Bonus for Planning!!!!!

First Bonus ten points opportunity!!!! Craft a post that defines your grade and points plan for the four remaining periods of the course. Your plan will be assessed for completeness and accuracy. Meaning you cannot craft a plan that the rules of the syllabus do not allow.

Ask questions in the comments!

Reset – Hit the Button, Cycle the Power

Look to your email from soundmap for a link to the Google for editing and commenting. If you somehow don’t get the email comment on this post. And I make sure you get it.

Technical ground to cover

Recording Voice
Basics of Editing using ProTools/Audacity – cutting voice, mixing music, and sound-on-tape.
Physics of Sound and the Digital Version – Waves vs. Samples, Amplitude vs. Bit Depth
We need to show a more sophisticated listen skill.

Ways to show a deep understanding of all of the above

Projects – DS106 audio assignments for ideas, Tutorials, dramatic re-reading of poem, script, play, etc. (

Tests/Quizes – Individual and/or group tests & quizes.

Reflective Blog Posts

Way to Asses your work

Each project, test, blog post is going have a point value. And we set the level of quality for each. If you don’t earn at least 50% for a particular item, then you get zero points for that item.

A potential plan for points:

Tests (1-4) 30 pts each?
Posts (0-5) 10 pts each?
Proj. (0-5) 15 pts each?
Attend (0-5) 5 pts each?

You will need to set a plan for your remaining five units. You will be able to steer the direction of your individual course of study.

Survey Says!!!




You will now work in groups of three or four and review all of the answers submitted to the questions. You should discuss what you believe is correct based on what you read and your discussion as a group.

One person in the group will be the recorder. It will be that person’s job to surmise the group’s understanding of each of these questions. You will submit your groups understanding to this new survey and include the names of the group participants. Your writing on this second survey should be edited for grammar and clarity and represent your group’s best understanding of the terms and ideas presented.

For Thursday, each group will need to create a tutorial 1-3 minute tutorial for one of the recorders explaining the following:

  1. External mic connections/channel settings, and implications.
    1. Describe the input type and cable required.
    2. Describe the mic type (condenser vs. dynamic) and the implications of power
    3. Describe the channels onto which the inputs record and the implications of what some hears on the headphones and sees on the meters.
  2. Gain settings and implications.
    1. Auto vs. Manual
    2. Limiters and Compressors
    3. Preset dB levels (L vs. M vs. H)
    4. Manual gain control knobs
    5. Listening and watching (volume and meters)
  3. Sample rate/bit rate settings and implications.
    1. Formatting the card, type of card (SD vs. Compact Flash), and quality of card (Class 4 vs. Class 10)
    2. Sample rates and bit rate description based on scenarios and why.
    3. File type WAV vs. mp3 (uncompressed vs. compressed)
  4. Microphones
    1. Manufacturer and model
    2. Transducer type (dynamic or condenser)
    3. Polar pattern (directionality)
    4. Frequency Response
    5. Proximity Effect
    6. Phantom Power (+48KHz)
    7. Low Cut Filter (High Pass Filter) symbol – or / switch

You can look at everyone’s group responses to create your tutorial. Your tutorial for each of the three tasks show the following:

  1. Clear and succinct language explaining each technical setting. You should use language derived from the group survey responses.
  2. Simple quick visuals of the process to accomplish each setting on the device.
  3. Bonus, audio examples that illustrate the differences between different settings.

Continue the Mapping Exploration

Field recording from the top of Hoogh Catherijne, Utrecht

For next Tuesday you will need to make two recordings outside of school. Each recording should be five minutes long and each should be made in different locations. Choose one outside and another somewhere inside. Try your best to find aurally interesting locations.

Also be sure to note the exact location for each recording. You will need to create a Google Map link like this one to York College and include it for each location. This is going to allow me to create a single Sound Map of all your recordings. Hopefully this will prove to be an interesting map to navigate!

Embed your two recordings in a blog post, following the good blogging standards and make sure you include your Google map links!

And as you continue to learn about the typical features of various recorders and microphones, take notes about the following technical details:

1 channel vs. 2 channel recording

File format
Sample rate
Bit rate

Manual vs. Auto
Other gain controls including particular frequency gain controls (lo cut filter at 150Hz for example)
Various limiters/compressors, cut -10dB intervals.
Do gain control settings change with internal vs. external mics

Directionality (omni, cardiod, hypercardiod, etc)
Tranducer type – dynamic vs. electric condenser
Powered/not powered (on the recorder you may see the option to add +48V, or phantom power, power on/off)
How it’s handled? Hand held, shotgun, lavalier (tie-clip mic, clip on mic), surface mic)

You are not recording properly if you’re not listening via headphones. Also notice the headphone volume.

But look at the device’s meters. At what level (in a dB description) is your recording at. dB average, low, peak.

What’s that recording?

This will have some class notes from the sample rate diagrams, but also I would like you to comment on other’s posts before next Thursday for homework.

Give feedback in two forms:

1. Look at the rules for a good blog post and suggest things they did well, and might include next time. In particular focus on the description of the tools and their understanding of them.

2. Listen to the audio sample and give feedback on the content heard, but also specify the frequencies heard and assign them to particular sounds. Speculate why you hear certain frequencies and why not others.

Notes from class:

Recording Format (file)
sample rate
bit rate
file type

Input (built-in vs. external mic)

Recording channels
mono vs. stereo vs. split two channel
left vs. right
channel 1 vs. channel 2

manual vs. auto gain control 





Using our ears to map the space

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Chiu Longina

In our first class we spoke a bit about how we orient ourselves to a large extent by listening to our surroundings. The is a lot we can understand about a space by listening to its acoustics – which is the study of sound wave behavior in an environment. We can easily tell the difference between indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the potential size of the space based on how sound reflects and refracts. We also can tell surfaces that might be in a space might be hard or soft depending on the quietness/loudness of the space.

We also can get a sense of direction from which sound is coming based on listening to the space. Our ears take in sound wave information around us and we are able to perceive these things naturally as part of a normal process of growth and awareness.

But a microphone listening to a space and recording an environment does not necessarily do as good a job of reproducing what we perceive with our ears. Microphones are designed in a variety of forms to capture environments in different ways. Some microphones listen to only what is directly infront of it, others listen equally well from all sides including the bottom. Some microphones can even listen to the left and the right but deemphasize the middle.

So you can imagine that this is very different than how we hear sound with our ears. The microphone is an instrument with a particular purpose and we need to get accustomed to how it ‘listens.’ This is why we spoke of the need to always listen to the microphone through headphones as well as develop a close listening skills.

For today’s class you are going to work in pairs. You are going to set out into the building with the goal of ‘sound mapping’ a unique location in the building that you can get access too. You are then going to record five minutes of that space while you stand perfectly still and listen to it. DO NOT DO ANYTHING IN THE SPACE, THINGS MAY HAPPEN AROUND YOU BUT DO NOT INSTIGATE ANY ACTIONS ONLY LISTEN!

As a pair each of you will pick a location and record five minutes. During the recording the person who has chosen the location will wear headphones, hold the microphone, and operate the recorder. Both people will take notes about what they hear, one will have the perspective through the microphone, the other will be based on listening naturally.

There will be a certain amount of missteps as you try to figure out the recorders and microphones for the first time, but that is expected. Just do your best and document your process.

You will need to then upload your five minute recording to If you do not have an account, please create one. You will then embed your audio file in a blog post. Be sure to follow the good blogging instructions for your post. Also categorize and tag your post accordingly.

Blog Sign-up

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