Module code: TON2022

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to audio signal processing and synthesis techniques. It combines theory and application and is designed to equip you with rigorous understanding and practical skills in this field, directly contributing to your employability in the audio industry.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

DE SENA Enzo (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 14

Independent Learning Hours: 104

Lecture Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 3

Captured Content: 17

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

  • TON1023 Audio Signal Analysis
  • TON1024 Computer Systems

Module content

The module covers a range of foundational topics that are essential for a career in the audio industry.

Indicative content includes:

  • Linear time invariant systems, impulse responses, transfer functions and Bode plots

  • Convolution of two signals

  • The z-transform

  • FIR and IIR digital filters

  • Designing digital filters

  • Fundamentals of sound synthesis

  • Specific sound synthesis techniques, including subtractive synthesis, and physical modelling

  • Max/MSP patch design and implementation

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Signal Processing Coursework 25
Coursework Sound Synthesis Coursework 25
Examination Examination (2 hours) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate and develop subject knowledge (theory-based coursework and exam) and digital capabilities (programming-based coursework) in audio signal processing and sound synthesis.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Signal Processing Coursework – one theory and computer-based assignment (addresses learning outcomes 1-2, 5, and 7-8);

  • Sound Synthesis Coursework – one computer-based practical assignment (addresses learning outcomes 6-8); and

  •  2hr examination – written paper under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1-4).

Formative assessment

Formative assessment and feedback will be provided in tutorials as required, during in-class exercises, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures. 


You will receive written feedback on your coursework.

Module aims

  • Give you the necessary signal processing background for a career in the audio industry
  • Provide you with the necessary theoretical understanding and practical working knowledge of sound synthesis for a career in the audio industry

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Perform convolution on two signals in both the time and frequency domains KCP
002 Calculate the impulse response and transfer function of linear time invariant systems and plot the phase and magnitude response KCP
003 Discuss the differences between FIR and IIR digital filters KC
004 Explain the principles and discuss the relative merits of different sound synthesis techniques KC
005 Design and test digital audio filters using a computer-aided approach KCP
006 Design and implement a sound synthesiser patch to a given specification KCP
007 Apply programming skills successfully PT
008 Apply problem-solving skills successfully T

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 your knowledge and understanding of aspects of audio signal processing and synthesis, using a combination of theory and practice. This is achieved via lectures and workshops, as well as by completion of practical programming coursework.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures that will introduce you to the fundamentals of audio signal processing

  • Captured content and guided reading that will introduce you to the theory behind sound synthesis techniques

  • Workshops / seminars that will allow you to gain practical experience with audio signal processing and sound synthesis techniques

  • 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: TON2022

Other information

Digital Capabilities: the ASPS module will enable you to acquire key digital capabilities essential for the audio industry. This module offers an introduction to audio signal processing and synthesis, integrating the use of digital tools and software like Max/MSP. You'll gain hands-on experience in digital filter design and sound synthesizer patch creation. These digital capabilities not only enhance your technical proficiency but also ensure you are better prepared to adapt to and leverage the latest advancements in audio technology.

Employability: the ASPS module is designed to enhance your employability in the audio industry. By providing an overview of theoretical and practical skills in audio signal processing and synthesis, this module lays the groundwork for a wide range of career opportunities in the industry. You'll improve your problem solving abilities and learn to apply fundamental principles in real-world scenarios, skills that are highly valued by employers. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required 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 2024/5 academic year.