Stereo audio: fundamentals

Stereo Audio Fundamentals - Introduction
Duration: 4 days

This course provides a brief introduction to the fundamentals of stereo audio with a small but significant hands-on component giving a solid grounding in working with stereo audio in a modern production environment. The course is a pre-cursor to the intermediate level SAF201 course. A full course (SAF101, SAF201 and the expert level SAF301) would ideally be implemented over a two year period, with SAF101 and SAF201 forming the first year’s content. Practice in between training sessions is vital, as is the correct scheduling of the modules – ensuring that gaps between sessions are neither too long nor too short - ideally 6-9 months.

This entry-level course is designed for sound technicians, recording and tracking engineers, mixers, and other production personnel seeking to grow their understanding of the basics of capturing and working with stereo audio.

There are no pre-requisites for this course.

At the end of this course you will be able to:
  • Understand the basic principles of spatial audio, in particular the stereo field
  • Understand the fundamentals of capturing mono and stereo audio sources in a stereo production context
  • Understand how to properly listen to and professionally monitor stereo audio
  • Use the introduction to recording and mixing as a foundation for further specialist work and study

Course Content
This course comprises five modules:

Module 1 - Introduction to spatial audio
  • Spatial dimension of natural (acoustic) sound source
  • Sound sources in free-field and in reflective spaces
  • Spatial dimension in reproduced (recorded) sound

Module 2 – Sound theory
  • Sound source localization
  • Distance and depth perception
  • The interplay between level, EQ and timing/phase in direction perception
  • Apparent source width

Module 3 - Capturing sound in stereo
  • Two channel mike techniques
  • Multi-mike stereo recording – including three-mike techniques
  • Use of artificial reverb in stereo mixing
  • MS mike techniques
  • MS mixing techniques

Module 4 - Monitoring
  • Listening room acoustics
  • How to ensure surround-compatible stereo mixing
  • How to ensure mono-compatible stereo mixing
  • MS matrixing – in the listening environment
  • Metering as an adjunct to monitoring
  • Phase meters / Lissajous displays

Module 5 - Practical
  • A brief hands-on multitrack-based mentored mix exercise utilising a variety of stereo techniques across a range of scenarios. This exercise involves both sound capture (recording) and mixing.
  • Recording and mixing will be carried out both “as-live” (simulating live broadcast) and in a much longer-term record/mix
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