Music Production & Engineering Courses
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.
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.
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.
Amidst the proliferation of desktop tools available to the modern producer, the traditional process of making music—that is, live performances by ensembles and bands—remains a unique and vital experience that can often yield more compelling results than what can be accomplished alone. However, these settings require a skill set largely unknown to those whose experience in the studio has been solitary. This course will help producers develop the capabilities necessary to succeed in collaborative production environments. The primary focus is on supporting and motivating creative work of writers and performers, coordinating complex projects with numerous participants, and managing the challenges and real-time decision making typical of collaborative recording sessions.