AUDIO FUNDAMENTALS - 2025/6

Module code: FVP1016

Module Overview

This module is central to your development in audio related engineering. It covers the fundamental concepts that underpin all professional audio systems, and introduces essential concepts that you will use across a wide range of the other modules, as well as throughout any career related to professional audio or video. It also will provide you with the theoretical understanding to support your practical sound recording activities, both within the programme and for a successful career in any area of the audio or video related industry.
You will learn the basic principles of measurement of audio signals, and the principles behind the capture, manipulation, and transmission of audio in analogue and digital formats, as used in all professional audio practice. The module balances understanding of the underlying theory with application in professional contexts, and the coursework is intended to allow you to put the theory into practice. The module will also develop the academic skills necessary for the rest of the programme, introducing you to independent academic research methods, writing essays on technical topics, and appropriate citation of academic sources.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

HAIGH Alan (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: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 88

Lecture Hours: 24

Laboratory Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 2

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • The decibel 

  • Balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits

  • Jackfield wiring schemes and systems diagrams

  • Microphone operation

  • Stereophonic microphone techniques

  • Audio metering

  • Equipment test and measurement.

  • PCM digital audio

  • Digital audio interfaces

  • Safety and session etiquette


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Systems Diagram 25
Coursework Recorded Documentary 25
Examination Examination (1.5 hours) 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

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.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Systems diagram (addresses learning outcomes 3); 

  • Recorded documentary (addresses learning outcomes 4, 5); and 

  • Examination - a written paper given under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1-4, 6-8).



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 practical workshops, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.

Feedback: Written feedback will be given on the Coursework assignments. You will receive verbal feedback on your practical work throughout the module, particularly in the practical workshops, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.

Module aims

  • To develop your understanding of the theory of fundamental aspects of professional audio systems engineering that underpin all recorded sound.
  • To advance your understanding of professional recording operational practice, and the theory and operation of a wide range of professional sound equipment.
  • To provide the knowledge and understanding needed for audio recording in later years of the programme and a professional career.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Define and make use of the decibel KCP
002 Explain the need for and make use of balanced, unbalanced and co-axial circuits KCP
003 Describe the jackfield wiring schemes and audio systems diagrams used in broadcast audio installations KCP
004 Describe the principle of operation and operational characteristics of types of professional microphones KCP
005 Record and edit speech to a professional standard KPT
006 Describe the technical and operational characteristics of audio meters KCP
007 Describe the technical specifications needed for frequency response, noise and distortion in professional audio and relate this to professional audio in practice KCP
008 Describe the technical features of digital audio relating to the AES-3 and MADI digital audio interfaces KC

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 fundamental audio engineering and recording techniques, which you will make use of and build on in subsequent modules and throughout a professional career in audio;

  • develop your ability to investigate signal flow in an audio installation, identity faults in equipment, and solve problems in a logical manner; and

  • develop your skills in independent research, academic writing, and academic citation, as preparation for academic work in subsequent modules.



The learning and teaching methods include:


  • regular lectures which cover the theoretical background to each of the topics covered

  • the small cohort allows plenty of opportunity for you to ask questions to help you to develop your understanding;

  • regular labs that allow you to apply the theoretical understanding to professional audio practice; and

  • coursework assignments that encourage you to further investigate the theoretical topics, as well as allow you to develop: your academic research and writing skills; your logical signal tracing and fault-finding skills; and your skills in recording and editing speech.


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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: FVP1016

Other information

Digital capabilities:

The module introduces the theoretical and practical fundamentals of digital audio, giving you an accurate understanding of what the term "digital" truly means, as well as a theoretical understanding of how audio is converted to and from the digital domain. As part of the coursework assignments, you will also develop skills in: independent research of a topic, using online resources including books and academic publications; audio recording and editing of speech; and tools for creating reports and diagrams. All of these skills will be essential to your success through the remainder of the programme.

Employability:

The knowledge and skills developed within this module are the fundamentals of a successful career in the audio and moving image industries. The audio engineering aspects cover: the decibel (used widely for measurement in most audio disciplines); transmission of audio signals using analogue and digital representations (encompassing the most common methods used in industry); and the theory of converting audio between analogue and digital formats (again encompassing the most common methods used in industry). A thorough understanding of these topics, their related limitations and problems, and methods used to ameliorate these, are central to the development of high quality audio equipment and productions. The recording techniques aspects cover: the design and operation of mixing desks (essential understanding for work in a broadcast studio); the principles behind and operation of microphones (central to any audio recording); and audio processing equipment such as compressors and EQs (used on a wide range of audio productions). These will give you a thorough understanding of the theoretical basis of each, as well as introducing professional concepts and their use in industry.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Games Design BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Optional 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 2025/6 academic year.