The first four & half months of the audio program start with the theory classes. The modules that will be covered are:
Sound theory implies the study of audio, its physical parameters and its perception to the human ear. It gives one an idea of how sound is received and interpreted by the human ear and how sound can be visualized as a model for easier understanding. The course explains the absolute basics of sound, the characteristics of the human ear and its ability to change a physical phenomenon to a sensory one. It also explains the various fundamental characteristics of a waveform that include amplitude, frequency, velocity, wavelength, phase, harmonic content and acoustic envelope. The study is made interesting with relevant listening exercises that illustrate the fundamental relationship between these parameters. Moreover, the students will learn about psychoacoustics, i.e. the human perception and interpretation of various sounds and sound sources.
Microphones are the basis of converting acoustic energy into electrical signals. This is the primary method of translating sound from a phenomenon in air into the electronic domain. The students will learn the various classification of microphones that include dynamic, condenser, ribbon microphones etc, and their professional application in today's recording industry. The course also explains the various technical specifications of microphones and the factors one should keep in mind for selecting the right microphone for the required application.
The knowledge of basic electronics is extremely imperative for an audio engineer in the field. Apart from the basic know-how of recording and mixing music, it helps the engineer to know how to chase a signal and probably find faults or rectify technical errors and glitches in the signal chain so as to carry on a smooth recording and otherwise. The course provides brief but insightful knowledge on basic electronic devices that include capacitors, resistors, inductors, transducers etc. and their functions in an electronic circuit. Also, the course explains the general maintenance of electronic gadgets and the basic hardware know-how that include soldering electronic joints, cables and connectors.
Speakers, monitors, amplifiers etc. are parts of the system, which are responsible for converting audio in its electronic form back into sound waves in air, which in turn are perceived by the human ear. There are various types of speakers and amplifiers; each one has a different specification and use. The basic theory of sound reinforcement, the meaning and use of active and passive speakers, their crossover filter frequencies and the use of Digital Delay Line will be adequately explained to the students. Dynamic range and decibels will also be discussed in order to give the students an in depth knowledge in the use of its calculations that are necessary for speaker placement and calibration for live sound reinforcement.
Signal processing is one of the most interesting aspects of audio. This is the part where the Sound Engineer can get creative to the fullest of his limitless potential and talent. It involves the use of dynamic, frequency and time-based effects for further enhancement of the audio signal in both the analog and the digital domain. The students will be taught how to use equalizers, compressors, reverbs, delay units and noise reduction systems in a conventional way and also how to apply them in the most unusual scenarios. The learning process is made fun and less stressful by citing real-world examples, learning from common mistakes and providing hands-on lessons on the relevant topics.
Studio Acoustic Design
Whether it is music recording, audio-for-visual or even for broadcast purposes, acoustic treatment and design plays a pivotal role in creating a good sounding production. Room acoustics, sound isolation, symmetry in control room, frequency balance, sound absorption, reflection and reverberation should be well considered to achieve the best possible acoustic results while designing a sound studio. The course explains the various aspects and calculations one should accomplish in designing a sound studio that starts from measurement of the room, physical acoustic analysis and treatment, assessing equipment based on the spec sheets and also selecting the necessary tools and instruments for the required purpose. Moreover, studio management and operations will be discussed based on an industry perspective.
In today's world of ever changing technology where everyone has made digital technology a part of his or her lives, it is impossible to ignore the digital aspect of audio technology. Digital Audio is simply a process by which numeric representations of analog signals are encoded, processed, stored and reproduced over time through the use of a binary number system. This is the module in which the students will be introduced to words such as sampling and quantization that form the basics of digital audio. They will be taught the ever-changing hierarchy of the technology tree with its branches that covers protocols and standards such as AES/EBU, S/PDIF, TDIF, ADAT, connectivity and synchronization with various analog and digital recording media, recording formats and error correction. Also, the students will be taught how to handle digital equipment starting from basic computing to digital consoles and also in working with various computer platforms such as the Mac, PC and its connectivity with external devices using the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and Firewire. Moreover, the course explains the scope and potential of Internet Audio and the various audio compression standards and codecs that are invading today's multimedia and audio industry.
Stereo and Surround Sound
When records started hitting the markets, all that was played on the record was monophonic audio. Later, the wonderful new development of stereo came into being. This meant that a track would have 2 distinct signals that would form a stereo image in the minds of the listeners making it more realistic and human. But technology is something that never waits for anyone, and thus, yet another concept evolved: surround sound. This meant that we would receive audio from all around the ear almost as if to replicate the way our ears receive and interpret sound in nature. The course explains the various surround sound formats such as Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS etc. that are really popular these days and will discuss the various compression standards and coding used by these formats. Also, the students will be taught on the placement of speakers and calibrating them for the required surround environment in order to achieve the sweet listening spot. Furthermore, the concept will be made clear with ample surround sound listening material and video tutorials. They will also be introduced to the art of mixing in surround sound.