This course is a study of the aesthetic considerations and functional operation of equipment used in multitrack mixdown of digital master recordings in a digital audio workstation environment. Special emphasis is placed on critical listening and aesthetic consideration of balances. Topics covered include common DAW procedures and protocol, data management, use of a virtual console, use of a control surface, signal flow, editing, and digital signal processing (plug-ins). Mixing exercises of prerecorded multitrack files are required outside of class.
This course addresses recorded vocal performances and the technologies used to highlight and support them in modern record production and mixes. The course explores the sonic evolution of vocals as the focal point of modern recordings with a signature that has moved from simple mix placement, dynamics processing, and time based effects to advanced concepts in audio editing, synthetic processing, automatic and graphic pitch correction, time compression, time expansion, flex, and elastic audio. Through analysis and hands-on processing of selected projects, the student will gain an understanding of the many choices available to modern record producers as they record and mix with a modern tool set that includes the vintage Talk Box, the Vocoder, Auto Tune, Melodyne, Elastic Audio, Flex Time, Vocalign, tempo based editing, and a host of other file modification protocols that are readily available on most digital audio workstations.
In this advanced recording class, students analyze advanced large-format console signal flow utilizing the Neve 88RS analog consoles, explore sophisticated ensemble microphone techniques and applications, and revisit and reinforce professional session protocol. Advanced drum miking, session flow, documentation, and microphone choice and comparisons are demonstrated.
This hybrid production/engineering course deals with the technical and creative issues surrounding soundtracks for feature film, episodic television, commercials, and documentaries. Topics such as synchronization, SMPTE time code, word clock, and other technical issues combined with aesthetic considerations to complete projects dealing with music production for visual media, Foley, sound design, and ADR. A survey of careers in postproduction culminate in students working together in teams, mirroring their real-world counterparts.
This class is a hands-on study of the production of vocalists in the recording studio. The emphasis is on techniques and strategies for obtaining the best possible vocal performance, in terms of both emotional impact and technical accuracy. Topics include analysis of commercially recorded vocals; discovering a vocalist's identity; psychological and technical limitations; preproduction with vocalists (with emphasis on the song/vocalist relationship); establishing producer/vocalist rapport; working sympathetically and effectively in the studio environment; conducting a vocal session; vocal compilation; and background vocals. Technical topics include microphone choice and associated signal processing and mixing for vocals. In-class sessions are conducted and produced by both the faculty and students. Students are also required to sing and thus be produced. Students produce two multitrack projects incorporating re-recording and compiling of vocal tracks using previous projects.
This advanced engineering elective course introduces students to contemporary classical orchestras, as well as to nontraditional orchestras, such as period instrument, or other large acoustic ensembles. The course explores recording techniques from historical (e.g. mono Koussevitzky recordings) through stereo and surround recording techniques. Through hands-on experience on the scoring stage, students will learn about the set up, recording, and mix of large ensembles.
This course gives the student insight into capturing the myriad drum sounds available by exploring different drum configurations, sizes, styles, and ambient spaces. The class explores getting great drum sounds at source and learning how to adjust, tune, and manipulate drums to perform at their full potential. Students learn how to capture that sound in recordings by utilizing the many microphone, mic pre, EQ, and processing options available in the studio. They also learn how to manicure, adjust, fix, destroy, and present drum sounds so that they are appropriate for the required song. Finally, the class covers the many editing, fixing, timing, and sampling options used by today’s top recordists. Mixing drum sounds, including those recorded by someone else, will also be covered.
This course presents advanced mixing techniques via in-class faculty demonstrations and student participation, emphasizing professional industry standards. Topics include hybrid analog console/DAW mixing techniques and an introduction to large-format console automation. Projects consist of mixing preexisting multitrack recordings as well as current advanced student production projects.
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.
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.
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.
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.