MUSONIC 1210 - Sound Engineering

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

Sound engineering involves the artistic and technical control of sound in the field of music. This course will develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the fundamentals of sound engineering including recording, mixing, production and mastering. This will be achieved by theoretically and practically exploring the area of sound engineering through lectures, tutorials and workshops. In particular, students will actively engage with learning, developing and analysing the practice of sound engineering through topics such as: session management and planning, studio use, signal flow, microphone and recording techniques, mixing, production and mastering; complete readings and listening that reinforce concepts, provide new insights and techniques; and perform practical exercises that promote investigative learning and research. The course has the following learning objectives: to extend artistic and technical outcomes in the sonic arts including sound recording, mixing and production; provide a comprehensive understanding of sound engineering theory and its practice; enhance problem solving skills; and provide a reflexive active skill set that can adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of sound engineering, its practice and processes.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSONIC 1210
    Course Sound Engineering
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Corequisites MUSONIC 1000
    Assumed Knowledge Familiarity with basic computer functionality including word processing, email and web usage
    Restrictions Priority is given to BMus and BCtveArts students but available to all students
    Course Description Sound engineering involves the artistic and technical control of sound in the field of music. This course will develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the fundamentals of sound engineering including recording, mixing, production and mastering. This will be achieved by theoretically and practically exploring the area of sound engineering through lectures, tutorials and workshops. In particular, students will actively engage with learning, developing and analysing the practice of sound engineering through topics such as: session management and planning, studio use, signal flow, microphone and recording techniques, mixing, production and mastering; complete readings and listening that reinforce concepts, provide new insights and techniques; and perform practical exercises that promote investigative learning and research. The course has the following learning objectives: to extend artistic and technical outcomes in the sonic arts including sound recording, mixing and production; provide a comprehensive understanding of sound engineering theory and its practice; enhance problem solving skills; and provide a reflexive active skill set that can adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of sound engineering, its practice and processes.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Peter Dowdall

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Students will be able to identify, describe and explain sound engineering fundamentals associated with signal flow, microphones, recording, mixing, production and mastering.
    2. Students will be able employ and apply sound engineering technologies and techniques in a manner that displays practical and creative understanding and fluency.
    3. Students will be able to demonstrate independent, imaginative and creative approaches to problem solving in the field of sound engineering.
    4. Students will develop research skills and a critical understanding of sound engineering and its associated areas.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,2,3,4
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    3,4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Hardware

    • USB Stick or portable hard drive with enough capacity to store files associated with the course and formatted as Apple OSX HFS+.
    • Stereo headphones with a 6.5mm male adaptor.
    • Note – students must bring both their USB storage and Headphones (with adaptor) to university, as they are required for various classes and for using laboratories and studios.

    Sound Levels & Hearing Protection

    This course may require using spaces where a dB meter has been installed. If you exceed the set dB limit for the space, the lights will flash.  Students found exceeding these levels will have their booking privileges revoked for two weeks, and repeat offenders may have their booking privileges revoked for the remainder of the academic year.

    In order to minimise risk in noise-prone situations, the Conservatorium makes both reusable gel ear-plugs and disposable foam ear-plugs available to students and staff free of charge at all times. Students and staff are also urged to consider purchase of customised personal hearing protection.

    For more information regarding sound levels, hearing and hearing loss please refer both to the full content of the O'Brien Report and to the excellent publication by Canadian audiologist/academic Marshall Chasin, entitled Hear the Music: Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians both available here: http://music.adelaide.edu.au/hsw/documents/

    Recommended Resources

    Below are a number of recommended resources. Please note that in terms of the included books and links, these are meant purely as general starting points to provide points of departure to other library and online sources and research.

    Books

    • Ballou, Glen. Handbook for Sound Engineers. 4th ed. Amsterdam ; Boston: Focal Press.
    • Borwick, John. Microphones : Technology and Technique. London ; Boston: Focal Press, 1990.
    • Clark, Andrew. Microphone Masterclass. Saxophone Journal ; Vol. 28, No. 4. Medfield, Mass.: Dorn Publications, 2004.
    • Clark, Rick. Mixing, Recording, and Producing Techniques of the Pros Insights on Recording Audio for Music, Video, and Games. 2nd ed. Boston Independence: Course Technology CENGAGE Learning [Distributor].
    • Davis, Gary D., Ralph Jones, and Yamaha International Corporation. The Sound Reinforcement Handbook. 2nd ed. Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard Publishing, 1989.
    • Eargle, John. The Microphone Book. 2nd ed. Burlington, Mass.: Focal Press, 2004.
    • Katz, Robert A. Mastering Audio : The Art and the Science. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Elsevier/Focal Press, 2007.
    • Stavrou, Michael Paul. Mixing with Your Mind : Closely Guarded Secrets of Sound Balance Engineering. 1st ed. [S. Aust.] ; Mosman, N.S.W.: Gillingham ; Flux Research, 2003.

    Links

    Listening

    Students can listen to musical works through the library's Naxos subscription (see library catalogue, search using Naxos as the title and limit search to ‘electronic resources’. You will be prompted to enter your uni ID number and password to access the Naxos catalogue). There is a wealth of material available for listening (but not downloading). The link to the Naxos catalogue is as follows:
    http://proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/login?url=http://uoa.naxosmusiclibrary.com/

    Library

    The Music Library located in the Barr Smith building is an excellent source for music, literature and recordings: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/branch/eml/

    Referencing Guide

    Bibliography and references are to be cited according to the Music Referencing Guide: http://libguides.adelaide.edu.au/musicreferencing

    Online Learning

    MyUni is a crucial part of this course and will provide students with access to assessment and learning materials, such as quizzes, discussion boards, slide presentations, readings, links, sound and video. Materials will be provided on a topic-by-topic basis over the semester: http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course structure and content is delivered through a range of classes and materials. The classes in this course consist of lectures, tutorials and workshops.

    Lecture

    • Lectures will deliver a specific topic each week. The topic will consist of ideas and concepts; technologies; and creative practitioners in the field.

    Tutorial

    • Tutorials provide an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the weekly lecture and topic for the course; reinforce concepts and ideas from the lecture and explore new territory.
    • Students are required to complete the weekly reading before their tutorial; come to the tutorial with questions and thoughts on the reading; and be prepared to actively engage in discussion on the weekly topic and reading.

    Workshop

    • Students are required to complete 1-hour of preparatory work which may include readings, watching videos, listening to sound and musical examples, preparing work or completing short exercise. This is a mandatory requirement.
    • Workshops will explore a wide range of practical aspects of the course and its associated topics and concepts.
    • Students will be set regular practical tasks as part of their portfolio assessment and be required to present their work during the workshop.
    • Although workshops will from time to time contain presentations from the instructor, the workshop will largely be an opportunity for students to obtain assistance with their practical and creative development and practice. Students need to actively and on a week-by-week basis maintain their practical and creative development, using the workshop to raise issues and solve problems.
    • Finally, the workshops provide a forum by which students can begin to explore their own ideas and practice using lecture and tutorial materials as inspiration and points of departure.
    Further, students will be presented with additional theoretical and/or practical materials. The materials expand on the topic and compliment, reinforce and extend the concepts presented.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This course consists of up to 48 hours of direct contact or structured non-contact - 4 hours per week over 12 weeks for the lectures, tutorials and workshops, where students will play an active role in the practice, refinement, consolidation and extension of their knowledge and understanding. In addition students will spend a minimum of 108 non-contact hours over the duration of the course on self-initiated learning and research, reading, writing, practice and assessment in order to pass the course, making the minimum workload 156 hours.

    Learning Activities Summary

    In order to be relevant, contemporary and up-to-date, this course uses a reflexive ‘just-in-time’ organisation that adjusts its structure and delivery according to the most current changes in the field, research practice and peer-student interest. The weekly classes will include topics such as:

    • Session Preparation and Management
    • Signal Flow and Gain Structure
    • Microphone Theory and Technique
    • Recording Process and Workflow
    • Instrument Recording including
      • Voice
      • Acoustic Guitar
      • Electric Guitar
      • Bass Guitar
      • Drum Kit
    • Mixing Fundamentals
    • Mastering Fundamentals

    Further detail regarding other specific content can be found in the associated materials on myUni.

    Specific Course Requirements

    EMU Facilities Access Provisions

    This course will involve using the resources of the Electronic Music Unit (EMU). This includes facilities such as studios, recording spaces and digital audio workstations. 

    In order for students to complete the course they must gain ongoing and permanent access to EMU. Access and use of EMU is based upon  completing the EMU Access Test. More information can be found here: https://music.adelaide.edu.au/emu/intranet/emu_guide/ (university login required).

    Other Expectations

    Except where otherwise indicated by the lecturer, tutor or workshop instructor – mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, recording devices and other similar technology must be switched off before lessons or classes begin, and kept off for the duration .

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Name Description Due %

    Learning
    Outcome/s

    Type

    Online Quizzes
    In response to lecture topics and readings, students will complete
    weekly online quizzes to test their knowledge.  Quizzes will remain
    available for revision and may be taken more than once.
    It is expected that students will have read the weekly readings prior to
    attending the tutorial.
    Weekly 20 2, 3, 4 Summative
    Workshop Portfolio Students will fully participate and engage with the workshop topics and
    ancillary materials through a range of weekly in-class and out-of-class
    practical exercises.  
    In week 4, students will be required to undertake a hurdle assessment where they demonstrate studio setup including achieving a headphone mix.
    During
    Scheduled
    Classes
    20 2, 3, 4 Summative
    Name Description Due %

    Learning
    Outcome/s

    Type
    Exam

    This exam will assess theoretical aspects of the course presented
    thoughout the semester in lectures, tutorials and workshops.
    Note - No Late Submissions.

    Week 14 30 1, 3, 4 Summative
    Name Description Due %

    Learning
    Outcome/s

    Type
    Project This project represents the major practical work for the semester and
    will involve recording, mixing and producing music. Students will
    utilise and demonstrate the techniques and concepts presented during the lectures, tutorials and workshops over the semester.
    Note - Late submissions permitted (refer to “SUBMISSION – Late Submission” for information on penalties)
    Week 15 30 1, 2, 3, 4 Summative

    Due Dates:
    Specific information regarding due dates is provided in myUni under "Assessment Overview".

    Formative Assessment:
    Classes will contain embedded formative assessment tasks that may include student presentations, discussions, practical exercises, demonstrations and out-of-class work that will enable students to engage with the practical and theoretical concepts presented in order to complete their summative assessments.

    Assessment Related Requirements


    Hurdle Assessments

    1) All students must complete the requirements under “SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS ‘EMU Facilities Access Provisions’".  
    2) In week 4, students will also be required to undertake a hurdle assessment where they demonstrate studio setup including achieving a
    headphone mix.
    Students who fail to complete these items will need to withdraw from the course.

    Assessments
    All students must complete assessments by the due date.  Extensions must be organised through the MACA process.  Forms and explanation can be found at the following link:  https://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/3303/
    Note that without an extension students may submit up to 7 days late with a penalty of 2% per day.  After 7 days, the assignment will not be marked.

    Attendance Expectation & Penalty
    Students are expected to attend all classes. If a student fails to attend at least 8 of the 10 scheduled class based tutorials or at least 8 of the 10 scheduled class based workshops in a course and fails to produce the appropriate medical or compassionate certificates, the student is deemed to have failed that course, irrespective of assignments previously completed. Students who arrive 10 minutes or later after the start of a class will be marked as absent.

    Leave
    Extenuating circumstances may occasionally affect a student’s ability to participate in a rehearsal, workshop, class, lecture, tutorial or
    performance.  In such cases leave may, upon application using the leave form (available from http://music.adelaide.edu.au/current/handbook/), be approved by the relevant staff member (this could be the Head of Studies, teacher, conductor, lecturer or course coordinator as appropriate). Types of leave include: sick leave; compassionate leave; and professional development leave.
    Assessment Detail

    Refer to “ASSESSMENT SUMMARY”

    Submission

    Assessments and Exams

    Students must be available during the identified University teaching, academic and examination periods. Students are not entitled to sit an examination or submit an assessment at another time, nor are they entitled to any other concessions if an examination or assessment conflicts with a planned vacation or special event. Results from assessments and examinations are usually sent to students via email and/or myUni.

    Late Submission

    Assignments where late submissions are permitted and that are submitted after the due date and time will incur a 5% penalty (from the assignment total of 100%) per day (24 hour period) for a maximum of 4 days (weekend days included). After this time the assignment will not be marked for assessment or feedback. Note – typically this does not apply to assessments where the assessment is conducted at a fixed time and location, such as an exam, workshop, practical test, performance or presentation – please refer to the individual assessments for further information.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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