Yet another exciting role in the audio industry is the mastering engineer. A mastering engineer is hired by the artist or producer of an album to complete the audio mastering process during the post-production of an album. The mastering engineer has specific expertise in preparing and transferring audio from one raw format to the desired master format.
Becoming a mastering engineer can be an exciting and interesting career in the audio production industry.
So how do you become a mastering engineer?
The first logical step in any career is to get a relevant education. To become a mastering engineer, you may consider studying music engineering or production. Studying music theory and music history can also be beneficial to an aspiring mastering engineer as these studies will train your ear (your most valuable tool as a mastering engineer!) and give you a deep understanding of music. Once you have completed your degree, use it to get your foot in the door in a studio as an intern or an assistant. Although you want to be a mastering engineer, you will not become one overnight! It will take time before people feel you are experienced enough and trust you to master their records. Start with an entry-level position to get a foothold in the industry and work your way up!
Develop Your Technical Skills
In addition to a formal education, work on developing your technical skills. In order to land even an entry-level position with a studio, candidates must already possess a certain level of technical knowledge! The best way to do this is the buy some equipment and start playing around with it. Acquaint yourself with a number of local bands or artists and start doing some work for free. Doing work for free may not seem ideal, but gaining experience is the only way to move up in the industry! Make sure that you understand exactly how to get the best sound from your equipment so that you can produce the best tracks for your artists and clients. While understanding your own equipment, also make sure you are up to date with the latest technology and mastering techniques and trends.
Gain Real Experience!
The best training to become a mastering engineer is on the job. Experience is key! Once you land that first position as an intern or assistant, never stop learning and developing your skills. Listen to everything you can, so that you can train your ear. Some people specialize in one genre, but you will open up many more doors if you are able to work on a wide variety of genres. As you become experienced, you can get promoted either within your studio or be able to apply to higher up positions at other studios, with each promotion getting you one step closer to your goal of mastering engineer!
It may be a long time before you make it to the position of mastering engineer. You will have to start on the very bottom in an entry-level position, but after you have spent time on the job and significant time in the studio, you will develop the skills necessary to become a mastering engineer.