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Effective: Summer 2014

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
4 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the studio and production system from the functional standpoint including the small technical details and the impact on the sound of the recorded product.
  • A successful student be able to explain the artistic perspective the "life cycle of sound" - from the source (real or virtual instruments) through the production studio and back out of the speakers.  All phases of the production studio will be discussed in depth, creating a strong foundation in the understanding of the purpose of the production studio.
Description -
Design, set up and operation of an audio/video recording studio in a small environment. Space considerations, electrical requirements and acoustic treatment options. Computer requirements including processor speed, memory requirements, data storage devices and monitor selection/placement. MIDI keyboard types and compatibility, mixer selection and setup, cable selection and care, microphone design, and USB/firewire interface options. Software programs and compatibility issues. How to produce recordings from start to finish in a home studio.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. design an acoustic environment in an alternative space.
  2. create a recording/production system using computer based software and hardware.
  3. integrate MIDI keyboards and sound modules into the production system.
  4. integrate non-digital equipment such as microphones and transducers into a digital production system.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. 30 Macintosh computers.
    2. 30 MIDI keyboards and MIDI interfaces.
    3. 30 Avid M-Box USB audio interfaces.
    4. 30 Pro Tools software installs.
    5. Video projector and screen.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. On-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Basic principles of studio design and construction.
    1. Acoustic treatments.
    2. Voltage and wiring considerations.
  2. Audio hardware design and selection.
    1. Analog vs. digital mixers.
    2. Cables, microphones and peripheral accessories.
    3. USB and Firewire audio interfaces.
    4. MIDI keyboards and interfaces.
  3. Computer design and selection.
    1. Bus speed and track count.
    2. Cables, microphones and peripheral accessories
    3. USB and Firewire audio interfaces.
  4. Software selection and use.
    1. Audio based production software.
    2. MIDI based production software.
    3. Audio/video based production software.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Evaluated studio designs.
  2. Weekly quizzes and skills checks.
  3. Written evaluations of software and hardware combinations.
  4. Graded recording assignments in various formats.
  5. Midterm and Final Exams.
Representative Text(s) -
Bartlett, Bruce. On Location Recording Techniques. Focal Press, 2012.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Written assignments that analyze, compare and contrast different audio recording and editing techniques.
  2. Designing and assembling a multitrack recording for mastering.
  3. Producing audio projects that include edits to the basic tracks, as well as appropriate plug-ins, such as compression.
Lab Content -
Lab content in online music technology courses includes
  1. Lab assignments and experimentation with variances in areas such as formatting media bit rate, sample rate, and media size.
  2. Assignments in number of plug ins per insert track.
  3. Bus assignments for efficient recording operation.
  4. Mastering compression settings.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Read the specification sheet for an audio software program and provide a written interpretation in layman's language.
  2. Write a tutorial on setting up various aspects of a home studio, such as the MIDI keyboard wiring matrix.