Module code: TON1017

Module Overview

This module is intended to advance your understanding of 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

HAIGH Caroline (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 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

• Year 1 Audio Engineering and Recording Techniques A

Module content

Indicative content includes:

•     Digital audio principles

•     Digital audio interfaces

•     CD

•     Microphone  operation

•     Stereophonic microphone techniques

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 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 – one written assignment and one recorded assignment (addresses learning outcomes 1-2 & 6-12).

•     Coursework 2 – listening assignment: a class test to assess the identification of faults in audio (addresses learning outcomes 13-15).

•     2hr exam – written paper given under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1- 12).

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 both 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 advance your understanding of the theory of professional audio systems engineering.
  • To advance your understanding of professional recording operations and equipment.
  • To prepare you for the HE5 Recording Techniques modules.
  • To advance your understanding of the operation of a range of professional recording equipment.
  • To further develop your skills in critical listening.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Ref
001 Describe the principles of PCM digital audio, including sample and hold, PCM spectrum, aliasing, dither, and the Nyquist Criterion KC
002 Describe a range of A to D and D to A converters suitable for audio use KC
003 Explain the principles of parity, weighted parity, Hamming codes, and CRCs as used in digital audio system KC
004 Describe the CD system, including frame format, channel coding, EFM, and subcode formats KC
005 Describe the technical features of a wide range of digital audio interfaces, including AES-3, MADI SDIF-2, ADI and TDIF KCP
006 Describe the principles of operation and operational characteristics of omnidirectional, bi- directional, cardioid, variable directivity pattern, and "gun" microphones KC
007 Describe the principles of operation of moving-coil, electrostatic, and ribbon microphones KC
008 Recognise a wide range of professional microphones KCP
009 Relate hearing mechanisms to stereo recording techniques KC
010 Explain the requirements of a professional stereo system KCP
011 Discuss the requirements of mono compatibility, and quality monitoring KCP
012 Discuss the relative merits and disadvantages of co-incident pair, Decca tree, spot, and multi microphone techniques for commercial and broadcast recording of "classical" music and speech using both X/Y and M/S techniques KCP
013 Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected basic features of recorded balance KCPT
014 Identify and describe selected spatial features of reproduced sound KCPT
015 Identify and describe the subjective effects of selected digital audio sampling and quantisation artefacts) KCPT
016 Critical listening skills PT
017 Group work PT
018 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: further develop your skills and knowledge in fundamental audio engineering, allowing modules in later years to build on this  knowledge. Practical and critical listening skills are taught in small seminar groups allowing multiple feedback and interaction points. Techniques and style in academic  writing  and  citation  are further developed.

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.