Module WXM-3268:
Studio Techniques

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Andrew Lewis

Overall aims and purpose

On completion of the module, the student should have:

  1. Acquired proficiency, independence and the ability to take on a leadership role in setting up and using both analogue and digital studio equipment to record live music;

  2. Acquired a thorough understanding of the various types of microphones and speakers needed for specific jobs and recording projects;

  3. Learned to edit and assemble audio data using the Digital Audio Workstation to a high degree of proficiency;

  4. Learned to work independently and to conceive new ideas using the various tools in the studio within their own arrangements and compositions;

  5. Learned to mix audio using a wide range of techniques;

  6. Acquired a high degree of self-confidence and independence in the use of the studio to record and produce music.

Course content

The aim of this module is to extend student’s knowledge and understanding of various recording studio based hardware and software, including microphones, mixing consoles, and the Digital Audio Workstation. The module will expand on what has been covered in the previous music technology based modules and will focus on broadening student’s proficiency and independence in leading and participating in various practical recording scenarios. The module will focus on using hardware to capture high quality audio recordings and various software in order to develop and produce these recordings to form professional audio productions.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Work that demonstrates only a limited grasp of recording techniques and critical listening.

good

Work that demonstrates sound critical and artistic judgement combined with a thorough knowledge of studio practices and equipment.

excellent

Work that demonstrates excellent listening and appraisal skills as well as innovative use of available technical resources. Recordings and production is of, or near professional standard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Learned to mix pieces of music using a wide range of audio manipulation techniques

  2. Gained proficiency, independence and the ability to take on a leadership role in setting up and using both analogue and digital studio equipment to record live music;

  3. Grasped a thorough understanding of the various types of microphones and speakers needed for specific jobs and recording projects

  4. Learned to edit and assemble audio data using the Digital Audio Workstation to a high degree of proficiency

  5. Gained a high degree of self-confidence and independence in the correct use of audio balance and stereo diffusion

  6. Learned to work independently and to conceive new ideas using the various tools in the studio within their own arrangements and compositions

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Coursework 1

Basic recording and editing

Record a 3 – 4 minute piece of music, getting the best sound you can by using optimal placement of microphones, rather than by changing the sound at the mixing desk or in the computer.

Submit along with your recording a brief written account explaining of your choice of mic placement (maximum 250 words – it can be less).

Observe the following requirements:

• There must be at least 4 separate instruments/voices;

• The audio must be multi-tracked;

• You may edit takes using copy and paste etc. and choose parts of different takes as necessary;

• Balance the audio using volume and panning only;

• Use of EQ, reverb and other processing is not permitted.

25
COURSEWORK Coursework 2

Record a 3-4 minute piece of music using at least 6 simultaneous parts. You are only permitted to work with one musician, so each part will need to be recorded separately and then layered together to create a homogenous work.

You should make use of mixing and effects to differentiate the parts so that it is clear which ‘voice’ is performing each line.

25
COURSEWORK Main Assignment

Record and produce a track or album of 7 – 10 minutes of music. The work will use at least some microphone-based recording of ‘live’ instruments/voices, though live keyboards and midi/programmed instruments may also be included. Appropriate editing and refining methods should be used, including but not limited to; the use of digital plugins, evidence of editing/comping regions and mastering techniques.

The work will consist of one or more tracks of music, the choice of musical style is open to the student.

(NOTE: The term ‘album’ does not necessarily imply popular music: classical music, jazz, traditional music, ‘world music’, contemporary art music, experimental sonic art, or other musical styles and genres are equally acceptable, as long as the rubric above is followed.)

Marks will be awarded based upon overall technical quality, the scope and level of technical skill displayed in the project and the demonstration of relevant skills learned in the course and elsewhere. The quality of the performances heard on the recording will not be assessed directly, but you should demonstrate that you have taken steps post-production to lessen the impact of any shortcomings in the performances (for example, by correcting poor intonation).

50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

11 x 50-minute lectures focussing on audio and production theory each week for eleven weeks

11
Private study 89

Transferable skills

  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Creative skills – conception, elaboration, adaptation, presentation, collaboration, preservation
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)

Resources

Resource implications for students

None; students are advised to bring their own headphones and external hard drives to practical studio sessions

Reading list

Talis has been created

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Pre-requisites:

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: