Audio Engineering 101: How to Build a Career as an Audio Engineer - Careers in Music
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While the focus when it comes to music and film is almost always solely on those singing or speaking the dialogue, there are countless jobs that go into supporting those players. There is an entire industry that works in the background, one which is incredibly important, but not well understood.

The people who develop audio technology, set up speakers and microphones at shows and concerts, record vocals and instruments in a studio, smooth everything out and mix together singing with drums, guitar, and so on: these are the Audio Engineers. They are the ones responsible for getting the beautiful singing or the heart-wrenching words from a performer’s mouth to your ears, and it’s all a lot more complicated than it may seem.

If you’re curious about audio engineering, what those in the field do, what it takes to get there and how you may be able to study and one day find your place in this world, read on!

Here’s what we’ll cover in this basic overview of audio engineering:

  • What is audio engineering?
  • What is an Audio Engineer?
  • What do Audio Engineers actually do?
  • Other job titles
  • The four specializations you need to know
  • Studying audio engineering
  • What degrees and certifications do Audio Engineers need?
  • What’s the average Audio Engineer salary?
  • Staying on top of technology

Along the way, we’ll hear from respected Audio Engineers working in a variety of roles. Read on for thoughts on breaking into the industry from Berklee Music Production and Engineering Professor Susan Rogers, the pioneering Studio Engineer who worked with Prince, Tricky, and David Byrne, and Igloo Music’s Gustavo Borner, who has worked on albums by Marilyn Manson and Juanes and film soundtracks like Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Watchmen.

What Is Audio Engineering?

First things first! What actually is audio engineering? Well, at its most basic level, audio engineering is the act of producing a sound recording of any kind. That’s pretty vague, but it’s good to let you know it applies to many different fields to begin with.

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What Is an Audio Engineer?

When someone says they are an Audio Engineer, this can mean many different things, but they likely fit into one of two general categories. The first is probably what most of the people who clicked this article are looking for, but there is another, one which isn’t talked about as often, but which is also important and worth mentioning.

As most people think of them, Audio Engineers use a wide variety of tools and technology to take sound coming from one initial source, such as a Singer on stage or in a recording studio or an Actor on set, and get it to the audience.

That audience can be standing right in front of them, such as is the case at a concert or a musical, or we can be talking about someone sitting at home watching TV. Both of these scenarios will require a person with an understanding of audio engineering.

The second kind of Audio Engineer is one who is actually a scientist. This type of Audio Engineer is one who researches, designs, and possibly even builds new technology that allows other sound professionals to improve the live and recorded experience.

These are the people who have improved the sound quality in TV and film throughout the decades, and the ones who ensure that even if you have the cheapest seat at a show or concert, you can hear much better today than you would have years ago.

The two types of Audio Engineers work together, in a sense, though not often actually on any specific projects. Typically, when someone uses the phrase “audio engineering” in the music industry, they are referring to the former option.

What career roles can you do with an audio engineering degree?

Gustavo Borner (Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Watchmen)

The Studio Audio Engineer is in charge of all the technical aspects of a recording. From picking and placing the right microphone to capturing it into an audio file and then processing it. Processing can include mixing with other elements in case of music or mastering for a video game, or any number of potential uses.

The Live Sound Engineer does a similar job but for live events: microphones on stage or at a podium, mixing them into speakers for public address or broadcast.

Jay Messina (Aerosmith, KISS, Miles Davis)

Studios have been closing because everybody is their own Engineer and Producer, and they go home and do it. If someone is serious about getting a job, one option is to go to a TV station.

For instance, I have a good friend who works for Good Morning America. That could be fun. It’s got a certain amount of glamour to it–mixing some of the top bands, whoever happens to be on the show that morning. If you get attached to a TV station, you might be doing audio for football games, too. Depending on your mindset, that could be great. There’s a lot of travel involved. And if you like football, that’s even better.

Then there’s live sound. You have to be proactive and create your own spot. You have to stake your claim to what you want to be doing. If you want to do live sound, you’ve got to be visible, go to local clubs, listen to bands and approach them if you like them. Do they want to record a record? Maybe you’ve got Pro Tools and you can do that.

Or you could volunteer your services to do live sound. There’s a lot of glamour and there’s a lot of travel. You’ve got to be ready to do the work, though.

Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne, Tricky)

After getting trained in the audio arts, you might find yourself capturing sound just like a Photographer or Cinematographer. Capturing the sound–or mixing the sound–is basically the role of an Engineer.

Mixing sound after all the performances have been recorded is like being a chef–taking the individual ingredients and making a soup out of it. That’s what mixing is, and it’s a very high art. If you’re a Record Producer, what you’re doing is listening to the original musical idea and figuring out how to turn it into a record. By “record,” I mean recorded music for commercial purposes, a recording of something that you intend to try and sell.

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What Do Audio Engineers Actually Do?

Audio Engineers are the ones who need to understand everything from the latest technology for improving sound to where to place microphones for a performance. They work on the technical aspect of sound and recording, which can be very technical.

In addition to actually placing the microphones around a stage for a concert or on the dress of the woman who will be starring in a big Broadway musical, Audio Engineers need to make sure everything is perfect during sound check, they need to stand behind a console and sometimes mix audio live to ensure everyone can hear properly.

Sometimes they do this in a studio, while other times, they’re working at a rapid-fire pace, just like the performers . . .though they often don’t receive the same recognition for their work.

What skills does a Sound Engineer need?

Jay Messina (Aerosmith, KISS, Miles Davis)

You’ve got to know the technical end of things like the back of your hand so you’re not thinking about it when you’re in the studio. A big part of being of service is just that: being of service to the artist or Producer or whomever you’re working with. It’s that relationship, that communication, between you and whomever you’re working with.

The recording business is the communication business. That also relates to how you actually communicate. It’s back to being present, being of service to whom you’re working with.

If you’re going to record a vocal, you can’t get wrapped up in how you’re going to do it technically. You have to be there for that person. If you’re getting hung up, and the Singer has to wait ten minutes for you to get your technical skills together, he’s not going to feel like singing after that. Then you blew it.

When you’re really there with the people, you can concentrate on how to make them comfortable so they can just go in and play music. It’s all about the music. That has to come first.

Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne, Tricky)

They were a little bit different in the days of analog engineering, but essentially today’s skills are the same. Engineering skills are like painting skills, and as you can tell, I love analogies.

A Painter working in oils needs to learn how to push paint around on canvas so that it shows the behavior of light when that light hits skin, hair, wood, trees, decaying fruit, and so on. Light behaves differently when it hits these objects because the objects have distinct textures, so they reflect light differently. They also have different colors. Likewise, a Sound Engineer needs to learn how to push sound around so that it mimics how sound behaves in the natural world.

Or if you’re doing an abstract painting, like a Jackson Pollock, that gives us an aesthetic experience that may not necessarily have anything to do with reality. You’re pushing sound around to achieve an aesthetic aim to allow the listener to actually ignore it. This is the funny thing about being a Mixer or an Audio Engineer.

If you’re doing your job really, really well, they won’t even think about you. They won’t even know you’re there because when a person listens to music, they’ll only hear the music. They’ll get lost in the fantasies that we enjoy while we’re listening to music, and they’ll be thinking about that emergent property that is music. They’ll be thinking about the big picture, not the individual details, so you try to make those details seem so natural that they feel like they just belong there.

That takes skill. You have to learn something about how frequencies cover each other up. That’s called masking. You have to learn depth of field and how to position objects so that they seem right in front of your face versus off in the distance. You have to learn about panning.

Panning is really important. Should that guitar solo be straight up in the middle, slightly left or slightly right? These things make a difference because our brains have two hemispheres, the left and right hemispheres, and the two hemispheres of our brain respond to sound differently. Panning changes how we emotionally respond to a piece of music. Little things like that. Record Producers and Mixers have to learn to recognize which elements in a piece of music are carrying the most weight.

For example, if you’re casting a movie, it might be an ensemble performance where there’s 10 Actors and each one has equal screen time and is equally important. Or it might be a more traditional movie where there’s a lead Actor who we follow throughout the movie. Then there’s a co-star who supports the lead Actor and a few other bit players who are getting just a bit of screen time.

It’s similar in music-making. You need to recognize if this is an ensemble piece or if this is a vehicle for the vocal, lead instrument, or rhythm section. All of that takes skill—ear training skill.

In all right-handed people and nearly all left-handed people, the left temporal lobe, which is above our left ear, is the region that processes speech. The right temporal lobe, which is above our right ear, is the region most active with emotional sounds, musical sounds, and voice intonation—like the emotion we’re trying to convey in the tone of our voices. These two regions of the brain evolved to be slightly different, so one half could take the information and the other half could take the emotion.

In the body, our sensory modalities cross over. Your right eye goes first and most heavily to the left hemisphere. The signal that comes in your right ear terminates first and most heavily in the left hemisphere and vice versa.

Let’s say you’re talking on the phone, and you hold the phone to your right ear. You’re mostly processing that sound where we process words in the left temporal lobe.

I tell the men in my classes to pay special attention… If you’re arguing with your girlfriend on the phone and she says, “You never listen to me!” move the phone to your other ear. Move it to your left ear, and you will be more inclined to pick up on the emotion. What’s the gist of the feeling she’s trying to get across to you right now? That can be helpful.

The same thing happens when we pan our musical instruments. If you’ve got something panned hard right, you’re going to be more inclined to perceive it as information. If it’s panned hard left, you’re more inclined to perceive it in terms of its pitches or its rhythm.

Sound Engineer Frank Filipetti said this to me, “If you think panning doesn’t matter, listen to your music on headphones and then reverse your headphones 180 degrees. You will get a totally different feeling.”

It’s really cool. When I left the music business and earned my Ph.D., I learned about what’s going on in our brains as we perceive music. I remember thinking, “Gee, I wish I’d known that a long time ago.” I knew it intuitively, but I didn’t know why it was happening.

Most of the books written on music perception and cognition are written for specialists. But the book I’m writing right now that I hope will be out either later this year or early 2022 is on music listening. I talk about those kinds of things.

Gustavo Borner (Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Watchmen)

You have to be good with technical stuff in order to get the equipment working right. You also need to have an ear for sound, be able to work with the equipment to achieve the desired sounds. People’s skills are also very important to be able to be a part of a team with Musicians, Actors, Producers. You need to be aware of what they need and be able to provide.

Other Job Titles

While the phrase Audio Engineer is correct, there are other job titles these professionals can be called, and, for the most part, they are actually interchangeable (though not always . . .but that’s a much more intricate conversation we don’t need to have right now).

Audio Engineers can also be referred to as Audio Technicians, Sound Technicians, Audio Technologists, Recording Engineers, Sound Mixers, Studio Technicians, and even Sound Engineers, depending on what they’re doing.

The Four Specializations

While many Audio Engineers may be proficient in every stage of their job, there are four general areas where a professional may focus, and it’s good for everyone to at least understand what all of them are.

When it comes to capturing commercial audio (working in a recording studio, essentially), Audio Engineers are needed for recording, editing, mixing and mastering. It’s tough for laypeople to recognize and understand the difference between them all, but Audio Engineers certainly will.

Each one of these specialties can be a job on its own, and there are those who stick to one lane and stay there, while others pick up the responsibility for more than one, if not all of them.

These categories can be broken down even further, and depending on the industry (film versus live versus the music world), there can be a handful of people working within each…but again, that’s much more complicated, and it would require a completely separate piece to go over them all.

Studying Audio Engineering

Before diving into what schools offer audio engineering classes or what degrees may be necessary, a prospective student has to decide what kind of Audio Engineer they’d like to be one day. It can be a tough choice, especially for someone so young who may not have had the opportunity to explore either road yet, but leaning into one or the other is required because it dictates what type of courses one will sign up for.

The Audio Engineer who mics people, works behind the boards in a recording studio, and who actually sets levels and makes sure everything sounds perfect before somebody begins singing will focus more on practice, gaining a lot of real-world experience as they learn. Those who opt to go for the more scientifically-inclined option will need to pass more classes rooted in math and science, as they will go on to work in labs developing new technologies.

Those who stick with the former will not have the training to simply switch over to the latter.

Is an audio engineering degree worth it?

Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne, Tricky)

“Worth it” is an interesting qualifier. If you had asked if a degree is necessary, I would have said, “No, absolutely not.” That’s pretty clear cut. But worth it depends on where you’ve gone to school.

I think the folks spending money and going to Berklee are getting their money’s worth for a number of reasons. They are being taught by Professors who’ve made a lot of records in a lot of different styles of music from hip-hop to alternative indie to world music. You’re speaking with people who’ve worked at the highest level and who have been where you hope to go.

The other thing that a really good program will give you is the opportunity to work with your peers and to learn to analyze and criticize music in class in an environment where your Teacher can model, “Here’s what we hear when we are listening to works in progress. Here’s how we talk about them. Here’s how we consider how records could be made.” It’s worth your time and worth your money.

When our students graduate from Berklee, they are far more advanced than I was when I first started in the music business. They’ve got a leg up on other beginners. There’s still much they have to learn, but with good Teachers in a good program at a good school and surrounded by other talented folks, you do learn a lot.

Jay Messina (Aerosmith, KISS, Miles Davis)

It wouldn’t hurt. However, when I was the Chief Engineer at Record Plant, we wanted somebody right off the street without any formal training because we wanted to train them our way. Sometimes, somebody right out of school has an agenda of how they should be doing things. The biggest detriment to an Assistant Engineer that I’ve had in the past is when they’ve got their way of doing things.

I have an example where, after an incident, I never worked with this individual again. He was operating Pro Tools, and I asked him, “Why are you doing it that way?” because I wanted to learn. He became defensive and said, “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

That was such a turn off. He wasn’t being of service to me. I had asked him a simple question. He should have just answered it. With him being defensive, though he was very good, he went beyond why he was there. He was supposed to be of service.

I would never dissuade someone from furthering their education, but like I said, it has its place and its limits. If you know to keep your technical background in place and you’re being present–it always comes back to being present and knowing your place.

Gustavo Borner (Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Watchmen)

It definitely was for me. I graduated thirty-two years ago. It was a great knowledge base to get started in the field and keep learning and mastering my chops.

What Degrees and Certifications Do Audio Engineers Need?

While the actual classes and experience students will take and garner during their time studying audio engineering may not differ wildly from school to school, the name of the focus of study might. Unlike some professions where everyone receives the same type of degree, but just at different schools, Audio Engineers can learn what they need and end up with diplomas with varying phrases.

Audio engineering programs across the U.S. come disguised with names like Music Production and Engineering, Music & Technology, Music Audio Production, Recording Arts & Technology, Sound Recording Technology, Recording Arts, and so on. The more scientific options may be called something else, and they typically fall under the engineering umbrella, as opposed to one focused on the arts.

Many Audio Engineers will work toward a bachelor’s degree in whatever their school of choice offers — this should usually be enough. Those who work in the scientific side of the field may have to go on to earn a master’s. Audio Engineers who want to be at the top of their industry or who want to teach others may then be required to earn a doctorate, though it’s not common.

It’s also worth mentioning if a student wants to focus on working in studios and on the road, as opposed to sticking to the more scientific route, a four-year degree might not be necessary at all.

There are plenty of instances of people being hired straight out of high school to begin apprenticeships and internships and learning what they need from experience. Others opt to go for associate’s degrees, which typically only require two years of study instead of four, and while that’s not often an option for many other professions, audio engineering is one where gainful employment can still be found with an AD.

Is it hard to become an Audio Engineer?

Gustavo Borner (Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Watchmen)

Nowadays there’s a big need for Audio Engineers because a lot of content is being produced…more than ever. It’s hard finding the right opportunity but with perseverance things happen. You have to start as an Intern or apprenticeship and climb your way up the ladder.

Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne, Tricky)

It takes a long time to work your way up to a position where you’re working as a Live Sound Engineer or a record maker–a professional record maker. That takes a long time because it takes time to learn your craft. It takes years to really become what we’d say is competitively great.

Let’s use a sports analogy. It’s not that hard to play basketball, baseball, or soccer. Kids do it all the time. You could say, “Yeah, everybody can play soccer,” but not everyone can play it competitively in the World Cup. This is the difference. To go from being an amateur to being a professional, you have to acquire a lot of skills.

At some point, your skills will have to be as good as the folks who do this really well–just like if you were an athlete. You can plan on taking an entry-level position and working for a long time to hone your craft to where you can get out there and compete with folks doing this for money.

Jay Messina (Aerosmith, KISS, Miles Davis)

Don’t be set on one thing. Have a wide scope. Get into any job that’s related. Pick the thing you love the most and go after it. Whatever’s the most fun to you, go after it. If you can’t get that, get something that’s close to it. Things will open up for you only if you do one-hundred percent the job you get—even if you get a job in a studio getting coffee for people.

If a Producer asks you to get coffee without milk and sugar and you bring it back with milk and sugar, he’s not going to like you very much. He’s not going to call you the next time the Engineer leaves because he’s not feeling well. He’s not going to call you and be like, “Hey, why don’t you sit down and help me do these vocals?” That’s how it happens so much of the time.

I’ll give you a quick example. When I worked for A&R Studios, I was doing commercials. Back then most of the other Engineers doing the same thing said, “This isn’t where it’s at. When we’re doing records, then we’re going to have fun.” For me, when I went in to do a jingle, I knew I had maybe 60 seconds to get a drum sound. If I complained for 30 seconds about it, now I had only 30 seconds to get a drum sound. So that wasn’t my posture back then.

Back then it was the exercises–the challenge in front of me–and I was tuned in. When I started getting calls to do records, people noticed and said, “Wow, you’re getting a drum sound really fast!” and “Wow, you’re a good editor!” Those are skills I developed while doing those jingles and it was because I was there and present. I got good at all of those things because of that.

The people complaining and thinking about when they would get a job doing records, they weren’t really present for that job. The consequence was that they didn’t do it very well. That’s why I advanced. It’s really important that whatever anybody’s going to do, be present. Do it the best you can. That’s when the universe will open doors for you.

What’s the Average Audio Engineer Salary?

Salaries for Audio Engineers vary widely, as is the case with most professions, but there is a general range. According to one informed source, Audio Engineers can expect to make somewhere between $31,000 and $70,000 in the U.S., with the average coming in around $56,000.

The same site states there is something of a hierarchy in the industry, with those working in the theater industry pulling in the lowest salaries, while those who work in studios and in the music industry typically make more per year. Audio Engineers who typically focus on films are usually on the higher end. Those Audio Engineers who are classified as scientists can bring in even higher sums.

What is the average salary for an Audio Engineer?

Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne, Tricky)

I stopped working in the music business in 2000, so an average salary today would be difficult for me to describe.

The thing about the pyramid now is that it’s gotten much taller. It’s still a pyramid, but it’s taller and narrower, so the folks who are at the very top are making obscene amounts of money. The folks at the bottom aren’t making any, and the middle range is not as broad as it once was.

In my era, a successful working Engineer or Mixer would make $100,000 to $500,000 a year. Mixers made the big money. If you were working on commercial records, you certainly made a six-figure salary, and you got time off if you needed it. It was a pretty good life.

Record Producers got royalties, so a Record Producer’s salary depended on whether or not the records made profit. If you had a hit record, you made a lot of money. If you had a record that did just okay, you would get your basic salary. Your salary would be anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 a year.

With the collapse of the traditional record industry paradigm, there’s less money to go around these days. That said, I’ve read a few articles that have indicated that folks are making a decent living. By a decent living, I mean they’re making $80,000 to $100,000 a year as Engineers and Mixers.

I should make it clear, though, that you have to work for many years before you reach that level. Our colleague George Massenburg once said, “You have to work for seven years in this business before you can call yourself a beginner.”

That is not an exaggeration. I’m teaching students that the first ten years of their career is when they’re planting roots and establishing themselves in this business. If they’re an Engineer, a Mixer or a Record Producer, they can expect to have those roots planted by the time they’re in their early 30s, and they can expect to achieve the peak of their success in their early 40s.

It’s a long haul. Think of it like being a Lawyer, a Politician, or a Doctor. Politicians and Lawyers don’t win their big cases or get elected to a big important office in their early 30s. It’s rare that something like that would happen. It’s in your 40s when you’ve finally been doing this long enough, and you’ve finally accumulated enough successes, that you’re now a big deal.

It’s like going on a long journey–the journey of their careers. When they leave Berklee, they’re tempted to think, “All right, I’m ready. I can go out there and I can start making records.”

I have to remind them that they’re just pulling onto the on-ramp. Once you get on, guess what? There’s a traffic jam. It’s going to move really slowly, so you have to have the patience to sit there in your car and make that slow, steady progress.

If you hang in there, the traffic will clear, and you’ll be able to go faster. You’ll make real progress because a lot of folks won’t be able to wait in that traffic, and they’ll pull off. Nothing stops pure persistence.

Gustavo Borner (Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Watchmen)

You start at $0 on some internships and will get minimum wage till you can actually start running sessions. Once that happens, I’d say you can look at $40k per year to start. As you get better and more responsibilities it goes up from there. Top Music Engineers can make 7 figures.

Jay Messina (Aerosmith, KISS, Miles Davis)

When I first started at A&R Studios, I remember hearing one of the owners say, “The sky’s the limit!” That’s true, but you’ve got to be really proactive. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never made a lot of money, but I still have a great time and a great life. It’s about what your goal is and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

If you’re doing it because you love it, you’re going to do your best. If you’re doing it just to make a lot of money, you’re not going to do so well. The guy doing it because he loves it is going to get the next gig. You’re not. You might make your money for that particular job because you’re going after the money, and that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with making money, but I don’t believe that should be your primary purpose.

Let’s say you hook up with a band and get in on the ground level. Maybe you do live sound with them. They become popular and want to record a live album–you get a piece of that record. The odds are like winning the lotto, but there is a chance where you can make some money.

There’s no real salary. If you get a job at a TV station, you’re going to join the union and make whatever the union rate is. It’s not crazy good money, but it’s consistent. I don’t know what the rates are these days.

I worked in a TV studio one day and didn’t like it at all. The union attitude was a big turn off. As soon as I got there, they said, “It’s time for lunch.” Then after three hours at like three o’clock, they said, “Okay, we’re going home now.” I was ready to work. It’s got its limitations, but it works for some people.

You can also teach. In a way, you have to come up with your own gig because of the way the music business has changed. You have to make your own opportunities.

Staying on Top of Technology

The best Audio Engineers in the world, whether they be the ones who are more hands-on or those who stick to the scientific field of study, are the ones who understand both the latest developments and the origins of the job. Sound used to be recorded on tape, now it’s done digitally, and there are countless programs and apps and pieces of equipment available these days that didn’t exist only a few years back.

It’s tough to stay on top of what’s happening now and what’s coming next, but this is why the best stand out. Throughout college, it’s important all up-and-coming Audio Engineers do their best to not only look forward but backward as well. The new tech being employed today wouldn’t exist without the original, and understanding how both function, as well as where they fit into today’s landscape (since some artists still prefer older methods) is key.

Audio Engineer Gustavo Borner
Gustavo Borner

Gustavo Borner has been engineering and producing albums and soundtracks for over 30 years. After high school in Buenos Aires, Gus attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Music Production and Engineering and Film Scoring.

Once he was done at Berklee he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in recording studios. After a couple of internships, he landed an assistantship at former Giorgio Moroder’s studio, Rusk Sound in Hollywood where he became Chief Engineer. At Rusk, he was in charge of numerous album sessions as well as soundtracks for films like My Cousin Vinnie, Kindergarten Cop and Come See the Paradise (Alan Parker).

Gus then became a freelance Engineer and continued making records and soundtracks as an Engineer, Mixer, and Producer. Album projects include Andres Calamaro, Juanes, Roberto Carlos, Carlos Vives, Marilyn Manson, Pepe Aguilar, Kinky, Placido Domingo, Phil Collins, Luis Miguel, and Fito Páez. Totaling over 40 Million records sold and receiving 11 Latin Grammys and 4 Grammys.

His relationship with MTV led to many Unpluggeds, like the multi-platinum seller Ricky Martin Unplugged, Juanes, Los tigres del Norte (Producer and engineer), Pepe Aguilar, Kinky, Bunbury, Zoe, and recently Molotov and Los Autenticos Decadentes.

Live projects include Cirque de Soleil/SODA-Septimo Día, mixing for CD, and live multi-speaker show. Also mixing the broadcast for the New Orleans Jazz Fest from 2004 to 2010, remixing several DVDs from the festival as well. Also the Newport JVC Jazz Fest and music shows like Blind Boys of Alabama, Live from New York, Santana’s “Corazon LIVE” and the music film Make it Funky (Bonnie Rait, Keith Richards, Aaron Neville). Gustavo also mixed live several MTV awards shows and webcasts like the Foo Fighters for Microsoft’s MSN Music.

Film scores include Deadpool 2, the Rush Hour franchise with Lalo Schifrin, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, Watchmen and Suckerpunch with Tyler Bates, Sunshine, Miami Vice and 28 Weeks Later with John Murphy. Gustavo produced songs for films like Finding Nemo (Beyond the Sea) and Fly Me to the Moon (big band). Gustavo was the Scoring Engineer/Mixer for the critically acclaimed Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s Birdman, winning a CAS award, a TEC award and a Grammy.

Video game work includes Destiny 1 and 2, God of War, Fallout, several games for Blizzard and the upcoming Spiderman. Gustavo has been working for several groups within The Walt Disney Company since 1996. Since the year 2000, Gustavo operates from his state-of-the-art studio complex in Burbank, Igloo Music, where he runs 5 studios to record, edit and mix in stereo, 5.1 and Atmos. Clients at Igloo include Sony, Warner Brothers, Universal, Facebook, Ubisoft, and Disney.

Audio Engineer Jay Messina
Jay Messina

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. When I was 8 years old, my father bought me a set of orchestra bells. Music has been a part of my life ever since. My first studio gig was at Don Elliott’s studio. He had Les Paul’s one inch, 8-track machine. After a year, I went to A & R Studios for 4 years, where I spent many weekend hours honing my skills. The next 15 years were at Record Plant NY., recording all genres of music including Aerosmith, Kiss, Miles Davis, and lots more. My own studio is called West End Sound.

Audio Engineer/Berklee Professor Susan Rogers
Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers holds a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from McGill University (2010). Prior to her science career, Susan was a multiplatinum-earning Record Producer, Engineer, Mixer, and Audio Technician. She is best known for her work with Prince during his peak creative period (1983-1987) but production/engineering credits also include David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, Geggy Tah, Nil Lara, Robben Ford, Tricky, Michael Penn, and Jeff Black.

She is currently a Professor in the departments of Music Production & Engineering and Liberal Arts at Berklee College of Music, Boston, where she teaches psychoacoustics, record production, and analog recording techniques. Susan is the Director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory for investigating the influence of musical training on the auditory pathway. She is currently authoring a book on music listening for W. W. Norton, NYC.

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