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Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will explain the mixing styles of the recording industry in the 20th century.
  • A successful student will create a stereo mix from a multitrack master.
Description -
Mixing and mastering multitrack recordings using Pro Tools. EQ, compression, reverb, delays, tempo maps, harmonic distortion, multi-band compression. Comparison and contrast of various styles of mixing including jazz, classical, country, rock, hip hop and electronica etc. Example exercises featuring professional recordings and mixes. Understanding and applying mixing concepts such as balance, dimension, and monitoring. Deliver final mixes that translate accurately to various speaker systems and listening environments.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Analyze the dynamic spectrum of a multitrack recording.
  2. Operate a digital and/or analog mixing board to mix a multitrack master to stereo.
  3. Explain the mixing styles of the recording industry in the 20th century.
  4. Evaluate a stereo mix by applying modern (post 1990) standards of commercial mixing.
  5. Create a stereo mix from a multitrack master.
  6. Create a digital audio tape or compact disc master of a stereo mix.
  7. Discuss how different cultures and musical styles approach the art of mixing.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. Classroom with Pro Tools HD TDM recording system and 16 channel 192 interface.
    2. Digital control surface.
    3. 10 condenser microphones with stands, clips and cables.
    4. 10 dynamic microphones with stands, clips and cables.
    5. All Avid distributed plug-ins.
    6. Apple Macintosh Mac Pro with at least 8Gb of RAM and 24 inch monitor.
    7. Active near field monitors.
  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. Study and analysis of mixing and mastering styles since the advent of multitrack recording.
    1. analog multitrack mastering styles from 4 track masters.
    2. digital multitrack mastering styles using digital multitrack recorders.
    3. computer based mastering styles using automated mixing.
    4. history of mixing and mixing aesthetics in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
  2. Planning and theory of multitrack masters.
    1. Balancing mixes for transparency and clarity.
    2. Masking and layering stacked tracks for sonic impact.
    3. Application of signal processing for lead delineation.
    4. Automation groups and master faders.
  3. Creation and production of CD and DVD-Audio masters.
    1. Red book numbering and headroom protocols.
    2. Test tones and equalization requirements for mass production facilities.
    3. Numbering and alignment of tracks for mastering.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Written assignments that analyze, compare and contrast mixing theory and aesthetics from all cultures and musical styles.
  2. Designing and assembling a digital master that demonstrates an understanding of mixing theory.
  3. Tests on mixing and mastering theory.
Representative Text(s) -
Owsinski, Bobby. The Mixing Engineer's Handbook. 3rd edition. Cengage Learning. 2013.
Other written materials provided by the instructor and delivered online.

Disciplines -
Music, Commercial  Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations that demonstrate theories and techniques used by professional audio mixing and mastering engineers.
  2. Classroom discussions that address the history and evolution of audio post production, mixing and mastering for broadcast quality distribution.
  3. Group presentations followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
Lab Content -
  1. Lab content includes topics such as microphone selection and placement, gain settings, monitor system setup, amplification calculations based on room size, etc.
  2. Other items may include subjects such as number of plug ins per insert track, bus assignments for efficient recording operation, and mastering compression settings.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques and analyses of audio production projects including albums, soundtracks, television, video games and Internet multi-media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted assignments and audio projects.
  3. Written proposals, session logs, learning outcomes and reflections supporting submitted musical works and final master recordings.