ADV Studio Recording/Mastering

Class Syllabus

ADV Studio Recording



Instructor: Ryan Peoples


Course Description:

This course builds on the skills introduced in AU340. Students mix a variety of audio projects such as music, television commercials, and surround sound for video. Mastering techniques such as multi-band compression, equalization, and limiting are also demonstrated and performed. (4 credits, 6 hours)



Course Objectives

Upon completion of this program students will be able to:

Evaluate the quality and qualities of a mix.

Manipulate sound material utilizing equalization and dynamics processing tools in order to polish audio materials effectively.

Create metadata encoded in digital materials


Course Length: 10 Weeks


Credit Value: 4.0




Please note: You must have earned a passing grade in the prerequisite class. If you are registered for this class but do not have a passing grade in the prerequisite course, it is your responsibility to contact the department chair or academic advisor to make the necessary changes to your schedule during the schedule adjustment period at the start of the quarter.


Text: The required text used in this class is The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski Artistpro, 1st Ed 1999, Mastering Audio by Bob Katz


Other Resources: Various handouts provided by the instructor


Attendance Policy:








Quarter Credit Hour Definition:


A quarter credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

(1)   One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for 10-12 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2)   At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practical, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.



Standards for Grading






Projects will require materials that the student will choose, as well as the ability to basically navigate recording programs such as Pro Tools and Logic. The student will also be required to download course material from the internet


40% Mastered CDs and/or media projects

10% Quizzes

30% Exams

20% Attendance/participation


Late Assignments:


Late assignments will only be accepted with the prior consent of the instructor.   The instructor will only permit the makeup of work due to a legitimate absence.


Academic Integrity: 


College guidelines for academic integrity are strictly enforced.  Copying materials or otherwise using the words, thoughts, audio/video/graphics files of others is plagiarism, which could result in various penalties ranging from project failure to administrative action. 


Academic Support/Learning Disabilities: 


Academic Support (tutoring) is provided to any student in need of tutoring.  Students who feel they are able to assist with tutoring this course should also contact their instructor and/or the Student Services Office.




Instructor reserves the right to modify this, as necessary to accommodate student’s specific needs, shortcomings, and advantages.


Instructor reserves the right to modify this, as necessary to accommodate student’s specific needs, shortcomings, and advantages.


Every week you must complete a mastering project, post your work to the forum and write a paragraph evaluating your work based on at least 2 points for evaluating a project.


In addition to commenting on your own work, you must comment on 3 projects by students in the class submitted to the forum. To receive full credit for your comments you must evaluate mixes based on at least 2 points from the listed grading criteria. This commenting must be finished 48 hours before the next class meeting to give the instructor time to evaluate comments and mixes, as well as giving the student time to alter their mix based on the commentary before lab, and the grading procedure.


Two days before class meets again the instructor will comment on student projects as well as providing feedback on the criticism. You will then have 48 hrs to rework any substandard materials for your grade in class.


During Labs we evaluate final projects or record subjects.


Assignments, quizzes, and exams are listed at The discussion threads also reside there.



Week 1:

Overview of the course including syllabus along with introduction of students. 

What is mastering?

Mixing techniques (review).

Homework: Read week 1 lectures on website (there will be a quiz on all reading assignments)

Receive Project #1 and #2 (Superstition mix and master)


Week 2:

Mixing techniques (review).  

Error recognition: Overcompression, Comb Filtering, etc

Listen to Project #1 Mixes

Homework: Read week 2 lectures


Week 3:

EQing a master

Error recognition: Bandwidth Limiting, Too bright, Too dark

Project #1 Due

Listen to Project #1 and #2 Mixes/Masters

Homework: Read week 3 lectures


Week 4:

Compressing a master

Parrallel Compression

Project #2 Due

Receive Project #3

Homework: Read week 4 lectures

Review for Midterm Exam


Week 5: 

Midterm Exam



Week 6:


Listening to Project #3

Homework: Read week 6 lectures


Week 7:


Project #3 Due

Receive Project #4

Homework: Read week 7 lectures


Week 8:


Listening to Project #4

Homework: Read week 8 lectures



Week 9:

Mastering with hardware

Listening to Project #4

Review for Final Exam


Week 10:

Final Exam

Project #4 Due






Projects are graded based on successful solutions to problems.


This is the criteria used for evaluating a mix (no, it's not subjective):


- appropriate levels, can I hear everything in the mix?

- appropriate panorama, does the track posses appropriate width?

- the mix should demonstrate competency with such concepts as the appropriate use of subtractive and additive EQ, Does the mix contain appropriate height? Are all frequencies within the pleasant listening spectrum represented?

-dynamics processing, are all the elements of the mix dynamically orchestrated for control and interest?

-spacial effects such as reverb and digital delay, does the mix have appropriate depth?

Is the mix exciting/interesting?


The criteria for evaluating a mastered CD:


Are the levels and represented frequency ranges balanced from track to track?

Are the track assignments clear with appropriate fades, cuts, pauses, and overlaps?

Is all the appropriate meta-data encoded on the disk?

Is the glass master finalized and recognizable by all relevant devices?


If the answer to any one of these questions is ‘no’ then the grade for the project becomes a ‘B’, two ‘no’ answers the project grade becomes a ‘B-’, three ‘no’ answers the project grade becomes a ‘C’. Projects with 4 or more ‘no’ answers to these questions are failures.


On Lab days you should bring a final format CDs ( .mov or m4v for video) to share with the class, but also bring your complete work on a drive in case the instructor wants to use your work as an example.