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SSR - Sound Engineering & Design BSc (Hons) - Sound Engineering & Design BSc (Hons)

Sound Engineering & Design BSc (Hons)

ABOUT THE COURSE

Understanding sound and having the spark to create something extraordinary is what this BSc Sound Engineering and Design degree is all about. A good sound designer can apply their work to almost anything: music, adverts, theatre, games, radio, film and TV; whether you’re creating a new kick drum sound for your band or creating explosions for a computer game.

We’ll start you off with the basic scientific principles and studio practice, and by the end of the course, you’ll be designing PA Systems, mixing an episode of Coronation Street, and mastering albums for bands. Plus, we work with leading companies and professionals to ensure you have relevant, industry-specific skills, and there’s a period of work placement to make sure your career starts before you even graduate.

Using the record industry’s go-to software, Avid Pro Tools, we will teach you how to manipulate sound to a professional standard in our high end studios. As one of the UK's most respected Avid Pro Tools training facilities, SSR will provide you with official in-depth training in Avid Pro Tools by certified instructors during each year of your course. So, as well as graduating with a BSc degree in Sound Engineering & Design, you can also leave us with an industry-recognised certification as an Avid Pro Tools Operator for Music Production.

Listen. Design. Create. This is where it all starts.
Course Content
The course is split into modules over three levels (years):

Year 1 (HE4 modules):

Sound Engineering Principles
This module consolidates a basic knowledge of the physical characteristics of sound, and applies this to the systems and environments where sound is recorded and mixed. The module aims to help you develop a practical understanding of signal flow within audio systems in the studio environment, as well as introducing you to the psychology of sound perception, so that you will be able to understand how sound behaves not just in a physical sense within the studio environment, but also how it is directed through the systems used for recording, and how it may be affected by these systems.

In this module you will learn the basics of the recording chain and signal flow within the studio environment, and through practical exercises develop an understanding of how audio travels through the recording studio systems.

You will learn gain staging and how to ensure the quality of your audio signal, as well as troubleshooting skills and how to recognise errors. The module also contains some scientific principles; with a brief introduction on hearing through to psychoacoustics (how the sound that is present is not necessarily what we perceive), and how sound waves interact, how sound is measured, and its many characteristics such as phase, harmonics, frequency, waveform, envelope, etc.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Apply knowledge and understanding of the physical properties of sound waves to practical situations.
2. Explain the physiological and perceptual processes involved in hearing
3. Identify the components and concepts within the recording chain
4. Examine relevant techniques and standards within current studio recording environment.

Assessment: A practical studio exam (signal path test) and a written exam using Pro Tools.

Studio Recording Techniques
This module aims to introduce you to the procedures and equipment used in current recording studio environments, to enable you to successfully record audio.

Through practical demonstration of microphone placement and signal flow, through to recording and overdubbing techniques, you will learn the fundamental skills needed for any recording environment or application, and you will be assessed on your practical abilities by recording your own choice of music and artist.
Lessons are based in classrooms as well as in the studio to offer you both theoretical and practical learning opportunities, and to consolidate fundamental understanding of studio recording skills.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Plan effectively, conduct and document studio recording sessions.
2. Employ effective techniques for the recording of instruments and voices.
3. Identify and appraise audio quality within the recording process while operating recording hardware and software.

Assessment: A studio recording portfolio of work

Introduction to Digital Audio Workstations
This module introduces you to industry standard digital audio workstations (DAW’s), their primary features and basic user interface. You will learn how to generate customised audio and MIDI configurations.

You will also create your own short compositions using a comprehensive array of software instruments, loops and DSP effects. In-depth sessions cover MIDI and audio recording, editing and arrangement techniques, user defined key commands, and automation.

Additionally you will be given focused sessions on workflows and patterns employed in larger studio environments.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Review sound recording workflows within audio software and related hardware.
2. Identify and understand the hardware and systems supporting current Digital Audio Workstations.
3. Demonstrate practical skills in the use of specific audio recording software and hardware.
4. Describe the MIDI protocol and understand its uses within Sound Engineering and Digital Audio Workstations
5. Understand how to prepare project for distance collaboration.

Assessment: A composition project, and a series of in-class practical tasks.

Studio Mixing Techniques
This module builds on the competences acquired in the Studio Recording Techniques module, and aims to analyse and appraise the equipment, procedures and techniques involved in the mixing of a musical product. You will develop skills in mixing music by studying current practitioners and current techniques, and by critical listening exercises where you will develop listening and analytical skills. Included in the module are practical demonstrations of audio processing, such as equalisation, reverb and time delay effects, and dynamic controllers; and you will learn how these work theoretically as well as by application.

Included within the module is accreditation in Pro Tools 101.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Employ creative and corrective techniques of dynamic control.
2. Effectively apply equalisation techniques and audio processing in mixing audio signals
3. Operate software and hardware in the effective mixing of audio signals.
4. Identify and appraise mixing techniques within commercial popular music.

Assessment: A mixing project, and the Pro Tools 101 online exam.

Sound Production for Visual Media
This module aims to provide you with an introduction to the principles of sound design and production for use in various visual media, including film, television, games and the Internet. You will be expected to develop awareness of the role of sound in a range of visual media and, through effective analysis, planning and time management, implement appropriate solutions to a given brief within the specified deadlines. Production techniques and encoding formats are taught with reference to industry standards and requirements for the various media. This module is intended to enhance your portfolio of skills so that you can offer yourself as a more rounded practitioner in the workplace, and maximise your potential within production teams. Industry standard software is used to ensure that you can operate within the global industry.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Plan, Capture and Record sound for a variety of production scenarios.
2. Use Industry standard tools to process audio content and deliver output in a number of file formats and wrappers.
3. Describe the production workflow process from capture to release for different visual media output
4. Manage your time and workflow
5. Assess the sound and soundtracks within visual media and games.

Assessment: A sound design project, and a written report.

Scholarship
This module introduces you to the scholarly requirements of study at level HE4. It concentrates on key scholarly requirements, in terms of study skills (e.g. academic writing, giving a presentation), information skills (retrieving and referencing information) and self-management skills (knowing one’s learning style, producing a personal development plan). However, you will develop these skills within the context of sound engineering and design. You will develop not just knowledge but also the various practical and conceptual tools that will provide a firm foundation for future success in this area.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Demonstrate appropriate subject knowledge and practical skills in an area of relevance to the particular cluster.
2. Discuss relevant information and ideas obtained from a variety of historical and theoretical sources in order to contextualise key concepts.
3. Communicate with competence in various academic contexts, both written and oral.
4. Access and use effectively electronic information tools for communication, research and assessment.
5. Assess your own personal skills for the development of self-management skills.

Assessment: A portfolio of work, including a presentation and an essay.

Year 2 (HE5 modules):

Advanced Studio Techniques
The aim of this module is to develop the skills and competences acquired in the Studio Recording Techniques module, and to analyse the environment, procedures, equipment and techniques involved in the production of music in professional recording studios. Through appraisal and practice, you will investigate a range of techniques in recording and mixing to a professional standard. You will be introduced to control surfaces as well as advanced analogue mixing consoles, and will learn advanced signal flow within digital and analogue studio environments. You will also learn advanced microphone techniques for a range of instruments, as well as developing your own recording and mixing styles, and a deeper awareness of production values, with corrective and creative capabilities in tuning and timing. You will be expected to keep a journal throughout the practical sessions to encourage reflective thinking, analysis and evaluation.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Utilise advanced signal processing techniques in the enhancement and correction of the musical product, during recording and mixing processes.
2. Correctively and creatively edit and manipulate waveforms to enhance and complement the musical product.
3. Record and mix instruments and voices to a professional standard.
4. Assess the media and techniques involved in mixing in both analogue and digital domains, and evaluate personal performance.

Assessment: A portfolio of work.

Audio Post Production Techniques
This module analyses the environment, procedures, and equipment used in the field of audio post-production, and the practice of current techniques. It aims to introduce you to the concepts and technology of audio post production, and through investigation of the various roles and responsibilities involved in this field, you will develop an awareness of the workflows and procedures used, and through practical exercises, you will develop skills and competences, as well as your own creative style. Your tutor will provide you with a video file and you will be expected to mix the audio to a professional standard following strict industry guidelines, as well as repair audio, provide voice-over recordings, sound effects, Foley and atmosphere. You will also be expected to deliver your final piece to your tutor in the form of a presentation, which will develop presentation and communication skills in preparing you for working in the industry.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Create soundscapes that complement the moving image.
2. Record and manipulate audio within the constraints of a post-production project.
3. Implement techniques for effective mixing of audio within the constraints of a post-production project.
4. Analyse and evaluate current and past examples of audio post production.

Assessment: A sound design/mixing project and a report.

Live Sound Engineering
This module aims to introduce you to the components, environment, procedures, equipment and techniques involved in the production of live sound events. It also aims to develop communication skills and team building skills, while also examining best working practice.

You will learn the roles and responsibilities involved in this field, including monitor engineer, Front of House engineer, artist liaison and stage management. The module starts at an introductory level and will also cover the components and construction of the PA system. You will be expected to work in teams to produce a live show, including finding a band to perform on stage, and operating all equipment.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Plan and prepare effectively for the production of a live sound event and interpret technical specifications.
2. Evaluate personal and group performance.
3. Effectively apply audio processing within a FOH mix, to enhance the quality of reinforced sound
4. Operate effective monitoring systems for artists
5. Record and playback a live show for virtual sound check

Assessment: A live sound project and a technical specification report.

Synthesis and Audio Manipulation
Sound for films often relies on a certain texture or ambiance, rather than musical arrangement, to convey mood or atmosphere. By examination and appraisal of contemporary film scoring, this module will provide a focus for the application of sound manipulation skills.

You will examine various methods of sound synthesis and manipulation, and you will be encouraged to develop creative as well as analytical skills in the construction not only of individual sounds, but in the combination of sounds in a soundscape. Although this module involves musical composition, you will be judged on your ability to convey mood and atmosphere and the technical use of the equipment, rather than your compositional skills.

Theoretical study of synthesis methods as well as contextual study of film sound and soundtracks will help you to develop analytical skills as well as researching skills, and provide a focus for the creative element of creating your own sounds and soundtrack for a piece of film.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Appraise compositional devices and arrangements in contemporary film soundtracks.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of various methods of audio synthesis.
3. Create an original musical piece which complements the moving image.
4. Effectively employ various systems which utilise sound synthesis, sampling and audio processing.

Assessment: A composition, and an in-class presentation.

Acoustics of Sound Production for Visual Media
This module explores the acoustics of sound and how they can be used to ‘fool’ the brain through the further exploration of psychoacoustics. It will also involve you in discovering the importance of the soundtrack in the overall visual production, and will enable you to fully explore this element of sound production through effective analysis, planning, time management and the implementation of appropriate solutions to a given brief within deadlines. This module is intended to enhance your portfolio of skills so that you can offer yourself as a more rounded practitioner in the workplace, and maximise your potential within production teams. Industry standard software is used to ensure that you can operate within the global industries.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Capture and record sound and reverberant fields in a variety of scenarios and spaces, assessing the acoustical impacts of the recordings.
2. Understand the processes of sound design and Foley in the context of the perception of sound and psychoacoustics.
3. Contrast the production chain, development requirements and formats for different visual media output.
4. Critically assess the use of sound in visual media.

Assessment: A sound design project, and a report.

Work-based Learning
This module aims to enable you to acquire skills and knowledge through work based learning, which extend and reinforce your understanding of media production. You will be expected to explore potential vocational opportunities and consider how you can progress from your studies to work in the wider world, and explore links between what you have learnt on the course and media production in the working environment.

The work-based learning can either be with an employer, or on a self-employed or freelance basis, for instance by preparing work for a festival, or undertaking a commissioning opportunity, or working on a community media project. The field of work on which you choose to expand your knowledge and understanding of media production is up to you.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Explain working practices in a specific workplace.
2. Explain the business and/or wider community environment in which an organisation operates.
3. Assess how an organisation achieves its aims with reference to the style and structure of internal management including the definition of staff responsibilities, communication methods and overall workplace culture.
4. Apply concepts, knowledge and/or analytical skills developed in your course to some element of the whole situation or experience.
5. Evaluate your experience, especially the relevance of your existing skills and knowledge to the requirements of the placement, and identify points of personal development and learning.

Assessment: A portfolio of work including a report and a period of work placement.

Year 3 (HE6 modules):

Audio Mastering Techniques
This module aims to examine traditional and current techniques and technology for mastering of audio for a range of media while developing creative and technical aptitude in the compilation, editing and ordering of audio material. It will develop existing equalisation and compression skills for audio mastering, while exploring the concepts of loudness and clarity, as well as developing analytical and evaluative skills as you examine the tools available to you during the mastering process.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Apply a range of effective techniques in compiling audio to commercial standards
2. Evaluate and utilise techniques in controlling dynamic range and tonal content for a range of audio.
3. Analyse and evaluate current trends and equipment in audio mastering audio and evaluate your own performance within this context.

Assessment: A mastering project and a report.

Advanced Post Production Techniques
This module aims to develop the technical skills acquired in the Audio Post Production Techniques module and to examine further synchronisation techniques within professional audio post production. Using real examples from the industry you will be required to mix audio for video provided by your tutor to strict broadcast standards and conventions, and for a range of applications. While improving your competences in industry standard audio software, you will also learn to work to strict guidelines set down by the industry. You will also be required to document your work throughout the practical exercises to improve your skills in analysis and evaluation.

Using current industry standard software such as Avid Pro Tools, you will practise mixing to industry broadcast standards and file formats. Lectures will cover effective layback and tracklay techniques, as well as ADR, Foley, Field recording, atmosphere and sound effects. You will study methods of audio reparation and replacement, editing and limiting, as well as mixing to mono, stereo, and 5.1 surround sound formats.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Successfully record Foley, dialogue and field recordings.
2. Effectively tracklay and mix audio elements to professional standards.
3. Synchronise audio with moving image for a range of formats.

Assessment: A portfolio of work including two sound design/mixing projects and a report.

PA System Design
This module builds on the competences and knowledge acquired in both Live Sound Engineering and Acoustics of Sound Production for Visual Media modules, and aims to appraise and examine further PA system design and optimisation for live events.

You will be expected to design a PA system for an event of your choice, taking into account compatibility of PA components, venue acoustics, power requirements, and the requirements of both the band and audience coverage. While utilising industry standard system prediction software, as well as audio analysis and transfer function software, you will develop an understanding of PA design while devising creative solutions to problems of acoustic control. This module will develop employability in the international field of live event programming.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Apply predictive and modelling software to simulate a PA system
2. Investigate and create innovative solutions to PA design problems
3. Evaluate and appraise current PA system designs and components and their compatibility
4. Utilise, and draw conclusions from, spectrum analysis.

Assessment: A PA design report and a Spectrum Analysis Exercise.

Entrepreneurial Skills for Sound Engineers
This module aims to develop your awareness of key trends and responsibilities affecting entrepreneurially based sound and recording industry careers. It aims to enable research into a range of sound and recording industry organisations, their working practices, market issues and key trends.

You will develop industry-relevant business awareness and skill through exercises and study of business strategy and planning, market research, promotion and legal and financial structures.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Have a working knowledge of the obligations and responsibilities of creative industry self-employment and contractual work including self-promotion, bookkeeping and financial planning.
2. Create effective, individual, industry-relevant career plans using a range of self-development and reflective tools.
3. Have practical market awareness on key current industry trends and issues including copyright, legal issues, rates and payment terms and business ethics.
4. Explore a specific sector of the sound and recording industries through market research and case studies, to gain knowledge of relevant organisations and societies and overall professional practises.
5. Plan a feasible business structure within the sound and recording industries effectively implementing knowledge of company structures and profit and loss forecasting and using market research to strategise based on market trends, typical income and expenditure and demand.

Assessment: A portfolio of work and an in-class presentation.

Project
The project is a major piece of individual work devised by each student. There will be support from a number of staff throughout the project but you are expected to drive the process yourself and manage your own time and workload. The Major Project is undertaken by all undergraduates in their final year.

It is a substantial piece of work that will enable you to demonstrate the extent of your achievement on the degree as a whole. You will draw up a learning agreement in the form of a Project Plan and have it formally approved by the module leader, and this will specify precisely what form all components of the submission will take and when it will be made, including written components, artefacts, creative works and more. The Project Plan will include a proposed Action Plan, identifying the project’s stages and chronology.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Identify a suitable topic area that builds upon work undertaken thus far on the degree programme and justify in writing the nature, appropriateness and relevance of the topic.
2. Clarify the purpose of the project by formulating “SMARTER” Project Objectives and agreeing them with your supervisor
3. Create a learning contract document according to guidance provided by the programme team, to be formally approved by your supervisor
4. Maintain regular engagement with the project and contact with your supervisor
5. Demonstrate a secure grasp of both the subject of the project and academic conventions on the production of any written work in both cases at a level appropriate to final year undergraduate study. Projects involving the production and / or exhibition of creative works will likewise be of a standard consistent with this stage of study.

Assessment: A portfolio of work including a viva voce presentation.
Key Information
Qualification – BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering & Design (Awarding body: University of Bolton), Pro Tools 101 (Awarding body: AVID)

Tuition Fees – £9000 per year (full time), and £1500 per module (part time). Total costs for the course are £27,000 (full time and part time).

Duration –3 years full time, or 5 years part time

Start Date – September 2017

Funding – information on funding for this course can be found here.

Entry Requirements – 104 UCAS points incorporating two A2-level passes (or equivalent) in two of the following: a mathematical subject, a physical science subject, or a technology-based subject or music. Applicants must also have five GCSE passes at grade C or above including mathematics and English. You will be also be required to attend an interview as part of the application process. If English is not your first language you will also normally need IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent). If you do not have the required English level, you can study English with University of Bolton from IELTS 4.0 (or equivalent). Please ask for details.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course please consider our FdSc Sound Engineering & Design course.

This course is open to UK and EU students. Applications from International students cannot usually be accepted because SSR does not have a Tier 4 licence. Therefore, if you require sponsorship under Tier 4 (i.e. a Tier 4 international student visa to study in the UK) then unfortunately we will be unable to consider your application for this course.

Contact Hours – Generally, for each 20 credit module you undertake, you will be required to spend 200 studying; these hours will be divided between contact hours (time spent at SSR with staff) and independent study hours. On average, 60-70 hours of contact time is timetabled per module and each module might be split like this:



Associated costs – We will not charge you any additional fees or ask you to pay any additional costs that are mandatory for the completion of your course.* In addition to the course fees, there are some further costs which you may incur as a student on this course. These costs are optional and are not mandatory to your studies. These might involve buying for example:
  • A pair of headphones, something like Sennheiser HD201 (£15-£25), or perhaps if you require something more robust Sennheiser HD25 (around £120)
  • An external hard drive for backing up your work (a 1TB drive might cost around £40)
  • USB/flash/pen drives; some submissions will require work to be submitted on these, and while you will have them returned to you eventually this may take some time (buying in bulk will save money and an 8GB might be as little as £2-£3)
  • Generic ear protection, like the ACS ER20 ear plugs, around £11
  • While AVID Pro Tools accreditation is embedded into the course, the 101 course offers two free attempts at the exam. Accreditation is optional for this course, but where a student requires a third or more attempt to pass the 101 exam, a cost of $29.00 will be incurred for each attempt. (Approximately £22.50.)
*Terms and conditions apply, please see http://www.bolton.ac.uk/fees for further information

Contact details - For an informal discussion and further details about the course please contact:
James Shuttleworth - james.shuttleworth@s-s-r.com
Tel: +44 (0)161 276 2100
Apply
Applications to this course are made via the UCAS system. To start your application click here.

You will need this information for your application:
UCAS Code: H340 BSc/SED
UCAS Institution: B44
Campus Code: R

If you need any further help or advice on the application process, please contact sarah.bradney@s-s-r.com or call us on 0161 276 2100.


Qualification – BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering & Design (Awarding body: University of Bolton), Avid Pro Tools 200 level certification.
Academic Partner – University of Bolton
Duration – 3 years full time, or 5 years part time
Mode of Study – Part Time & Full Time
Time of Study – Daytime
Available atManchester

Select Campus for Course Details

Hours of Study – Generally, for each 20 credit module you undertake, you will be required to spend 200 studying; these hours will be divided between contact hours (time spent at SSR with staff) and independent study hours. On average 60-70 hours of contact time is timetabled per module.
Start Date – September 2018
Entry Requirements – 104 UCAS points incorporating two A2-level passes (or equivalent) in two of the following: a mathematical subject, a physical science subject, or a technology-based subject or music. Applicants must also have five GCSE passes at grade C or above including mathematics and English. You will be also be required to attend an interview as part of the application process. If English is not your first language you will also normally need IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent). If you do not have the required English level, you can study English with University of Bolton from IELTS 4.0 (or equivalent). Please ask for details.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course please consider our FdSc Sound Engineering & Design course.

This course is open to UK and EU students. Applications from International students cannot usually be accepted because SSR does not have a Tier 4 licence. Therefore, if you require sponsorship under Tier 4 (i.e. a Tier 4 international student visa to study in the UK) then unfortunately we will be unable to consider your application for this course.
Tuition Fees – £9000 per year (full time), and £1500 per module (part time). Total costs for the course are £27,000 (full time and part time).
Funding – Information on funding for this course can be found here.
Apply Now

Application Details
Applications to this course are made via the UCAS system. To start your application click here.

You will need this information for your application:
UCAS Code: H340
UCAS Institution: B44
Campus Code: R

If you need any further help or advice on the application process, please contact sarah.bradney@s-s-r.com or call us on 0161 276 2100.


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