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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)

Description -
Record, mix, and produce surround music with digital audio workstations. Calibrating surround speaker systems, recording surround music in the studio and concert hall, multichannel mixing for music and post, processing source sound elements using surround reverbs and delays, mastering music and post sessions to industry specifications, and encoding mixes into popular surround formats. Analysis of historically significant surround sound music recordings and film soundtracks.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Configure and calibrate a professional surround sound monitoring system.
  2. Record in surround using several multi-channel microphone techniques.
  3. Mix in surround using a digital audio workstation and control surface.
  4. Create a surround mix from a stereo master.
  5. Master discrete surround or surround-encoded mixes for various delivery formats.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. Classroom with Pro Tools HD system and 16 channel audio interface.
    2. Digital control surface.
    3. 5 condenser microphones with stands, clips, and cables.
    4. Microphone preamp with a minimum of five microphone inputs with phantom power.
    5. All Avid-distributed plug-ins.
    6. Plug-ins for surround encoding/decoding, up-mixing, down-mixing, and monitor management.
    7. Apple Mac Pro with at least 16GB of RAM and two displays or equivalent.
    8. Surround monitoring system with a minimum of five main monitors and one subwoofer.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. On-going access to a 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 historically significant surround sound mixes since the advent of surround production.
    1. Early multi-channel audio exhibitions. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Film and music surround mixes from the 1970s through the present day. (Lec, Lab)
  2. Preparing for surround production in the professional studio.
    1. Physical configuration of a professional surround monitoring system. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Industry standards for Volume, Delay, and Frequency calibration. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Bass management techniques for film and music. (Lec, Lab)
  3. Techniques for recording audio sources in surround.
    1. Microphone selection for studio and concert recording. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Microphone techniques including coincident and spaced arrays. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Surround field recording using portable digital recorders. (Lec, Lab)
  4. Mixing in surround using a digital audio workstation.
    1. Mixing multi-track projects for music and post-production. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Processing source elements using surround plug-ins. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Up-mixing stereo masters into surround. (Lec, Lab)
  5. Mastering for surround distribution.
    1. Understanding industry guidelines for surround delivery. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Encoding surround mixes for multiple surround formats. (Lec, Lab)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Written assignments that analyze, compare, and contrast surround production techniques.
  2. Recording, mixing, and mastering surround sound in a professional studio environment.
  3. Tests on surround production terminology, techniques and standards.
Representative Text(s) -
Holman, Tomlinson. Surround Sound: Up and Running. Waltham, MA: Focal Press, 2007.
Tozzoli, Rich. Pro Tools Surround Sound Mixing. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 2011.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for producing surround sound content for music, film, and games.
  2. In-class listening to historically significant surround sound productions followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Presentations of major surround sound projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
  4. Demonstration of techniques for the installation and calibration of surround sound playback systems.
Lab Content -
Lab content includes topics such as monitor system setup and calibration, microphone selection and placement, session configuration and signal flow for music and post-production surround mixing, mastering and encoding for standard surround distribution formats, and creation of distributable media for optical devices and download.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques of surround production projects including albums, films, and interactive media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and creative aspects of course assignments.
  3. Written proposals, session logs, learning outcomes and reflections supporting creative works and final surround master recordings.