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Sound Recording and Production

Course Code:
15PMSH025
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Any
Taught in:
Term 1

This course combines practical and theoretical study. Classes will be taught primarily in the music recording studio, with content being a combination of lectures and practical work. In addition to the studio equipment the course will make use of mobile recording equipment, the editing suite, live recording equipment and student’s own software/hardware. No pre-existing knowledge or experience is required; accommodation will be made wherever possible for students with disabilities on an individual basis.

WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE AND A BRIEF HISTORY OF RECORDING TECHNOLOGY
An introduction to the structure of the course, access to the studio and booking systems for equipment. assignment content and deadlines. The historical development of sound recording technology, discussing the idea of progress in relation to technological change. How have musicians and music producers responded to vastly different access to technology shaped by geographical and economic factors?

WEEK 2: RECORDING BASICS – THE WAY AROUND THE EQUIPMENT IN THE STUDIO
An introduction to equipment available in the recording studio with a focus on Pro-Tools. Technical aspects: The importance of optimum signal level, setting up a session, routing a microphone into the system and recording. Sound manipulation including use of equalization and panning.

WEEK 3: DISCUSSION OF RECORDING OPTIONS/PRODUCTION METHODS AND INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF EFFECTS AND PROCESSORS
An introduction to the variety of ways that a recording session might be set up and run, discussing the importance of liaising with the musicians to get the best results. A re-cap of the skills gained to date on the Pro-Tools system. An introduction to effects and processors focusing on reverb, delay, gates and compressors. How to set up and edit effects and processors on the pro-tools system.  

WEEK 4: INTRODUCTION TO MICROPHONES
How to plan and run a live recording, factors to take into consideration. Microphones – condensor, dynamic, ribbon microphones, how they work and their application. Polar patterns, choices of microphones and microphon placement. Steereo micing techniques, phase cancellation, screening and separation.  

WEEK 5: Organising and running a live recording session.
This session will be practice based. The class will set up mobile equipment and record a live ensemble.

WEEK 6: REVISION OF SKILLS GAINED SO FAR/RECORDING IN THE STUDIO – DIFFERENT PRODUCTION METHODS 1
This session begins with a thorough re-cap of skills gained to date, followed by a consideration of different options available in the studio.  

WEEKS 7/8: ORGAINISING AND RUNNING A RECORDING SESSION IN THE STUDIO 1/2
Working with an ensemble, the class will plan and run a recording session.

WEEKS 9/10: MIXING
How to prepare for a mix; approaches to mixing. How to construct a mix, with the use of comparison and reference material. Practice-based work will mix materials recorded weeks 7 and 8.

WEEK 11 REVISION OF MATERIAL COVERED IN THE COURSE/OTHER RECORDING SYSTEMS – DISCUSSION AND COMPARISON
Students will have the opportunity to revise material covered in the class, discuss the range of technologies and recording methods used to produce music, and listen to recordings produced and distributed using a range of technologies in order to make informed comparisons.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course students will have an insight into the wide variety of different recording options and production methods with reference to the development of recording technology. Students will be encouraged to develop their analytical and listening skills through detailed study and analysis of recordings.
Students will also develop the skills to produce a recording in a contemporary recording environment, taking the project through from the planning stage to mastering. Consideration will also be given to live sound, field recordings and low-tech recording options. Teaching will cover not only the technical aspects of Sound recording and production but also the personal and musical skills desirable in a sound engineer/producer.

Workload

Two hours of lectures a week.

Method of assessment

One 1,500 word essay (worth 20%)
One 2,000 word report and recording session (worth 35%)
One 2,000 word report and recording session (worth 45%)