix and synchronizing video with sound.

*Producer: Person who makes timely decision to achieve the goals that have been set.

*Musical Producer: Person who carries out the set of operations necessary to obtain a musical product.

*Programming (Course):

Algorithms (sequence of steps to be taken by the program to later translate it into a computational language

Programming Language (languages with which the computer works.)

*Sound Reinforcement: Amplification, give more volume to the sound.

*Record: Recording.

*Graphic Representation (Course): Technical diagrams interpreted in block diagram. Computer assisted drawing.

*Reverberation: Very fast echoes that are produced by the encounter of sound waves with the medium in which the sound source is located.

*Semiotics: Science that deals with designs and symbols within human societies.

*Synthesizer: Music generator that electronically produces the same sound of an acoustic instrument; such as emitting the sound of strings, or the sound of drums, etc.

*Software: Encrypted programs to be read and interpreted by a computer.

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