Communication and Media Studies 445

COMS 445: Advanced Audio Production

Prerequisites: COMS 130, COMS 230, and COMS 246, or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3) Three hours lecture and laboratory

Instruction in advanced audio production theories and techniques. Training in the use of digital cart machines and computer-assisted editing systems; development of multitrack mixing skills; coordination and integration of studio and computer systems; exploration of hardware and software issues relating to synchronization, sound compression and Internet publishing.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Students in this course are introduced to the concept of digital sound and are provided with a first look at waveform editing. They will learn how to perform basic sound editing tasks with the Adobe Audition computer system. In addition, they will also learn to use the broadcast industry standard DigiCart digital recording systems. Studio and location miking techniques, multichannel mixdown concepts, interviewing, and musical instrument recording techniques are discussed in detail. Laboratory projects are designed to supplement the theoretical classroom discussions and to acquaint the students with the various functions of digital recording systems. Upon completion of these projects, students will have created an "audition tape" for their production portfolio.

Students will also become more proficient in using communication skills by developing the programming content for their projects. They will apply the theories and techniques discussed in class by writing public service announcements and advertisements, conducting and editing interviews, and creating short news and music programs which incorporate digital mixing and special effects techniques. To this end, students will work on developing their problem-solving skills, which play an integral role, not only in defining and unifying the concepts and practices encountered in this course, but in the workplace as well.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

This course will be taught using a lecture/discussion/laboratory format. Students study written materials covering course topics, view related videotapes, and discuss them in class. They apply this theoretical knowledge to specific audio laboratory exercises, which illustrate the course concepts and processes. Students are not merely tested on the course content, but are experientially involved. A contract grading system for projects is employed.

This method of evaluation emulates "real world" production situations by holding students' projects to specific requirements, which must be met before the instructor grants approval. Project grades are based upon the number of projects completed and approved during the term.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students completing this course should be able to:

1. Understand the basic concepts associated with computerized sound: Types of digital sound---Waveform and MIDI, sampling rates, files, quality, FM and Wavetable synthesis processes, digital audio effects, and noise reduction techniques.
2. Understand how to operate a digital cartridge (DigiCart) recording system, including editing, copying, trimming, and creating playlist stacks.
3. Understand how to record, analyze, edit, enhance, play, mix and store sounds using the Macromedia SoundEdit 16 computer editing program.
4. Apply advanced audio production theories and problem-solving strategies in laboratory and industry contexts.
5. Become more proficient in using communication skills and strategies along with the appropriate technologies in the creation of original programming for broadcasting, multimedia, cable, film, and related industries.


Assessment Measures

1. Tests covering course content (readings, videos, lectures, etc.)
2. Laboratory exercises in which students demonstrate a working knowledge of concepts and processes.
3. Class participation, which demonstrates the acquisition of concepts and processes of digital audio terminology and techniques.


Other Course Information



Background and Justification

Joe Flickinger, Chair

May, 2011