How to choose the right engineer for your music project
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
Whether you're a seasoned studio professional or an up-and-coming artist, choosing the right engineer for your music project is just as important as finding the right producer or manager. Sure, you could bring in your brother's friend who has a recording setup in his basement, but wouldn't you rather work with someone who has experience working with similar artists to yours?
Do they know how to listen?
Of all the skills that an engineer needs, the most important is listening. An engineer's role is to act as a conduit for your ideas, and this means that they need to be able to hear what you're trying to convey; it's their job to turn those ideas into reality.
It's not enough for an engineer merely to listen in general; they also need to be able to discern between different kinds of sounds, and make decisions based on what they hear. They must be able to listen carefully not only when you are speaking but also when you are playing or singing—and especially when no one is talking at all! A good engineer will know how each instrument sounds under different conditions (like volume or pitch) as well as what effect certain changes have on its sound (such as moving around while recording). They will also be aware of how changes in room acoustics can affect the balance between instruments within a mix—for example, if there are too many hard surfaces like glass or metal nearby then some frequencies may become overbearing at high volumes. The right engineer knows these things because he knows how important it is for engineers themselves...
Are they easy to work with?
The most important thing for you to ask is if the engineer is easy to work with, because you're going to be spending a lot of time together! Engineers are not your typical employees. They are creative people who bring their own style and ideas into the mix, so it's important that you feel comfortable working in a space where your vision might take some twists and turns. For example: You might have an idea for a song but know nothing about producing music yourself, so are they open to your suggestions? Would they consider collaborating with other people on this project (like another writer or producer)? Will they help teach me how things work so I can learn more about this industry? If all these questions make sense for you, then chances are good that this person will work well as an engineer for your project.
Can they keep a deadline?
Can they keep a deadline?
The answer to this question may seem obvious: if an engineer can't meet your deadlines, then they're not going to be able to meet their own. And if they're late on their own projects, it's likely that you will be, too—which means that it's possible that your project will never actually get finished.
Will being late stress them out?
Being late stresses everyone out; there's no doubt about that! But what happens when being stressed stresses you out? It makes everything worse, right? If someone goes into a project already feeling anxious and worried about meeting deadlines (which are often unrealistic anyway), then they won't be as productive or creative as they could be under better circumstances.
Can they help with budgeting?
Perhaps the most common question when it comes to hiring an engineer is, “How much will this cost?” While it's true that budgeting for a project is going to be one of the most important things you do, it can also be frustrating because there are so many factors involved in determining what your final costs might be.
Before you start looking at engineers and their prices, I recommend breaking down the entire recording process into its component parts. The first thing to consider is how much time your artist will spend in the studio with an engineer. This could range anywhere from two hours to ten or more depending on what type of music you're working on or how many takes are involved for each song.
The next item on the list would be paying for any musicians who might be performing on any tracks (such as horns). Then there are other aspects like renting microphones and buying cables; but let's focus mainly on these three items here: musician fees, studio rental fees, and engineer fees (which includes equipment charges).
What is their relationship with their clients?
When you’re working with an engineer, it’s important to make sure that they understand your vision and can communicate effectively with everyone involved in the project. For example, if you are a producer and are having trouble communicating with your engineer, they should go out of their way to help you understand what they need from you in order to accomplish certain tasks.
If an engineer isn't receptive or helpful when dealing with clients, then this is another sign that they may not be right for the job. Additionally, it’s important that all parties involved in making music can work together as a team. An engineer who does not have a friendly personality or is unable to communicate effectively could create problems within the studio environment and negatively affect both parties' ability to make great music together!
Will they have time for your project?
When you're trying to hire an engineer, it's always a good idea to ask how busy they are. If they're booked solid for months or even years in advance, that means you'll need to be flexible with your schedule and wait until they have time available.
If you know exactly when you want to record your album and it conflicts with the engineer's other clients' schedules, this could be a deal breaker. The best engineers are in demand because their work is high quality; if yours isn't willing to make sacrifices for their other projects (or worse yet, seems disinterested), that could indicate that he or she isn't really committed enough for this type of project.
The relationship between artist and engineer is similar to the bond between athlete and coach.
It’s important to note that the artist/engineer relationship is a bit like that of an athlete and coach. The engineer is responsible for the technical aspects of the project, while the artist handles all creative decisions. The two must work together to achieve a common goal.
In order to make this process easier, try to find someone who will understand your vision and help you bring it to life through their skills as an engineer. You want someone who can fulfill their role in a way that makes you comfortable jumping into uncharted territory!
If you want to work with someone who cares about your success, we’re here for you.