Digital Media: Audio Production
MSc/PgDip

Part-time study available
Based at MediaCityUK
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Digital Media: Audio Production at Salford:

  • New postgraduate course exploiting MediaCityUK at Salford Quays
  • Taught by world class audio engineering and acoustics researchers
  • Great job prospects in an expanding area

Key Information

Start Dates: September
Duration:

September start
MSc (one year full-time or up to three years part-time)
PgDip (nine months full-time or 18 months part-time)
January start
MSc (16 months full-time or up to three years part-time)
PgDip (one year full-time or up to two years part-time)

Course Summary

This course is designed to provide practical, theoretical and creative experience of sound engineering, music production and audio technology. Audio production entails the design, manipulation and production of audio across many different platforms such as radio, video, animation, TV, internet, computer games and digital music players. You will study a mix of sound engineering and theory modules, using our state-of-the-art recording, radio and TV studios, to develop the skills and understanding needed to create and deliver professional audio content.

Related Courses

94% of our postgraduates go on to employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

DLHE 2009 and 2010

Course Details

This course entails both practical based and theory modules. The modules are delivered in the recording studios, the audio technology suite, audio post production suite and lecture theatres.

For the full-time study option:

Semester 1

This module will develop advanced sound recording, editing and processing techniques as well as audio production and audio post production, both within a group and in an individual context. This module covers the tools and techniques used in the audio post production process and how to apply these skills in an original and creative way by developing the advanced skills and techniques needed for sound design, dialogue editing, ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) and Foley work. You will also develop a systematic understanding of mixing for 5.1 surround and to apply these in an original and creative way and be able to develop mastering techniques in stereo and 5.1. On completion you should have the skills and techniques needed to produce broadcast-standard output.
You will learn a range of research techniques appropriate to audio, acoustics and video and the relationship between research questions, research methods and analysis techniques. This will help prepare you for writing your dissertation. Additionally, this module will enable you to gain a systematic understanding of, and an ability to critically evaluate likely future developments in media, in both a technical and commercial context. Topics covered include: social media, cultural impacts and drivers; consumer markets, digital identity; ethics, privacy, copyright, licensing; content creation, sharing and reuse; digital rights management. This module includes practice-based research techniques as part of your learning.

Semester 2

You will explore the auditory system and understand how this allows humans to perceive different attributes of their soundscape including how the room acoustic affects the listening experience. You will cover common terminology and metrics appropriate to the study of psychoacoustics and room acoustics and be able to apply your knowledge of psychoacoustics, physics and engineering in the design of control rooms and other audio environments. There are a number of mechanisms for delivering audio and video content to an internet audience and you will learn how to critically evaluate these on this module. You will also study the specific requirements and demands of delivering audio and video to users, particularly the demands of this complex and unpredictable environment.
You will learn how to identify and evaluate the objective and subjective principles behind music perception. You will develop theories of timbre analysis, musical instrument vibration and sound propagation and undertake software-based sound synthesis using both emulative and abstract approaches. Audio theory will give you a complete understanding of the complex techniques for digitally controlling and interconnecting audio devices, such as synchronization, clocking and automation, and how these techniques are applied across a variety of audio production contexts. Digital audio formats are also examined.

Semester 3

The aim of the Master's Project is to carry out, under supervision, an extended individual study into a topic in audio, video, other digital media or acoustics. A number of topics will be offered to you to choose from or you could undertake a bespoke topic to be agreed between you and your supervisor. Your project will reflect the skills, knowledge and understanding from different areas of the course and will encourage initiative and project management.

If the course is studied on a part-time basis, only one module per semester is undertaken.

Entry Requirements

  • A second class honours degree that must contain significant elements of audio technology and production
  • For informal discussions about your suitability for this course please contact the postgraduate admissions tutor, Dr Jos Hirst

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.5 band score (with no element below 5.5) or a score of TOEFL at 575 or above (232 computer based) with a TWE of 4.0 or above are proof of this.

Suitable For

Graduates from subjects that contain significant elements of audio engineering and production. Please note that the course is not a 'conversion course' - we expect students to already have experience of recording studio practice.

Applicant profile

We are looking for sound engineering/music technology students with a keen interest in the subject area. Students will require skill in both the operational and theoretical side of audio production.

Teaching

Teaching and learning involves a mix of lectures and practical sound engineering work, involving individual and group learning, There is an emphasis on motivated students' self-study.

Assessment

Assessment involves a mixture of practical work, report writing and project work. By the end of the course students will have built up a substantial portfolio of audio, video and new media work.

Assessment is approximately divided across the course as follows:

  • Practical work (30%)
  • Report/Assignment (35%)
  • Presentation (5%)
  • Dissertation - that may entail practical elements (30%)

80% of students say subjects are enthusiastically taught by staff.

PGSES 2010

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Jos Hirst

Sound synthesis and audio production is taught by Jos Hirst. Previously, Jos worked as a live and sometimes studio sound engineer for 15 years, and then decided to find out about the 'hows and whys' of the equipment he was operating.

He first came to University of Salford in 1996 as an undergraduate, enrolling on the BSc (Hons) Audio Technology. He then studied for a PhD in the research area of spatial audio. More specifically, he investigated objective methods of assessing the spatial capabilities of surround sound systems as well as developing spatializing techniques for multichannel musical synthesis. He finally finished his PhD in 2006. You can have a look at his thesis here.

Employability

The wide range of skills provided on this course will enhance your employability. Possible career paths include: audio manufacturer research and design, broadcast engineer in audio for radio or TV, audio and visual design and installation, education, interactive media and sonic arts.

Possible career paths include:

  • Audio manufacturer research and design
  • Broadcast engineer in audio for radio or TV
  • Recording studio, live sound engineer, music production
  • Music technology retail
  • Theatre or film audio engineer
  • Musical instrument technology
  • Audio and visual design and installation
  • Education
  • Interactive Media
  • Sonic arts

Alumni Profile

Recent graduates from the Audio Production masters have found careers in audio post-production, freelance sound engineering and convergent technologies (audio, video and new media).

Links with Industry

Staff have strong links with industry either through collaborative R&D projects with industry through the Acoustics Research Centre and our commercial test laboratories.

Further Study

Some students could go on to study a PhD at our world-class Acoustics Research Centre. We have been carrying out acoustics research for over 30 years. Our research is funded by research councils, government bodies, and industry. It has fed into audio products that companies make and sell worldwide, as well as regulations and standards used in the UK, Europe and beyond. We are also involved in public engagement - getting more people aware of and interested in acoustic science and engineering.

Fees and Funding

Fees 2014-15

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£5,950
Part-time£922 per 30 credits
Full-time International£12,800

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section

Facilities

This degree is based in MediaCityUK,the new home for the BBC, ITV, Coronation Street and parts of the University of Salford. MediaCityUK is located at Salford Quays on the banks of Manchester's historic ship canal. The University has the first four floors of a new, purpose built facility that looks over the water to The Lowry theatre, Imperial War Museum North and the new Coronation Street set. ITV occupy the floors above us, with the three BBC buildings on one side of us and Peel Media Studios on the other.

A number of BBC departments are based at MediaCityUK, having moved from London, including BBC Breakfast, BBC Children's, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Future Media and Technology, BBC Learning, BBC Sport and BBC Academy. All of the BBC Manchester operations have also moved to MediaCityUK, including BBC Religion and Ethics, Current Affairs and the BBC Philharmonic.

For more information, check out the Salford MediaCityUK site, the BBC North site, this ITV press release and the main MediaCityUK site.

Here is a summary of our relevant facilities at MediaCityUK:

  • Audio Post Production and Audio Suite - Mac-based suites that run a range of audio software, including Pro Tools, Reason, Cubase and Reaktor. The Post Production suite has a Digidesign Icon D-command desk running Pro Tools.
  • TV Studios - full professional specification studios. Studio A has separate vision and audio control rooms. Studio B allows us to do a full 3D virtual studio.
  • Radio Studios - two radio studios, including a small studio space.
  • Computer Suites - a range of Mac and PC based computer rooms for general computer work.

On the main campus, we also have a Pro Tools equipped studio recording complex consisting of four control rooms and recording areas. Please see this studios link for more detailed information.