MUS 340: Introduction to Recording Techniques

Prof. Christopher Kozak
3 credit hours
Offered biennially


Permission of instructor.

Course Description

This course is an examination of the art of audio recording. The curriculum will cover signal flow of the mixing console as it applies to both recording and sound reinforcement; microphones and techniques of application; use of sonic effects; recording devices (analog, digital, and hard disk); synchronization formats, etc.

Course Goals & Objectives

To give the student a basic comprehension of audio recording technology and the skills to apply their knowledge in a variety of settings. The student will also be expected to understand terminology, creative use of effects, mixdown procedures, digital editing techniques.

Required Materials

Practical Recording Techniques, 2nd ed., Bruce & Jenny Bartlett. Focal Press: Boston, MA: 1998.


Weekly assignments and readings will be given as new techniques and principles are discussed in class. Assignments will be due the next class time and discussed in depth. As the class progresses, the students will be given lab time in the Jazz Studio for practice and application of material covered in class. Although not required, it is strongly suggested that the students take advantage of the lab times. The students (as a group) will also engineer two different recording sessions during the course. Other recording sessions for MUS 310 and MUS 510 will take place outside of class time. Recording students are encouraged to participate when possible. The students will also be responsible for a 10 page research paper. Details of paper will be discussed in class.


There will be a mid-term and a final examination (comprehensive of the entire semester). The main purpose of the examinations is to verify that the students comprehend the techniques and principles taught in class and can readily apply them in a short period of time. There will be quizzes in written format and/or laboratory format.

Policies & Procedures

Grading System

Assessment of the student’s work is based on the following criteria:

  • Comprehension and command of material covered in the course.
  • Command of terminology.
  • Comprehension of the studio as a whole.
  • The ability to utilize the equipment correctly and effectively in a timely manner as needed in the recording/mix down session.

The student’s final grade will be drawn from grades received for each component of the course:

Term paper: 15%
Quizzes: 15%
Recording sessions: 15%
Mix-down sessions: 15%
Mid-Term Exam: 15%
Final Exam: 25%

95%-100% = A
90%-94% = A-
86%-89% = B+
82%-85% = B
79%-81% = B-
75%-78% = C+
71%-74% = C
68%-70% = C-
64%-67% = D+
60%-63% = D
57%-59% = D-
0%-56% = F

Term Paper

The student will be responsible for a 5-10 page paper at the end of the semester. The topic: the design of a project studio for $10,000. The premise of the paper is for the student to research catalogs, studios, the internet, etc. and find equipment spec’s and prices that are common to the industry and to design a complete project studio. Due the last day of classes.

Attendance Policy

Attendance of all classes and recording sessions is expected. Three absences from class will result in lowering the final grade by one letter. Any extenuating curcumstances must be immediately discussed with Thomas Wolfe. There will not be any make-up quizzes or examinations

Course Outline

Week 1/2: Acoustics and the nature of sound. Chapter 3

Week 2: Signal flow of the mixing console. Chapters 12 & 13

Week 3/1: Jazz Studio configuration. Chapter 2

Week 3/2: Studio/Lab Review.

Week 4/1: Microphones; types and basic techniques. Chapters 6-8

Week 4/2: Instrumentation microphone techniques. Chapters 6-8

Week 5/1: Tape recorders; analog and digital. Chapters 9 & 10

Week 5/2: Recording session. Chapter 14

Week 6/1: Recording session. Chapter 14

Week 6/2: Time based effects: Reverb. Chapter 11

Week 7/1: Time based effects: Reverb. Chapter 11

Week 7/2: Time based effects: Delay, Chorus, Flange, Doubling, etc. Chapter 11

Week 8/1: Mid-Term Examination.

Week 8/2: Amplitude based effects; compressors, limiters, expanders, etc. Chapter 11

Week 9/1: Amplitude based effects; compressors, limiters, expanders, etc. Chapter 11

Week 9/2: Equalization. Chapter 11

Week 10/1: Mixdown Principles (Studio Config.) Chapter 19

Week 10/2: Recording Session

Week 11/1: Recording Session

Week 11/2 Digital technology; tape based and hard disk. Chapters 10 & 16

Week 12/1 Monitors. Chapter 4

Week 12/2 Noise reduction. Chapters 5 & 9

Week 13/1 Advanced techniques: synchronization, patchbay, system interface, etc. Chapter 2, Appendice B

Week 13/2 Consumer product format; LP, cassette, CD releases

Week 14 Continued mixdown times.

Week 15: Review of mix down projects.