Music Production & Engineering Courses
For non-MPED majors, this course takes the student through the fundamental steps necessary for any music production project: defining the goals of the recording project; selecting composers, arrangers, players, and singers as appropriate; choosing and making the most of the technical resources available to fit the defined goals and budget; working with fellow musicians; critically evaluating performance; and orchestrating and motivating all of the participants, from rehearsal to recording and final mix. Two multi-track production projects are required.
For non-MPED majors who wish to learn the principles of sound reinforcement encountered in clubs or recital halls. Emphasis on effective interaction with engineers in concerts, in large halls, and in recording studios.
This course takes the student through the fundamental steps of any music production project: defining the goals of a recording project with the artist or client; selecting composers, arrangers, players, and singers; choosing the appropriate technical resources to fit the budget and goals; working with vocalists and other soloists; and orchestrating and motivating all of the participants and resources, from rehearsal to recording and final mix. Three production projects are required on 2-track and multitrack formats.
This course is a study of the creative and business aspects of producing records. Emphasis is placed on the creative and aesthetic techniques of production. Topics include song choice; song analysis; lyrics analysis; artist development and creative vision; scheduling, budgeting, and prioritization of tasks; communication issues; compromise and flexibility with regard to artist's vision; servicing the artist's and the record company's needs; and tracking the development of the production process from demo to master. Two multitrack projects are required.
This course explores techniques used for recording and reinforcing music on location. Topics include commonly encountered acoustical problems and an investigation of equipment and techniques used to overcome them. This class is a prerequisite for the hands-on Sound Reinforcement Lab (MP-325).
In this hands-on follow-up to MP-322, students practice setup and mixing of live ensembles and assist the audio staff at Berklee concerts and rehearsals in the Berklee Performance Center.
This course explores common recording techniques including microphone choice and placement, console and studio signal flow, session setup and protocol, and live recording. Discussion and utilization of limiters, compressors, and other signal processing equipment used in the multitrack recording process are part of in-class activities and recording sessions. Three studio recording projects are required. Supplemental audio ear training is available and advised.
Special update for fall 2020 only: MP-340 does not have to be taken concurrently with MP-341.
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.
Special update for fall 2020 only: MP-340 does not need to be taken concurrently with MP-341.
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.
Special update for fall 2020 only: MP-320 does not need be taken concurrently with MP-385.
This hybrid production/engineering course is a general overview of audio post-production. It comprises a semester-long project for which students create and finalize the complete soundtrack for an existing film clip. Topics covered include: dialogue replacement; environmental or background sound; sound effects design and editing; Foley; content creation and mixing in surround formats; synchronization; score (music) production; digital asset management; and other technical and aesthetic subjects. Students work together in teams, mirroring the collaborative nature of post-production audio in the real-world professional environment. In-class lectures and demonstrations focus on the practical challenges of completing the project, coaching of projects underway, and operation of the dub stage and associated systems. This course requires extensive out-of-class project work and studio time.
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.