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Department of Music

Introduction to Sound Recording

Course Code:
155800069
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1

A practical course, taught in the Music Recording Studio (Room 439) with possible use of equipment elsewhere in the building (e.g. BGLT, G3, for concerts, workshops etc) and outside on fieldwork assignments. 

Each 2-hour session begins with a Q&A revision of the previous topic followed by practical revision for 30 minutes. Teaching combines whiteboard lecturing with practical demonstration followed by hands-on work by the students. 

Priority is given to BA Music students; you may contact the course tutor during the first teaching week to establish whether any spaces are left.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

It will enable students to record in a wide range of environments. Consideration will also be given to field recording.

Teaching covers not only the practical aspects of sound recording but also the personal and musical skills desirable in a sound engineer/producer. 

Workload

2 hours per week (term 1)

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to the Studio (1)
    Routing through speakers
    What is in the studio and why?
    What equipment is in a studio?
    Technical aspects: the importance of Optimum Signal level, Unity Gain, Signal to Noise Ratio, Routing Mic/line through channel to speakers
  2. Introduction to the Studio (2)
    Routing to Tape
    Input, Routing, Bus, Group, Tape, Monitor. Overdubs.
    Practice Routing to Multi track and recording.
  3. Equalisation
    Frequencies we can hear - demonstrate. Explanation of EQ. Types of EQ: Shelving, Sweep, Parametric, Graphic. Listening practice - Equalising sounds.
  4. Revision of Topics Covered
    Practical work: recording,overdubbing and equalising
  5. Insert Points and Processors
    Patchbay - Normalisation/Semi Normalised. un Normalised. Insert Points and why we use them. Basic use of Gates and Compressors
  6. Auxiliaries and Effects
    How auxiliaries work and why we use them.
    Headphone Mixes. Foldback for live sound. Pre/Post send. Effects-definition.
    What is reverb? (basic parameters of reverb).
    Delay and basic parameters. How to create a variety of effects using delay.
    Listening exercise - identifying effecxts on various mixes.
  7. Mixing
    Intro to concept of mixing. Practical work mixing using equalisation, effects and processors. Mixes recorded onto CD to be taken away by students for self assessment.
  8. Intro to Microphones
    Dynamic and Condensor Mics; differences and pros and cons. Polar patterns. Phantom Power. Things not to do with a microphone. Basic Micing up considerations
  9. Microphones/Recording
    Microphine placement, informed choice of mics. Intro to stereo micing. Organising and running a recording session.
    Students record a group of musicians.
  10. Recording and Mixing
    Students to finish recording musicians and begin mixing
  11. Mixing and mastering
    Further discussion about approaches to a mix.
    Students to finish mixing tracks and master to CD.
    Revision of course

Method of assessment

One practical test worth 15%
One mix assignment worth 30%
One listening test worth 15%
One recording project worth 40%