Audio engineers are some of my favorite people. They tend to be pretty mellow, which makes them a blessedly steady presence in the studio and a good counterpoint to my, um, effervescent emotions.
They’re always ready with a comeback to any line I quote from Star Trek, Firesign Theatre, Firefly, or Monty Python. I am in awe of their skills and instincts, and I am forever grateful for how much they teach me, problem-solve scary tech glitches, reassure me, and make me sound good.
They are, literally and figuratively, grounded.
A few memorable examples:
Heather, just want you to know that a three-ton oak branch fell on my studio roof over the weekend and fried a few components. But don’t worry; everything will be online in time for our workshop. [And it was.] -Don Ross, Don Ross Productions
I really don’t hear that hum. Here’s a spectrograph of the sample. See? It doesn’t even register. – Zach Herries, Mosaic Audio
You’ll be fine; we can fix this over the phone. Do you see ‘Setup’ in the top menu? Okay, click the drop-down and choose ‘H/W Buffer Size’ and tell me what it says . . . -Dan Reyhle, Pro Sound & Video
Mom, you always think you suck and you don’t, so I am NOT going to punch in over that last take. -Logan Donielson
You will be fine. Your mounting arm WILL fit this monitor. I promise. [And it did.] -Dylan Driscoll, Sweetwater.com
Before you say no: the deadline isn’t until July. -Paul Fowlie, Common Mode, Inc.
We can stitch some of those in so you don’t have to do so many pick-ups. -Dirk Gouwens, Oasis Audio
All you have to do is relax and narrate the book. We’ll take care of the rest. -Nathan Semes, Deyan Audio
[Regarding the outtake full of obscenities that I forgot to trim off before I sent a file late one night …] There was certainly no offense, Heather – it was pure comic relief. In fact, thank you for it! – Greg Lawrence, On Purpose Productions
And from the many unnamed engineers who have uttered this music-to-my-ears:
It sounded great. Still rolling.
We can fix that.
No, you didn’t peak.
No, you didn’t pop.
There’s a work-around.
Do you need your headphones turned down?
Yeah, we’ll be using the Neumann U87 today.
It’s fine; we have plenty of time. You’ll get it. Take Twenty-Five. And: rolling.
So as we celebrate the narrators and producers nominated this week for the 2014 Audies Awards, I would also like to send a huge thank-you to those unsung heroes, the wonderful audio engineers who make the nominees (and the rest of us) sound — shiny!