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Music 379 - Spring 2005
Introduction to Recording Arts
General Information

What is this class about?
Art!   Yes, the art of sound.  With this is mind, this course will provide the basic knowledge and training in the fundamentals of audio recording arts with an emphasis in music production. Topics for this course include the acoustics of sound, microphone design, signal path, audio console theory, and digital signal processing. Various recording techniques in current practice will be stressed.   Appropriate scientific equipment and computer hardware and software used in audio recording will be studied in a lecture-demonstration environment with ample opportunities for hands-on experience.  Although science plays an important role in the recording industry, we learn how to move faders and turn knobs as a part of a larger aim--artistic creativity. 

Where will we record?
There are several facilities available to you on campus where you can gain experience in recording.  These include...
Center for Applied Technology Recording Studio, Music Recital Hall recording booth in the Coulter building, Coulter 276 (Band room and Iso booth), Coulter 374, Coulter 477, and anywhere the portable recording carts can go.  There will be sign-up sheets for all these facilities. Microphones and the portable recording carts will be available for you to check out for your projects.  A sign-out sheet will be posted for this purpose.  Don't assume that these things will be available.  These will be in demand, so plan ahead! 

Any use of the CAT recording studio facilities outside of class time must be approved by facility staff.  The schedule is posted on the web at http://webevent.wcu.edu/ 

Where will I keep my files?
You will be assigned computer space on computers in the CAT, Recital Hall recording booth, Coulter 276, 374 and 477 for your data and digital audio files.  You will have a personal folder in the "Student Folder" on these computers. (All files created in the CAT will be stored in your folder on the hotswap FireWire drives.) In addition, you will pick-up and drop-off assignments in the appropriate folder on the CAT and Coulter 374 servers.  The Appserver may be used to transfer files from your home computer as well.  You should backup all files at the end of your session, and delete the files from the computers when the project is finished.  All student folders will be erased after the final exam.

What materials will I need?
*3-ring Binder
In addition to the text, you will need a binder with paper for note taking and handouts.  This will include your logbook, tracking sheets, session forms, annotated recital programs, checklists, and completed tutorials.  Your binder will be reviewed twice during the semester, at the midterm and again at the final exam.  You may also wish to use your binder to keep compact discs and DVDs of your projects organized.

*Blank CDs, DVDs and Jewel Cases
Some assignments and quizzes will be submitted as computer data files, so you should have CDs, DVDs, or Zip disks with you for this purpose.Uncompressed stereo digital audio files require 10 megabytes of memory per minute of music.  Since backing up large files on Zip disks or diskettes is impractical, saving files to CD and DVD is recommended. Keep all media in a protective case or sleeve. There is no need to purchase the rewriteable CD-RWs, which are mainly used for temporary backup data.  Regular CDs are best for audio and are quite inexpensive when purchased in quantity.  You should have an ample supply on hand.  The university will not supply these except for departmental sponsored recitals and concerts. Multitrack recording session data files will often exceed the capacity of a CD, so backup on DVD will be necessary.

Note: DVD-R is the standard set by the international DVD Forum.  DVD+R is NOT compatible on all recorders.

*DAT (Digital Audio Tape)
Each recording venue, as well as the portable recording cart, is equipped with digital audio recorders.  It is recommended that you have a DAT tape available for use on these machines.   When you record, take care to set the desired sampling rate and the bit depth.  DATs can be recorded at 16 or 24-bit and 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate.  To maintain compatibility throughout the facilities, 24-bit at 48 kHz sample rate is recommended. 

*DTRS tapes for the DA 78 HR, DA88, and DA 98 Multitrack Digital Audio Tape Recorders
These are special Hi-8 tapes for recording audio (the standard Hi-8 videotape is not useable).  It is recommended that you have a DTRS tape available for use on these machines.   As with regular DATs, take care to set the desired sampling rate and the bit depth. The DTRS machines can be recorded at 16 or 24-bit and 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rate.  To maintain compatibility throughout the facilities, 24-bit at 48 kHz sample rate is recommended. 

Note: Quantegy media is a highly recommended name brand.   Competative pricing is available at the following vendor:

National Audio
PO Box 3657 Glenstone Station
Springfield, MO  65808

What is expected of me ?
We will perform and record each others projects and assist one another in the recording process, so attendance and participation in class activities are important.   The effectiveness of this class is dependent on sharing of ideas and talents among ourselves.    If you need to be absent for any reason, please let me know ahead of time, preferably by email.  This includes any field trips.  These forms must be signed by me before the event.  Punctuality is a courtesy.  Students arriving late to class will not be allowed to take any quiz in progress and will lose grade points. After two unexcused absences (a week of class) your letter grade will be lowered by a full letter grade per subsequent absence. (For more information about university policy regarding attendance, please refer to the WCU Undergraduate Catalogs.)

The 379 Class Schedule contains all the reading assignments for each class, in manageable segments, and listed by topic.  These should be read prior to coming to class.  Please note questions you have about this material and be prepared to discuss the content in class.  Although not all of this material will be discussed in class, you are responsible for the content.  Most readings are drawn from the Huber text, but other supplementary readings are included (Owsinski, etc.).  These readings, and other suggested books, are on reserve in CO 374.  Please do not remove these books from the room!   Material in addition to the assigned readings will be presented in class so careful attention to note taking applies as well. Other suggested books and periodicals are available in Hunter Library.

Reading and discussion is only part of your preparation, listening is perhaps the most important.  There will be compact discs of example recordings for discussion.  Aural analysis of your work and that of others is a critical component of the class.  Some assignments will include listening examples that you will provide.

A quiz drawn from the reading and listening assignments may be given at the beginning of the class meeting.

Two exams will be given during the semester--a midterm and a final.  These will be composed of mostly objective questions drawn from the reading assignments and class discussions.  Material introduced in the quizzes may be included in these exams.

*Hardware and Software Checklists:
You will be asked to demonstrate basic knowledge in the operation of equipment and software relevant to the course.  Each item has a checklist that will guide you in the use of these resources.  You will not be allowed use of the equipment until the checklist is completed. The completed checklist will be submitted for credit.  These may include various aspects of the following...
   Hardware: Solid State Logic C200 digital console, Sony DMX R-100 digital console, Mackie Analog Audio Mixing Console, Digital Audio Tape Recorder (DAT), Tascam Digital Multitrack Recorder (DA98), Sony CD recorder, microphone preamps, TC Electronic Digital Effects Processor, Lexicon digital effects processors, StartRec Multiple CD Duplicator, M-Box M-Audio and Editrol A/D converters, various plugins, and a variety of microphones and their peripherals.
   Software: ProTools, Digital Performer (Audio Desk), Peak Audio, SoundForge, and Adobe Audition.

*Log Books
All  recording related activities outside of the scheduled class meetings will be documented in a logbook.  Think of this as your "employee timecard."  The logbook entries will include date, time, location, length, session details, duties, participants, and tracking sheets (or annotated recital programs) for sessions.  The completed logbook will be submitted for credit twice during the semester--at the midterm and again at the final exam.   It should register a total of 24 hours of recording and mixing time spent on approved projects (details below).

*Recital Recording Sessions (Recital Hall)
Recording techniques will be demonstrated during the recording of recitals and concerts presented in Music Recital Hall in the Coulter building (and other campus venues).  Participation is required at a total of 4 (four) university sponsored recitals or concerts during the semester.  (Note: training sessions assisting in setup and observation of the process as a classroom activity do not count as this credit.)  Date and time sheets for WCU faculty, major ensembles, and departmental student recitals will be posted for sign-up. These should be done in teams of two--one serving as the recordist and the other as the editor or CD mastering engineer for the session.  Setup will begin prior to the session and participation will continue through the recording, editing and CD mastering concluding the session.  Time to strike the session and reset for the next recital should be considered.  Setup and strike time will vary according to the situation.  A typical student recital in the Recital Hall is usually a two-hour commitment: 20 minute setup (using preset mics), 1 hour recording, 35 minutes of editing and mastering, and 5 minutes for resetting and shutting down. Logs of recital participation and a copy of the annotated recital program (or tracking sheet) is required.  It is recommeded you follow the checklist of procedures as your record in the Recital Hall.

MUS 358 requires attendance at 10 recitals a semester. Since attendance at the Friday student recitals is expected, we will record all of these programs.  These serve as a good opportunity to meet the recital recording requirement.  It is your responsibility to have your One-card swiped before and after the recital to record your attendance.

*Other Recording Projects (CO 477, CO 276, and remote locations)
There is no substitute for experience!  Students are encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity to record and mix.  Working on independent projects (outside of class time) for a total of 12 (twelve) hours of session recording and mixing is required as evidenced by the logbooks.  These may be done in cooperation with other class members.   Projects for clients outside of the university family are also permissible, but these must be cleared before being scheduled. Student recitals are a good source of experience, however the purpose of this requirement is to take advantage of multitrack recording and mixing opportunities.  The completed project should be mixed and presented on audio CD or other approved format.  These projects should include:

 By the midterm:
   Spoken word
   Solo piano
   An unaccompanied wind instrument
   Unaccompanied acoustic guitar, miked and direct
   Drums patterns (loops) in various styles and tempos
   Rhythm section recording
   Voice (may be combined with any of the above)
 By the final
   A CD of a multitrack project of your choice...such as demo recordings for a student composer or performer, or a band in live performance. 

May I charge for my recording services?
Yes, it is permissible to charge fees for recording projects for outside clients and recording for some student recitals, but not for departmental activities or work for professors. These must be cleared before being scheduled. You may use university equipment but you are responsible for providing any media and other supplies.  Disk space used for outside projects must be cleared at the end of the session or project. These should be noted in your logbook.  A standard rate for recording student recitals will be determined by the class members and used for all student clients.  Recording in the CAT recording studios is reserved for class activities and will not be allowed for personal projects.

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