The Audio Masterclass Music Production & Sound Engineering Course

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Ready to take your recording to the next level? Now you can!

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course – Full online course leading to your Audio Masterclass Certificate on completion.

  • The challenge: To make recordings in your own home studio that are every bit as good as those you hear on CD, download, streaming, radio and TV.
  • The misconception: You don’t have what it takes. You need better gear, you don’t have the ear and you’ll never understand the skills needed to make amazing recordings.
  • The REALITY: If you think that great recording is limited to ‘cool’ producers in million-dollar studios – think again. With the right knowledge and skills YOU can do it. This course will show you how!

This course is for you…

  • If you want to learn how to make professional recordings in your own home studio
  • If you can already operate your digital audio workstation (DAW) software and want to achieve mastery in audio knowledge and skills
  • If you only have the basic plug-ins that came with your DAW, or if you have a whole suite of exotic third-party plug-ins
  • If you want to follow a structured, fast-track, fast-progress course, rather than learn slowly by mere trial-and-error
  • If you’re serious about your music and recording, and want to use your knowledge and skills either at a hobby level, or you want to make music and recording your full-time career.

Gain great skills with great training

  • Online and fully downloadable
  • 600-page course manual (online equivalent)
  • 1000+ audio example files
  • 12 practical assignment projects
  • Assessment of your practical assignment projects (requires upgrade)
  • Tutor support
  • Student advice team
  • Complete in 12 weeks or spread your course out over up to one full year or longer.
  • Study when and where you like
  • Available worldwide (we have students in more than 120 countries)
  • Your Audio Masterclass online Student ID (you can use this to seek discounts on software and equipment)
  • Your Audio Masterclass Certificate on completion of your course
  • 30-day full-refund, no-quibble guarantee

Twelve modules – everything you need in audio from start to finish

  • Analog and digital audio basics
  • Microphones
  • Microphone preamplifiers
  • Equalization
  • Compression
  • Recording software
  • Reverb and effects
  • Synthesis and sampling
  • Recording techniques
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Marketing your music and recording services

How you will learn in your course

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course works by online distance learning. We have students in more than 120 countries all around the world. All you need to come on the course is a basic home studio setup and an internet connection, and of course a strong desire to produce recordings of fully professional quality in your own home studio.

With Audio Masterclass, you will learn basic studio techniques, mixing and creative recording. Following completion of your course, you can go on to enroll in our Professional Courses with topics such as Equalization, Compression, Reverb & Effects, Mixing and Mastering.

Tutorials and videos

Course instruction is through world-class online textbook materials, audio tutorials, and supplementary video materials where appropriate. We show you the important techniques of audio that professionals use every day, and you can use yourself in your own home studio. All of the course materials are available online, and also enhancement learning materials including videos shot at Abbey Road Studios 2 and 3. You can print, save or download all of your course materials as you wish to keep permanently.

Audio examples

Our tutorials and videos are supported by a wealth of audio examples, which are also downloadable. We recommend that you load these examples into your digital audio workstation so that you can listen to them in exactly the same way as when you’re recording yourself.

Many of the audio examples will show you what you should aim to achieve, whether the topic is EQ, compression, mixing, mastering etc. Others will show you how things can go wrong – and we’ll show you clearly the difference between good audio and bad, and explain the reasons why.

Practical projects

The best way to learn audio is to *do* audio – recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering. And don’t forget the importance of close, attentive listening. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.

So the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course features a range of practical projects relating to the modules of the course. The practical projects will set you a task to complete, show you how to do it and point out what could go wrong. And when you have completed your project, you can compare your work with our examples – many of which are created by Audio Masterclass students.

Student advice team

All Audio Masterclass students have access to our Student Advice Team for the full duration of their enrollment. You can ask questions on any of the course topics and receive a personal response.

Flexibility

Because Audio Masterclass works by distance learning, you can learn entirely at your own pace. There is no set schedule and you can move quickly or slowly through the course as you wish and take breaks at any time.

Enrollment

Your Audio Masterclass enrollment will be valid for one full year, which is easily more than enough time to complete your course. You can save, print or download all of your course materials to keep permanently.

Your Audio Masterclass Certificate

Although no certificate can guarantee you a job in the audio or music industry, you will want something to commemorate your success on your Audio Masterclass course. Your course will lead to the award of your Audio Masterclass Certificate, which becomes available for download when you have completed 80% of your course or more.

Diploma upgrade option

As well as your Audio Masterclass certificate, it is also possible to achieve the Audio Masterclass Diploma. This is a traditional paper diploma with our signature, stamp, and seal, sent to you by mail anywhere in the world.

The Audio Masterclass Diploma is assessed through practical assignment projects, one in each module, that are submitted online for assessment.

When all of your practical assignment projects have been assessed to a satisfactory standard, your success on the course will be noted and your Audio Masterclass Diploma prepared and mailed to you.

Assessments of your practical assignment projects leading to your Audio Masterclass Diploma on successful completion of your course is a paid-for option, at $277 USD in addition to your regular course fee. You must be enrolled on an Audio Masterclass course before adding the Assessments and Diploma upgrade.

Our experience in audio education

Audio Masterclass has experience in audio education going back to 1986. We have been running online courses since 2001 which is longer than any other audio training provider on the web.

Summary

At Audio Masterclass we want to give you the fastest, most effective route towards a professional standard of work in your own home studio – a standard that is fully equal to professional studios and commercial releases.

We do this through effective, comprehensive instruction through tutorials and/or videos, audio examples, and practical projects that relate closely to real-world professional practice.

If you want to make fast progress, then Audio Masterclass is here to help.

What you will learn in your course

Your Audio Masterclass course includes a massive wealth of learning content, audio examples, and practical projects. And as well as all the knowledge, skills, and experience you will gain, your Audio Masterclass Certificate will be available for download on completion of your course. (Diploma upgrade also available.)

Analog & digital audio

Module content: Analog audio: signals, frequency response, noise, distortion, wow & flutter, clicks and interference. Digital audio: analog-to-digital conversion, sampling, quantization, dither, digital-to-analog conversion. Sound isolation: sound isolation methods, practical sound isolation techniques for home and small recording studios, vocal booths. Acoustic treatment: background to room acoustics, acoustic treatment, porous absorption. membrane and panel absorbers, diffusion. Recording studio configuration: recording room, control room. Introduction to essential audio electronics.

Project – Diagnostic Recording of Speech: It may seem straightforward to make a simple recording of speech, but actually speech is the most difficult sound to record well. It shows up every possible fault and flaw of recording technique, and any background noise or excessive ambience shows up painfully in the gaps between words. We will give you detailed advice, and show you both good and bad examples with clear explanations that will allow you to pinpoint any problems and advise you how to eliminate them from your future recordings.

Microphones

Module content: Principle of operation: dynamic, capacitor, piezo, ribbon, electret. Polar patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid, figure-of-eight. Interference tube microphone. Parabolic reflector microphone. Multipattern microphone. Phantom power, pad, high-pass filter. Microphone techniques: microphone selection, positioning, stereo microphone techniques, coincident crossed pair, near-coincident crossed pair, ORTF, spaced omni.

Project – Recording Instruments: Make a clean, professionally-finished recording of three instruments or sound sources. Compare two or more microphones, or – if you only have one microphone – compare microphone positions. We want you to learn how to create crystal-clear recordings that demonstrate your microphones well and show a professional polish. This assignment will help you understand which microphone to use for any voice or instrument, and why.

Microphone preamplifiers

Module content: The need for microphone preamplification, microphone input, line input, instrument input, principle of operation, transistors, vacuum tubes, the need for balancing, transformer balancing, electronic balancing, working with balanced and unbalanced lines, preamplifier operation, gain, output level, phantom power, phase, pad, high-pass filter.

Project – Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations: Every recording engineer should carry out this test, but few ever do. All microphones have a ‘polar pattern’ which defines their sensitivity and frequency balance in different directions around the mic. There are also several different important configurations for recording stereo with two microphones. According to how many mics you have available, we will ask for a polished, professional demonstration of your mic’s polar pattern, or the most important stereo configurations.

DAW operation

Module content: Disk recording principles. The disk recording medium: rotational speed, seek time, fragmentation, input/output assignment. Recording, editing and crossfade editing, gain change and normalization, mixing, inserts, auxiliary sends, auxiliary tracks, busses, faders and master fader, levels, decibels, dB and dBFS, headroom.

Project – Creation of a Drum Track: We will ask you either to make an interesting and creative drum track from samples, and give it the characteristic texture of sampled and looped drums. Alternatively, if you have a high-quality drum virtual instrument available, we will ask you to recreate some actual professional drum playing. That’s a challenge!

Equalization

Module content: Types of equalizer, graphic EQ, parametric EQ, console-style EQ, filters, low-pass filter, high-pass filter, band-pass filter, all-pass filter, notch filter, filter parameters: cut-off frequency, slope, equalizer parameters: frequency, gain, bell/shelf, Q/bandwidth.

Project – Listening and Equalization: Just as a musician needs a fine sense of pitch, a recording engineer or producer needs a highly-developed sense of EQ. Skill with equalization doesn’t come naturally – it has to be learned. Being able to identify EQ problems is a vital skill, and also being able to enhance voices and instruments with EQ, and help them blend together in the mix. This assignment will help your ears learn to recognize, understand, correct and enhance the frequency balance of a recording.

Compression

Module content: The need for compression. Dynamic range control. Subjective enhancement. Compression parameters: ratio, threshold, attack, release, knee, stereo link. Operating principles: variable-mu, FET, diode bridge, optical, VCA. Side chain principles and operation: de-essing.

Project – Demonstrations of Compression: Compression is used to control dynamic range, and also to give a recording presence and ‘sparkle’. In this assignment we will ask you to demonstrate your skills with compression on female and male vocal, a full drum set and individual drum instruments, a full mixed recording, and a full orchestral recording with severe dynamic range problems. In your finished work we will advise you how to achieve a professional standard of presentation.

Reverb & effects

Module content: Delay, single echo, spin echo, spin echo with positive feedback, reverberation, acoustic and electro-acoustic reverberation: chamber, spring, plate, tape, digital, algorithmic reverberation, convolution reverberation, phasing, flanging, chorusing, pitch change and correction, harmonic generation and aural enhancement, comparison between manual effects, hardware effects and plug-ins.

Project – Natural Reverberation Chamber: In this assignment you will set up a loudspeaker and a microphone in a reverberant space, perhaps your bathroom or stairwell, and send a dry signal to it. The microphone will pick up the reverberation of the space. Using this technique you can create reverberation that is far more natural and interesting than any plug-in. What’s more it’s unique because no-one else has access to the same reverberant space as you.

Synthesis & sampling

Module content: Types of synthesis: additive, subtractive, FM, wavetable, physical modeling. Subtractive synthesis components: voltage-controlled oscillator, voltage-controlled filter, voltage-controlled amplifier, envelope generator. Sampling: looping, multisampling, phrase sampling, key groups, velocity layers, mute groups.

Project – Sampled drum track: This is an assignment in technical and rhythmic creativity. You will be asked to use drum samples to create an interesting drum track. Your track can have the characteristic sound of traditional 1980s-style sampling, or it can sound realistic. Whichever you choose, we want you to sound like the most creative and technically brilliant drummer in the whole of the musical universe.

MIDI & virtual instruments

Module content: An introduction to MIDI, hardware MIDI systems, MIDI IN, MIDI OUT, MIDI THRU, MIDI MERGE, MIDI in software, MIDI messages, note messages, velocity, pitchbend and controllers, editing MIDI notes and data, quantization, MIDI volume and pan.

Project – Working with MIDI: This assignment will ask you to create a MIDI track from first principles, then edit the notes, note durations, quantization, pitchbend and other MIDI data. The assignment will also cover editing to correct mistakes in performance, and also to improve a performance.

Recording techniques

Module content: Vocals: microphone selection, microphone positioning, acoustic screens and vocal booths, foldback, headphone types, use of headphone amplification, loudspeaker foldback, how the engineer monitors foldback. Drums: drum set up for recording, microphone selection for drums and cymbals, single microphone technique, twin microphone technique for basic stereo, the ‘Recorderman’ doubly-equidistant two-microphone configuration, the ‘Glyn Johns’ method, full individual miking with overheads. Acoustic guitar: microphone selection and positioning. Electric guitar, piano, string instruments, wind instruments, percussion instruments, small groups and ensembles, orchestral recording. Session management for ensembles, orchestras and choirs. Multitrack recording. Studio setup, foldback, monitoring. Compilation, punch-in. Production techniques for vocalists and instrumental performers.

Project – Voice or Instrument Production: In this assignment you will be given a female vocal recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3 and a skeleton backing track. We will ask you to devise an instrumental accompaniment and record it. More than a just simple, clear recording, we will ask you to create an imaginative ‘produced’ sound using whatever software or equipment you have available. We want what you do to be amazing.

Mixing

Module content: Analog mixing consoles: overview, channels, groups and sub-groups, master section, VCA faders. Console monitoring: split, inline, all-input. Foldback, communications, external inputs. Channel functions: mic inputs, line inputs, insert point, equalization, dynamics, auxiliary sends, pan, mute and mute groups, PFL/AFL/solo, fader. Mixing console automation. Digital mixing consoles. Comparison between digital and analog consoles. Assignable consoles. Automation and recall. Mixing procedures and techniques.

Project – Mixing: In this assignment you will be given a complete multitrack recording of an amazing rock music track to mix. The multitrack, in WAV format which can be imported into any DAW, includes drums, electronic drums, bass guitar, rhythm guitars, lead guitar, organ, background vocals, lead vocal and vocal double. The assignment includes full guidance on how to approach the project and stage-by-stage blend the instruments and vocals into a perfect release-ready mix.

Mastering

Module content: The need for mastering. Correction of faults. Mastering for vinyl. Improvement of stereo mixes. Matching tracks for albums and compilations. Subjective loudness and the ‘loudness war’. Equalization. Compression. Limiters and look-ahead limiters. Multi-band compression. Intersample peaks. LUFS.

Project – Mastering: For this assignment we have a professionally-produced finished master, and also the original unmastered mix, for you to listen to. Then we will ask you to create your own master from the basic mix. The assignment includes detailed advice on all of the processes of mastering such as fault correction, topping and tailing, equalization, compression, harmonic generation, limiting and protection against intersample peaks.

Highlights from a selection of our videos...

Sample page from the course manual...

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Your FREE BONUS with enrollment (added value $199)…

For a limited period, we can include free enhancement content in the form of twelve sets of videos shot by Audio Masterclass in Abbey Road Studios 2 and 3. All of the audio from the sessions is downloadable so that you can hear recordings made at Abbey Road Studios – home of The Beatles – in your own home recording studio. Here are a few short clips from our Abbey Road Material. There are twelve sets of videos in total, and all of the audio is downloadable in full Studio Master quality. This enhancement content is normally sold separately for $199, but for a limited period it is available FREE with enrollment in the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course.

Don’t forget…

Your free bonus enhancement content may only be available for a limited period. Because our courses are tutor-supported, we have to limit student numbers so that our resources are not over-stretched. If we’re getting close to our quota, then this free bonus, value $199, will no longer be offered.

What our students say about their Audio Masterclass course…

Like what you see? Take a giant leap towards making pro recordings in your own home studio!

Enroll in the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course

$277 including your Audio Masterclass Certificate on completion

Includes FREE BONUS enhancement content - twelve video sets shot by Audio Masterclass in Abbey Road Studios 2 and 3 with downloadable Studio Master audio. (Limited time offer, regular $199)

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30-Day Money Back Guarantee

If for any reason you do not find your Audio Masterclass course fully suitable for your needs, just send us a quick email and we will refund your purchase price in full, normally within one business day or faster. We ALWAYS honor this guarantee on the rare occasion it is requested. Our payment processor would refuse to work with us if we didn’t.

About Course Designer David Mellor

Audio Masterclass Course Director David Mellor
 

David Mellor is the founder and Course Director Audio Masterclass, currently residing in the beautiful countryside of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has worked in audio education since 1986 in hands-on training, lectures and online. David Mellor holds the degree of B.Mus (Tonmeister) from the University of Surrey where he studied music, piano performance, acoustics, electronics, electro-acoustics and recording.

Live Sound and Recording Engineer

David Mellor worked as theatre sound engineer at London’s Royal Opera House, with responsibilities including sound design, front-of-house operation, stage monitoring and electronic design satisfying the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Karlheinz Stockhausen. David Mellor toured with the Royal Opera Company to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, USA; the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Athens, Greece; the Sejong Center, Seoul, South Korea; the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan.

Musician and Composer

Since 1985 David Mellor has had more than 1000 works published in the field of production music, including the Chappell and Carlin music libraries (now combined into Universal Publishing Production Music) and his own music library for which he has produced seventeen compact discs. Notable uses of his music include the BBC’s Horizon, Fahrenheit 911, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Writer and Educator

David Mellor has been actively involved in Audio Education since 1986, teaching students of City of Westminster College and Westminster University, and also returning to lecture at Surrey University. He has also written for magazines including Sound on Sound, Audio Media, Studio Sound, Home & Studio Recording, Performing Musician, Sound & Video Contractor, Recording Engineer & Producer. He has also written four books on audio and video technology. David Mellor now specializes in online audio education and has been Course Director of Audio Masterclass since 2001.