The Value of Audio Engineering Training
When it comes to audio, there are many factors that influence great sound. Audio Engineering Training helps you understand technical sound concepts like RF frequencies, noise reduction technology, and microphone selection, as well as how to use everything from lapel mics to networked microphone systems that ensure proper use or installation.
Learn more about the value of this kind of training from a few Shure audio experts: Andrew Francis, Ursula Helmstaedt, and Andrea Granata.
Andrew Francis – Applications Manager, UK
I’m Andrew and I’m a nerd... and very lucky to be a professional nerd. I am the guy who wants to know everything that can be done with a product and then try and make it do more. I even have the user manual to my new oven at easy reach in the kitchen. Who knew there is a special mode for cooking chips to make them crispy and a different mode for pizza so you don’t end up with burnt cheese and a soggy base? Not me until I undertook some training, which can be as simple as reading the user manual.
On a professional level though I owe my current position as Manager for Applications Engineering at Shure UK to product training. At my previous job I was involved in a project which was using Shure MXA910 microphones and at the time they were brand new to the market and nobody had any experience with them in the real world. To prepare for this I attended the Shure MXA Certification training and got hooked. The project was challenging, but I, and my now colleagues, learned a lot about MXA910 and how far you can push it. This experience was integrated into future MXA Certification courses which I now have the pleasure of presenting. We work in the technology industry which is ever-evolving and if you don’t continue to expand your knowledge, you will quickly fall behind.
I am often asked what the most valuable lesson is that an audio engineer can learn, and, in my opinion, it is to fully understand audio gain structure and how the audio flows through the system; and that every system is different. This can hugely help with troubleshooting as changing a Gain or EQ setting in one place can have any number of unintentional knock-on effects elsewhere. A close second is understanding IT networking. This sounds odd coming from an audio engineer, but all our integrated systems products connect to and rely on a network and understanding the protocols used will help massively. I almost spend more time now talking about IP addresses and Subnets now rather than EQ or Automixing. Networks offer almost unlimited flexibility in how we route audio around a building but with that flexibility can come complexity. Understanding even the basics of IT networking is an essential part of an Audio Engineers job in today’s world.
Ursula Helmstaedt – Applications Engineer, Germany
During my first few years as an audio engineer, I didn`t have much time to dedicate to trainings. I was either running events or preparing for them, and if not getting paperwork finalized to complete the project and get paid! I was willing to work, and I loved working, and I learned a lot from other engineers during the events when supporting them. And that is what is mission critical for an audio engineer: In my opinion a sound engineer needs to mix and to hear the results – this is a practical thing to do.
As I become more experienced and was further supported by a team next generation (yes, I grew older during that time) I felt that I needed to learn more about theoretical topics as well. Don`t misunderstand – I completed an apprenticeship for three years where I also went to school and was educated in lights, audio, statics, electrotechnology and so on. But I was really a fan of getting my hands on loudspeakers and mixers rather than sitting in school and listening to teachers (even if some of them were really cool guys).
I started working as a freelance sound engineer during the first year of my apprenticeship and later felt I needed to understand more technical audio concepts. I started to do some trainings from time to time, which were predominately on-site trainings, and sought our further training from people in the business, just talking to and describing audio issues we had.
Today audio engineering training is more valuable than ever as technology is an ongoing process and under constant development. This is the example I like to use: Some of the really experienced and famous sound engineers I worked with were absolutely stubborn when digital mixers became more and more state-of-the-art. They learned mixing on analogue desks and wanted to stay with this technology. But sooner or later every one of them ended up in learning how to use the digital ones – and they of course do so until today. The other aspect of training is that it keeps you fit – similar to doing sports activities. It keeps your brain fit.
Finally, there are several categories of audio training that are quite important. First of course is the practical work. You will never get the pressure that is on you in a live situation into any training room.
But you can prepare yourself. I think for audio it`s listening first. So, for demos of different microphone technologies for example it would be really helpful to have a studio where you can listen to the different sounds. Or have a band that is playing, and you do recordings with different mics. I know that this is difficult to realise.
For wireless it`s similar. You can do trainings to learn how a device works. But when it comes to “does ULX-D or AD sound better” you will only get a result when you have a band playing and you can test and compare and “feel” like the device behaves in a live situation.
Consider trainings based on the type of audio you’re interested in- are you an experienced sound engineers or RF managers? Or perhaps a musician interested in sound technology in general? There are many courses depending on your skill level and goals.
Andrea Granata – Market Development Manager, MEA
How has training benefitted my engineering role? Having deep audio knowledge about concepts no one else knew gave me the opportunity to take (small) steps in my career, but also to arrive somehow ready when I came to Shure.
Training was critical to this journey as it gave me confidence and the ability to learn quickly: you may not have learned how to solve a problem, but you know where to look for a solution.
Based on my experience as an Audio Engineer, RF and Networking are the categories of audio training that I feel are most important. A solid understanding of these concepts will serve you well in your career.
Visit https://www.shure.com/en-US/support/shure-audio-institute/online-training to explore the latest Audio Engineering Training course in your region.