Bands are well known for their live performances because they get to showcase their full presentation of music.
You might have seen sound engineers on stage with your favourite band and may have wondered how exactly they work with the band.
One of the frequent questions I get asked by upcoming sound engineers is:
“Do bands have their own sound engineers?”
It is common for bands to have their own sound engineers that may be dedicated to the production of their music and sometimes even their live performances. Bands choose to usually work with an in house sound engineer that understand their sound well and can help them make great records. Such engineers will usually also double as their live performance sound engineers because they can easily help the bands pull off great shows due to the fact that they understand their music beyond a surface level and are more in tune with their sound.
Both independent and signed bands will usually choose to work with their own sound engineer other than having to work with multiple people.
In other situations bands will choose to work with different sound engineers for music production as well as live performances.
Sound Engineers Explained
With regard to the topic at hand we need to figure out what roles a sound engineer can perform for bands.
These primary roles will be in music production and live show performances. Now that we have an understanding of these two roles it’s important that you understand that both these roles can be carried out by one sound engineer or more may be dedicated to specific roles.
The Roles of sound engineers
Let’s discuss the various roles of sound engineers that have to work for bands.
One of the roles that sound engineers play when it comes to working with bands is audio production. This usually means working with the band to produce a record.
It is common for bands to work with one or more engineers that they’ve worked with more than once…. this is because of the working relationships developed with these people.
A good working relationship in music and audio production always translates into good music. This is why you see most artists stick to specific sound engineers. Audio chemistry is something that is true.
It is important to note though that, its not always that audio production engineers will get to step out of their role into another and it’s not always the case that they’ll stick to audio production alone.
Sometimes a band can feel comfortable working with sound engineers that are responsible for the production of their music on live performance sets aswell.
Second role that sound engineers play is handling recording and all the technical bits that are involved such as equipment selection, equipment set up etc… This is a fundamental role because it decides the fate of the music.
Bands signed to record labels will usually have their own dedicated recording engineers that helps them to craft up great records.
Mixing is another vital part of audio production. Music sound engineers will usually be responsible in ensuring that the music recorded is mixed right.
With mixing, the primary goal is to blend instruments and vocals well enough to create a song. This involves using various mixing techniques and tools to help you do this as the sound engineer.
Mastering is the final process of the whole music production process and it is basically an extension of mixing but a more minimal level.
With mastering, the primary goal is to make a good mix better which usually calls upon the use of various tech and tools to do this.
Sound engineers are the people that are relied on for this and it is therefore one of their many roles.
Mastering being such a delicate process requires a good ear and somebody with good engineering skills. Which is why most bands usually entrust their mixes to a specific sound engineer that has proved to properly execute the mastering well.
It is also one of the reasons why most bands will choose to have their own sound engineers.
Live set tech
Live performances call on a subtle touch of sound engineering and sound coordination. Sound engineers that usually work with bands are always better suited to handle their specific work due to the fact that they develop good working relationships.
In live set audio management, sound engineers are the guys that handle all equipment, prepare records for performance and ensuring that audio output levels are handled.
Therefore a person that is best suited to handle such work is somebody that has had enough experience with the bad and knows their music well.
This is one of the reasons why bands may choose to have their own sound engineer…. if this is not the case, they may hire the same people to consistently work on their live shows while other people handle the production side.