Current 2016/17 Module Catalogue

Module Details

Module Code:
Module Provider:
Music and Media
Number of Credits:
Module Title:
Module Co-ordinator:
MASON RD Dr (Music & Med)
ECTS Credits

Module Availability

Semester 1

Assessment Pattern

Assessment TypeUnit of AssessmentWeighting %
CourseworkCoursework 1 - Three Assignments35
ExaminationCoursework 2 - Listening Assignment15
ExaminationExamination (2 Hours)50

Alternative Assessment


Qualifying condition(s)

This module is core and will require you to pass every unit of assessment with a mark of at least 40%.

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce you to the theory of professional audio systems engineering, professional recording operations and equipment, the practical operation of a range of recording equipment, and critical listening skills.


• None for Tonmeister students.

Module Aims

• To introduce you to the theory of professional audio systems engineering.
• To introduce you to professional recording operations and equipment.
• To prepare you for the HE2 Recording Techniques modules.
• To introduce you to the operation of a range of professional recording equipment.
• To develop your skills in critical listening.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

1.   Define and make use of the dB (C, K, P)

2.   Explain the need for and operation of balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits (C, K, P)

3.   Describe the jackfield wiring schemes used in professional and broadcast installations

(C, K)

4.   Explain the need for, use of, and sideband structure of modulation systems (C, K)

5.   Explain the principles and limitations of magnetic recording, including the need for and operation of HF bias and equalisation (C, K)

6.   Sketch the signal chain of typical high quality, in-line and stereo mixing desks, explaining the action and use of each operational control (C, K)

7.   Describe the technical specifications needed for frequency response, noise, and distortion in a professional mixing desk (C, K)

8.   Describe the technical and operational characteristics of PPMs and VU meters (C, K)

9.   Draw the systems diagram of a complex technical installation (e.g. a studio control room or sound mixing desk) using BS EN 60617 (or BS 3939) symbols (C, K)

10. Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected frequency domain features in reproduced sound (C, K, T, P)

11. Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected forms of distortion, noise and interference in reproduced sound (C, K, T, P)

In addition, you will have demonstrated the following professional and transferable skills:

•     Critical listening skills (T, P)

•     Problem solving (T) 

Key: C-Cognitive/Analytical; K-Subject Knowledge; T-Transferable Skills; P- Professional/ Practical skills

Module Content

Indicative content includes:

•     The decibel

•     Balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits

•     Jackfield wiring schemes

•     Modulation

•     Magnetic recording

•     Mixing desks

•     Metering

Methods of Teaching/Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: develop practical and critical listening skills and  knowledge  in  fundamental  audio  engineering,  which  you  will  build  on  in  subsequent modules. The practical and critical listening skills are taught in small seminar/workshop groups allowing multiple feedback and interaction points. The beginnings of logical problem solving and fault-finding  are  introduced  by  means  of  tracing  the  signal  chain  of  a  mixing  console.  The strategy also introduces techniques and styles of academic writing, including correct procedures for citation that will be critical to your success in FHEQ levels 5 and 6.

The learning and teaching methods include:

•     Two two-hour lectures per week

•     Five two-hour seminars on critical listening

•     Five two-hour practical workshops on equipment knowledge and operation

•     Guided reading

•     Coursework assignments and feedback

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate  and develop your knowledge and understanding of audio engineering principles (Coursework 1 and exam).  Your  ability  to  apply  this  knowledge  and  understanding  depends  upon  your  Critical Listening skills, which are assessed in Coursework 2.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

•     Coursework 1 – two written assignments answering practical problems (engineering calculations and essay-style questions), and one systems diagram (addresses learning outcomes 1-4 & 6-9).

•     Coursework 2 – listening assignment: a class test to assess the identification of faults in audio (addresses learning outcomes 10-11).

•     2hr exam – Written paper given under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes1-9).

Formative assessment

There are no formal formative assessment components for this module, but formative feedback will be given to you in tutorials and throughout seminar and practical workshops, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.


Written  feedback  will be given  on all assignments  in Coursework  1. You  will receive  verbal feedback on your practical work throughout the module, particularly in seminars and practical workshops.


Reading List


Last Updated

04 October 2016 by GODFREY L Miss (Qual. Enh. & S)