Sound engineers can work in recording studios, in sound re-enforcement companies (concert venues), radio, film and television, post production studios and theatre. They usually work with a team of creative professionals, including performers, producers, directors and programmers.
Studio sound engineers have the luxury of working in an acoustically stable environment. Here they can simulate different effects with digital processing, creating sound effects like singing in a hall, canyon or cathedral, without actually being in one. Most professional studios use 24 or more, multi-track recording systems (tracks are the separate sound layers). A common way to record a band would be put down a rhythm track and then layer other instruments via the console onto tape. After everything is recorded to tape, the 'mix-down' occurs, where all the effects and processing is brought into play. ''In the old days the whole band had to play and get it right. Now with overdubbing, the drummer and the bass player can come in at different times to play their parts. Computer editing means you don't have to play and get it right in one hit,'' says Tony, an assistant sound engineer. Sound engineers can also create midi (musical instrument digital interface) programs, whereby instead of recording a sound, they can record 'an event', for example, by pressing a key on a keyboard. These are pre programmed commands for different instruments.