Audio production has been revolutionized by new digital audio recording tools that were unimaginable only decades ago. This revolution has made the business of sound much less mechanical and much more sophisticated, changing the dynamic of the industry. Consequently, study at an audio engineering school is more important than ever for those interested in a career in audio production.
The ears hear by picking up sound waves from the air, and because we have two years positioned on opposite sides of our head we process sound in stereo. We compare the information from each ear and refine out errors in sensing to purify sound. We sense subtle differences in the relative volume between the ears to derive directionality.
Early on, both recording and playback were mechanical processes. The first recording technologies used physical changes in the grooves of a recording medium to capture sound waves. Playback systems then used those physical changes to determine which frequency to replicate and the volume to play it at.
Whether it was a recording of a sporting event, legal testimony, or a meeting, audio recordings created an absolute record of the event. That record had widespread value, perhaps nowhere more than in the entertainment industry. Music was among the first sound recorded, and the value of those recordings were quickly recognized and exploited, creating what has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
Because audio recording has historically had such value, the development of new audio recording methods has been a profitable undertaking. Consequently, audio recording media and methods have progressed rapidly, becoming more dynamic, more robust, more precise, and more sophisticated. And as new technologies have proliferated, they have also become more accessible to the masses.
With the advent of digital recording, sound moved from physical media and to the inside of a computer. By applying computer technology to sound processing, sound editing tools advanced rapidly. Now audio engineers can manipulate sound frequencies in the same way that graphic designers photoshop pictures. They can change relative volume, pitch, even smooth out a warbling tone. Whereas recording was once the theater of audio recording, now that theater has moved to the editing suite.
The final product may be demonstrably different from the original because the quality of an original recording can now be manipulated and processed. And where once technical recording skills were the most valued and critical part of creating a finished audio record, now engineering the sound has stepped into the foreground.
It is possible for anybody to create an audio record because the tools to record and edit sound are widely available. As a result, high level knowledge of the techniques and technologies that are used in the workplace today is essential for those who want to pursue a career in audio recording. A good audio engineering school provides the best way to gain that critical knowledge.