Audio Production School - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 09-20-07, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
Senior Shackster
tweeksound's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Concord NH
Posts: 218
Audio Production School

Hey all,

A question on audio education...

I run an audio engineering course called Audio Tools that's designed to give the students a firm grasp on the technology and techniques of digital audio production and to provide the 1 on 1, hands on experience that I feel is most efficient.

I am currently trying to update my curriculum for the 2008 classes and want to hear suggestions for topics.
I might even lengthen the course if need be.

What would you want to learn in a digital audio course?

What do you feel would be most beneficial to your audio career?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Here is my current 2007 curriculum:

AT 101 Physics of audio (part 1)

This module focuses on the fundamental properties and physical nature of sound. Basic concepts will be covered such as sound waves, amplitude, frequency, pitch, phase, waveforms, timbre, the sound envelope, the harmonic series, overtones, octaves, concepts and types of noise and pure sinusoidal waves.

* Students will begin to develop their critical listening skills thru ear training sessions.

Ear training will be an integral part of every class and will include exercises, audio experiments, and comparing commercial and student recordings.

The training will focus on learning and recognizing the frequency spectrum, mix balance, and audio degradation due to poor recording technique and DSPs such as data compression, dynamic compression, sample and bit rate conversion, and domain jumping.

AT 102 Microphones (part 1)

A comprehensive look at the different types of microphones, their construction, and how they work. Polar patterns, frequency response, pads, roll offs, and phantom power are explained and put to use. Basic microphone technique and choice will be covered as well. Basic studio logistics and work flow are part of this module.

AT 103 Studio Monitors and Loudspeakers

Student will learn the different types of monitors used in the studio and why. Crossovers, woofers, tweeters, active vs. passive, desirable and undesirable specifications for different monitors, and calibration will be explained.

AT 104 Digital Audio Fundamentals

This module focuses on the conversion of analog audio and varying voltages of AC current to the digital domain. Sampling rate, bit depth, quantization issues, storage requirements and recording media are introduced through interactive lessons and class experiments. Comparison of digital audio formats, resolutions and codecs will further enhance critical listening skills.

AT 105 Digital mixers and Signal Flow

This module introduces the digital mixing console and its terminology, functions, and configurations. Basic signal flow and digital and analogue I/O types will be covered. Students will also learn the decibel, flow charts, and metering.

AT 106 Recording Project 1

This is the first recording of the course. Under teacher supervision, students will be responsible for microphone choice, set up, and placement. The session will be produced and engineered by the student. A finished CD with a rough mix of the recording will replace the module's test and will be co-critiqued by student and teacher.

AT 201 Microphones (part 2)

This module addresses advanced microphone placement and choice. Lavalieres, shotgun boom mics, and pressure zone microphones (PZM) will be covered. Stereo and Binaural microphone techniques will be learned thru interactive lessons and real world practice.

AT 202 Effects Processors

In this module, students will use and experiment with all of the different types of studio effects processors and digital signal processors (DSP).These include time based processors such as reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, and flangers, as well as dynamic processors such as compressors, expanders, and gates. Also pitch and time shift algorithms, etc.

AT 203 Mixdown and Digital Audio Editing Techniques

An in depth and interactive look at mixing down a multi-track recording. The panoramic stereo field and soundstage of a mixdown to a stereo track, mix balancing and main bus effects are practiced and discussed. Digital audio editing will be focused on as well. Basics such as cut, paste, move, and insert as well as comping and sound replacement will be covered.

AT 204 Recording Project 2

This is the second recording of the course. Under teacher supervision, students will be responsible for the whole recording, mixing, and mixdown process. The student must employ techniques and practices from all previous modules including proper studio work flow, microphone choice and placement, EQ's and effects processors, proper console routing, automation, and mixdown. A CD with a finished mix of the recording will replace the module's test and will be co-critiqued by student and teacher.

AT 301 Internet Media

This module focuses on the types of compression used in web music. Comparisons of codecs and bit rate resolutions will equip student with the knowledge needed to make the best out of web site and downloadable internet media. File conversion and data compression, along with internet publishing of music will be covered.

AT 302 Automation

This module focuses on the automatic recall and control surface automation of the digital console. Mix automations and trim modes, snapshots and scene memories will be explained and utilized. The discussion will include automation of pans, sends, returns, buses, mutes, EQ and effects. Exercises include total recall of mixdown matrixes and archiving of mixes.

AT 303 Acoustics and Psychoacoustics

During this module students will explore the ways that sound interacts with the environment it's in and the pros and cons of this interaction. Studio design and acoustic design will be covered in experimentations and interactive lessons on acoustic treatments and treatment products of all types. Proper studio design and set up will be addressed.

Thru experiments and examples, students will study the relationship between sound's amplitude and frequency, and human perception of it.

AT 304 Mastering

Mastering is the final stage of a recording before it's final destination. Whether it be duplication, replication, or internet broadcast and publishing. It is the last chance to really get it right and the last chance to really screw it up.

This module will not turn you into a Mastering Engineer (ME). Only years of practice and listening will do that.

This module will teach students what is done during the mastering stage and why. It will provide students with the information needed to make a decision to either send the mixed down project to a reputable mastering engineer at a premium price, or attempt it yourself for better or worse.

Students will learn multi-band compression and expansion, mix bus effects and EQ, limiters, exciters, and stereo track editing. Students will learn how to get their recordings as loud and blasting as possible and adversely, how to keep them as dynamic and natural sounding as possible, and everywhere in between.

There will be discussions on the level wars (aka. loudness wars) and what people and forces on both sides are doing.

Students are encouraged to utilize and practice the techniques and tool taught in this module as much as possible throughout their entire engineering career.

For if Bob Ludwig, Bernie Grundman, and many other wonderful Mastering Engineers didn't do just that, all of the music we know and love would have suffered their absence.

AT 401 Recording Project 3 Practicum

This is the final recording of the course. Under teacher supervision, students will be responsible for the whole recording, mixing, and mixdown process. The student must employ techniques and practices from all of the previous modules including proper studio work flow, microphone choice and placement, EQ and effects processing, proper console routing, automation, and mixdown. (Mastering is optional) The student along with teacher will then be responsible for overseeing the production of the CD. Including artwork, text, and contact info. (graphic design services will be provided) And finally duplication of 24+ copies thru a duplication plant.
tweeksound is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 10-23-07, 03:46 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Audio Production School

Looks pretty comprehensive, useful and well thought out to me.

I would suggest maybe an in-depth unit(s) on computer-based recording, starting from midi basics, through sequencing and virtual instruments to the integration of hardware and software FX, synths, samplers and tape machines with the ProTools/Logic/ect world. Maybe this is already covered in your syllabus, but it isn't spelled out.

Also maybe a unit about people skills in the studio- eg: who is actually the boss here (and how to keep them happy); how to make musos comfortable in a potentially terrifying environment; the importance of strategic enthusiasm, deflecting/defusing of blame and other methods of getting a better take without bruising egos or provoking tantrums; how to explain recording processes and options in a way that makes sense to 'artistes'; basic studio etiquette; conflict resolution strategies; etc.

Lastly (for now), a basic computer/software troubleshooting unit. In the real world, a smattering of geek skills can save a session from disaster. At the very least, being able to talk semi-intelligently to the tech (eg 'yes, I rebooted, power-cycled the interface, reloaded the drivers and rebuilt permissions') will help prevent your client from losing faith in you/the studio.

These are just my first knee-jerk responses -I'll think more on it.... - but it would help to know the duration and intensiveness (ie hours/week) of the course.

Bear in mind that I'm responding as 1- a working musician/recording 'artist', 2- an audio engineer, 3- a part time computer geek, and 4- a very nervous session player.

Thanks for the interesting question, I hope my answer has more use that just warding off my impending dementia ;-)
post #3 of 4 Old 10-23-07, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
Senior Shackster
tweeksound's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Concord NH
Posts: 218
Re: Audio Production School

Studio etiquette is a great idea! Thanks!
tweeksound is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 10-27-07, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 8
Re: Audio Production School

A very nice set of courses.

I'd have to spend a lot more time reading the details to make any useful topical suggestions. So, instead, I thought I'd recommend integration of lab time.

For the labs, of course, you could use your favorite hosts and plugins for the production side. For the physics and more esoteric topics (like psychoacoustics and open synthesis), I would recommend open-ended programmable platforms like Tassman from Applied Acoustics, Plogue Bidule, or MAX. These would allow you to demonstrate a broad spectrum of topics, without having to resort to a warehouse full of hardware.

Depending on class size, logistics for hands-on computer time could be tricky. If you are fortunate to have access to lots of machines, then an educator's license may be the ticket to getting it in all of your students' hands.

Oh, to be a student again! Those were the days...
los153 is offline  


audio , production , school

Quick Reply

Register Now



Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address



Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.


See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome