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Garnish Music Production School in London

MUSPR 369 | Digital Recording & Production

Unit Title: Digital Recording & Production

Credit Value: 15

Context

Digital recording offers flexibility and editing options that weren’t easily available (if at all) with analogue recording. The possibilities for manipulating sound sources are seemingly endless and by recording their own sounds at source and editing samples, musicians and engineers can create new esoteric sounds that will enable them to create original sounding music. This unit offers the learner the ability to explore those possibilities.

Aims/Purpose

This unit has 1 aim:

To develop learners’ skills in effectively planning the recording process, and recording instruments and voices;

To edit audio samples for future use.

The purpose of this unit is to: enable the learners to record and use source material (instrumentation) to use as sample patches for future projects. The unit also focuses on the ability to plan and manage the recording process.

Skills Development

Learning in this area will support the development of the following specialist and transferable skills:

Specialist Knowledge and Skills

Microphone types and placement Signal routing

EQ and dynamic processing Using a digital audio workstation Adding effects, audio editing

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

Independent Enquirers

Learners carrying out research into appropriate microphone types and placement techniques and justifying decisions by using reasoned arguments and evidence to support conclusions.

Creative Thinkers

Learners generating recordings and samples and exploring possibilities for using, editing and manipulating those samples.

Reflective Learners

Learners reflecting on their recordings and considering ways in which they can improve their outcomes.

Self-managers

Learners organising themselves and others around them in recording sessions; organising their time and anticipating issues that may arise in the studio.

Effective Participators

Learners proposing practical ways to record instruments in the studio, taking into account time and resource issues; and identifying improvements that may enhance the recordings.

Functional Skills @ Level 2

English 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4; 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6

ICT 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5

Employability Skills

Self-management

Decision making

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Creative thinking

Skill awareness

Analytical skills

Report writing

Study Skills

Critical thinking

Synthesising information

Time management

ICT skills

Problem solving

Listening skills

Presentation & communication

Creative thinking

Reflective analysis

Learning Outcomes

The learner will be able to:

1.Demonstrate how to plan a studio recording session effectively

2.Use a digital audio workstation or audio recorder to record music.

3.Demonstrate skills to edit recorded works to create audio/recordings and consider the success of these.

Unit Content

Analytical Skills

Evaluation of own work

Making decisions of microphone types and placement

Developing strategies for improvement

Organisational Skills

Selecting and setting up musical and recording equipment

Organising resources and planning a time frame

Time management – working to the time frame, working to deadlines

File management – organising recording project files

Recording Skills

Setting up microphones, DI boxes and leads

Using a mixing desk

Signal routing

Controlling levels

Using appropriate gain structure

Editing Skills

Trim and crop audio Time stretching Pitch correction

Use of various sampler functions: looping, reversing, key mapping, velocity switching, LFO etc.

Mixing Skills

Using equalisation

Using dynamic processing

Adding effects

Using sends and inserts

Communication Skills

Giving musical direction

Essay writing

Suggested Delivery Ideas

The delivery, where possible, should be learner led. They should be responsible for making decisions and planning the recordings (through consultation with the musicians and the tutor). They will need input on mic types and techniques; on how to use mixing desks, signal routing and using a DAW (or other digital recording device) for recording and editing audio. This could be lecture-based with practical demonstrations and/or video-based tutorials. Handouts and links to online instructions or books would be of benefit.

Some of the learning will take place in a recording studio environment and will be learner driven. Learners may experiment with selection of microphones and DI boxes and will arrange the musicians in the studio. It is important that they learn the benefits of correct gain staging/structure how to apply the principles correctly to minimise distortion and maximise signal to noise ratio.

Proper labelling of files and file management are also very important and learners must learn the appropriate procedures.

After the recordings have taken place, learners may need demonstrations on how to edit and manipulate the audio using the appropriate software or digital hardware.

Learners could listen to and review their own and each other’s recordings and compare their mixes to professionally recorded work.

Suggested Activity Ideas

Learners could develop an understanding of microphone types and placement through online or paper-basedquizzes and could arrive at conclusions for the most appropriate techniques for their recordings through group discussions and debates. Practical experimentation with different microphone models and placement will help inform their decisions.

Learners will need hands-on experience of using a mixing desk and applying appropriate gain at different stages of the process. They will need to learn how to apply EQ and dynamic processing. These may be before or after the instrument has been recorded. They may also need hands-on experience of using the digital audio recording device and of editing the audio files in order to be able to truncate the audio, time- stretch it and pitch shift it. Other features of a sampler, such as key mapping and looping may also be useful.

Summative Assessment Methods

Learners should produce a detailed recording plan and rationale, stating the instrumentation that is to be recorded and personnel; the resources – including microphone types, DI boxes, amps and peripheral equipment; the schedule, date and timescale.

Learners must then create recordings of several sound sources (at least six) for use as samples. They should make use of a variety of microphones and mic techniques and use of direct injection and use of correct gain structure at input ensuring no harmonic distortion. Learners will be assessed on the quality of their recorded samples and their professionalism in the approach to the recording (managing the session, microphone choice etc.).

The recordings should be properly labelled, trimmed and cropped, and any unused files should be deleted. Learners should then use, edit and process the samples and present them in an appropriate format. This may be a completed track or a sample patch. They should also justify their methods and editing decisions.

Learners’ creativity, as well as their technical ability, should be assessed with reference to their justification.

They need to evaluate the success of the project by analysing their strengths and areas for development and understanding of the different skills required to complete the project (e.g. planning time and resources, microphone choice and placement, signal routing, using a mixing desk, EQ, dynamic processing, using a Daw, using a sampler, editing audio, mixing etc).

Recommended Evidence

1.1 Recording plan – essay, table, rationale for recording, justification of choices

1.2 Recording/Samples – mp3s (or other format such as .wav, .aif, .rex etc.) of finished recordings; DAW project files; zipped or compressed folder with all samples

2.1 Edited recordings – mp3(s), or other audio file(s) of finished track or edited recordings; screen shots of DAW project demonstrating fulfilment of assessment criteria; DAW project files, essay, video recorded discussion of techniques applied and justification of decisions made

2.2 Conclusions, strengths & areas for development – essay; recorded discussion; screen shots from DAW project (showing editing of audio); photos from recording session (showing mic placement etc.)

Links to other areas of the MUSPRA qualifications

Knowledge and skills developed in this area may be utilised to underpin activities relating to:

Studio Sound Recording

Studio Sound Mixing

Studio Audio Mastering

Using Dynamic Processors

Using Multi-effects

Using Equalisation & Filters

Music Sequencing & Production

Creating a Sample Library

Using a DAW

Development of Sound Sources

Links to National Occupational Standards

This unit is derived from elements of the following NOS for Music Practitioners:

Map to the NOS for Music Composers, Performers and Music Technologists

Grading Criteria

Unclassified

A learner not on course to achieve this unit might evidence a significant number of the following:

1.Little or no ability to create a rationale for future recording session(s) missing one or more of the following: the purpose of the recording session; a list of instrumentation/vocals to be recorded; the resources needed; justification of mic types and placement; schedule, date, timescale and personnel. This may demonstrate a lack of understanding of the purpose for recording the digital audio samples. It may demonstrate a lack of competency.

2.Inability to create effective recordings of sound sources for the purpose of creating samples missing out one or more of the following requirements: there should be recordings of at least six different instruments or voices; use of a variety of microphones and mic’ing techniques; use of direct injection; correct gain structure. This may demonstrate a lack of understanding of microphones and their placement for the sound sources and/or show a lack of understanding of DI. The signals recorded may be inaudible or contain

clipping.

3. Display inadequate or poor editing skills to the recordings made in 2.1 using software/hardware applications giving a well thought out justification of the editing decisions made. This should demonstrate a very proficient use of the DAW software to include all of the stated assessment criteria.

4. Give little or no evaluation when considering the success of the audio/recordings created in 2.1/3.1 in relation to the specified criteria failing to discuss strengths and areas for development.

Pass

To achieve a pass, all learners must:

1. Produce a basic rationale for future recording session(s) that fulfils the stated assessment criteria. This should demonstrate a basic understanding of the purpose for recording the digital audio sample with some suggestions for destination of the resultant audio. It should demonstrate competent organisational skills with a basic grasp of the resources required and an elemental knowledge of their performance.

2. Create basic quality recordings of sound sources for the purpose of creating samples that meets the stated assessment criteria. This should demonstrate a simple choice of microphones for the sound sources to be recorded, and a basic understanding of DI. The signals recorded should be of a basic level with no or little clipping.

3.Display basic editing skills to the recordings made in 2.1 using software/hardware applications giving simple justification of the editing decisions made. This should demonstrate a competent use of the DAW software to include all of the stated assessment criteria.

4.Give a simple evaluation, considering the success of the audio/recordings created in 2.1/3.1 in relation to the specified criteria highlighting strengths and areas for development.

Merit

To achieve a merit, learners should:

1. Produce a thorough rationale for future recording session(s) that fulfils the stated assessment criteria. This should demonstrate a proficient understanding of the purpose for recording the digital audio sample with a suggested destination for resultant audio. It should demonstrate good organisational skills with a good grasp of the resources required and underpinning knowledge of their performance.

2. Create good quality recordings of sound sources for the purpose of creating samples that fulfils the stated assessment criteria. This should demonstrate a well thought-out choice of microphones for the sound sources to be recorded, a proficient understanding of DI ground lift and dB attenuation. The signals recorded should be of a good level with no clipping.

3. Display accurate, and creative editing skills to the recordings made in 2.1 using software/hardware applications giving a well thought out justification of the editing decisions made. This should demonstrate a very proficient use of the DAW software to include all of the stated assessment criteria.

4. Give a detailed evaluation, considering the success of the audio/recordings created in 2.1/3.1 in relation to the specified criteria highlighting strengths and areas for development. Give solutions to the areas for development.

Distinction

To achieve a distinction, learners should:

1. Produce a highly detailed rationale for future recording session(s) that fulfils the stated assessment criteria. This should demonstrate an excellent understanding of the purpose for recording the digital audio sample with a defined destination for resultant audio. It should demonstrate excellent organisational skills with a comprehensive grasp of the resources required and a detailed knowledge of their performance.

2. Create high quality recordings of sound sources for the purpose of creating samples that fulfil the stated assessment criteria.

These should demonstrate an excellent choice of microphones for the sound sources to be recorded, a comprehensive understanding of DI ground lift and dB attenuation. The signals recorded should be of a good level with no clipping to into account the signal to noise ratio of any analogue interface.

3. Display highly accurate, innovative and creative editing skills to the recordings made in 2.1 using software/hardware applications giving an in-depth detailed justification of the editing decisions made. This should demonstrate a comprehensive and highly competent use of the DAW software to include all of the stated assessment criteria.

4. Give a highly detailed evaluation, considering the success of the audio/recordings created in 2.1/3.1 in relation to the specified criteria highlighting strengths and areas for development. Give reasonable and viable solutions to the areas for development.

MUSPR 369 Digital Recording & Production

Credit Value 15

QCF Level 3

Assessment Framework

Learning Outcomes

Through completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

1.Propose, plan and prepare for a digital recording session

2.Use a digital audio workstation or audio recorder to record musical sound sources.

3.Demonstrate skills to edit recorded works to create audio/recordings and consider the success of these.

Assessment Requirements

The learner can:

1.1 Produce a rationale for the recording session(s) detailing:

a.the purpose and intention of the recording session(s)

b.the instruments/voices that are to be recorded (at least six)

c.the resources needed to record the instruments/voices

d.a justification of microphone types and placement;

e.date and time of recording, working schedule and a list of musicians and other personnel (as applicable)

2.1 Based on the rationale created in 1.1, create recordings of the instruments and voices, meeting the following requirements:

a.use of a variety of microphones and mic’ing techniques

b.use of direct injection;

c.use of effective gain structure.

3.1 Based on the rationale created in 1.1, edit the recordings made in 2.1 using software/hardware applications. The process should include:

a.appropriate labelling of audio tracks and audio files;

b.deletion of unused audio files;

c.truncation of used audio files (trim and crop);

d.appropriate manipulation of samples (for example: time stretching, pitch correction, looping, reversing

etc.)

e.application of EQ and effects to process the audio, as appropriate;

f.presentation of the audio/recordings in relevant file format in relation to the rationale

3.2 Consider the results of the audio recordings created in 2.1 and edited in 3.1, justifying decisions made and assessing strengths and areas for development.