Module code: TON1028

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.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

MASON Russell (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 12

Independent Learning Hours: 75

Lecture Hours: 62

Practical/Performance Hours: 1

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None for Tonmeister or FBPE students.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The decibel

  • Balanced and unbalanced circuits

  • Jackfield wiring schemes

  • Modulation

  • Digital audio principles

  • Mixing desks

  • Microphone operation

  • Stereophonic microphone techniques

  • Metering

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 1 10
Coursework Coursework 2 20
Coursework Coursework 3 20
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 and recording techniques principles. It also is intended to assist you to improve your research and academic writing skills, understanding of mixing desk design and signal flow, and speech recording and editing skills.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Essay (addresses learning outcomes 2, 16, 17);

  • Systems diagram (addresses learning outcomes 5, 6, 18);

  • Podcast (addresses learning outcomes 9, 10, 11, 19); and

  • 2-hour examination - a written paper given under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1-4, 6-15).

Formative assessment

Early in the module there will be a formative assessment, partly you help you learn a technical topic, and partly to clarify the standards, styles, and marking scheme used in University teaching.

In addition, 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 the Coursework assignments. You will receive verbal feedback on your practical work throughout the module, particularly in seminars and practical workshops, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.

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 audio recording in Level 5 modules.
  • To advance your understanding of the operation of a range of professional recording equipment.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Define and make use of the dB KCP
002 Explain the need for and operation of balanced and unbalanced circuits KC
003 Explain the need for, use of, and sideband structure of modulation systems KC
004 Describe the principles of PCM digital audio, including sampling, PCM spectrum, aliasing, dither, and the Nyquist Criterion KC
005 Sketch the signal chain of typical high quality, in-line and stereo mixing desks, explaining the action and use of each operational control KC
006 Describe the jackfield wiring schemes used in professional and broadcast installations KCP
007 Describe the technical specifications needed for frequency response, noise, and distortion in a professional mixing desk KC
008 Describe the technical and operational characteristics of PPMs and VU meters KC
009 Describe the principles of operation and operational characteristics of omnidirectional, bi- directional, cardioid, variable directivity pattern, and "gun" microphones KC
010 Describe the principles of operation of moving-coil, electrostatic, and ribbon microphones KC
011 Recognise a wide range of professional microphones KCP
012 Relate hearing mechanisms to stereo recording techniques KC
013 Explain the requirements of a professional stereo system KC
014 Discuss the requirements of mono compatibility, and quality monitoring KC
015 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
016 Independently research a technical topic KT
017 Write essays with an appropriate academic style KT
018 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 KPT
019 Record and edit speech to a professional standard KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: develop practical skills and knowledge in fundamental audio engineering and recording techniques, which you will build on in subsequent modules.

The practical and applied skills are taught in small seminar/workshop groups allowing multiple feedback and interaction points.

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:

  • Regular two-hour lectures

  • Regular practical workshops to support theory presented in lectures and 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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: TON1028

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Film Production and Broadcast Engineering BEng (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core A pass as determined by the relevant criteria is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module

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 2023/4 academic year.