What is Audio Production?
What is audio production if not both a creative endeavor and a technical undertaking? On the one hand, you have to have a feel for the music, vibe with the artist, and know when to just let things be. But you also have to understand how the software works to fix mistakes on the fly and make your clients sound the best they can.
Depending on who you ask, audio production may refer to the combination of sound engineering and music production, although there is still some overlap. A music producer should understand the technical aspects of making music, be able to jump on the mixing console if necessary and work directly with the artists.
The work of the music producers does end (or even begin) there. They are responsible for hiring the production team, securing the recording space, hiring background singers and instrumentalists, and overseeing the post-production of a song. Essentially, record producers see the music from beginning to end.
Audio engineers are responsible for helping artists sound the best they can possibly sound. The ability to “clean up” audio recordings in the moment, recognize and address imperfections during playback, and get the studio ready for a session all fall under the purview of the audio engineer.
What is Audio Production?
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to producing a record. It all starts with a song being written–either by an artist or for someone else–and ends when then the song is ready for distribution. For movies, TV, and video games, it’s when the track is ready to be inserted into a scene.
- Sound Mixing
The first step of producing any song, obviously. Creating the melody or writing the lyrics can be done by an artist or independently of one another. The arrangement may be taken care of during the songwriting process, too, ensuring the overall structure (bridges, instrumentals, verses, etc.) of a song is strong.
A producer may hire a songwriter to write a song specifically for another artist or write the song themselves. “Nothing Compares 2 U” was written by Prince and performed by Sinead O’Connor for example. Producers may also choose what songs to cover, which includes getting rights to the song in the first place.
When the tracks are recorded for the song. A century ago, all of the instruments, singers, and others needed to get together in the same room and hope to record the entire song perfectly in as few takes as possible. Today, digital audio workstations (DAW) make it easy to record all the different tracks of a song at different times and bring it all together.
While an engineer will do their best during a session, there may still be issues with a recording. An editor will look for those little imperfections and work to remove them from a track. There could be unwanted hums or crackles or squeaks that may not have been audible during the recording. If there have been multiple takes of the same song (and there always are), the editor will take the best parts and sew them together to create a seamless end product.
Once the recording is complete, an audio producer will go in and make sure all of the instruments, vocals, and other effects sound the way they should. A digital audio workstation and its various plug-ins give an engineer the power to alter the levels of different tracks, add effects, and so on. A mixer may also make different versions of the song for different audiences (or make it “safe” for radio play).
Before a piece of music is ready for distribution, producers will put the record or album through the mastering process. This will make sure the song sounds good for a variety of platforms (radio play, CD, streaming, etc.) and that all the songs on an album sound cohesive as a whole. Altering the balance, volume, and other aspects are perfected during mastering.
What are Audio Production Careers?
Audio producers can be found throughout the entertainment industry, engineering music for records, movies, TV, video games, as well as live sound performances. This can be the writing or composing of an original score, recording sound effects, setting up the studio, or testing the sound and music systems at a live venue.
If it involves sound design, sound recording, or sound reproduction, an audio producer will be needed. Even setting up a small studio for podcasting involves some amount of sound production know-how (although podcasts range in scope, variety, and content). With a strong foundation background in audio production, there are a variety of industries you can work in.
This includes commercial work, such as working with the audio on safety videos, preparing venues for presentations or conferences, and other occurrences where high-quality audio is a necessity. Creatively speaking, the more you work on your craft, the better you’ll be. But what’s the best way to firm up the technical aspects of an audio production position?
One-on-One Instruction From a Mentor
Digital audio workstations and the increased accessibility of home computing over the past few decades have made it much easier to engineer and produce your own music. But just like anything else, practice makes perfect. The problem is figuring out what’s the best way to learn audio production.
There are millions of videos, online tutorials, and other internet resources that help explain what audio production is and how to work on your skills. The question is do they know what they’re talking about–how do you know if you’re getting the right information? And you can’t ask questions about plug-ins or get feedback on your work.
With the Recording Connection Audio Engineering and Music Production Program, you’ll be placed with a professional audio engineer or music producer to see how music is made today. You’ll have access to the latest gear, learn from a professional, and maybe even sit in on a session or two.
And you’ll do it all from within a professional recording studio. You won’t have to wonder if the YouTube video you’re watching is out of date or figure out who is giving you the right information on some random Reddit thread. Our mentors make the music and work with the artists that you listen to every day.