Final review

The final exam will draw from all of the assigned readings, as well as our lecture, discussion, and studio sessions. It is not cumulative and will only deal with the materials covered since the mid-term. Modern Recording Techniques book chapters include 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The test will include multiple choice and short answer questions, and will be similar to the in-class and take home quizzes, although longer and more comprehensive. It will focus on the primary topics from the chapters (which are usually the topics that I review in class) and will not emphasise low level memorization. At the same time, many of the basic, high level principles of audio recording should be clearly understood and committed to memory. The following list of terms should help you in preparing for the test.

* I have put an asterisk by the especially important topics. This does not mean the others are not important, but this will help you to identify key or central topics from each chapter.


Chapter 13 - The Art and Technology of Mixing
* Three main stages of a multitrack recording process (Recording / Overdubbing / Mixdown)
* Basic features / signal path of an audio production console / similar features in Protools
* Gain trims (mic, line)
* Attenuation pad (to reduce incoming signal level - found on most preamps)
* Optimum gain structure and signal-to-noise ratio
* How to set recording levels in Protools - must happen at mic preamp or mixer, since the Avid hardware in our studio does not have any gain controls
Polarity reverse
* Channel or track inserts - main uses
* Auxiliary sends - main uses
How to set up headphone mixes (pre fade)
* Difference between pre and post fade sends - and how do you choose?
* Difference between serial and parallel signal routing
* Difference between 'send' bussing and 'direct assign' bussing -
* Pan pot
* Solo / Mute
Output bus
* Stereo master output fader - why use stereo master fader in Protools?
Grouping faders
Patch bay
Tip/sleeve unbalanced
Tip/ring/sleeve balanced
Professional telephone-type jacks
Mini Bantam/TT jacks
* Metering - Peak program metering / RMS metering / VU metering - digital vs analog metering scales
Console automation / Snapshot automation
Drawn (rubberband) automation
* Primary mix concerns - balance, blend, stereo image

Chapter 14 - Signal Processing
* Signal processor - general description
* Analog vs digital processing - advantages / disadvantages
* corrective vs creative signal processing
* real-time vs destructive signal processing
Software plug-ins
VST (PC/Mac)
DirectX (PC)
AudioSuite (Mac)
Audio Units (Mac)
TDM (Digidesign for PC/ Mac)
* Mix control in plugins- Wet / Dry
* Equalization: filter types
* Peak / dip EQ band - specific controls
* High-pass filter / Low-pass filter - specific controls
* Shelf filter - specific controls
* Dynamic range processors - general uses
* Compressor; primary controls (Threshold / Ratio)
* Compressor; secondary controls (input and output levels, attack and release times)
* Limiter (how is limiting different from compression)
* Time-based effects - Delay / Phasing / Flanging / Chorus / Doubling / reverb...
* Reverberation - Direct signal / Early reflections / reverberation signal
General reverb types - Hall / Chamber / Room / Spring / Plate / Reverse / Gate
Pitch shifting / Time shifting

Chapter 16 - Monitoring
* Basic goal - why use professional monitor speakers?
* Recommended listening / monitoring levels (in dB SPL)
* Speaker placement for accurate stereo reproduction
* Speaker placement in relationship to the ideal listening location
Tuning / adjusting monitors
* Inverse response problem - what happens to your mix if your monitors have very little low end response, for example?
Active monitors vs Passive monitors
Speaker polarity
Mono / Stereo / Surround setups
Mono compatibility
Farfield monitors
* Nearfield monitors - what are some of the advantages of using nearfield monitors?
Headphone monitoring
Sealed headphones (cue mix)

Chapter 17 - Surround Sound
* Surround sound - advantages / challenges
Quadraphonic sound
* 5.1 surround sound - basic speaker layout / placement including proper angles
* what is .1 (LFE) and how might it be used?
* Two main surround companies (Dolby and DTS)
Dolby Surround
Dolby Pro Logic
Dolby Digital AC3

Chapter 18 - Mastering
* Mastering - what are the primary goals?
* Make it sound “right”... get a fresh opinion by someone who specializes in mastering
* Song order, manage transitions and crossfades
* Match levels and playback at optimum levels
* touch up EQ
* refine Dynamics
Multiband dynamic processing
File resolution (original/intended) and dithering
Assembling / editing the master

Chapter 20 - Studio Tips and Techniques
* Preparation - how to make the most of your session time
* What to ask the musicians
* Track sheet/log
Making a good headphone mix
Slating the tape (or disk)
Take sheet
* Documentation
Building the mix
Monitor levels
Professional demeanor