Introduction to Audio Engineering - Course Outline
*Every week features “hands on” learning. A portion of class time is reserved to focus on topics or musical styles voted on by the students. The order of lessons may vary depending on the needs of the students or availability of studio musicians.
Week 1: Ear Training and Room Acoustics
Introduction and Goal Setting:
There are many facets to the recording industry. 20% of class time is left open to focus on specific overall goals of the students.
Critical Listening Part One:
The ability to disseminate all the elements of a productions is crucial for any audio engineer. This exercise is the first step of essential ear training.
Wavelengths and Frequency:
Understanding wavelength and frequency, and applying this knowledge to recording and mixing audio.
If you aren’t hearing things properly you can’t mix things properly. We break down how to set up your listening and recording spaces.
Week 2: Introduction to MIDI
Software Essentials (and Freebies):
Examination of the differing software available and tips on where to get started with trial versions and free plugins.
Song Arrangement Basics:
This module discusses the importance of a cohesive song structure and some tips to success.
Recording MIDI Instruments:
Interconnection of MIDI instruments and softsynth recording practices.
Editing and Manipulation:
Editing of audio and MIDI files in a song creation assignment.
Week 3: Microphone Types and Applications.
Transducers and Microphone types:
Examining several microphone types and applications.
Polar Patterns and Rejection
The art of aiming a mic is the difference between a good recording and a great recording. This overview provide great tips on choosing and using the right mics.
Live Microphone Comparison:
A comprehensive live microphone comparison between several common studio microphones.
Tips for deciding which mics are right for your studio, and how and where to get the best deals on microphones.
Week 4: Stereo Recording Techniques
The Stereo Field:
Panorama explanation and best practices guide.
Stereo Microphone Techniques:
Phase coherency and mic placements for various stereo widths.
Record several sources and explore various stereo microphone techniques.
Understand signal routing, gain staging and advanced routing techniques.
Week 5: Introduction to Equalization and Dynamics
Basic compression techniques and applications for various instruments.
Critical Listening Part 2:
Advanced listening techniques and tools.
Using filters to remove unwanted frequencies, enhance tones and make the most of the frequency range.
Digital Signal Processing Part 1:
Introduction to reverb, delay and pitch modulation.
Week 6: Advanced Dynamics and Effects Processing
Side chains, multi band processing, parallel buses, grouping.
Deciding when and where to alter an arrangement to make a song more powerful.
Copyright Overview and Application:
Exploring the importance of copyright and how it applies to artists, songwriters and music producers.
Preparing a vocalist for the studio. Various vocal recording techniques.
Week 7: Advanced Editing and D.A.W. Overview
An overview of computer hardware and what to look for when picking a system.
Advanced editing techniques:
Software shortcuts, track grouping, pitch and timing correction.
Optimizing System Performance:
Free up unnecessary processes taking up valuable system resources.
Storage Media and Backup:
Set up redundant data backup options to protect your work.
Week 8: Introduction to Mix Down
Mix Down Basics:
Examining accepted mix down practices and philosophies.
Mix Down Automation:
Software automation of multiple parameters.
Understanding the relationship between frequency bands in a mix.
Set levels and basic stereo placement of all elements of a mix. Clean unnecessary noise.
Week 9: Advanced Mix Down Techniques
Identify elements which are masking each other and understand how to make each instrument stand out clearly.
Techniques for dealing with the low end frequencies of a mix.
Use of compression and limiting to add energy through dynamics and micro dynamics.
Advanced effects processing techniques. Creating space, energy and clarity in effects usage.
Week 10: Advanced Mix Down Techniques Part 2
Various bus compression techniques used for fullness, dynamics shaping and control.
Each mix pass reveals new information. Learn to work in stages and when to go after each element of a mix.
High End Detail:
High frequency management becomes very important at later stages in a mix. Learn what to listen for and how to react.
Master Bus Treatment:
Common master stereo bus processing techniques and hybrid mixing / mastering.
Week 11: Introduction to Mastering
Define mastering and view practical examples of its value and importance.
Process mastering techniques on mix downs. Learn about mastering tools and file management.
Dither and Digital Language:
Understanding how to get your mix down to accepted lower quality formats with minimal errors and artifacts.
Make things as loud as possible without compromising your mix.
Week 12: Final Steps and Review
Volume, pan and effect automation is typically done in the last stages of a mix for extra impact.
Test your mix against real world examples and see how close you can get to a comparable sonic signature.
Review of materials needed for the final mix exam and any material students would like to re-visit.
Testing mix down and master in multiple environments.
The Introduction to Audio Engineering Program starts at the very beginning and takes you through every step of the recording process. No prior experience is necessary.
The course runs for 3 hours per week for 12 weeks. Your final grade will be based on various tests during class as well as a final mix exam.
Our program is designed to be very flexible with the scheduling. Typical classes run evenings and weekends, but if everyone is in agreement alternate times can be set by the students.
Extra lab time may be purchased by students wishing for extra time in the studio.Contact us to learn more