The audio engineering field encompasses areas which mix the realms from music and acoustics, up to the realm of the electronic (digital and/or analog) systems.
Acoustics, architecture, electrical engineering, the musical arts, psychology and the cognitive sciences are today deeply mutually envolved to "audio engineering". The terminology often is associated to the labor of the sound studio professional, who performs the technical recording, edition and mastering of a sound track, an activity that requires such a level of organization and art that takes possession of the terminology "sound engineering". However, the audio engineering within the industrial and technological realm, as we wish to approach here, connects to the design and construction of gear and systems for audio and music, both hardware and software.
build theaters and other physical spaces - including virtual ones - for
acoustic audition is audio engineering business.
To design and build studios for recording/production of sound tracks is audio engineering business.
To develop gear for music/voice recording, processing, edition and playback are activities within the realm of audio engineering.
To produce systems for sound analysis, interactive synthesis and transmission of audio signals are audio engineering businesses.
To contruct acoustic musical instruments, such as pianos and violins, is a sophisticated audio engineering work.
To produce keyboards and musical synthesizers is an audio engineering work.
To analyse and simulate sound environments and acoustic scenes by means of spatial sound projections is a real audio engineering work.
To code, compress and process the audio signal is pure audio engineering.
Timbre modeling and acoustic signal transformations for such diverse goals as storing audio information and the study of auditory perception are tasks which employ audio engineering..
In spite of clearly being a professional area whose products literally "play" at our ears around the clock and everywhere we go, the audio engineering is a developing field in Brazil, and is growing in terms of new enterprises and contributions, mainly concerning its interface with the electronic and computer engineering industry, to where currently main attention headed - the revolutionary impact of the digital audio over the musical market and its future trends come to celebrate this evidence.
"First world" countries, notably those where musical production and the fabric of acoustic instruments have given birth to an important culture/business, lead the advances on audio and musical technology production. In several countries real music industrial plants were built, and there are uncountable companies producing and marketing musical products, hardware and/or software, created to support all musical production phases - synthesis, recording , processing, storing, transmission, and enjoying. Brazil is a young country in the roadmap culture of producing musical technology and audio electronic equipment, but has been growing its share in the market progressively.
Famed for its extensive musical activity and enriched by a population of extraordinary composers, musicians, scientists and technical professionals, the country has all ingredients to join the group of musical technology developers, and contribute powerfully to the musical scene. Several groups are organizing around this ideal, interested in encouraging the development of musical technology in Brazil, for example the MusArts virtual institute, and also some industry associations.
Some courses at graduation and post-graduation levels are offered in some Brazilian universities, although a specific university degree in audio or sound engineering is not available as a consolidated and recognized independent major in the realm of the engineering. Usually, in this domain, professionals start from electrical/electronic engineering courses, or from software/computer engineering, to specialize in the audio, acoustics or music applications fields. To graduate in this speciality requires a genuine interest and lots of initiative from the professional, choosing the courses and institutions that will study based on the final segments which most attract him/her, be them connected more to the electronic engineering, or to the software engineering, or to acoustics and to music.
In october 1996 it was held in Rio de Janeiro the I Brazilian Conference of the Audio Engineering Society. The event was a success, very pleasant, and a lot useful for a wide range of professionals involved with audio and music production. The attendance of these events (both fair and conference) are marked by the presence of several professionals in the audio and music industries. Lectures covered fields such as digital audio workstations (DAW), audio restoration, audio technology, TV audio, new technologies, studio equipments and facilities, acoustics, etc.
I have compiled some references about this 1st. conference, which are available here.
The II AES Brasil was also held in Rio, from the 27th. to 29th. of november in 1997. Since then, the Brazil section of the AES (Audio Engineering Society) organizes annually a national convention.
Other realizations of the conference/fair AES Brasil are in the AES Brasil website.
The IX AES Brasil National Convention jointly with the III National AES Brasil Conference was held in Sao Paulo in april/2005.