Music Production & Engineering Courses
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.
This advanced engineering elective course introduces students to contemporary classical orchestras, as well as to nontraditional orchestras, such as period instrument, film scoring, 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 explores the functional operation of Digidesign's DAW controller, the D-Control ES (ICON), used in multitrack mixdown of digital master recordings. The emphasis is on basic and intermediate operation of the hardware, with consideration given to critical listening and the aesthetics of mixing. Topics covered include overview and detailed instruction in operation of the surface, common DAW procedures and protocol, data management, signal flow, editing, and digital signal processing (plug-ins) in Pro Tools. Projects consist of mixing prerecorded multitrack files.
This upper-level elective focuses on the technical, artistic, operational and business aspects of working in today's world as a freelance producer/engineer. The objective of this course is to foster a versatile, entrepreneurial approach to the diverse—and increasingly nontraditional—production opportunities that dominate today's business and cultural climate. The successful modern freelancer combines and transcends discrete industry roles with adaptation, improvisation, and creative problem solving in art and business. Students will refine and supplement skills learned in their previous courses, synthesizing a comprehensive, fluid skill set to service projects with a broad range of parameters, resources and goals. A series of hypothetical and practical scenarios will present students with widely varied objectives and parameters: client types, abilities and expectations; musical material, time and dollar budgets, and recording settings. The course will focus on in-class discussion and review of these projects, most of which will take place in-class, with both instructor(s) and students in the role of freelancers. Online materials will both assist in presenting information and act as an ongoing asset for the students after graduating. There will also be in-class discussions and online presentations from current professionals (including MTEC alumni) and a business tutorial, both in-class and on-line, focused on starting and operating a business.
The Berklee Internet Radio Network Workshop supports students who wish to participate in the activities of the station, formalizing and identifying their participation in their transcripts. The course accommodates a wide variety of student skills and interests, directing participants into existing station committees: programming (DJs, production, scheduling, evaluation), promotion (public relations on campus and beyond), business and legal (maintenance of approvals, permissions, and licensing processes; organization of business flow within the station), and operations (technical backbone of station operations, e.g. website development, broadcast issues, recording, facilities development, and maintenance).
This course examines the technical attributes of loudspeakers that assist the recording engineer in creating the best possible product. Topics include basic components of loudspeaker design, driver parameters, sealed and vented enclosures, crossovers, studio monitors, and computer aided analysis systems. Theoretical information and hands-on methods are used to inform students about advanced speaker systems. Listening evaluation is also an important component.
This course provides advanced information and training in the science of acoustics. It examines advanced methodologies for the testing of acoustic spaces and properties, leading to strategies for acoustic manipulation and design. Using existing and past projects as source material, world-renowned studio designer John Storyk takes students through the acoustical design process, including both acoustical and programmatic considerations. He draws on pictures, charts, graphs, and recorded examples taken from real-world projects, both completed and in process, to highlight the challenges encountered and solutions devised for creating program-satisfying and acoustically correct facilities. These facilities encompass both world-class, multiroom studio facilities as well as smaller-budget project and home studios. This is an applications-oriented follow-up to the required acoustics class. *NOTE: this course meets four times for four hours over the course of the semester*
This course focuses on beginner-level studio maintenance by combining lectures with hands-on lab activities. Electronic basics are introduced, including: voltage, alternating and direct current, resistance and impedance, capacitance, inductance, and electromagnetism. The principles of grounding, power supplies, analog and digital signal types, amplifiers, speakers, microphones, switches, and transistors are described. Basic repairs and troubleshooting in the field are discussed, including soldering. Students make a mic cable, S/PDIF cable, RC and RLC circuits, and assemble a simple signal processor such as a power supply, audio input/output circuitry, direct box, or a filter. Students troubleshoot their circuits using volt- and ohmmeters, oscilloscopes, and cable testers.
This in-depth, project-oriented class gives the student intensive exposure to the creative and technical issues involved in advanced music mastering, editing, and delivery. Topics include CD and DVD mastering, multichannel audio formats (5.1), internet audio, and the standards and practices of digital audio production. Students enhance their technical knowledge of advanced audio concepts and studio techniques while developing their ability to listen critically and creatively through hands-on projects. Further areas of exploration include audio restoration and forensic audio.
This course is designed to focus on the musical, vocal, and technical production skills in hip-hop record production. Advancing the basic concepts of music production techniques introduced in Music Production for Records (MP-320), the course embraces the professional practices for record production in the hip-hop genre. Students are required to showcase their skills in weekly projects and a final original project.
This course allows the student to understand the history and business of dance music from its early disco format in the '70s and '80s to its wide variety of current styles and trends. Students write, produce, mix, and remix their work in the related style within the various dance music genres. In order to do this successfully, students are required to familiarize themselves with the current outlets for dance music (i.e. Traxsource, Beatport, In Grooves, etc.) and the current list of artists, producers, DJs, and remixers whose work can be found charted on these industry sites. A full understanding of the inner workings of this popular genre will be necessary for the students to be successful within this field. Three production projects are required.