Day at Work: Audio Engineer


My name is Kevin Weber and I am an audio engineer,
producer, mixer in Emeryville, California. I started playing drums when I was thirteen
or fourteen and I haven’t really put down the drumstick since. And, I started recording the bands
I was working with about ten years ago. There’s tons of great studios in the Bay Area. Lots of great equipment. Lots of you know great rooms. However, I think the biggest thing is the people and the vibe you pick up in the studio. And you wanna be comfortable,
you wanna almost be at home. You wanna feel like you are in your living room or in your bedroom. You do not want to feel like you are going into a hospital or a museum. Gotta try to make it as welcoming and as comfortable as possible. So, that’s why I tell people to
come by. They’ll have fun. They’ll remember… oh yeah! Music is supposed to be a fun thing
not this stressful, meticulous endeavour, but something fun and easy and natural that everybody
can do. ” “I like it.” (laughter) “Something that I do easily.” (laughter) “Add that to your Match.com
profile.” “What’s that called method acting or whatever?” “Yes.” “Stanislavski.” (laughter) “We’re rolling.” I use protools at my studios and uh I use uh variety of plug-ins that go along with the third party plug-ins. And, then on the outside in the real world, we have a lot of out board gear. We have a nice Trident board. We have an Atari tape machine. A variety of a compressors and mic breeze and uh a biblioteca of microphones and instruments. The list goes on and on.
But, uh, I try and do a lot of stuff in the box and what goes into the computer. I just
try to make it sound as good as possible. So, you aren’t sitting there twiddling your
software knobs for hours and hours trying to get the sound right. The transition from being just a musician uh to being on the other side of the glass, being the engineer not
quite as easy as I would have hoped. But, uh it was fun. It’s just a different set of problems.
Different set of challenges to face. Uh, just in terms of the equipment and your uh, skill
sets that are required. My my educational path to where I am now was not a typical one. I have an undergraduate degree from University of Missouri, Columbia in mechanical engineering. Uh, then I worked at Lockheed Martin Missiles Space, built nuclear weapons. I went to Cal
had a masters in mechanical engineering focusing in nanotechnology, worked at Sandia National
Labs and now I run a recording studio. That is not the typical path one has to take to
get to where I am now. However, in engineering, problem-solving mindset has helped. So, although
I don’t have an audio engineering, uh, degree, Uh, just having an engineering approach to
things I’ve taught myself a great deal. “Try now!” (music playing in the background) “Much better.” “Good.” (music playing in the background) “A little…can we put a little .. can we… there’s still a little delay.” “You and your delay.” “Sorry man, can we just run through it again?” “How ’bout that?” “Yeah.” Uh, I see sometimes engineers who, uh, go from high school to a school and they are
like “Sweet I wanna record bands!” But, they don’t have that much musical experience.They
don’t have that network that they can leverage of off. So they have their experience after
schooling and they’re like “Sweet! I’m ready to go!” But they don’t, they weren’t as active
in their social network as they should have been. So being in a band, first off, helps
just because you know a lot of musicians and the more musicians you know, those are the
clients and the customers that are going to be coming to your studio. Studios are pretty
good about letting, uh, people try intern for them. Where you can at least see what’s
going on. There’s some definitely great schools and great opportunities out there for you
in terms of formal education. But also just picking up an inbox and Pro Tools and going
after it. Just record yourself, record a band, just dive right in. Um, I think both those things hand in hand can get you to where you need to be.

72 Comments

  1. tramon13 said:

    i went from making nuclear bombs to bomb beats story of this guys life. lol. and they say wen u grow up you cant be all u wanna be.

    February 10, 2012
    Reply
  2. TheMrdistortion said:

    Very interesting video, Thanks for putting it up!

    July 29, 2012
    Reply
  3. Jfreak!89 said:

    Thanks, that was really helpfull! and interesting…

    August 13, 2012
    Reply
  4. synchroflip123 said:

    Diving right in….very awsome

    August 17, 2012
    Reply
  5. QualityTouchEnt said:

    it's so true that there's more to a good sound than equipment; the people, the vibe, the ideas, creativity, energy, the skill, the talent, understanding and a trained ear for music ALL contribute.

    August 20, 2012
    Reply
  6. Deribbitive said:

    You pretty much just described my life. Currently an EE major at University of Florida trying to break into the field with pro tools and my mbox. Studios tend to not pay much attention to my applications however since schools such as Full Sail exist where the folks are specializing in exactly what the studios want to see. It's tough but I'll get there!

    August 20, 2012
    Reply
  7. LOMan said:

    Almost like.. one of the core parts of physics understood by engineers is waves… and sound is made up of waves…

    October 13, 2012
    Reply
  8. StratMatt777 said:

    Degree: Not required
    Money to build studio: Mandatory

    November 9, 2012
    Reply
  9. THYRDEYE said:

    supporting yourself as an indy artist

    December 28, 2012
    Reply
  10. Gee Emm said:

    Nice piece. Just one thing. DOE "makes" nukes. LM makes the missile that would carry them. Did he say "tape machine"?

    January 16, 2013
    Reply
  11. Darcy Gray said:

    I'm currently doing my undergrad in mechanical engineering but it has always been my dream to be in audio engineering. This is pretty reassuring.

    June 4, 2013
    Reply
  12. Abhayadev S said:

    cool man.. i am also in the same path.. having an engineering degree in communication now started own home studio.. run for your passion..

    June 26, 2013
    Reply
  13. Carl Smith said:

    hey cool video!

    July 9, 2013
    Reply
  14. Carl Smith said:

    cool

    July 9, 2013
    Reply
  15. DAVIDSDIEGO said:

    Great insight, thanks!

    July 25, 2013
    Reply
  16. Brian Peterson said:

    I agree 100% the experience in the studio has to be as cool as possible and that happens when they make you feel at home.
    Some places because the engineer feels he is "bigger" than life, he looks down on the musicians and makes them feel uncomfortable, and that really shows on your performance! but when you feel at home and they are truly friendly then you perform full of inspiration.
    Millions of $ in equipment does NOT necessarily make you perform better, it's the warmth of the people there.

    July 30, 2013
    Reply
  17. Matt C said:

    So true. When people start loosening up and relaxing, the takes go by a lot quicker, I've found. Making the experience comfortable is VERY important.

    August 22, 2013
    Reply
  18. astralkidd said:

    Great video. Good for you Kevin…

    September 28, 2013
    Reply
  19. mainor miguel said:

    Question is there any anything to control mixing console from backstage we have a 24 ch Yamaha analog and I would like to know if there is a cable or something to control the mixing volume from outside of the stage

    September 30, 2013
    Reply
  20. Cory Klein said:

    i need an internship

    October 1, 2013
    Reply
  21. Thomas Zink said:

    everyone who tried to make a good sound, knows, how difficult it is.

    October 24, 2013
    Reply
  22. David Mack said:

    -Are you able to get the same jobs with a CERTIFICATE in audio engineering that I would with a DEGREE in audi engineering ?

    November 29, 2013
    Reply
  23. Akreem said:

    Me too i have political science degree and left everything and start my own studio .

    April 29, 2014
    Reply
  24. Donovan Gogarty said:

    I just graduated from high school with an interest in recording and I am a drummer myself involved in multiple types of bands my school offered, but I'll be entering college with an unknown path. Any suggestions on what to do in college to continue this interest? I'm thinking of just buying the minimum (protools, fasttrack, keyboard, mic) and starting connections and recording people just to gain experience and knowledge of protools.

    July 6, 2014
    Reply
  25. Cardell Thomas said:

    Board outdated and demoted to paper desk?!?!?!?!

    August 12, 2014
    Reply
  26. derek spigener said:

    No real 'one-size-fits-all' answer to your question. However, this is somewhat typical of the path a lot of engineers follow.
    (Maybe minus the other engineering degrees, as in his case) My path was obviously different in the sense that I learned the dynamic of producing /audio engineering from sitting in control rooms with engineers for hours upon hours through many sessions over the yrs. 
    Some people simply enroll in Recording school, such as Full Sail Recording in Fla etc… Also many around Austin area. Those are good but must be followed up with 'real life-hands on' studio session experience.
    I find that one will learn as much simply 'interning' under another established engineer. 
    I'll try to send more links of recording school.
    D

    August 21, 2014
    Reply
  27. spark300c said:

    go to show that people when  mechanical  engineering degrees can be flexible. I have mechanical tech degree and find out that music as hobby has technical side in terms of production. more so than draw a picture. if make sense to make musician comfortable becuase if feel uncomfortable that feeling will be expressed in there music. sometimes musicians give off unconscious  feelings into there music that not every one picks up on. 

    September 5, 2014
    Reply
  28. Sims Gamer said:

    What plug ins do you use

    October 24, 2014
    Reply
  29. Sims Gamer said:

    I'm working with pro tools 11 right now and I'm wondering what plug ins you are using.

    October 24, 2014
    Reply
  30. wav.yliving 波打つ said:

    This is what I want to be. I need to know what steps it takes to get to this level though, anyone know?

    November 12, 2014
    Reply
  31. Andrew Zeleno said:

    nice level of recording. try to use 24 bits insted of 10. lol

    November 23, 2014
    Reply
  32. Tito Ramirez said:

    What are the steps to get your own recording studio like him?

    March 12, 2015
    Reply
  33. Dino said:

    This is the best video ever

    April 14, 2015
    Reply
  34. Derptrollz said:

    Must really love doing audio engineering to switch from a job that requires a masters from Berkeley to recording garage bands. I wonder if his salary is anywhere near what it was before.

    April 26, 2015
    Reply
  35. Frank Zilla said:

    I'm a mechanical engineer so I'm glad he mentioned his engineering background, which is kinda weird

    May 16, 2015
    Reply
  36. ohh said:

    I wanted to be like Roland and have my own Neptune's Kitchen if you will.. I still want to do that somehow<3

    July 19, 2015
    Reply
  37. SLiP Milano said:

    This is honestly one of the coolest jobs ever in my opinion.

    August 2, 2015
    Reply
  38. David Dacanay said:

    Can you be an audio engineer and record your own music at the same time? I've wondered if becoming an audio engineer could help me in trying to get that sound that I'm looking for when I record myself.

    August 18, 2015
    Reply
  39. Jonathan Bennett said:

    I love how the audio is over-modulated on a video about audio engineering … I am a broadcast engineer and he is too close to the mic.

    October 9, 2015
    Reply
  40. Gabe Paul said:

    3:08 decreasing that buffer size to minimize latency.

    October 19, 2015
    Reply
  41. 8Finious said:

    My dream! No money – No graduation – Only my heart and will to achieve xD I am also looking for a job in the music branche, so if someone can help me to get closer to my dream, …..

    October 25, 2015
    Reply
  42. Marcel Zachary said:

    I'm taking a class based on thisMy real profession is to be a recording artist if not I'm would like to around music that's I'm trying to be a audio engineer or producer also hey maybe I can get connected that way also.

    October 27, 2015
    Reply
  43. Bundy Oklazman said:

    is this guy really using Pro Tools!?

    November 25, 2015
    Reply
  44. Ali Kazi said:

    have luck 😉

    December 8, 2015
    Reply
  45. Isaac E. said:

    Do you sound proof your room or acoustically treat it

    December 23, 2015
    Reply
  46. pan frances said:

    is there many job opportunities for this?

    January 4, 2016
    Reply
  47. Dialogue with the Stars said:

    Anyone know if you can make a comfortable living out of this in the UK?

    January 10, 2016
    Reply
  48. Inspirmentalist said:

    my dream job.

    January 30, 2016
    Reply
  49. Doug Novato said:

    Hi! Congrats!!! Nice video!!

    I'd like to know how to make my voice sounds like I were under the water, in distance, on the telephone, using a mask, high above the mountain , inside a coffin, behind the door, in a church robot voice.. etc.
    How to modifying the sound of the voice according to the ambient/atmosphere?
    What kind of software should I use?
    How can I learn to make voice effects?
    What name of the person who work with sound effects?
    I would like to learn all about this to improve my fandubs! 🙂

    Thanks.

    March 24, 2016
    Reply
  50. Nick Deweese said:

    fell in love with engineering @ 12, been on and on since thankfully @ 21 im getting back into It. -DMG.

    April 17, 2016
    Reply
  51. Thorsteinn Halldorsson said:

    It's Otari tape machine not Atari.

    June 15, 2016
    Reply
  52. Jarred Garrison said:

    yeah id like to be one, but im not a brainy, mean where I live, we only have so many schools and they these schools i cannot get into or consoder going to, I have a genreal deplima and thts it, nothing special, sound slike u gotta be an honor student to do this, i barley made it out of high school, i dropped out and went back, i look back on it and wonder if there was a point on me compleating high school……cuzz its not gettingme anything, even tho i went to school for twelve years to find out i cant do what i wanna do all becuase of a fucking test score, this world is soo depressing =, they need to make this shit eaiser to get into, like i am willing to learn it ba=ecuase i am intereste, i have a basic studio, but dnt know how to mix or master i just record myself, but dnt know how to do it right, and im serious bout my music and when i show people my recprdings, they will prolly think im some kinda joke becuase I dnt know how to use nor do I understand what a compresser really is, i tought my self how to play guitar when i was 5 ears old, i know i have ears, but I dnt have the brain of an I.U student nor a purdue student, harbor, etc……could someone here tell me the hole thow down and crush my dreams? cuzz im tired of thinking bout this and i feel like im looking into this for nothing, becuase im not an I.U student i cant get tht, just like i cant get a drummer, a band going, a girl friend becuase im not fucking vauleable enough to teach , cuzz the stae says im too fucking stupid, dnt even know why the fuck I finsihed high school for real, cant even go to colledge so wtf

    June 17, 2016
    Reply
  53. Super duper tuper said:

    that is so rad . engineering is the way to go , bros!!

    July 13, 2016
    Reply
  54. Mark Trujillo said:

    what the hell i thought this was a day in life

    August 3, 2016
    Reply
  55. 1980sCoverband said:

    @ 3:00 PT native recording: remember, to set the buffer size as low as possible, say around 32 ms. And for playback/remix buffer size 1024.

    August 30, 2016
    Reply
  56. hanks duncans aka sparks said:

    what u doing its what is ma panssion and dream job bro incase of any hwelps i will garttfull thanks

    September 9, 2016
    Reply
  57. LJ said:

    How's the pay in this career path?

    October 3, 2016
    Reply
  58. JoeAD said:

    Is there many jobs in the uk for this?

    October 7, 2016
    Reply
  59. Cody said:

    I would like to go to college for this, but it looks super overwhelming

    December 9, 2016
    Reply
  60. KONATA CARTER said:

    Love the video hey im a producer check me out at and get free beats monthly

    December 22, 2016
    Reply
  61. ElectroPhonic EP Guitars said:

    Very cool. Thanks for your post.

    January 3, 2017
    Reply
  62. Meep said:

    do not want to feel ya going into a hospitle, hahah yes…great video Kevin

    February 10, 2017
    Reply
  63. Owen Solmen said:

    the audio in this video sucks!

    February 16, 2017
    Reply
  64. fgrzejszczyk said:

    @connectEd 1:15 that is not (mumble). he says Stanislawski's

    February 16, 2017
    Reply
  65. Cato Zane said:

    audio engineers are the best, obviously….love the video!

    February 23, 2017
    Reply
  66. Naing Oo Htun said:

    I feel like this is going to be me. But with a civil engineering degree. Haha.

    May 8, 2017
    Reply
  67. mykell gibson said:

    I'm an artist but I don't wanna have to rely on anyone so much to where I can't do it without them so I start school for music engineering​ July 3 really looking forward to this🔥

    June 17, 2017
    Reply
  68. Abhijeet Baliga said:

    Do I need to know how to play an instrument to venture into audio engineeringing?

    July 20, 2017
    Reply
  69. 8675309 said:

    That band sounded awful

    July 31, 2017
    Reply
  70. 8675309 said:

    That part where the artist is complaining about latency… wow, that issue should have been sorted out before the artist ever got there

    July 31, 2017
    Reply
  71. Freddy Zapata said:

    I like to record raw.. Just a mic and an instrument with just some equalizer and compression not too many sound effects, I like the artist to sound as natural as he can in the studio as in a concert

    August 20, 2017
    Reply
  72. oyster101 said:

    such a nice job

    August 21, 2017
    Reply

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