The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course

Enroll now $399

All of our courses have a 30-day no-questions-asked, full-refund guarantee

Ready to take your recording to the next level? Now you can!

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course - Full online course with assessments of your practical assignment work leading to an Audio Masterclass certificate on successful completion.

  • The dream: To make recordings in your own home studio that are every bit as good as those you hear on CD, download, streaming, radio and TV.
  • The myth: You don't have what it takes. You need better gear, you don't have the ear and you'll never understand the skills needed to make amazing recordings.
  • The REALITY: If you think that great recording is limited to 'cool' producers in million-dollar studios - think again. With the right knowledge and skills YOU can do it. This course will show you how!

Gain great skills with great training

  • Online and fully downloadable
  • 600-page course manual
  • 1000+ audio example files
  • 12 practical assignment projects
  • Assessment of your practical assignment projects
  • Tutor support
  • Student advice team
  • Complete in 12 weeks or spread your course out over up to two years
  • Study when and where you like
  • Available worldwide (we have students in more than 100 countries)
  • Your Audio Masterclass online Student ID (you can use this to seek discounts on software and equipment)
  • Earn an Audio Masterclass certificate on successful completion of your course
  • 30-day full-refund, no-quibble guarantee

Twelve modules - everything you need in audio from start to finish

  • Analog and digital audio basics
  • Microphones
  • Microphone preamplifiers
  • Equalization
  • Compression
  • Recording software
  • Reverb and effects
  • Synthesis and sampling
  • Recording techniques
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Marketing your music and recording services

This course is also available in downloadable and 12-volume DVD-ROM set versions. These alternative versions have a more affordable course fee but do not have the assessment and certificate elements of the full online Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course featured on this page.

The twelve modules of the course

Module 01: Analog and Digital Audio

Module 01: Analog and Digital Audio

Module content: Analog audio: signals, frequency response, noise, distortion, wow & flutter, clicks and interference. Digital audio: analog-to-digital conversion, sampling, quantization, dither, digital-to-analog conversion. Sound isolation: sound isolation methods, practical sound isolation techniques for home and small recording studios, vocal booths. Acoustic treatment: background to room acoustics, acoustic treatment, porous absorption. membrane and panel absorbers, diffusion. Recording studio configuration: recording room, control room. Introduction to essential audio electronics.
Assignment 1 - Diagnostic Recording of Speech: It may seem straightforward to make a simple recording of speech, but actually speech is the most difficult sound to record well. It shows up every possible fault and flaw of recording technique, and any background noise or excessive ambience shows up painfully in the gaps between words. We will give you detailed advice, and show both good and bad examples with clear explanations that will allow you to pinpoint any problems and advise you how to eliminate them from your future recordings.
Module 02: Microphones

Module 02: Microphones

Module content: Principle of operation: dynamic, capacitor, piezo, ribbon, electret. Polar patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid, figure-of-eight. Interference tube microphone. Parabolic reflector microphone. Multipattern microphone. Phantom power, pad, high-pass filter. Microphone techniques: microphone selection, positioning, stereo microphone techniques, coincident crossed pair, near-coincident crossed pair, ORTF, spaced omni.
Assignment 2 - Recording Instruments: Make a clean, professionally-finished recording of three instruments or sound sources. Compare two or more microphones, or - if you only have one microphone - compare microphone positions. We want you to learn how to create crystal-clear recordings that demonstrate your microphones well and show a professional polish. This assignment will help you understand which microphone to use for any voice or instrument, and why.
Module 03: Microphone Preamplifiers

Module 03: Microphone Preamplifiers

Module content: The need for microphone preamplification, microphone input, line input, instrument input, principle of operation, transistors, vacuum tubes, the need for balancing, transformer balancing, electronic balancing, working with balanced and unbalanced lines, preamplifier operation, gain, output level, phantom power, phase, pad, high-pass filter.
Assignment 3 - Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations: Every recording engineer should carry out this test, but few ever do. All microphones have a 'polar pattern' which defines their sensitivity and frequency balance in different directions around the mic. There are also several different important configurations for recording stereo with two microphones. According to how many mics you have available, we will ask for a polished, professional demonstration of your mic's polar pattern, or the most important stereo configurations.
Module 04: Equalization

Module 04: Equalization

Module content: Types of equalizer, graphic EQ, parametric EQ, console-style EQ, filters, low-pass filter, high-pass filter, band-pass filter, all-pass filter, notch filter, filter parameters: cut-off frequency, slope, equalizer parameters: frequency, gain, bell/shelf, Q/bandwidth.
Assignment 4 - Listening and Equalization: Just as a musician needs a fine sense of pitch, a recording engineer or producer needs a highly-developed sense of EQ. Skill with equalization doesn't come naturally - it has to be learned. Being able to identify EQ problems is a vital skill, and also being able to enhance voices and instruments with EQ, and help them blend together in the mix. This assignment will help your ears learn to recognize, understand, correct and enhance the frequency balance of a recording.
Module 05: Compression

Module 05: Compression

Module content: The need for compression. Dynamic range control. Subjective enhancement. Compression parameters: ratio, threshold, attack, release, knee, stereo link. Operating principles: variable-mu, FET, diode bridge, optical, VCA. Side chain principles and operation: de-essing.
Assignment 5 - Demonstrations of Compression: Compression is used to control dynamic range, and also to give a recording presence and 'sparkle'. In this assignment we will ask you to demonstrate your skills with compression on female and male vocal, a full drum set and individual drum instruments, a full mixed recording, and a full orchestral recording with severe dynamic range problems. In your finished work we will advise you how to achieve a professional standard of presentation.
Module 06: Recording Software

Module 06: Recording Software

Module content: Disk recording principles. The disk recording medium: rotational speed, seek time, fragmentation, input/output assignment. Recording, editing and crossfade editing, gain change and normalization, mixing, inserts, auxiliary sends, auxiliary tracks, busses, faders and master fader, levels, decibels, dB and dBFS, headroom.
Assignment 6 - Creation of a Drum Track: We will ask you either to make an interesting and creative drum track from samples, and give it the characteristic texture of sampled and looped drums. Alternatively, if you have a high-quality drum virtual instrument available, we will ask you to recreate some actual professional drum playing. That's a challenge!
Module 07: Effects & Plug-ins

Module 07: Effects & Plug-ins

Module content: Delay, single echo, spin echo, spin echo with positive feedback, reverberation, acoustic and electro-acoustic reverberation: chamber, spring, plate, tape, digital, algorithmic reverberation, convolution reverberation, phasing, flanging, chorusing, pitch change and correction, harmonic generation and aural enhancement, comparison between manual effects, hardware effects and plug-ins.
Assignment 7 - Natural Reveberation Chamber: In this assignment you will set up a loudspeaker and a microphone in a reverberant space, perhaps your bathroom or stairwell, and send a dry signal to it. The microphone will pick up the reverberation of the space. Using this technique you can create reverberation that is far more natural and interesting than any plug-in. What's more it's unique because no-one else has access to the same reverberant space as you.
Module 08: Synthesis & Sampling

Module 08: Synthesis & Sampling

Module content: Types of synthesis: additive, subtractive, FM, wavetable, physical modeling. Subtractive synthesis components: voltage-controlled oscillator, voltage-controlled filter, voltage-controlled amplifier, envelope generator. Sampling: looping, multisampling, phrase sampling, key groups, velocity layers, mute groups.
Assignment 8 - Technical Creativity: In this amazing project you will create a piece of music using only a sine wave and white noise as source material. This is a real challenge of both technical and musical creativity. We want you to create sounds that you couldn't possibly have expected - and a great original piece of music. If you are more technical than musical, we'll ask you to create an imaginative non-musical soundscape. That's a challenge too.
Module 09: Recording Techniques

Module 09: Recording Techniques

Module content: Vocals: microphone selection, microphone positioning, acoustic screens and vocal booths, foldback, headphone types, use of headphone amplification, loudspeaker foldback, how the engineer monitors foldback. Drums: drum set up for recording, microphone selection for drums and cymbals, single microphone technique, twin microphone technique for basic stereo, the 'Recorderman' doubly-equidistant two-microphone configuration, the 'Glyn Johns' method, full individual miking with overheads. Acoustic guitar: microphone selection and positioning. Electric guitar, piano, string instruments, wind instruments, percussion instruments, small groups and ensembles, orchestral recording. Session management for ensembles, orchestras and choirs. Multitrack recording. Studio setup, foldback, monitoring. Compilation, punch-in. Production techniques for vocalists and instrumental performers.
Assignment 9 - Voice or Instrument Production: In this assignment you will be given a female vocal recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3 and a skeleton backing track. We will ask you to devise an instrumental accompaniment and record it. More than a just simple, clear recording, we will ask you to create an imaginative 'produced' sound using whatever software or equipment you have available. We want what you do to be amazing.
Module 10: Mixing

Module 10: Mixing

Module content: Analog mixing consoles: overview, channels, groups and sub-groups, master section, VCA faders. Console monitoring: split, inline, all-input. Foldback, communications, external inputs. Channel functions: mic inputs, line inputs, insert point, equalization, dynamics, auxiliary sends, pan, mute and mute groups, PFL/AFL/solo, fader. Mixing console automation. Digital mixing consoles. Comparison between digital and analog consoles. Assignable consoles. Automation and recall. Mixing procedures and techniques.
Assignment 10 - Mixing: In this assignment you will be given a female vocal recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3 and a skeleton backing track. We will ask you to devise an instrumental accompaniment and record it. More than a just simple, clear recording, we will ask you to create an imaginative 'produced' sound using whatever software or equipment you have available. We want youto be amazed by what you do.
Module 11: Mastering

Module 11: Mastering

Module content: The need for mastering. Correction of faults. Mastering for vinyl. Improvement of stereo mixes. Matching tracks for albums and compilations. Subjective loudness and the 'loudness war'. Equalization. Compression. Limiters and look-ahead limiters. Multi-band compression. Intersample peaks. LUFS.
Assignment 11 - Mastering: For this assignment we have a professionally-produced finished master, and also the original unmastered mix, for you to listen to. Then we will ask you to create your own master from the basic mix. The assignment includes detailed advice on all of the processes of mastering such as fault correction, topping and tailing, equalization, compression, harmonic generation, limiting and protection against intersample peaks.
Module 12: Marketing Your Music & Recording Services

Module 12: Marketing Your Music & Recording Services

Module content: Industry roles: record producer, recording engineer, A&R manager, studio manager, session musician, arranger, programmer. Industries: music, recording, record labels, broadcasting, radio, television, film, events, the Internet. Pitching and promoting your services as an artist, engineer or producer. Showreel guidance.
Assignment 12 - Your Industry Standard Showreel: In this assignment you will create your own 'showreel'. Every industry professional has a showreel that they use to demonstrate what they can do to potential clients. At the end of this module, you will have your own showreel that looks and feels like that of a top pro. You can create a CD or DVD, YouTube video or SoundCloud playlist. You can even create an entire website if you wish. But however you choose to demonstrate your abilities, we will demand total professionalism, so that for anyone who listens your showreel it is indistinguishable from that of a seasoned industry insider.

A few short clips from our video material...

Examples of students' work...

What our students say about Audio Masterclass courses

You did a great job!

Excellent material, audio and videos are really good and clear.

I appreciate the depth, very informative and useful. I increased my knowledge in the area I am so passionate about. I was able to implement a lot of new procedures in my own sound and musical projects.

My gratitude and best regards

Anton Strecky, Slovakia

With my employment in health service established years ago, music and recording is an essential withdrawal from professionalism to me, rather than a significant possibility to provide a supplement to earned income. But with growing interest and investment, achievement of professionally acceptable quality became a must. At that point studying at Audio Masterclass had only pros and no cons to me, and no equally accessible alternatives of world-class standards.

The book "How to set up a Pro Home Recording Studio" [by Audio Masterclass] and other information concerning hardware and software helped me to find "my way" in the jungle of possibilities, and it actually had a money saving effect.

Assessments of practical assignment projects were of especially great importance to me. It is easy for the beginner like me to have an illusion that the produced work is good, while actually it is not. Additional valuable information can be derived from individually provided comments too.

It is very comforting to have tons of audio examples at hand. Even after the course I use some of them as benchmarks of specific quality.

The most special experiences along the way of the course were moments of approaching the presumed limits of creative possibilities… stepping beyond… and finding that there is something more out there. And this kind of training may have implications that are not immediately obvious, but may prove to be of great importance in any intellectually demanding/competitive situation of life. All in all, I consider that to be my greatest gain achieved at Audio Masterclass.”

Egidijus Nemanius, Lithuania

Hi David [Gatis refers to David Mellor, Course Director of Audio Masterclass], I very happy that I signed-up for your course and that I've graduated it!

Actually, before I made my mind, I did a lot of research on web about your course, because at that time I just finished my studies at America Audio Insitute, but I felt like it's not enough for me to get on next level - as I wanted it so much. So I found Audio Masterclass. I found just one review on google, where somebody told that: "you won't get what you as an engineer really need etc, it lacks of deep dive in subject... this and that...." - I thought to myself: "well... maybe this guys is all wise or he is not opened for new experience and knowledge, or he was a bad student". So I decided to take a risk as I had no clue what is will look like.

The first thing that made most sense to me is practical assignment - that is "everything"! But in many other online-schools (like America Audio Insitute or Detroit Recording institute), it's the biggest defect of the program. If you can send your material for constructive feedback, it's the most valuable learning point!

Next thing: Every time I got feedback on task, at first I started learn it with your written feedback - that had greatest value to me. Another great thing is that by reading your feedback, you really get this feeling that somebody is listening to your work and paying attention to details.

About content: the structure of the course is very similar to many other courses but the difference in content is huge! And by this I also mean the language - how you explain things and details. This is very important to me as I'm not comming from english speaking country, but here it's easy to perceive the information. There are many great recording engineers out there, but not everyone has capability to teach others - but you can teach! (and I mean it, especially if I compare with my previous courses on America Audio Insitute Detroit Recording institute).

Other student audio examples: - very good in understanding what to do, and what to avoid! Sometimes if you have nothing to compare your work with, then you might think that "oh, yeah, great record!", but when you start to listen to others ...hmmm.... it become a challenge - it's like setting benchmark.

And yes, for me, as a small studio owner, has no huge budget or possibility to try out some top-end mics, the files with pre-amp and mic samples are awesome - now I have an idea how U87 sounds! : )

About improvements - actually I don't have anything to add to this, because from all this course I can feel that it's all made with professional attitude.

Overall - I've learned a lot, but most important to me is that by having many "aha" moments, I've developed completley different mindset when I start to think about recording, mixing and mastering - for me, it's the biggest achievement! ...and I want to learn more!

Ok, again, thanks for everything - I got the certificate - it's a very important milestone for me towards my GRAMMY! : )

P.S. I've already decided, to save some money and enroll to your professional courses within few month, so see you soon!

P.S.S. I've also attached my picture from my home studio.

All the best.

Gatis Pastars, Latvia

“I have to thank you and your team for helping me better understand the complex, and sometimes difficult to discover, secrets of audio engineering ! I'm very happy with my choice of enrolling in your captivating and well structured course !

Thank you and best wishes.”

Tudor Rogoz, Romania

This course is for you if...

  • You listen to pro recordings and think to yourself, "Why don't mine sound like that?"
  • You want to master all of the techniques of the recording studio
  • You want to get the utmost out of your equipment and software
  • You want to save money by realizing it's all down to your knowledge, skills and experience - you don't need more equipment
  • You want to be sure that your production skills allow you to get the best from your musical creativity

About Course Designer David Mellor

Course Designer David Mellor

David Mellor is the founder and Course Director Audio Masterclass, currently residing in the beautiful countryside of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has worked in audio education since 1986 in hands-on training, lectures and online. David Mellor holds the degree of B.Mus (Tonmeister) from the University of Surrey where he studied music, piano performance, acoustics, electronics, electro-acoustics and recording.

Live Sound and Recording Engineer
David Mellor worked as theatre sound engineer at London's Royal Opera House, with activities including sound design, front-of-house operation, stage monitoring and electronic design satisfying the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Karlheinz Stockhausen. David Mellor toured with the Royal Opera Company to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, USA; the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Athens, Greece; the Sejong Center, Seoul, South Korea; the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan.

Musician and Composer
Since 1985 David Mellor has had more than 1000 works published in the field of production music, including the Chappell and Carlin music libraries (now combined into Universal Publishing Production Music) and his own music library for which he has produced seventeen compact discs. Notable uses of his music include the BBC's Horizon, Fahrenheit 911, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Writer and Educator
David Mellor has been actively involved in Audio Education since 1986, teaching students of City of Westminster College and Westminster University, and also returning to lecture at Surrey University. He has also written for magazines including Sound on Sound, Audio Media, Studio Sound, Sound & Video Contractor. He has also written four books on audio and video technology. David Mellor now specializes in online audio education and has been Course Director of Audio Masterclass since 2001.

Enroll now $399

All of our courses have a 30-day no-questions-asked, full-refund guarantee