What Is Sound Engineering - Beginner's Guide
If you have ever been to a concert, you must have noticed the huge speakers arrays, monitors, mixing console, cables running and a lot more. All of this is related to sound engineering. In this article, we will understand what is sound engineering.
If you wish to understand what is audio engineering, check out this article.
What Is Sound Engineering?
Sound Engineering is the field in which an engineer sets up and manages the sound for live events like concerts, theatre and drama in auditoriums, stadium venues etc. In sound engineering, the work is related more to the set-up and management of live sound. The person who manages live sound is known as a sound engineer.
Different Aspects Of Sound Engineering
Whenever there is an alive event, there are different aspects and roles of sound that needs to be managed. These include:
Sound System Design
Big venues for concerts and theatre demand a huge sound setup. System engineers are responsible for the design and setup of sound in venues. Sound setup involves time alignment, venue plans, floor plans, electrical setups, gear setup, monitoring setup, isolation plans, digital audio interfacing networks, grounding and interfacing, gain structure, crossover plans, test and measurements, PA setup and a lot more.
This is a responsible job and requires a highly skilled person and team, especially when there is a lot of sound gear involved.
FOH stands for Front of House. The front of the house is a space generally in front of the performance stage from where sound is managed by FOH engineers.
FOH Engineer, (sometimes referred to as sound guy/girl) is responsible for mixing the sound for the audience at a concert. FOH Engineer controls what the audience hear coming out of the PA speakers. FOH engineers also control the mixing console for a live event.
FOH is a high skill job. Being a FOH engineer demands a cool head, quick response, an understanding of the basic concepts and terminology of audio and sound reinforcement, signal flow and proper gain structure, technical knowledge to operate various mixing consoles and equipment.
A well-trained ear and the ability to recognize frequencies is also a must for a FOH engineer.
FOH engineers are often assisted by a FOH technician who assists them during a live event.
Monitoring and Stage Setup
Whenever an artist performs on a stage, they use a monitoring setup to listen back to what they are playing/singing. Monitoring and stage setup involves setting up the microphones and monitoring system on stage.
Monitoring setup, maintenance and mixing job is carried out by Monitor Engineer. A Monitor Engineer mixes the instruments and vocals on stage for each performer to hear. Stage miking setup and gear setup is carried out by stage technicians.
Monitor Engineering jobs are highly demanding as most artists are demanding when it comes to sound and in live sound time is everything.
Sound Chief Crew
Frequently filled with highly experienced crew people. The Crew Chief is responsible for the sound crew, call times, set up and load out, logistics, managing the local crew, and is the go-to person for all things audio. In most small venues, System Engineers are also the SCC.
System Techs are responsible for getting the sound system set up, dealing with the rigging and cabling. System techs work in the team of System Engineers.
Stage techs are responsible for the setting up and wiring of the stage. They are responsible for microphones, stands, and cables, as well as the patching systems. Stage Techs will assist other departments in the set-up of the overall sound system. Stage Techs also work in a team of System engineers.
These are different roles are responsibilities in sound engineering that an engineer needs to fulfil.
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