Music Production & Engineering Courses
Analog Recording Techniques and Applications
This class provides an in-depth study of the professional techniques used in analog tape-based recordings. Students are instructed in tape machine mechanics and the analog tape transfer function. Machine alignment, razor blade editing, backwards reverb, comping (combining tracks), tape flanging, tape loops, format comparison (analog vs. digital), and documentation standards are all discussed. Students apply these skills in the studio using 2 and 1/4 analog tape.
Ensemble Recording Techniques
This class focuses on the skills necessary for recording live ensembles of musicians. Students work as engineers, assistants, and Pro Tools operators with faculty supervision and guidance in the context of weekly recording sessions. This class works in collaboration with regularly scheduled daytime recording ensembles, covering a variety of styles and instrumental groupings.
Live Concert Recording and Mixing Techniques
This class focuses on the techniques and applications employed in live concert recording. Students will regularly record concerts held in the Berklee Performance Center to 48-track multitrack and two-track formats, as well as concerts from Cafe 939 through the Berklee Internet Radio Network production studio to 32 tracks and stereo. Live mixing to video and or live broadcast of the Live-to-2 mix is also part of the typical work. Topics include systems integration of live sound reinforcement, live recording and video capture; microphone choice and placement; scene storage and documentation strategies; and audience/ambience recording techniques.
Advanced Production Projects
In this capstone project class, instructor and classmates review and advise each class member at every step during the planning and production of two or more fully professional multitrack recordings. Projects include song selection or scoring. Students will be expected to present a demo, arrange, session plan, rehearse, record, and produce a final mix. Emphasis is placed on creative and technical aspects of quality in production, and market targeting.
Remixing for the Commercial Marketplace
This course focuses on pinpointing the musical concept and marketplace potential of remix productions, using recording studio and DAW technology to maximize emotional and sales impact. The class will analyze the effectiveness of individual components within key genres and produce new compositions based on those results.
Masters Engineering Lab
This advanced engineering elective builds upon previously acquired recording and mixing skills. Course emphasis is on achieving professional studio standards through in-class sessions and demonstrations. Topics include advanced signal processing, critical listening, large format console automation, and observation in various professional environments through site visits. Projects include live-to-2-track recordings, engineering MP-461 senior production projects, and the preparation of a senior engineering portfolio.
Music Production and Engineering Internship
Monitored and evaluated professional work experience in an environment related to the music production and engineering major. Placement is limited to situations available from or approved by the Office of Experiential Learning and the Music Production and Engineering Department chair or designee. To apply for an internship, students must see the internship coordinator in the Office of Experiential Learning prior to registering. Note: Equivalent credit for prior experience is not available due to the requirement of concurrent contract between the employer/supervisor and the college. International students in F-1 status must obtain authorization on their Form I-20 from the Counseling and Advising Center prior to beginning an internship.
Introduction to Game Audio
This course prepares you for a career in the industry by covering the many facets of sound production and engineering that are particular to games. First, students will gain an overview of game sound development, and the basics of sound effects libraries and working with animation. The course will cover typical studio effects, sound manipulation, and addresses technical hurdles you might encounter. Second, students will learn more advanced concepts and techniques such as recording custom effects, proper integration of audio, and mixing techniques particular to the gaming industry. This course will also take a look at the business side of the industry, including who's involved and what their role is, scheduling, contracts, and finalizing a workflow. At the end of the course, students will have completed full audio (including sound design, dialogue, and music) for a short game or portion of a full-length game for your portfolio, and a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that will prepare students to work at a game development company or as a freelance game audio professional.
Advanced Audio Ear Training for Mix Engineers
In this course, students will continue to develop the ability to hear and identify the key features of a well balanced, artful, and professional-sounding mix and gain a heightened level of music listening and awareness, while expanding their production palette and vocabulary. Students will learn how to identify various instruments across different genres (such as classical, big band, world music, and electronic music) as well as instruments from around the world, including Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, India, and the Middle East. The course will examine the ranges of these instruments and their key mix frequencies, in addition to panning and mix concepts and sound stages. This course also provides an in-depth exploration of natural and artificial reverb, delay, and compression settings, and their effect on mixes and what is heard. Students will study advanced sonic stamp, with in-depth comparisons of microphones, mic pre-amps, and amplifiers, as well as stereo mic configurations. Throughout the course, students will analyze professional recordings and strengthen their listening skills through advanced audio ear training drills.
Audio Basics for Recording
In this course, students will learn to understand and manage complex sound systems, including recording studios and live sound reinforcement installations. The ability to properly set up, operate, and manage any sound system effectively depends on a fundamental understanding of both sound and electrical or audio signals. This course will provide students with an in-depth look at such sound systems, both analog and digital, from initial acoustic inception, through transduction and electrical manipulation, to power and acoustic reproduction. The course will take students though the complete audio signal chain, beginning with the acoustic source. They will explore audio transducers including microphones and loudspeakers. They will then explore basic and advanced signal flow, including analog and digital consoles and DAWs, culminating in gain structures, where they will trace levels through a complete hybrid studio signal chain, from source and microphone to loudspeaker and headphones. Along the way students will learn about basic acoustics and electronics, analog and digital formats and professional conventions, levels, and metering. This course is geared towards students interested or engaged in recording themselves or others and interested in setting up and navigating a recording studio of any size. By the end of the course, students will be able to configure and trace a recorded signal through a complete recording studio set up, while optimizing levels and avoiding noise and distortion, as well as read and understand equipment spec sheets, studio and console signal flows, and properly set up a basic recording studio integrating both analog and digital elements and interconnects. They will have the skills to optimize gain stages and trace levels throughout the system, as well as troubleshoot potential problems.
Recording and Mix Techniques for Musicians
For non-MPED majors, this course is an introduction to modern recording and mixing techniques, oriented toward musicians with the need to record themselves and others in a typical home studio recording environment. Through a series of hands-on projects, culminating in a final recording and mix project, students will learn the fundamentals of microphones and microphone technique, audio signal flow, integration of MIDI with audio tracks, signal processing, editing, and professional mixdown techniques.
Microphone Techniques: Recording and Production
This course is designed to give students the solid background and skill set necessary for successfully planning and implementing recording sessions ranging from single-mic overdubs to full rhythm sections. Throughout the course, students will learn about the various elements of the recording chain, detailed technical characteristics of different microphone types, selecting appropriate microphone models based upon an instrument's sound and the desired outcome, proper handling and setup, close and distant microphone placements for a wide variety of musical instruments, effectively utilizing the recording environment, and managing the demands of complex recording sessions with multiple participants. Each week, students will complete exercises and assignments that help build skills step-by-step and get better acquainted with the microphones available, experiment with both close and distant mic techniques, and by the end of the course, work up to a full-band recording.