How many times have we found ourselves thinking What an excellent record...?, how many times have we found ourselves saying What a great song!? The answer to both questions is probably many. We all have our favourite albums, singles, live CD's but do you know exactly how many people made them possible? Alright, the band creates the music but who makes them sound the way they sound?
Here is a short explanation on which people, besides the band, are behind an album and what they do. In no order of importance:
Recording Engineer They are the ones who set the stage for all the musicians to give us their best sound in the Recording Studio. Among their responsibilities, they record the band's work and sonically shape all of the parts for the recording, including the selection and placing of microphones, placing the instruments, and placing the headphones for the musicians in the current session. Although the operation of the recording studios is high tech, the creative side is what sets Recording Engineers apart.
Music Producer A Music Producer is something like a movie's merge of the director and the producer, all in one. They are the ones that carry the biggest responsibility of the recording project.
The producer gets much creative freedom because after all, they are the visionaries, the ones that foresee how an album is going to sound. Among their responsibilities we can find organizing all the musicians and studios as well as other people hired for the project and assisting the talent with song arrangements and content. They work very closely to the musicians in order to create a masterpiece of musical art.
Mixers and Remixers They literally convert songs into records (CD's). Mixing is the most vital part of the recording process. They are involved in the final procces of the recording, arranging all of the recorded material into one final product. The Mixer has a lot of creative influence on the project, sometimes, as much as the Producer. This position can be one of the most lucrative positions on a Recording Studio because they receive royalties from the CD sales. It is the Mixer's knowledge and creativity that will reshape all of the rcorded sounds and performances into a musical experience.
Post Production Engineer These are the guys responsible of joining together and lining up all the sound for many different media applications. This position involves technology but also offers an extremely creative environment in which you work directly with the music.
Guitar Technician The also called Guitar Techs are the musicians best friends. They are responsible for setting up, calibrating and tuning the performer's guitar and amplifiers collection. At live shows, Guitar Techs play a very important role, coordinating and exchanging guitar and amp set-ups as needed.
Mastering Engineer The Mastering Engineer is the final link between the final mix and the actual CD that is released for sale and radio play. They work very closely to the Music Producers, placing all the songs in a proper order and editing or reconstructing the arrangemets at the Producer's request. The Mastering Enginner then adds an overall treatment to the final product, and issues a Master CD for duplication. This treatment process is very creative and allows the Mastering Engineer to build a reputation for excellence. Once this is achieved, the demand and pay scale for a professional Mastering Engineer soar off the map.