Module code: TON1013

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.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

MASON Russell (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: J930

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

• None for Tonmeister students.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

•     The decibel

•     Balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits

•     Jackfield wiring schemes

•     Modulation

•     Magnetic recording

•     Mixing desks

•     Metering

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAMINATION (2 HOURS) 50

Alternative Assessment


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.


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

Attributes Developed Ref
1 Define and make use of the dB KCP
2 Explain the need for and operation of balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits KCP
3 Describe the jackfield wiring schemes used in professional and broadcast installations KC
4 Explain the need for, use of, and sideband structure of modulation systems KC
5 Explain the principles and limitations of magnetic recording, including the need for and operation of HF bias and equalisation KC
6 Sketch the signal chain of typical high quality, in-line and stereo mixing desks, explaining the action and use of each operational control KC
7 Describe the technical specifications needed for frequency response, noise, and distortion in a professional mixing desk KC
8 Describe the technical and operational characteristics of PPMs and VU meters KC
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 KC
10 Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected frequency domain features in reproduced sound KCPT
11 Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected forms of distortion, noise and interference in reproduced sound KCPT
12 Critical listening skills PT
13 Problem solving T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 94

Lecture Hours: 48

Seminar Hours: 8

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

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.