What Are Audio Engineering Classes?
While some concepts may overlap, there is a difference between music production and audio engineering. In its most simple definition, audio engineering is the process of getting sound from one place to another. Audio or sound engineering courses cover how to ensure smooth sound in all types of media and environments, from recording studios and broadcast radio to television and live concerts. Audio engineering encompasses a vast array of jobs and equipment, so there are many different types of audio engineering courses.
Free Online Audio Engineering Courses
If you have an interest in audio engineering but don't want to commit to a degree, there are free audio engineering courses available online. While taking these courses won't be the same as attending audio school online, they can give you a basic introduction to the world of audio engineering.
Composing with Computers I (Electronic Music Composition)
This course is offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare system, where courses taught at the school are made available for download and can be completed at one's own pace. While there's no instructor, the site lists the course syllabus, assignments, and suggested materials. You may have to buy some equipment or other materials if you want to complete the assignments.
Composing with Computers I explores what can be done with sound. Some technology, acoustics, and math are examined, but the course mainly focuses on composing and mixing sampled sounds. Other concepts such as digital signal processing, algorithms, and convolution. The course also has listening assignments to learn about different styles of sounds. This course is an undergraduate-level course, so it may be good for beginners.
Recording and Audio Engineering
This program is offered by SoundGym, a website dedicated to teaching beginner-friendly audio and music production courses online for free. The site states that it curates each program from free content by sound educators and experts. The programs are taught by a video instructor and are divided into topics. In total, this program has 22 hours' worth of video time.
According to SoundGym, this program is for learning the creative process of music production. Topics covered range from technical to artistic. Some of the topics include how to set up a home studio, audio fundamentals, an introduction to recording, and how to use Pro Tools, among others. While equipment isn't necessary to view the topics, it can help to have it so you can get a hands-on learning experience as you watch.
Also offered by SoundGym, this one explores the practical skills that are necessary to become a live sound engineer. The program has a total of 8 hours' worth of video. Individuals in the program learn about mixing desks, microphones, soundboards, equalization, and effects, among other things. A few topics in the program include live sound basics, how to connect equipment, and getting inspired.
Mixing and Mastering
Another program through SoundGym, Mixing and Mastering covers the artistic and technical sides to mixing and mastering music tracks. Participants in the program learn the basics of mixing and about the techniques that professional sound engineers use. The program has a total of 35 hours' worth of video time. A few topics that are covered include an introduction to mixing, dynamic processors, equalizers, fundamentals of mixing, and mastering basics.
Vocal Recording Technology
Offered through edX, this course helps learners understand the human voice and how to use technology to make the most of it. Topics include compression, widening effects, A-D-A conversion, reverb and more. Students are asked to devote 5-6 hours per week for six weeks to complete this class. It's offered completely free but includes the option for a paid certification.