10 Audio Engineer Skills (How To Improve And Highlight Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Audio engineering skills help aspiring professionals expand their career prospects, improve their technical capabilities and boost creativity. It is vital to understand which skills are helpful for this type of profession. By understanding these skill sets, you can assess whether this career path is a good fit for you and find which skills require improvement to succeed in such a role.

In this article, we define audio engineer skills, review examples of such skills, list steps for improving them and discuss how to highlight them in your job application.

What Are Audio Engineer Skills?

Audio engineer skills are required to manage the technical components of various sound recordings, such as music, voices and sound effects. They include technical abilities, like operating equipment and utilising software to capture sounds and creative skills to combine separate parts into a single recording. Audio engineers also rely on various soft skills when collaborating with others in the entertainment industry. They often practise their skills before concentrating on music production, video game development or live performance management.

Related: What Is A Sound Engineer? (With Duties And Career Advice)

10 Useful Audio Engineer Skills To Learn

Following are ten important skills for audio engineers:

1. Audio equipment knowledge

It is critical for audio engineers to be proficient with several types of audio equipment to combine the most effective arrangement for correctly recording an event's audio. They frequently install, manage, troubleshoot, remove and store these types of equipment items. They often understand how to set them up properly according to different types of recording and mixing. It is also helpful if they can explain to others how to apply these techniques appropriately.

2. Equalising techniques

An equaliser (EQ) is a feature of audio software that enables you to identify and strengthen or reduce specific sound frequencies based on your needs. As an audio engineer, you require employing equalisers in various applications such as guitar pedals, stereo systems and instrumental amplifiers. You can also use an EQ to alter the tone of a person's voice in a recording. By understanding various approaches and the equaliser in a digital audio workstation (DAW), you can make high-quality sound recordings and apply a producer's directions more effectively.

3. Audio software knowledge

An audio engineers work with various software, including DAWs, which enable recording, editing, and mixing sounds into a single track. Most DAWs have a feature to connect to digital instruments or an audio interface. For an audio engineer, it is often useful to specialise in at least one type of DAW. Consider learning the most favoured DAW in your chosen entertainment field to optimise your work prospects.

4. Mixing methods

Audio mixing is the process of integrating multiple audio tracks into a single cohesive outcome. It heavily requires both technical and creative ability. The following are some critical mixing techniques to master:

  • Panning: This refers to an audio effect where you play a particular sound only from one speaker area, resulting in a stronger sound in one ear than the other. You can either use a software feature or a physical pedal to learn how to pan audio.

  • Compression: Compression can help equalise the level of a sound's loudness and quietness components, such as a whisper and a shout.

  • Distortion: This refers to an erroneous effect in a sound that appears harsh or garbled to the listener. Reduced distortion is useful for a recorded speech, but it can also help to create a unique sound effect for a music project.

5. Acoustics

Acoustics is the study of the reverberation of a sound wave as it physically bounces off a surface, imparting a characteristic quality to it. For instance, some gaps induce a sound wave to echo or repeat one or more times. When a room has a high reverberation capacity, it can sustain sound for extended periods. As an audio engineer, it is critical to understand which rooms, materials and surfaces offer unique acoustical possibilities. Such understanding is especially important for setting up a recording studio.

6. Music theory knowledge

If you wish to work in music production, learning some fundamental aspects of music theory may be beneficial. For example, a metre denotes the rhythmic composition pattern, whereas tempo denotes its overall speed in mathematical terms. If you know the metre and tempo of a composition you are recording or mixing, you can more efficiently modify sound frequencies or add special effects. You may also consider training your ears to help recognise various notes and frequencies while listening to a soundtrack.

Related: 12 Careers In Music To Pursue (With Salary And Duties)

7. Collaboration

Directors and producers may set the production's objectives and express their creative vision to the audio engineers. It is often beneficial for these professionals to be proficient at understanding directions and supporting the vision of an entire team. They may also collaborate with performers during live performances, which requires them to be frequent communicators and active listeners. An audio engineer may also collaborate with other organisations to complete a recording, which requires the capacity to offer and accept feedback.

8. Communication

Audio engineers work in a collaborative environment with other professions. For instance, a performer may express an opinion about a track they are recording and an audio engineer may then talk with a producer to identify the best course of action. As a result, it is frequently beneficial to have strong speaking, listening and interpersonal skills to cooperate on projects.

9. Adaptability

Staying aware of new trends and technologies can assist audio engineers in improving the quality of their sounds and engaging more fully in the creative process. Certain sounds benefit from particular strategies, while others may require a different approach. Learning to be adaptive might assist you in processing various options. It is especially beneficial if your role requires working on live performances, as many events may change suddenly and require you to adapt quickly.

10. Creativity

Audio engineers are often creative individuals who strive to create mesmerising audio tracks. Professionals in cinema, television, advertising and gaming may also pitch ideas for enhancing the sound of a project and may have unique ideas for utilising instruments and sound effects. It is helpful for audio engineers to have a working knowledge of other creative industries, such as filmmaking or design, to effectively complement a product's visual and narrative components.

Related: 13 Interesting Creative Jobs (With Duties And Salaries)

How To Improve Your Audio Engineering Skills

You may consider the following steps to hone your skills as an audio engineer:

  1. Prepare your equipment. It may be helpful to set up a home studio to practise with the essential hardware and software for audio engineering. You can also use a home studio to do hobbies and projects that can help you improve your working skills.

  2. Consider taking a course. You can gain many important skills through a short course at a community college or a four-year college program. There are many other online courses you can find on the internet to provide you with useful resources.

  3. Work at an internship. Many companies provide internships to entry-level audio engineers to assist them in developing their abilities and building their networks. You can use various online platforms to search for relevant internship opportunities.

  4. Get a mentor. Many individuals benefit significantly from a mentorship. You can approach a coworker or superior to see if they can serve as a mentor or you can connect with an expert in the subject through a networking event or social media.

  5. Study audio circuitry. As audio engineering abilities require a good understanding of many physical components, it may be beneficial to grasp the basic principles of electronics and circuits. You can learn it online or get a training handbook to assist you.

Ways To Highlight Your Skills During The Audio Engineer Job Application

During the job application process, emphasising your skills relevant to audio engineering can improve your chances of receiving an offer. You may consider the strategies listed below:

In a resume

Include your most important skills for audio engineering at the top of your resume in the objective section. It is beneficial to organise your skills in a bulleted list manner using one- or two-word phrases, as this assists you in expressing your skills concretely. Ensure you review the job description's skills and the skills you mention correspond to them.

Related: Guide: How To Effectively Use Action Verbs In Your Resume

In a cover letter

A cover letter is an excellent place to share additional information about your skills in audio engineering. Choose one to three examples from professional experiences where you directly used these skills to complete certain responsibilities in a role. Highlight educational opportunities that helped you develop new skills. Depending on the cover letter's format, you can also reflect your commitment to developing additional skill sets.

In a job interview

A hiring manager may ask you to comment on the skills mentioned in your cover letter or resume during a job interview. Prepare some effective responses before your interview to ensure that you can talk effectively about your capabilities. You can also mention certain examples of your accomplishment or experience in response to other questions which reflect your relevant skills.

Explore more articles