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Online course

Critical Listening for Studio Production

This free online course is a technical ear training programme designed to improve critical listening in a music studio context.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Critical Listening for Studio Production

Why join the course?

There are many qualities required to be a skilled sound engineer: the theoretical knowledge of sound and audio, the technical mastery of studio hardware and software, and diplomatic people skills, for example. But perhaps the most obvious (and often overlooked) quality required of all sound engineers is the ability to listen.

Sound engineers must constantly evaluate the sound quality of individual sound sources in a mix and evaluate how these sound sources interrelate with one another. The ability to listen critically and make these judgements is a skill that must be learnt through trial and error and repeated practice. This free online course aims to provide you with tools for developing and refining the critical listening skills relevant to contemporary sound engineering and will be of interest to musicians, sound enthusiasts and experienced sound engineers alike.

The course begins by examining the nature of sound and how properties of sound (frequency, amplitude and sound intensity, for example) are expressed. The relationship between these physical properties and the more subjective characteristics of music such as pitch, loudness, dynamic range and timbre is then examined. The remainder of the course focuses on the signal processing techniques commonly used by sound engineers when mixing multitrack recordings - for example, equalisation, compression and reverberation.

On completion of the course you will have a thorough understanding of the workflow involved when mixing a multitrack recording and will have developed the critical listening skills necessary to make informed judgements regarding individual and overall sound quality.

Download video: standard

What topics will you cover?

  • Properties of sound
  • Expressions of sound using the decibel
  • Signal processing techniques
  • Practice listening skills

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore the nature of sound and how properties of sound (frequency, amplitude and sound intensity, for example) are expressed
  • Investigate the relationship between the physical properties and the more subjective characteristics of music, such as pitch, loudness, dynamic range and timbre
  • Compare how the signal processing techniques are commonly used by sound engineers when mixing multitrack recordings
  • Develop an understanding of the workflow involved when mixing a multitrack recording

Who is the course for?

No prior knowledge is assumed, but an interest in music and/or audio would be beneficial. Participants should have access to a stereo pair of loudspeakers for replay of audio examples.

Who will you learn with?

Chris Corrigan

Chris is a lecturer in audio engineering at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast.

Who developed the course?

Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £59.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.