In a sea full of microphones, speakers, preamps, and plugins sometimes we just want to know “What the hell do I need anyways?”
What am I doing?
The best way to figure out what you may need for audio engineering is to determine what exactly you plan on doing. Do you plan on mostly creating beats? How about straight up recording engineer? Maybe mastering instead? While one person could and can do it all, having the money to do it all right from the beginning is probably not an option. Furthermore, if you are really honest with yourself you will probably realize you are better at one aspect of audio engineering and not another.
Do not spend your time, effort, and cash in the beginning on the things you are not good at. Instead really hone in on your better skills in audio engineering so you can prevent wasted expense and time. Once you have really settled in, then expand into other avenues of audio engineering. Just because you sell a good pizza doesn’t mean you should start out selling homemade ice cream as well!
So what is the minimum that everyone needs?
While some audio engineers need microphones and others need synths, there are a few common key items that every audio engineer needs to work with sound. If you do not have these bases covered you will inevitably run into trouble down the road. Here are Lean Audio’s bare minimum recommendations for every audio engineer…
- Monitors – No not a computer monitor, speakers! This is where all the work you put into your craft comes out of so you better make sure it is not lying to you! You do not need to start with the be-all-end-all of monitors, but you would also do yourself an injustice to settle for little iPod earbuds and call it day!
- Conversion – Just because the built in sound-card on your computer can make 1s and 0s turn into sound, doesn’t mean it is doing it accurately. Any audio interface or standalone converter is going to be a major upgrade in speed, performance, and connectivity over the built sound-card in your computer. There is no need to start with the most pristine stand alone converter, but working with a built will make you want to pull your hair out!
- DAW – While you might say that to a kitten (daw it’s cute!), a D.A.W is every audio engineer’s best friend. The ability to manipulate audio in a non-linear and (mostly) non destructive environment is a god send. If anyone ever says you should work with tape tell them to pay for it and see how quickly they get quiet.
Not so bad of a list is it? But remember you will of course need other items to perform your particular task as an audio engineer. Stay tuned for more in-depth guides for particular subsets of audio engineer and what exactly they require.