MUS174C – session requirements

Look at the course calendar to see which session you are assigned to.

1) If you are the first person listed in bold, you are responsible for the mic setup, sending me a mic plot and listing the day before the session, checking out microphones, stands, headphones, cables, etc. and setting up the microphones.

2) If you are the second person listed in bold, you are responsible for setting up ProTools before the session (all channels should be created, labelled, and correspond to the mic list from 1. You are also responsible for logging the session.

3) If you are listed for the session, you are helping out in setup and breakout. Also, 1 and 2 can assign you duties (fix the headphones, move the mic, do the log, run the session for a while, make sure no one lets the door slam, etc.)

4) After the session gets started, I will split off with the people who have a session next week to plan that session (in 268). Next week is Greenstone (Tues.) and Blair (Thurs.). If you are listed for either session, you are required to be at the planning meeting.


MUS174C – Recording Schedule

week 2
4/10: Kjell Nordeson – percussion/vibes set up (Farley, Richardson, Galang, Levick, Loree, Bahn, Zamora)
4/12: Mari Kawamura, piano (Greenwood,ChumakovBahn, Hovander,  Kim, Jiron, Jiao)
week 3
4/17: Madison Greenstone, clarinet  (Hess, Bari, Galang, Loree, D’Agostini, Greenwood,  Zamora, Abid)
4/19: Kyle Adam Blair – musical (Jiao, Loree, Hovander, Richardson, Bari, Jiron, D’Agostini, Hess)
week 4
4/24: Ben Rempel – 4 piece brazilian band   (Kim, Bahn, Galang, Chumakov, Farley, Reid, Zamora, Abid)
4/26: Barbara Byers – voice, koto, percussion, and double bass  (Galang, Zamora, Jiron, Chumakov, Levick, Jiao, Bahn, Greenwood )
week 5
5/1: Tim McNalley – slide guitar trio thingy, guitar/bass/drums (ReidD’Agostini, Hess, Hovander, Bari, Levick, Loree, Greenwood, Abid)
5/3: Anthony Vine – ambient electric guitar and clarinet (Levick, Abid, Reid, Hovander, Chumakov, Richardson, Farley, Kim, Jiron, Jiao)
week 6
5/10: Jordan Morton, voice and bass stuff (Jiron, Hovander, Farley, D’Agostini, Richardson, Bari, Kim, Reid, Hess)

MUS 174C – Syllabus

mus 174c - audio studio techniques - spring 2018
cpmc 269/203 - tuesday, thursday 11:00 - 12:20
instructor - tom erbe - - cpmc 254
teaching assistant - jordan morton -

advanced projects – studio design


  • projects in class – working with grad students and faculty guests
  • room acoustics
  • building a studio
  • audio electronics


  1.  tape op magazine
  2.  bartlett & bartlett – practical recording techniques

class requirements

  • 25% – attendance, participation, quiz
  • 75% – final project

project requirements

  • tracked in class, each person has specific tasks for tracking session
  • edited as group
  • each person mixes and masters their own version
  • you must help on 4 tracking sessions
  • you must plan and setup a solo session alone, or plan and setup a multiple instrument session with another student
  • must attend planning session before each of 4 selected tracking session
  • show respect to diverse music

MUS 174C – Schedule

week 1
4/3: Introduction: Review of general micing techniques/session planning and process
4/5: Planning for week 2 – 6 sessions
week 2
4/10: Kjell Nordeson – percussion/vibes set up
4/12: Mari Kawamura, piano (s)
week 3
4/17: Madison Greenstone, clarinet – extended technique 20′ long piece, very beautiful and interesting and will be a good challenge to mic (s)
4/19: Kyle Adam Blair – demo of a new musical he is writing, w/singers
week 4
4/24: Ben Rempel – 4 piece brazilian band
4/26: Barbara Byers – trio of original music, voice, koto, percussion, and double bass
week 5
5/1: Tim McNalley – alum returning in style with a slide guitar trio thingy, guitar/bass/drums
5/3: Anthony Vine – ambient electric guitar and clarinet, long-form meditative stuff
week 6
5/8: Lecture: Studio Acoustics/Treatment/Room Design
5/10: Jordan Morton, voice and bass stuff, probably live (s)
week 7
5/12: Listening: week 2, 3, 4 play edited rough mixes with critique
5/14: Listening: week 4, 5, 6 play edited rough mixes with critique
week 8
Lecture: Designing a studio of any size (1)
Lecture: Designing a studio of any size (2)
week 9
Lecture: Studio electronics (1)
Lecture: Studio electronics (2)
week 10
Tuesday/Thursday: present final pieces

MUS271A (Max w10) – digital reverb

This class is not about fully understanding digital reverb – but just enough to get comfortable with some of the ideas. The patches can be downloaded from here: 09max-reverb.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 6.53.08 PMFirst I would like you to listen to a chain of allpass~ fillters. This allpass filter is a specially configured delay with feedback that is designed to have a flat frequency response. Though it has a flat frequency over it’s entire decay, at any moment it is pitched. Note how the combination of different delay times and gain will sound more noise-like or more metallic. We include the allpass~ filter in most reverb designs because it adds a dense group of many short echoes.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 7.19.43 PM

Our first reverb in this collection is the classic Manfred Schroeder reverb. This is just one of his designs, a combination of 4 delays with feedback (aka comb filters) and 2 allpass~ filters. In this example, I combined 2 of these reverbs in a matrix to create a stereo reverb. One innovation of this reverb is that the gain on each comb~ filter is set so that they all decay at the same time. You can adjust the delay time (500 in patch) to make a longer reverb. This reverb design is the basis of the free


Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 7.27.14 PM


The next reverb is based on the design of Christopher Moore’s Ursa Major Spacestation. This reverb is notable for it’s use of multitap delay, time modulation, and separate delay taps for early reflections. I should note, my patch sounds similar, but nowhere near as warm and rich as the actual hardware.


Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 7.24.51 PM



This reverb starts to feedback and resonate when the gain is set too high. In this image, the gain is set to 3.2 (the maximum allowed by the patch).






Next we have Miller Puckette and John Stautner’s feedback delay network reverb. I implemented the 16 x 16 matrix reverb in this example. There are no allpass filters in this design. Instead, the diffusion comes from the feedback matrix connecting the 16 delay lines. The matrix has a unitary gain, and the reverb will nicely feedback indefinitely if the gain is set to 1.0. Many reverb designs have been based on the FDN including IRCAM’s Spat, and possibly several of the Eventide reverb designs (my guess).Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 7.33.49 PM


The last reverb patch in this collection is Jon Dattorro’s emulation of a famous commercial reverb. This reverb design features a circle of allpass filters and delays, with many early reflection taps in the loop. Two of the allpass filters are modulated with varying time, and the sound enters the network after being diffused by a chain of allpass filters. Like the Puckette FDN, the gain can be set to 1.0 for “infinite” reverb.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 7.43.12 PM

MUS271A (Max w9) – ambisonics tools

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 6.39.52 PMHead on over to Zurich University of the Arts – Institute fo Computer Music and Sound Technology (aka ZHdK – ICST) to download some very usable tools for ambisonic encoding and decoding (the URL is ambipanning~ can encode a signal and place it in a set speaker array. ambiencode~ will encode a number of signals at different positions into ambisonic format. ambidecode~ can take that ambisonic set of channels and decode it into a set speaker format. There are many details and sub patchers to look into and understand in each of the help files, but this is a fairly easy and powerful system to work with. To start, you need to know the location of each of your speakers, and learn the message format to specify that location.

MUS271A (Max w9) – granular with phasor and poly~

Download the patch and abstraction here: 09-phasorgrainScreen Shot 2018-03-06 at 6.12.32 PM

To enable faster granular modulation we can use phasor~ to clock the grains at audio rate rather than metro. The signal from phasor~ is multiplied by the number of voices outside of the patch to create a ramp the rises from 0 to almost 8. Also, each message to the poly~ voices is preceded by the message target 0 so that the message (a list of parameters) is passed to all voices.
Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 6.13.08 PM

Inside of each voice, the input from phasor~ * 8.0 is shifted down by the voice number. If the result of this is less than 0.0, 8.0 is added. The intention here is to open the cos~ window whenever between 0.0 and 1.0, and have each voice’s window offset an amount based on the voice number.

Finally, random numbers are generated quickly with a metro, and a gate stops frequency updates when the voice is active. That is, parameters are only updated when the grain is silent.

MUS174B – Assignment 3

1) 3-5 minute piece
– at least 10 tracks total

give a good sense of space and depth. pay attention to left-right and front-back dimensions – change the spatial relations during the piece (bigger/smaller or move the instruments for different sections)

3) use effects to both highlight and polish different tracks – all of these effects should improve the mix
use looping, time stretching, pitch shifting or varispeed
– use delay based reverb
– use convolution reverb with several spaces

4) use automation
– on volumes and pans
– on effect settings

give your piece separate sections with mix and effect changes between the sections

6) master the piece after mixing in a separate session, applying a combination of gain changes, reverb, eq, compression, fade in/out. all of these elements are required

7) present your piece in tenth or finals week
– play the piece, explaining what you did and answering questions.
– play the mastered version and show how it is improved
– hand in documentation with a paragraph describing your mix and mastering process

groups (leader first)

1 (60s) – Daniela, Chloe, Cordane, Salvador
2 (70s) – Shaan, Kenroe, Grant
3 (60s) – Yidai, Caleb, Forest
4 (70s) – Glen, Greg, Cory
5 (80s) – Francis, Camden, Chi, Kostik
6 (40s) – Crystal, Jorge, Tracy
7 (40s) – Chris, John, Matthew

MUS271A (Max w8) – spatialization 1

Here are a few patches that use ILD (inter-aural level difference) and ITD (inter-aural time difference) for more realistic panning. Download here: 07-ILDpanning


Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 5.21.30 PM1) This patch simply drops the ear most distant from sound (contra-lateral) by 12 dB relative to the ear closest to the sound (ipso-lateral). It uses cos and sin to turn azimuth into cartesian coordinates.





Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 5.31.12 PM2) This second patch replaces the simple gain control with 2 cascaded lowpass filters at 1400Hz to simulate the filtering effect of the head on the contra-lateral ear. Your results may vary – a smaller head would require a higher frequency filter.






Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 5.51.30 PM3) With the third panner we add ITD (inter-aural time difference). The difference is set at 1ms when the position is 90 degrees or 270 degrees. No difference when the sound is directly in front (0 degrees) or behind (180 degrees) the listener. Note that a quick change of azimuth can cause doppler effects due to the modulated delay time.

MUS271A (Max w8) – granular patches

Here are all the patches for this topic: 06-granular


Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 2.14.40 PM1) this first patch demonstrates basic granular synthesis using the poly~ object and metro. “note” is prepended to the message sent to poly~ as it is typically used for polyphony.




Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 2.19.10 PMthe sine grain abstraction is a random pitch sine wave generation with a raised cosine envelope. to turn a cosine into an envelope/window, one must invert it, cut the amplitude by 1/2 and shift it up by 1/2 so that it starts at 0, goes up to 1, and ends at zero. this inverted and shifted cosine is known as a raised cosine window.





Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 2.55.37 PM2) this example adds 2 operator FM synthesis to a granular framework. the external patch is almost identical to the previous example except that more parameters are packed together and sent to the poly~ object.






Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 2.59.44 PMthe “grain” abstraction is similar to the previous example except that for each grain a random ratio and index is generated and given to a small fm2op abstraction (below).

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.01.59 PM










Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.44.30 PMScreen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.46.57 PM3) the third example is a granular harmonic oscillator in which each grain generates a random harmonic of the base pitch.





The abstraction is almost identical to the original sine example except that an additional random object is added to create the harmonic frequency multiplier.







Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.52.52 PMScreen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.54.14 PM4) The final example is a granular sound file player which randomizes the playback start position. A slider in the main patch is used to set the original start position. The sound needs to be loaded with the “replace” message before this patch will work.




The playback abstraction requires a little more logic to derive the playback start, end and time from the pitch and position parameters in the main patch.