AU 200 Digital Audio Workstations

Course Description:

Students explore topics including SMPTE time code and synchronization, computer-based digital audio workstations, and Pro Tools software and hardware.  The course also covers sound design, field recording, digital audio transfer protocols, software-based effects plug-ins, and online automations.  Students gain practical experience using software samplers and synthesizers with Pro Tools and the integration of MIDI control surfaces.  This course provides a foundation for entry level positions in the audio post-production field.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this program students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to set signal levels through the use of gain stages to record into ProTools using a mixer.
  • Discuss the hardware requirements for digital audio studios using appropriate computer terminology.
  • Identify ways of improving the performance of ProTools systems in different situations.
  • Demonstrate how to connect two-way communications between a digital audio workstation and an iso-booth.
  • Identify and use key commands to perform common tasks in Pro Tools.
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate a MIDI control surface into a digital audio workstation to increase efficiency when mixing for music or post-production.
  • Define vocabulary and terminology used when dealing with digital audio workstations.
  • Incorporate software based frequency analyzers and noise reduction software to apply and manipulate software based plug-ins to perform noise reduction on recorded audio tracks.
  • Integrate a MIDI keyboard to trigger samples from a software sampler.
  • Import and export Standard MIDI Files to and from ProTools and other sequencing software.
  • Discuss common techniques used to create and edit sound effects for post-production.
  • Increase speed and efficiency when using industry standard audio editing software.
  • Produce a sound track for an animation to be used in a student’s portfolio and demo reel.


Course Length: 10 Weeks




Pro Tools 101 Official Courseware, Version 9.0 [Paperback]

Inc. (Avid Inc.) Avid (Author) ISBN-13: 978-1435458802

I will be giving handouts and other resources throughout the quarter that you will be responsible for. 


Other Resources: Various handouts provided by the instructor


Standards for Grading


Modules and Quizzes:


Each week will consist of different modules covering various techniques and skills for working with Pro Tools. We will cover the material in the modules in class and in labs, but you will be required to read material outside of class as well and take a quiz at some time during each week. You will have exactly one week to take the quiz online. You are allowed to use any notes you take or that are handed out by me. At the end of the week, if you have not taken the quiz, you will receive a grade of zero for the quiz. These can severely impact your grade, so set aside time each week to review materials and take the quizzes.


Week 1:

Lecture: Introduction; Syllabus; Review principles of audio; Introduce Pro Tools;

Importing media into Pro Tools

PT 101 Mod 1.

Lab: Project 1.


Week 2: 

Lecture: Introduction to Editing Pro Tools

PT101 Mod 2.

Lab: Project 1.


Week 3:

Lecture: Editing in Pro Tools continued

PT101 Mod 3.

Lab: Project 1 due


Week 4: 

Lecture: Recording into Pro Tools

PT Mod 4.

Lab: Project 2


Week 5: 

Midterm Exam

Lecture: Pro Tools

PT Mod 5.

Lab: Project 2


Week 6: 

Lecture: Introduction to mixing in Pro Tools; Introduction to plug-ins

PT Mod 6.

Project 2 due


Week 7: 

Lecture: Introduction to Sound Design

PT Mod 7.

Lab: Project 3


Week 8: 

Lecture: Advanced Editing in Pro Tools

PT Mod 8.

Lab: Project 3 Work on final projects



Week 9: 

Lecture: Advanced mixing in Pro Tools; plug-ins continued

Final Exam Review 

PT Mod 9.

Lab: Project 3 Due


Week 10: 

Final Exam

PT Mod 10.

Lab: Final Critiques






1. 2 track edit: For project 1 you will be creating three radio ready edits of a song that are of 15, 30, and 60 seconds in length. I will be looking for smooth/musical edits throughout and also a strong (button) ending.


2.  Radio Spot: You will create a radio spot for a to-be-determined product or idea. You will be required to record a voiceover for the spot which should be professional sounding and appropriate for a mainstream radio audience. You will also be required to place a music cue that is appropriate in length and in genre for the project. Sound effects are a welcome addition if you feel the need for your project. The spot should be balanced well, showing proper uses of basic leveling and processing.


3.  Sound Design for Animation: You will create a sound design for an animation. You will create all three stems (music, dialog, and SFX) for your animation and should demonstrate the editing and mixing techniques discussed throughout the quarter.