Course description

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  1. Introducing the project
  2. Course Description
  3. Who is this course addressed to?
  4. Packaging and course presentation
  5. Multimedia Version characteristics
  6. Characteristics of the printable version

1. Introducing the project

This Multimedia Audio Course is a Sound Engineering course, an ever-extending field branching off into numerous specialized sectors. The course tries to offer as much a complete view as possible on all the aspects involved in this discipline, highlighting, when necessary, the general description of certain topics whose contents would actually require a course of their own. The choice of creating the course using a multimedia approach depends on the fact that a deeper knowledge of sound is directly connected to listening to sound itself. In this sense the most efficient didactic means is the computer, whose very nature not only allows sound examples to be inserted, but also allows its contents to be used in an interactive manner. This would clearly not be possible with the sole support of paper material. A multimedia approach to teaching is thus fully adopted, using all available means: texts, images, schemes, sounds. Moreover the memorization of texts in digital format allows cross-links between the various topics, creating a single hypertext where one can move easily from one information to another. To allow a linear reading of the course content, a printable version in PDF format is available. This characteristic could be useful in more traditional teaching/learning settings (courses or schools), allowing quick and easy production of study material regarding specific course topics.

Course Description

Sound Engineering is a vast subject which is continually evolving. It contains all the technology used for the treatment of sound signal. The course thus illustrates in detail the techniques and the equipment used for these scopes in various work contexts. The first part of the course is dedicated to the physics of sound, its behaviour and interpretation by the listening apparatus (chapters 1 and 2). Then there follows a section on basic mathematical and electronics notions, necessary for the comprehension of the successive topics (chapters 3 and 4). Then we move on to analyse and describe the machines used in audio work: equalizers and filters, recorders, effects and signal processors, cables, loudspeakers (chapters 5,6,7,8 and 9). Next comes an extensive part dedicated to the description of microphones and the main microphoning techniques (chapter 10). In the following section the techniques used in music production are described, specifically with reference to work within a recording studio and the realisation of a concert (chapters 11,12 and 13). The course proceeds with a detailed analysis of a series of topics that had already been touched upon in previous chapters: amplification, environment acoustics, noise, synchronization (chapters 14,15,16,17). Finally we look at the topics that are necessary to have a general overview on the subject: digital audio, digital sound supports, MIDI protocol, audio 3D (chapters 18,19,20 and 21). The course is completed with three appendixes. The first (Physical Dimensions) consists of a summarizing table that describes the physical dimensions mentioned throughout the course. The second appendix (audio on the Internet) presents a list of links (more than 5000) to world-wide websites that have sound as their main subject. The list is divided in alphabetical order. The third (general MIDI) accounts the specific aspects of the General MIDI protocol.

Who is this course addressed to?

The high level of detail of the topics dealt with in the course, allows various levels of understanding to take place. Considering the complexity of certain topics and the necessity to put the notions into practice, in order to well absorb the whole course a careful and methodical reading must take place, as well as the possibility to put into practice the notions learnt hand by hand, and a teacher to integrate the explanations present in the text. In this sense the course is aimed at all those who wish to undertake the Sound Engineering profession. However, a more general reading of the various sections is also possible, to investigate areas of particular interest, thereafter extending one’s reading to other topics. In this sense the course is aimed at those who have a passion for music, that play a musical instrument, or who are interested in music production. For these people the course is a possibility and a stimulus to enter behind the scenes of video-clips, magazines and concerts: a world that would otherwise remain inaccessible to those who don’t choose a career in this field.

Packaging and course presentation

The whole course is distributed in a mixed format CD-ROM. The latter contains both the multimedia version and the printable PDF version. Lastly, it contains all the sound examples as audio tracks. This allows high-quality listening through an audio CD-Player.

Multimedia Version characteristics

The multimedia version of the course is produced in HTML language, the same used to construct web-sites on the Internet. This way:

1. The course can be read on any computer (PC, Macintosh) that has any operative system (Windows, MacOs, Linux) and which has a normal Internet navigation system (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera).

2. Allows online access to the course through its immediate and complete transfer to Internet. This characteristic makes it possible to use the product in Long-Distance Education with the safety of protected username and password access.

The entire course consists of a hypertext whose most interesting technical characteristics are here listed as follows:

Summary: The summary is the first page we come across and contains a “clickable” list of all the course’s sections (chapters, paragraphs, appendixes, glossary).

Navigation menu: Every page of the course contains a navigation menu from which one has access to: the previous section, the following section, the beginning of the chapter, the beginning of the course.

Crosslinks: Every time another section of the course is recalled within the text, a link identified by the title of the section in question is present.

Sounds: As has already been said, the course avails itself of sound examples identified by the following icon. By clicking on the icon . a programme for listening to the sound in question is activated.

Images: The course very often resorts to descriptive schemes of the explained concepts. Apart from the schemes there are waveforms and graphs that integrate the explanations. When the images are very detailed one can enlarge them by clicking on the appropriate icon that activates the zoom operation.

Linked notes: The notes inserted within the text are also accessible through links: clicking on the number that identifies the note, one accesses the note itself. Once the note has been read, by clicking on the number that identifies it one returns directly to the part of the text that was being read.

Wikipedia integration: every section of the course can feature a Wikipedia box containing links to some topics that can furtherly be deepened on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. The first page of every chapter features also another box containing all the wikipedia related topics of the chapter itself.

Characteristics of the printable version

The printable version is produced in PDF format, a standard format that can be read and printed by any computer. To read and print PDF files it is necessary to have Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free-use computer software.

  • posted on 17-07-2009 17:35
    The typo has been fixed. Thank you!
  • posted on 17-07-2009 05:20
    There is a typo at the 2nd line (3rd sentence) of the Course Description paragraph: 'The course summary' is typed 'Tsummaryhe course' Cheers, Endy