Audio and Music Technology BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with placement)

Cambridge

January 2017, September 2016

code: J992, J993

Available in Clearing 01245 686868


Overview

If you love recording, performing, writing, or engineering and experimenting with sound waves, our course is for you. You’ll get to grips with the latest hardware and software, and graduate with the skills employers are looking for. Our course is also accredited by JAMES. This course has been validated to include an optional Sandwich Placement year in industry.

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For more information about Sandwich Placement opportunities, please contact the Placements Team.

Our course has a new home in Compass House, which extends our campus along East Road. With the latest technology at your fingertips you'll be able to collaborate with other students on innovative projects to hone your skills.

Full description

Careers

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When you graduate, you’ll have learned to use the very latest hardware and software and have the skills currently in demand in the audio industry.

Our course could lead you into careers in studio recording, acoustic consulting, live sound engineering, audio electronics, loudspeaker design and more. The technology slant means you’ll have a range of career paths open to you, including the creative industries, marketing, electronic engineering, and film and media.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies, we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Acoustics, Sound and Music
    Using demonstrations and experiments, this module will introduce you to the basic properties of waves, with a special emphasis on sound waves in the air. You’ll study simple models of musical instruments such as stretched strings, as well as analysing the acoustic characteristics of other instruments. We’ll also introduce Sabine’s Formula to calculate reverberation times which impact on architectural acoustics, and how issues with this can be overcome using active or passive techniques such as Helmholtz resonators. Your learning will be assessed through coursework and an examination.
  • Basic Recording and Studio Techniques
    In this module you'll get an introduction to sound recording and performance software and hardware. You'll start with a study of the basic system design and signal chain of a typical recording studio, followed by essential software and hardware. We'll discuss the basic technical operation of some devices such as recording media and devices, playback media and devices, dynamic and condenser microphones, analogue and digital mixing desks, dynamics processors, reverberation and delay effects, filters and equalisation and studio monitors. We'll demonstrate commercial music software packages in lectures and features such as MIDI sequencing, audio recording and importation, audio and MIDI processing and editing. You'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a range of commercial software and hardware devices available in our studios.
  • Computer Modelling
    This module will introduce you to the use of computer tools to solve engineering problems. You'll get a sound understanding of the principles of generating a computer model or solution from a defined specification. We'll introduce you to the MATLAB software package, which allows mathematical expressions to be solved using various command functions and simple software statements as well as the basic ideas of producing plots. You'll also learn the basics of C language as well as discussing fundamental issues like constants, variables, operators, conditional and iterative statements.
  • Core Technology
    You’ll be provided with a range of activities designed to enhance the basic skills necessary for successful progress on your chosen course. You’ll cover a wealth of subjects which are technology related including physics, electronics and information technology. You’ll also cover the essential aspects of the Personal Development Plan (PDP) which are obligatory within the teaching framework of the faculty. This will include the practice of personal development planning, in the context of your undergraduate studies, and encourage you to start actively planning for your academic and career development.
  • Digital Electronics
    You’ll be introduced to the analysis and design of digital electronic circuits. Our module looks at digital devices and examines the fundamentals of Boolean logic. The different logic gates are explained, and techniques are introduced for generating and simplifying logical expressions using Boolean algebra and Karnaugh maps. You’ll look at practical applications, including the design of fundamental circuits such as decoders, encoders and arithmetic circuits. This is followed by examining how sequential logic techniques allow us to design circuits with memory. Different types of memory are explained, along with their applications. Finally, you’ll examine the design of synchronous and asynchronous counters. You’ll cover the operating principles of all circuit elements by lectures and tutorials, supplemented by practical experiments using both hardware and circuit simulation software.
  • Mathematics for Technology 1
    This module provides a solid background in mathematical techniques and analysis in order to pursue a degree course in technology or engineering studies. The module will help you to assess your existing mathematical skills and enable you develop your core mathematical skills, knowledge and techniques needed in order to solve elementary scientific and engineering problems.

Year one, optional modules

  • Studio Practice
    Discover the theory of the devices found in small music recording studios, and to the overall studio design and practice making a variety of recordings. The principal device at the core of every recording studio is the mixing desk, so you’ll gain an early introduction to the general principles of a mixer's use and technology. You’ll be guided through the various components of a mixer, including the use of filters and equalisation. You’ll understand techniques for maximising sonic fidelity and the relevant electrical principles, including guidance on impedance and the use of balanced and unbalanced connections. You’ll look at importance of standard units for describing sound and consider the role of outboard equipment and monitoring systems. You’ll review the most common types of effects, including dynamic processing and echo-based effects, and get detailed guidance on their applicability to different musical contexts. Theories are backed up by several practical experiments in recording and when you finish you’ll have a working knowledge of the fundamental components of music studios and an appreciation of their applications and limitations in sound recording and production.
  • Analogue Electronics
    This module introduces you to the analysis and design of analogue electronic circuits. You’ll review the fundamentals of analogue components including resistors, capacitors and inductors, and investigate how simple circuits are designed using these components. Various forms of diodes, transistors and operational amplifiers are introduced, and we’ll explain their equivalent circuit models. You’ll also be introduced to the measurement and analysis tools used in the electronics industry and the operating principles of all circuit elements. Teaching will be through lectures and tutorials, supplemented by practical experiments using both hardware and circuit simulation software. This will enable you to compare actual measured results with theory as well as illustrating the effects of component tolerances. You’ll also get practical experience of the presentation and interpretation of manufacturers' data for real components.

Year two, core modules

  • Advanced Acoustics and Psycho-Acoustics
    Sound mechanisms are crucial to audio technology, and you’ll need a firm understanding of the sound producing processes, and limitations of the technologies used. In this module you’ll review the mechanisms of sound production and transmission. We’ll examine binaural localisation of single sources and the implications for stereophonic recording and reproduction. We’ll also discuss quadraphonic and other surround-sound systems and the construction of loudspeakers including new technology and designs. We’ll look at the physiology of the ear and the perception of psychophysical attributes of sound. Theories of pitch perception, including place, periodicity and volley theories will be examined as well as the perception of loudness. We’ll also investigate the categories of auditory illusion such as Shepard and Risset tones and the McGurk effect.
  • Advanced Studio Practice
    As the mixing desk forms the heart of every recording studio, this module will give you an early introduction to the general principles of mixer technology and to use its many facilities with confidence and proficiency. You’ll be introduced to and guided through the principles and applications of analogue, digital and virtual mixers, involving detailed study of the wide range of facilities offered by modern mixers in both live recording and post-processing. The use of filters and EQ will be studied in detail. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of other commercial studio hardware and software, for composition and editing as well as live recording. Practical exercises will enable you to become fully acquainted with the resources and applications of these complex devices and help you appreciate their limitations as well as their great in the creation of compositions.
  • Audio Electronics
    In this module you'll develop an understanding of the basic principles of audio electronic systems (chiefly analogue, so that you can appreciate, evaluate, select and test audio equipment that you're likely to own or use in your studies and career. We'll cover small signal and power amplifiers, examining the diversity of designs of these devices, analysing their particular merits but also their limitations. The problems of noise, interference and distortion in the audio chain and especially in amplifiers, will be investigated and using suitable test equipment it will be shown how such effects can be identified and measured.
  • Digital Music Format
    You’ll look at various applications of MIDI and other digital technologies to music and in detail at the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) standard used throughout music technology. You’ll explore the underlying technologies and the various MIDI messages used are examined in detail. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain familiarity with techniques and practical tools for sequencing and transforming MIDI data. Our module also gives you a working knowledge of sound synthesis techniques used in hardware and software. You’ll also look at newer applications of MIDI to mobile and internet communications. Consideration is given to the role of alternate controllers (gestural controllers), and you will be introduced to the technologies used in MIDI guitars, MIDI drums, and MIDI wind and brass instruments.
  • Live Recording Practice
    You'll develop skills in making stereo recordings of a wide diversity of live performance material. You'll examine the properties and use of high quality microphones and then develop an understanding of the theory of stereo sound. The various psychoacoustic factors which influence stereo perception on playback through loudspeaker systems are then examined and these are illustrated by practical demonstrations. The varied classic microphone arrays for stereo recording are studied and these are evaluated by analysing practical recording/playback experiments in the studio. Theoretical work is reinforced by a weekly programme of graded recording exercises that cover a diverse range of sound sources, developing a wide experience of stereo recording. In addition you'll be given the opportunity to make a recording of your choice, and give an oral presentation analysing the acoustic challenges arising from your choice, explaining the techniques used to meet these, illustrating this by playing the recording itself.

Year two, optional modules

  • Audio for Film and Games
    This module examines the processes and tools required to create audio for film and games. It'll develop your awareness of, and competence in, the skills needed to produce audio for film and games. You'll learn through a combination of lectures and demonstrations on production sound recording, sound effect creation, automated dialogue replacement, Foley art and music composition. We'll also stress the importance of planning the processes involved in producing audio for film and games, as well as developing your critical observational skills. We'll identify and demonstrate the tools used in the production and post-production of film and games, and also explore some emerging technologies.
  • Composition Software
    We'll introduce you to some of the programming tools and techniques used to construct audio applications on the PC platform, as well as several existing tools for sound synthesis. After reviewing historical tools, you'll be introduced to various contemporary software tools to control the generation and processing of audio and MIDI data, and compare them on their programmability and ease of use in a variety of applications. You'll explore a variety of common algorithms for sound synthesis, such as subtractive synthesis, wavetable synthesis (sampling), Fourier synthesis and FM. You'll compare different audio formats, and learn to appreciate the advantages and limitations of fixed-point and floating-point representations. We'll also outline the need for buffering, requirements of notation and examine at least one commercial notation package.
  • Design Methods and Technology Project
    This module is essentially a mini project where you’ll design some artefact, e.g.: electronic hardware, software, multimedia production, website etc. The management of the project is in itself a core element and you’re expected to produce a formal specification using sound design methods, a time plan and progress indicator. You’ll also be expected to produce a number of alternative designs that meet the specification, select the most appropriate design using recognised techniques and carry out design reviews.
  • Principles of Video Production
    The decreasing cost of high-quality Digital Video (DV) cameras and the advent of new techniques for production, post production, compression and transmission provide increasing markets for video material. Here, you’ll learn the tools and techniques in creation and production of this material. You’ll explore new commercial opportunities in this developing subject and gain a range of knowledge and skills of value to employers with an interest in video production.

Year three, core modules

  • Final Studio Portfolio 1
    You’ll examine the design and application of high quality contemporary music studios. You’ll have the opportunity to use a range of software and hardware for musical applications and develop a portfolio of high-quality recordings. Advanced skills in recording, sound engineering, mixing and production is demonstrated, in both lectures and practical demonstrations in the studios. You’ll have the opportunity to watch advanced audio software and hardware in use and gain "hands-on" experience. You’ll be given instruction in using high quality analogue and digital processors, sequencers, audio editors and a range of other applications found in music studios. These will be used to carry out tasks such as advanced recording, mixing and production, musical composition, editing and analysis of audio, and integration of audio with video. There will also be an opportunity to examine tools for live performance. You’ll also examine trends in hardware design. You’ll be able to gain further understanding of the theory and practice of digital mixers and other audio devices, and will be able to produce high-quality musical productions.
  • Final Studio Portfolio 2
    You’ll build on the portfolio commenced in Final Studio Portfolio 1. You’ll have the opportunity to use a range of professional equipment for musical applications, and complete development of a comprehensive portfolio of high quality recordings commenced in Final Studio Portfolio 1. You’ll be given extensive demonstrations in the studios of advanced techniques using top quality audio hardware and software. You’ll have the opportunity to watch advanced audio software and hardware in use and gain "hands-on" experience during the demonstrations. There'll be further opportunity for you to examine tools for live performance and integration of audio with video. You’ll learn about techniques for mastering and issues of final sound quality will along with brief reference to marketing music in the new internet dominated era.
  • Dissertation
    You’ll undertake a major piece of individual study in the field of computing or computer applications. Projects are drawn from commercial, industrial or research based problem areas involving you in researching and investigating aspects of applied computing, then producing a major deliverable. The original research and the project process will be fully reported in the dissertation. Your dissertation must focus on an area of information systems that is covered in the taught phase of the course. The nature of the research undertaken is not constrained. You may engage in applied research by addressing a problem or issue that's based on your work or other experience or you may engage in a theoretical study of some aspect of information systems. The topic to be researched will have been initially presented by you in the Research Paradigms module.You will have a supervisor appointed who is a subject expert in the area under consideration.

Year three, optional modules

  • Digital Performance
    You’ll be introduced to several advanced programming tools for live audio and extend your knowledge of audio programming. You’ll learn about various complex audio tasks and be given a chance to implement these using an audio programming language such as ChucK. You’ll be presented with spectral analysis techniques and introduced to the Fourier Transform, the Discrete Fourier Transform and the Fast Fourier Transform. The choice of windowing functions and alternatives to the FFT will be discussed. You’ll also be given an outline of applications of spectral analysis. You’ll explore the convolution theorem through analysis of filter design and amplitude modulation and you’ll be introduced to fast convolution as a tool for implementation of artificial reverberation. You’ll learn about operation of analogue devices and algorithms for simulating non-linear electronic and optical components. You’ll also review common synthesis algorithms. You’ll learn about granular synthesis and its application to timescale modification, physical modelling as a tool for realistic emulation of musical instruments, the concept of the digital waveguide, and techniques for simulation of one-dimensional systems including strings and pipes. You’ll be provided with an outline of tools for integrating audio programs into the studio environment, including protocols available for the construction of plug-ins. You’ll also discuss tools for live performance (such as Traktor, Final Scratch, Virtual DJ, Ableton). The applications of gestural controllers are outlined, with examples of currently available hardware and software demonstrated. You’ll be assessed by two pieces of coursework.
  • Digital Signal Processing
    Fundamental to the understanding of digital signal processing is a sound working knowledge of the mathematical principles which underpin the subject. Also a good understanding of the algorithms which are available for implementing digital signal processing techniques which include digital filtering and spectral analysis methods. You’ll therefore be provided with a working maths framework to enable them to understand how digital signal processing techniques can be implemented in commercial digital systems. You’ll be assessed through an examination and an in-class test.
  • Live Sound Engineering
    There will always be a demand for live sound engineering for both acoustic and electronic music. This module introduces you to the principles and practice of sound engineering in live situations. In many cases this differs substantially from that in recording studios. We start by introducing the key principles behind electrical safety and hearing protection, which are of great importance to the engineers, audience, artists and venue staff. We then look at the audio hardware involved, including mixers, amplifiers and crossovers. The various electrical connections and connector types are explained. The importance of stage monitoring is examined. You'll also learn the principles of lighting controllers and visuals, and the technologies used. The overall PA system is considered both in terms of an ideal design and the practicalities of running a non-ideal system successfully. The system configurations in several different venues are compared. The management of a system in a live environment is demonstrated through practical sessions at live events. This will include consideration of how to deal effectively with artists, promoters and venue staff.
  • Multimedia Production Technology
    Multimedia has become an established vehicle for the presentation of audio-visual information. Although the information formats may be quite disparate, multimedia systems allow a high level of user interaction and fast access. This module will provide you with a sound working knowledge of how the technology which underpins multimedia is developed and implemented for a variety of needs. You'll also have the opportunity to use standard commercial software which is used for creating multimedia products.
  • Analogue and Digital Synthesis
    This module gives you an opportunity to gain an understanding and working knowledge of electronic music generation, processing and manipulation. We'll review the architectures of early analogue synthesisers, principally examining the implementation of subtractive synthesis. You'll be introduced to sound, Wavetable synthesis (sampling), practical schemes for multi-sampling of acoustic instruments, Fourier synthesis (additive sine-wave synthesis) and examine details of look-up table error and recursive sinusoid generation. We'll explain amplitude modulation and the resultant spectra, frequency modulation, transfer function and non-linear transfer functions; leading to a discussion of waveshaping and its role in synthesis. Finally, we'll examine several other synthesis algorithms, including physical modelling and granular synthesis.
  • Signals and Signal Processing
    A solid understanding of the nature, characteristics and sources of signals is an essential part in any electronics or audio technology course. Here, you’ll gain a broad understand of signals, their sources and how they are processed using analogue and digital techniques. You’ll also gain an insight into how signals are characterised, analysed and filtered, as well as frequency analysis and its application to audio signals.
  • Independent Learning Module
    This module supports you in the preparation and submission of independent learning. It enables you to study topics not provided within existing modules but within clearly defined parameters.

Assessment

Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to help measure your progress and ensure that you have the practical skills demanded by employers. Assessments will include portfolios of recordings, essays and reports, log books, posters and presentations.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

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Additional study information

Placements

This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at FST-Placements@anglia.ac.uk.

Specialist facilities

Our 162 sq metres of studio space rivals that of many commercially run operations, and incorporates five fully soundproofed, climate-controlled recording studios equipped with Apple Mac Pro and G5 computers. Our studios contain a selection of industry-standard equipment and software from the likes of Audient, Apple, Solid State Logic (SSL), M-Audio, Novation, RME, Universal Audio, Lexicon, Coles, Rode, Shure, Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica, Moog, Yamaha, Ludwig, Ampeg, Vox, TC Electronic, Mackie and TL Audio, to name but a few. We also have a wide selection of microphones, video cameras and portable recording devices to allow for location work.

Our equipment has been chosen and distributed so that each studio becomes successively more complex. You’ll start at a point that matches your current knowledge and move on to the more complex rooms as your skills develop. Finally you’ll be able to confidently operate our flagship main studio, which is large enough to accommodate ensembles such as choirs, orchestral groups and bands and has been used by the BBC to record radio programmes. Our studios themselves are maintained and administered by a dedicated team of professionals who are on hand to offer advice and support.

You’ll also have access to our AV lab containing 20 iMacs loaded with a wide variety of music and other software. All our computers are networked and have UPS power supplies. You’ll be allocated server space on one of our studio servers, and a unique password will give you sole access to and control of your work.

We also operate a portable 16-channel studio rig with a Fostex HD recorder, which you can book out along with mics, stands and leads, for location recordings in the evenings or over the weekend. We have a wide range of high-quality microphones, two studio drum kits and lots of other instruments, including some classics such as the Roland Juno 60, and Akai S3000 XL.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£9,000

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,500

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

Entry requirements are for September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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