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An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

A great-sounding live vocal mic that you might never have heard of [with video]

Is your audio interface fast enough?

Recording a cymbal from different mic positions (with audio)

2 settings every preamp owner should know and use

New vs. old guitar strings: Part 2 - The case for used guitar strings

This voice over studio looks like something out of Monty Python

Setting the recording level control in GarageBand

How would you set microphones for a teleconference? This is real sound engineering in practice.

Do some microphones respond to EQ better than others?

How not to run a recording session!

Do you have to understand electronics to be a sound engineer?

I feel that I am struggling with electronics. Do I really need to understand this or is it something I can ignore?

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Audio equipment works by electronics, so if you have a certain amount of understanding you will gain a good deal of confidence in what you are doing.

However technology has moved on and it is less useful for a sound engineer to understand electronics than it used to be.

For example, imagine you were a sound operator in a theatre musical in the 1990s and while you were preparing the mixing console for an evening performance you found a problem. If you had a good grasp of electronics you would be better able to describe the problem to a maintenance engineer and everything would be working properly much more quickly.

Indeed, you might have found a way of working around the problem, although you wouldn't have been expected to fix it yourself.

These days however digital consoles, electronically speaking, mostly either work or don't work. Knowing electronics would not give you any advantage.

Where a basic understanding of electronics will help, as one example, is in the selection of equipment such as microphone preamplifiers.

Manufacturers' advertising material often talks about such equipment in terms of its electronic design. So if you know what a Class A amplifier is, for example, you are at an advantage over someone who doesn't.

The best plan is to have a really good try at understanding the basics of electronics, from Module 1 of the Audio Masterclass Sound Engineering and Music Production Online Course. If this works for you, that's great.

If you find that it is too abstract and you don't get on with the topic, don't worry. Many working sound engineers have only a very sketchy knowledge but they manage just fine. Concentrate on the areas that are best matched to your talents.  

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By David Mellor Wednesday June 16, 2010
Online courses from Audio Masterclass