Module Guide – Recording Techniques

Posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 am in

1. Key Information

Module Title: Recording Techniques
Module Code: MOD000567
Location of Delivery: Cambridge
Pathway: Creative Music Technology

Workshop/Lecture:  Hel 040 and 036/037

Module Leader: Paul Rhys
Cambridge Campus, Helmore 242

Extension: 0845 196 2622

Module Tutor: Gareth Stuart


IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL STUDENTS IN 2010/11A very important change to the Academic Regulations which governs the assessment of all modules at Anglia Ruskin and its partner institutions has been introduced for all students with effect from the academic year 2010/11.

Full details are in Section 5 of this module guide. Please make sure you read this section carefully.

All modules delivered by Anglia Ruskin University at its main campuses in the UK and at partner institutions throughout the UK and overseas are governed by the Academic Regulations. You can view these at A printed extract of the Academic Regulations, known as the Assessment Regulations, is available for every student from your Faculty Office, Hel 245 (all new students will have received a copy as part of their welcome pack).

In the unlikely event of any discrepancy between the Academic Regulations and any other publication, including this module guide, the Academic Regulations, as the definitive document, take precedence over all other publications and will be applied in all cases.

2. Introduction to the Module

Recording Techniques is a module aimed at the aspiring musician rather than the recording engineer. By working on a number of creative projects, students learn to use computer software for recording, editing, sound-processing and sequencing. Students will learn how to use microphones and will be shown how important their placement is relative to a particular sound source. They will learn about the different approaches to recording that are demanded by particular musical situations, including the special situation of recording the human voice. Multi-tracking, editing and post-production techniques such as normalising, compression and gates will be examined as tools to enhance the quality of recordings made in different situations. Students will be able to work collaboratively by forming and recording their own musical ensembles, with the intention of realising particular recording scenarios.

Assessment is via a portfolio consisting of two main tasks, each defined by a specific musical goal. Each task will be appraised by the extent to which students have chosen techniques (of microphone placement, recording, editing, sound processing and mastering) appropriate to the musical goal.

3. Intended Learning Outcomes

Anglia Ruskin modules are taught on the basis of intended learning outcomes and on successful completion of the module, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate you have met those outcomes.

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the computer as a functioning recording studio.

2. Understand the technical demands of studio and location recording, including microphone placement and room acoustics.

3. Develop the ability to work as part of a team on music recording projects.

4. Demonstrate basic editing, sound processing and mastering skills in the computer music studio.


4. Outline Delivery

4.1. Lectures and workshops

All information and resources for this module are available via a specially-constructed web site at:

The web site contains a wealth of material – articles, sound recordings, expanded reading lists and a forum – collected to support this delivery of the module. In addition to these resources, the site is also used to give out important and up-to-date information about the module. You will need to consult the site regularly, and you are advised to bookmark the address.

4.2. Attendance Requirements

Attending all your classes is very important and one of the best ways to help you succeed in this module. In accordance with the Student Charter, you are expected to arrive on time and take an active part in all your timetabled classes. If you are unable to attend a class for a valid reason (e.g.: illness), please contact your Module Tutor.

Anglia Ruskin will closely monitor the attendance of all students and will contact you by e-mail if you have been absent without notice for two weeks. Continued absence can result in the termination of your registration as you will be considered to have withdrawn from your studies.

Practical projects, rehearsals and ensemble performances are collaborative in their nature and require full attendance. Students taking practical and performance modules should be aware that at certain times a more intensive commitment is required which must be balanced against other life and work commitments. You will be notified of these extra rehearsals as far in advance as possible.

Please see the notes on ‘Attendance’ in the Anglia Ruskin Undergraduate Student Handbook for full University regulations.

To be effectively prepared for a teaching session, you should:

  • have completed all the set reading or other prescribed work as described in the course handbook or as set by your lecturer
  • have your own copy of the required text or other material
  • bring adequate writing materials for taking notes
  • be wearing appropriate clothing, especially for rehearsals and performance workshops
  • arrive mentally and physically prepared for the session

International students who are non-EEA nationals and in possession of entry
clearance/leave to remain as a student (student visa) are required to be
in regular attendance at Anglia Ruskin. Failure to do so is considered to
be a breach of national immigration regulations. Anglia Ruskin, like all British Universities, is statutorily obliged to inform the Border and Immigration Agency of the Home Office of significant unauthorised absences by any student visa holders.

4.3. Attendance for Group and Collaborative Work

For modules that include collaborative practical work, especially those leading to live performance events, there is an especial necessity for full and punctual attendance. Poor attendance and/or engagement inevitably has a detrimental affect on the work of your fellow students and will hinder their achievement, as well as your own.

If you are unable to attend a particular rehearsal, class or workshop you should inform your Module Tutor immediately, and in advance of the class wherever possible. All members of staff have voicemail and email. You will then be entered on the register as an ‘explained absence’. Failure to do this will mean that you will be marked ‘unexplained absent’.

Absence for reasons of external work commitments, timetable clashes or time mismanagement will not be accepted.

You should be aware that poor attendance and/or lack of commitment will inevitably affect your ability to meet the module learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard, and consequently your mark may be affected.

5. Assessment



For all modules delivered from July 2010 onwards, the following regulations apply in all locations and to all students. The important change to the assessment process (i.e.: different from previous academic years) is highlighted in point (d) below:

a)         You must undertake all assessment tasks that form part of the module (e.g.: submit all coursework assignments by the appropriate deadline and/or attend all presentations/examinations on the appropriate date etc.).

b)         If there is a valid reason for you not being able to complete any assessed work, you must either seek an extension from your Student Adviser or submit a claim for mitigation ( for more information).

c)         If you undertake all assessment tasks which form part of the module but you do not pass the module, you will be allowed one further attempt to undertake some or all of the assessment tasks (i.e.: resit) in order to pass the module.

d)         If you do not undertake one or more of the required assessment tasks which form part of the module (e.g.: you simply do not attend an examination or do not submit a coursework assignment on time etc.), AND this is not explained by a successful claim for mitigation, you will NOT be allowed any further attempt at assessment in the module and are deemed to have failed the module completely.

5.1 Assessment Details

Assessment is via a portfolio consisting of two recording projects which make different uses of recording/ editing/ mastering techniques appropriate to specific musical situations. Each project should be documented by an online blog created by the student.

Your work should be submitted to the i-Centre of the Cambridge Campus (on the ground floor of Rackham building, opposite the garden square between Helmore and the Library) before 5pm on Tuesday 14 May, 2013

All coursework assignments and other forms of assessment must be submitted by the published deadline, which is detailed above. It is your responsibility to know when work is due to be submitted – ignorance of the deadline date will not be accepted as a reason for late or non-submission.

All student work that contributes to the eventual outcome of the module (i.e.: if it determines whether you will pass or fail the module and counts towards the mark you achieve for the module) is submitted via the iCentre using the formal submission sheet. Academic staff CANNOT accept work directly from you.

If you decide to submit your work to the iCentre by post, it must arrive by midday on the due date. If you elect to post your work, you do so at your own risk and you must ensure that sufficient time is provided for your work to arrive at the iCentre. Posting your work the day before a deadline, albeit by first class post, is extremely risky and not advised.

Any late work (submitted in person or by post) will NOT be accepted and a mark of zero will be awarded for the assessment task in question.

You are requested to keep a copy of your work.

5.2 Feedback

You are entitled to written feedback on your performance for all your assessed work. For all assessment tasks which are not examinations, this is provided by a member of academic staff completing the assignment coversheet on which your mark and feedback will relate to the achievement of the module’s intended learning outcomes and the assessment criteria you were given for the task when it was first issued.

Examination scripts are retained by Anglia Ruskin and are not returned to students. However, you are entitled to feedback on your performance in an examination and may request a meeting with the Module Leader or Tutor to see your examination script and to discuss your performance.

Anglia Ruskin is committed to providing you with feedback on all assessed work within 20 working days of the submission deadline or the date of an examination. This is extended to 30 days for feedback for a Major Project module (please note that working days excludes those days when Anglia Ruskin University is officially closed; e.g.: between Christmas and New Year). Personal tutors will offer to read feedback from several modules and help you to address any common themes that may be emerging.

At the main Anglia Ruskin University campuses, each Faculty will publish details of the arrangement for the return of your assessed work (e.g.: a marked essay or case study etc.). Any work that is not collected by you from the Faculty within this timeframe is returned to the iCentres from where you can subsequently collect it. The iCentres retain student work for a specified period prior to its disposal.

To assure ourselves that our marking processes are comparable with other universities in the UK, Anglia Ruskin provides samples of student assessed work to external examiners as a routine part of our marking processes. External examiners are experienced academic staff from other universities who scrutinise your work and provide Anglia Ruskin academic staff with feedback and advice. Many of Anglia Ruskin’s staff act as external examiners at other universities.

On occasion, you will receive feedback and marks for pieces of work that you completed in the earlier stages of the module. We provide you with this feedback as part of the learning experience and to help you prepare for other assessment tasks that you have still to complete. It is important to note that, in these cases, the marks for these pieces of work are unconfirmed as the processes described above for the use of external examiners will not have been completed. This means that, potentially, marks can change, in either direction!

Marks for modules and individual pieces of work become confirmed on the Dates for the Official Publication of Results, which can be checked at

6. Assessment Criteria and Marking Standards

6.1 Anglia Ruskin University Generic Assessment Criteria

Overleaf, you will find our University’s Generic Assessment Criteria, applicable to all modules and all types of assessment. These will provide you with a guide to overall expectations of attainment for each grade band. They should be used in conjunction with the Module Specific Assessment Criteria (see below).

6.2 Module Specific Assessment Criteria

In addition to Anglia Ruskin’s generic assessment criteria given in the following table, your work will also be marked against module-specific assessment criteria. Assessment tasks for this module will be marked against the marking criteria for Artefact Creation and Written Work which are available under the ‘Student Resources’ section of the departmental web site

7. Assessment Offences

You are reminded that any work that you submit must be your own. All suspected assessment offences will be investigated and can result in severe penalties. Please note that it is your responsibility to consult the relevant sections of the Academic Regulations (section 10 – see and the Student Handbook.

When you are preparing your work for submission, it is important that you understand the various academic conventions that you are expected to follow in order to make sure that you do not leave yourself open to accusations of plagiarism (e.g.: the correct use of referencing, citations, footnotes etc.) and that your work maintains its academic integrity.

Plagiarism is theft and constitutes the presentation of another’s work as your own in order to gain an unfair advantage. You will receive advice and guidance on how to avoid plagiarism and other elements of poor academic practice during the early stages of your studies at Anglia Ruskin.

7.1 Guidance on being honest in your work


Being honest in your work is at the heart of studying and working at university. To be honest in your work you must acknowledge the ideas and work of others you use, and you must not try to get an advantage over others by being dishonest. It is important that you understand what it means to be honest in your work. Although there is general agreement within the UK academic community about the types of activity that are unacceptable, this does vary slightly between institutions, and may be different from where you studied before.

We have developed this guidance to help you understand what it means to be honest in your work, and what you should do to make sure that you are handing in work that meets our expectations. This means we can make sure that we can maintain reliable standards for our academic awards, and students continue to enjoy studying for academic qualifications that have a good reputation. In this guidance we will:

  • clearly define what being honest in your work and good practice mean, and how you can achieve this;
  • define ‘assessment offences’, including plagiarism, cheating and collusion;
  • identify the resources, help and advice available to help you learn the academic skills you need to avoid committing assessment offences;
  • explain how we expect you to behave; and
  • describe what happens if we think you have committed an assessment offence

Being honest in your work and good practice

You can show good practice when you do your work independently, honestly and in a proper academic style, using good referencing and acknowledging all of your sources.

To show good academic practice you must:

  • show you understand the literature;
  • use research from academics and others in your area of study;
  • discuss and evaluate ideas and theories;
  • develop your own independent evaluation of academic issues; and
  • develop your own arguments.

To support your own good practice you will need to develop your:

  • skills at studying and getting information (for example, reading, taking notes, research and so on);
  • skills in looking at an argument and making your own evaluation (for example, having a balanced opinion, using reasoning and argument);
  • writing skills for essays, reports, dissertations and so on;
  • referencing skills (how you include your sources of information in your work); and
  • exam techniques (for example, revising and timing).

Achieving good practice is not as complicated as it may appear. You need to do the following.

  • Know the rules.
  • Make sure you reference all of your information sources. Poor practice or dishonesty in your work (such as plagiarism, cheating, fraud and so on) can be a result of you not knowing what you are allowed to do.
  • Develop your own style. Sometimes students include too much original text from the work of others, as they believe that they cannot ‘put it any better’. Although you should try to express ideas in your own words, quoting or summing up ideas from academic sources is fine, as long as you say where you have taken this from. You must also reference other people’s performances or art in your own work. It fine to use other people’s performances and art, but you must be completely clear about why you are using that work, and make sure it is obvious that it isn’t your own.

Definitions of assessment offences

Plagiarism is when you present someone else’s work, words, images, ideas, opinions or discoveries, whether published or not, as your own. It is also when you take the artwork, images or computer-generated work of others, without properly acknowledging where this is from or you do this without their permission.

You can commit plagiarism in examinations, but is most likely to happen in coursework, assignments, portfolios, essays, dissertations and so on.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • directly copying from written work, physical work, performances, recorded work or images, without saying where this is from;
  • using information from the internet or electronic media (such as DVDs and CDs) which belongs to someone else, and presenting it as your own;
  • rewording someone else’s work, without referencing them; and
  • handing in something for assessment which has been produced by another student or person.

It is important that you do not plagiarise – intentionally or unintentionally – because the work of others and their ideas are their own. There are benefits to producing original ideas in terms of awards, prizes, qualifications, reputation and so on. To use someone else’s work, words, images, ideas or discoveries is a form of theft.

Collusion is similar to plagiarism as it is an attempt to present another’s work as your own. In plagiarism the original owner of the work is not aware you are using it, in collusion two or more people may be involved in trying to produce one piece of work to benefit one individual, or plagiarising another person’s work.

Examples of collusion include:

  • agreeing with others to cheat;
  • getting someone else to produce part or all of your work;
  • copying the work of another person (with their permission);
  • submitting work from essay banks;
  • paying someone to produce work for you; and
  • allowing another student to copy your own work.

Many parts of university life need students to work together. Working as a team, as directed by your tutor, and producing group work is not collusion. Collusion only happens if you produce joint work to benefit of one or more person and try to deceive another (for example the assessor).

Cheating is when someone aims to get unfair advantage over others.

Examples of cheating include:

  • taking unauthorised material into the examination room;
  • inventing results (including experiments, research, interviews and observations);
  • handing your own previously graded work back in;
  • getting an examination paper before it is released;
  • behaving in a way that means other students perform poorly;
  • pretending to be another student; and
  • trying to bribe members of staff or examiners.

Help to avoid assessment offences

Most of our students are honest and want to avoid making assessment offences. We have a variety of resources, advice and guidance available to help make sure you can develop good academic skills. We will make sure that we make available consistent statements about what we expect in this document, and in student handbooks and module guides. You will be able to do tutorials on being honest in your work from the library and other central support services and faculties, and you will be able to test your written work for plagiarism using ‘Turnitin®UK’ (a software package that detects plagiarism).

You can get advice on how to honestly use the work of others in your own work from the library website ( and your lecturer and personal tutor

You will have an opportunity to do a ‘formative’ assignment before you finish and hand in your first ‘summative’ assignment. A ‘formative’ assignment is one in which you can talk about your work thoroughly with your tutor to make sure that you are working at the correct level for your award, and that you understand what is meant by good practice (a ‘summative’ assignment counts towards the assessment for your course).

You will be able to use ‘Turnitin®UK’, a special software package which is used to detect plagiarism. Turnitin®UK will produce a report which clearly shows if passages in your work have been taken from somewhere else. You may talk about this with your personal tutor to see where you may need to improve your academic practice. We will not see these formative Turnitin®UK reports as assessment offences.

If you are not sure whether the way you are working meets our requirements, you should talk to your personal tutor. They will be able to help you and tell you about other resources that will help you develop your academic skills.

What we expect from you

We will make sure you have the chance to practice your academic skills and avoid accidentally breaking our Academic Regulations. On page nine of the Student Charter (see, it says you have to ‘be aware of the academic rules relating to your studies’.

To make sure that you are aware of the rules, we expect you to agree to:

  • read this guidance and make sure you thoroughly understand it;
  • work through ‘PILOT’, the online tutorial available on our library website (, which aims to help you learn good practice and has a useful section on plagiarism;
  • make sure that you are familiar with how to reference (acknowledge other people’s work);
  • correctly reference all the sources for the information you have included in your work;
  • identify information you have downloaded from the internet;
  • never use someone else’s ideas for a performance, film or TV programme, their artwork, graphics (including graphs, spreadsheets and so on and information from the internet) as if they are yours;
  • only hand in your own original work;
  • never use another person’s work as if it were your own; and
  • never let other students use or copy your work.

What we will do for you

To help you avoid making assessment offences, our staff will:

  • make sure they are familiar with the guidance on being honest in your work and the Academic Regulations;
  • tell you clearly about the guidance on being honest in your work and any guidelines on misconduct, and record the dates for future reference;
  • arrange library information sessions for you;
  • promote the resources on the library website and put links to them in module guides and student handbooks;
  • include statements on academic honesty in each module guide, making sure they are consistent throughout our university;
  • make you aware of the punishments for misconduct early in the course;
  • give you effective guidance on how you should acknowledge the information you have used;
  • tell you, in writing if possible, how far you may work with other students in your coursework;
  • plan procedures for assessing work in a way that reduces plagiarism, cheating and collusion;
  • be aware that you may have worked differently in the past and make sure that you are aware of good practice in the UK;
  • familiarise themselves with ‘Turnitin®UK’ and its reports; and
  • report all suspected misconduct using the proper disciplinary procedures.

Procedures for assessment offences

An assessment offence is the general term used to define cases where a student has tried to get unfair academic advantage in an assessment for themselves or another student.

We will aim to give you as much help as possible to avoid an assessment offence. We listed a number of possible assessment offences earlier in the document. These, and any relevant breaks of the Academic Regulations are dishonest, unacceptable and not allowed. We will fully investigate all cases of suspected assessment offences. If we prove that you have committed an assessment offence, we will take action against you using our disciplinary procedures.

For full details of what punishments you may receive for assessment offences, see the Academic Regulations, section 10 at:

And finally

One of the main aims of university is to give you the ability to learn, have independent judgment, academic rigour and intellectual honesty.

You should encourage people to ask questions, to show personal and professional honesty, and have mutual respect.

You, university teachers and support staff are responsible for working together to achieve this aim.


Adapted from Scott, M, (2000), Academic Misconduct Policy. A model for the FE Sector. (© Association of Colleges, 2000)

More information

8. Learning Resources

8.1. Recommended Texts

  • Borwick, J. (1987) Sound Recording Practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Brice, R. (2001) Music Engineering, Oxford: Newnes
  • d’Escrivan, J. (2012) Music Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Katz, B. (2003) Mastering Audio: the Art and the Science, Oxford: Focal
  • Katz, M. (2005) Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, Berkeley: U of California Press
  • Moorefield, V. (2005) The Producer as Composer, Massachusetts: MIT Pres
  • Nisbett, A. (2003) The Sound Studio: Audio Techniques for Radio, Television, Film, and Recording, Boston, Mass.: Focal Press
  • Rumsey, F. (2006) Sound and Recording: an Introduction, Oxford: Focal
  • Runstein, R.E, Huber, D.M. (2005) Modern Recording Techniques, Oxford: Foca
  • Industry magazines: Sound on Sound, Music Tech, Future Music

8.2. Recommended Internet Resources

oblique strategies

M-S Stereo: A Powerful technique for working in stereo

8.3. Recommended Listening

8.4. Other Resources

Appropriate computer music studio and recording resources.

9. Module Evaluation

Towards the end of the delivery of this module, you will be asked to complete a module evaluation questionnaire to help us obtain your views on all aspects of the module.

This is an extremely important process that helps us to continue to improve the delivery of the module in the future and to respond to issues that you bring to our attention. The module report in section 11 of this module guide includes a section which comments on the feedback we received from other students who have studies this module previously.

Your questionnaire response is anonymous and you will receive a summary in e-Vision of the scores of all your modules two days after the survey closes.

The Module Evaluation process is managed on-line. More information is available at:

Please help us to help you and other students at Anglia Ruskin by completing the Module Evaluation process. We very much value our students’ views and it is very important to us that you provide feedback to help us make improvements.

In addition to the Module Evaluation process, you can send any comment on anything relate to your experience at Anglia Ruskin to at any time.

10. Module Definition Form

11. Report on Last Delivery of Module

This module is new, but represents the first half of AF230011D Production and Recording, which was delivered last year. So it may be appropriate to include the Report form for this module.


This form should be completed by module tutors (where there is more than one delivery) and forwarded to Module Leaders who compiles the results on to one form for use at the Programme Committee and other methods of disseminating feedback to students.

Module Code and Title: AF230011D Production and Recording for Musicians

Anglia Ruskin Department:    Music and Performing Arts

Location(s) of Delivery: Cambridge

Academic Year: 2008-2009            Semester/Trimester:  Semesters 1 & 2

Enrolment Numbers (at each location): 29

Module Leader: Miguel Mera

Other Module Tutors: Gareth Stuart

Student Achievement

The module represents a wide-range of student achievement with a mean mark of 54%. There was one 1st, thirteen 2.1s, five 2.2s, six passes, and four resits (largely due to non-submission or submission of faulty media). The separate assessment elements allowed students to develop a range of skills and to use a variety of techniques. Some impressive production work was developed.

Feedback from Students

The overall satisfaction score for this module was 84%. Students valued the opportunity to explore different production techniques and were very appreciative of the practical ‘hands on’ experience gained on the module.
Students commented on the difficulty in booking rooms and equipment and the lack of availability of a technician. In terms of resources, students also suggested that a wider range of microphones, 24 hour access, and air-conditioning would improve their learning environment. Some students would have liked more theory on microphone positions.

Module Leader/Tutor’s Reflection on Delivery of the Module, including Response to Feedback from Students

Access to equipment was problematic this year and students were granted a submission extension as a reflection of this fact.

Developments during the current year or planned for next year

The absence of a technician during the second semester was due to the departure of a member of staff who has now been replaced. Access to equipment and resource issues will feature in the periodic review that is taking place throughout 2009-2010. A new Pro-Tools HD recording studio is being built and will be ready for the start of the new academic year. This should provide more flexible and comfortable facilities for students and class sessions.

External Examiner’s Comments

The examiner approved all marks.

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