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Studio Essentials: Sound and Audio Foundations For Producers

Pro classic studio secrets of hitmakers: learn these fancy production tricks to get an edge in any studio--even at home!
4.5 (31 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
9,882 students enrolled
Created by Stephen Frost
Last updated 12/2014
$15 $20 25% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Articles
  • 16 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Course updated on Dec 11, 2014. Over 1,100 students!

Learn tricks of hit producers and engineers, even without pro studio experience, immediately – you can use the same pro studio tricks most newbies ignore to skip over years of trial and error!

Please - if you're looking for shortcuts and presets, don't take this course. You'll need to study the course and grasp the concepts, which I've taught total newbies. These are secrets that you can't rely on physics teachers and electronics engineers to teach you—you need someone who speaks your language.

All you need is the willingness to experiment in the studio, and a dedication to improving your tracks.

About this course:

  • Improve your mixes with a ten-second EQ trick
  • How to calibrate your monitors for 99 cents and improve your mixes instantly
  • Learn how to build the most effective monitor stands for practically free
  • Full, free lifetime access
  • All future extra lectures and upgrades are always included for free
  • Unconditional Udemy 30 day money-back guarantee - that's my personal promise of your success!
  • Regular free surprise bonuses to improve your tracks even more!

Enroll in this course now to learn the essential physics of sound for a creative edge over other producers, engineers, and musicians in the competitive world of music. Put the physics of sound to work for you immediately. You will gain insight and practical understanding of how the physics of sound affects your mixes, the sound quality of your music, and your ability to trust your own ears and equipment. This course will focus extensively on knowledge that can be applied to your work immediately, repeatedly, and throughout your career, making you more competitive in the world of music and audio.

I only teach the tricks and facts that have helped me in my own career as a producer. These are things you can put into use immediately—your mixes can improve today!

You'll learn

  1. How to build effective monitor stands for practically nothing in just minutes
  2. To be comfortable discussing sound transmission, amplitude, frequency, decibels, Hz and kHz
  3. How to remove pops and clicks by snipping at the zero-crossings
  4. How to calibrate your monitors using SPL meters for instant mix improvement
  5. How to improve your sound with the smiley face curve
  6. Understand the “flat response" and frequency responses of your gear
  7. How to avoid spending $ on samples or studio recordings that are out-of-tune with your own recordings

... and much, much more!

So, you've read this far! Thank you.

The first video in this course can be seen by everyone and discusses why the basics should be learned by everyone—and how they'll help you gain an edge in your own tracks. And I'm including a free video viewable by everyone showing you how to calibrate your monitors and improve your mixes quick and easy! It's simple if you follow the directions--and yet most people ignore this amazing tip!

One final very important point.

You can begin improving your mixes immediately—right after going through this course!

Click the "take this course" button, top right, now ... every hour you delay is setting your music career back…

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for students with beginner or intermediate experience in music recording, engineering, or production. A basic use of music and studio terminology is preferred, as concepts like "DAW" will not be explained. It will be assumed that students have no prior experience or particular interest in physics. This course is for you if you'd like to learn enough to get a handle on the overall basics of audio production to improve your mixes and quality of your audio.
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What Will I Learn?
Calibrate your own monitors for optimal mixing levels
Build cheap and effective monitor stands
Place monitors on stands most effectively
Combine clips without clicks/pops without using crossfades
Articulate clearly a knowledge of the basic physics of sound waves
Demonstrate studio techniques to improve your mixes and overall sound quality
Understand how to use the decibel scale and audio-related standards
Demonstrate a working knowledge of frequencies and frequency response
View Curriculum
  • There are no actual requirements for this course, but you'll find it helpful to have access to any audio editor or DAW
  • For one activity, an SPL meter will be necessary, but I'd give you recommendations on where to get one (including free)
  • For activities focused on speakers/studio monitors, you won't be able to take part in the activities without speakers/studio monitors.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 36 Lectures Collapse All 36 Lectures 03:26:17
Introduction to Sound
7 Lectures 36:45

We'll go into brief detail about why it’s important to learn the basics of sound--often, the basics are not something you can pick up in bits and pieces, and the producers of hit songs are fluent in them. Lastly, we discuss some of the cool tricks possible with a solid understanding of the basics.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Identify the importance of fluency in sound and audio basics
Course Introduction

We'll begin by discussing the sensation of silence. We then discuss the formation of vibration in everyday objects and how to create effective monitor stands for almost free. Lastly, we take a first look at sound transmission.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Build a set of effective monitor stands
Preview 08:10

We’ll continue by looking at the sound transmission in the air. Specifically, we'll look at how speakers produce sound waves and begin exploring why an understanding of this will help improve your mixes. After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Understand how sound transmits through air molecules
Sound Transmission

In this lecture, I’ll show you how to eliminate pops and clicks by trimming sound clips at the zero crossings, as well as let you know other methods to get around needing to do this in your own mixes. After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Combine clips at the zero crossings
  • Combine clips without having to bother with the zero crossings
Clipping at the Zero Crossing

In this lecture, we'll look at point sources and something that sounds scary but is actually pretty simple: the inverse square law. We'll apply it to things like your car stereo, which will help you understand why treating your room requires more than tacking some egg cartons in random spots on your wall: how complicated, and yet how simple, sound waves really are. After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Describe the inverse square law to any grandmother
  • Place tweeters more appropriately for both listening to and mixing music
Point Sources and the Inverse Square Law

Lastly, we’ll discuss sympathetic vibration in depth. This brief lecture will go over why snare drums buzz from across the room, how your ears work, and why an acoustic guitar sounds fuller than an unplugged electric guitar. After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Explore how to mic instruments more effectively based on how they resonate
  • Understand sympathetic vibration, both for better and worse
Sympathetic Vibration
8 Lectures 36:09

We’ll be taking a somewhat philosophical approach to sound reproduction. We’ll then trace the three physical properties of sound waves, and their respective perceptual qualities. We’ll tie the theoretical to the actual by considering the voice of Stevie Wonder.

The Properties of Sound Waves

You’ll be introduced to the two dimensions of sound waves. We’ll then focus on amplitude and its connection to loudness.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Describe the three physical properties of sound waves and their respective perceptual qualities
Amplitude and Frequency

You will learn the difference between linear and logarithmic scales, and understand how the brain perceives sound logarithmically. After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Explain the connection between logarithmic scales and human perception

You will learn how to read and think about the decibel scale, most particularly as it occurs on a mixing console and when discussed casually.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of decibel gain and unity gain in a studio setting
dB Gain

You will be introduced to decibel reference levels. The particular focus will be on dbSPL and how it is used.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of dB SPL
Decibel Reference Levels: dB SPL

You will learn how to use their new understanding of dBSPL, along with an SPL meter, to quickly an easily calibrate your studio monitors. This monitor calibration will result in better mixes—instantly.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Calibrate studio monitors to recommended levels using an SPL meter
Preview 05:25

You will be introduced to the reference levels dBu and dBV. With this understanding, you will learn to avoid one of the most frequent mistakes made in recording studios.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of dBu and dBV
Decibel Reference Levels: dBu and dBV

You will be introduced to the concepts of dBFS, headroom, and clipping. With this understanding, you’ll not only have better mixes, but also your work will be better prepared for mastering, have greater dynamic range, and cause less ear fatigue.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of dBFS in recording software / DAWs
Decibel Reference Levels: dBFS
4 Lectures 20:32

You will be introduced to the concept of cycles, and how to measure in hertz and kilohertz. Students will learn why understanding what A440 is will be useful when working with internationally-based products or musicians

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Explain hertz and kilohertz
Hz and kHz

You’ll learn about the casual classification of frequencies, and what terms like bass, mids, and treble really mean. Also, you’ll find out why you use, or should use, the smiley face curve.

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate use of the smiley face curve to improve perception of sound
  • Identify frequency classifications of sub-bass, bass, mids, and highs, by sound
Frequency Perception

You’ll be introduced to frequency response and how it affects your ears, microphones, and monitors. You’ll learn about why certain monitors have a great reputation, as well as about the elusive “flat response.”

After concluding this lecture, students should be able to:

  • Explain frequency response and the difficulty of achieving a flat response overall
Frequency Response

Slides and Presentation Information
17 Lectures 05:19

Lecture 3 Slides
8 pages

Lecture 4 Slides
4 pages

Lecture 5 Slides
9 pages

Lecture 6 Slides
4 pages

Lecture 7 Slides
3 pages

Lecture 8 Slides
3 pages

Lecture 9 Slides
4 pages

Lecture 10 Slides
8 pages

Lecture 11 Slides
5 pages

Lecture 12 Slides
3 pages

Lecture 13 Slides
11 pages

Lecture 14 Slides
2 pages

Lecture 15 Slides
7 pages

Lecture 16 Slides
17 pages

Lecture 17 Slides
3 pages

Lecture 18 Slides
9 pages
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
49 Reviews
11,507 Students
2 Courses
Studio Essentials.TV / composer & producer

Stephen Frost is a US-based music producer and composer whose work extends to directors from Paris to Sydney, and from television commercials to interactive games for Fortune 500 companies including Google and Visa, as well as other well-known brands such as Pioneer, Oxfam, and NBC Universal. Recognized as a top upcoming composer by BMI in 2009, his pop productions also extend globally, including mashups with David Guetta in Brazilian clubs, to being featured by hosts on the New Zealand version of MTV, and write-ups by music publications on three continents. Stephen’s two decades of experience include extensive session work, performance in bands including Against Grace (featured in MTV VMAs) and Ayler Young (members include Darryl Jones from the Rolling Stones, and David Maurice, producer for Jay-Z), studio construction, and composition in genres including hip-hop, noise, classical, and pop.

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