School of Computing, Science & Engineering
September 2019Next enrolment
In a nutshell
New technologies are changing the way people experience sound and audio. With our specialist Audio Production postgraduate degree, you’ll gain practical, theoretical and creative experience of sound engineering, music production and audio technology.
During your studies, you'll develop the skills needed to create and deliver professional audio, but also underpin these skills with a thorough theoretical knowledge base in audio and acoustics. Using a suite of sophisticated recording, tv and radio studios at our MediaCityUK and Peel Park campuses, you'll explore the theory, design, management and production of audio across many platforms
This course is suitable for technology and engineering graduates, who wish to pursue a career in the exciting audio industry. Building on your engineering and technology fundamentals, it provides you with the specialist expert knowledge and a practical skill set, so you are ready to develop a career as a future leader in the audio industry.
Salford is one of the UK's leading centre for research and teaching in audio and acoustics. The course is delivered by an audio and acoustics academic team at the very pinnacle of the profession. By taking this course, you'll be joining a community of alumni working at the heart of many leading sound and acoustics-focused companies and organisations throughout the world.
- Study at our sophisticated MediaCityUK campus, next door the BBC and ITV
- Utilise advanced audio-post recording, radio and TV studios to study audio engineering and production
- Develop advanced skills relevant to the contemporary communication, media and entertainment industries
- Tap into the expertise of world-class audio engineering and acoustics researches and academics
This is for you if...
You are a technically-skilled graduate with a degree in audio, music technology or a related subject area, and want to build audio production knowledge
You want to further develop your existing theoretical and operational audio production skills and knowledge
You're excited by sound, and want a future career in the production of audio
All about the course
MSc Audio Production is available in flexible study formats, including full and part-time pathways and September or January starts. If you're considering part-time study, please be advised that the course is intensive - we recommend that part-time equates to half of the full-time (approx.19 hours study per week).
This course comprises eight 15 credit taught modules, followed by a 60 credit dissertation project. For full-time students, taught modules are delivered in trimesters one and two, followed by the project module in trimester three. For part-time students, taught modules are spread over trimesters one and two for two years, followed by the project module in year three.
Modules are delivered in the recording studios, the audio technology suite, audio post-production suite, acoustic facilities and lecture theatres.
This module will develop advanced sound recording, editing, processing and surround techniques, both within a group and in an individual context. You will be given the opportunity to work on a recording project that will entail both technical and logistical challenges.
Audio Post Production
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.
Emerging Technologies and Digital Culture
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 and digital rights management.
Audio theory will give you a thorough understanding of analogue and digital audio signals and systems and the complex techniques for digitally controlling and interconnecting audio devices. This will include synchronization, clocking and automation across a variety of audio production platforms and contexts. Digital audio formats will also be examined.
In this module, the spatial hearing capabilities of the auditory system are further investigated and spatial audio systems including stereo, binaural, transaural, 5.1, ambisonics and wave field synthesis will be investigated both in terms of theory and practical use. There will be opportunities to audition and experiment with a number of different surround systems during practical sessions in the recording studios, listening room and anechoic chamber.
Recording Studio Design
You will learn the acoustics of sound propagation in enclosed spaces and will learn how to design methods of treating such spaces to achieve a desired acoustic result and the limitations of those methods. An assignment based on the design of a creative space (recording or control room) will tie all these strands together so that you can understand the acoustics, engineering and management required in the successful design of both control rooms and other creative audio environments.
You will develop theories of timbre analysis, the ways in which musical instruments produce sound, musical synthesis techniques, then undertake software-based musical sound synthesis using both emulative and abstract approaches. Additive, subtractive and modulation synthesis will be studied along with signal processing (effects) design. By the end of this module, you will have built a complex synthesizer and multi-effects unit in software.
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 that takes place in the third semester. Topics studied include literature searching, data types, qualitative and quantitative data analysis and the integration of different research methods.
The aim of the master's project is to carry out, under supervision, an extended individual study into a topic in audio, digital media or acoustics. A large 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.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
The majority of teaching and learning is delivered through tutorials, seminar groups, and studio-based activities in the recording studios, the audio technology suite, and audio post-production suite.
All students benefit from the supply of a range of high-quality teaching materials, books and software. Interaction is face-to-face wherever practical, and there is a strong focus on guided self-learning.
Assessment involves a mixture of practical work, report writing, and project work. By the end of the course, you will have a portfolio of audio, video and new media work to demonstrate to future employers.
Assessment is approximately divided as follows:
- Practical work (30%)
- Report/assignment (35%)
- Presentation (5%)
- Dissertation - that may entail practical elements (30%)
The School of Computing, Science and Engineering
The School of Computing, Science and Engineering (CSE) seeks to improve lives through proactive collaboration with industry and society. Our stimulating, industry-accredited courses and research programmes explore engineering, physics, acoustics, computing, mathematics and robotics. Through our award-winning lecturers, world-class facilities and research-led teaching, CSE produces highly employable graduates ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
On the main campus, we have a four-studio, Pro Tools-equipped recording complex, consisting of 2 digital control rooms and 2 analogue control rooms. Each control room has its own associated live room.
At MediaCityUK the facilities include the Audio Post Production and Audio Suites that utilise a number of industry-standard software packages including Pro Tools, Reason, Adobe Creative Cloud and the Native Instruments suite. The post-production suite is based around a Pro Tools S6 console and has Dolby Atmos monitoring capabilities. In addition, we also have dedicated dubbing and foley facilities.
Acoustic and Audio Laboratories
Our acoustics and audio laboratories on the main campus are world-class. We have a full range of specialist test chambers: full anechoic chamber, two semi-anechoic chambers, transmission suite, two large and one small reverberation chambers, ITU standard listening room equipped with a 96 channel Wave Field Synthesis system, 3D Ambisonic listening booth, audiometric test facilities and a range of modern instrumentation and equipment. We are accredited to perform no less than twelve types of test and the test chambers are maintained by a team of commercially funded technical staff.
We also have a UKAS accredited Calibration Laboratory which provides a full scale commercial service to industry. All these facilities are available for students to use in out projects.
Jos Hirst - Programme Leader
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 through study.
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.
What about after uni?
We have over 25 years’ experience nurturing graduates into audio and acoustics careers including consultancy, research, development and design roles at leading companies such as Apple, Dolby, and the BBC.
Audio Production alumni have found careers in audio post-production, freelance sound engineering, convergent technologies (audio, video and new media) and broadcast and have been employed by companies such as BBC, Sky TV and Channel 4.
Some of our graduates progress to postgraduate and doctoral research in our Salford Innovation and Research Centre (SIRC). The Centre aims to build on our world-class research and provide industries with guidance and expertise in the advancement of technology for business success and economic growth.
Research at the Centre is supported by EPSRC, TSB, DoH, MoD, Royal Society, European Commission funding, as well as direct investment from industry. Acoustics and audio research has been conducted at Salford since before 1965. Our research has influenced products that companies make and sell worldwide, as well as set UK, EU and International regulations and standards.
Our acoustics and audio research was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The panel highlighted our “particular strengths in acoustics” with an “outstanding impact in acoustics for the built environment.” Our REF impact acoustics case study was used by EPSRC and the Royal Academy of Engineering to highlight the economic benefits of engineering research.
Our academic team has strong links with industry either through collaborative research and development projects with the Acoustics Research Centre or our commercial test laboratories. These connections help to keep the programme aligned with the latest industry needs, including the latest research findings.
Recent collaborative projects include integrated virtual models for acoustic design with Dyson, wind turbine noise auralisation and subjective testing with DELTA and DEFRA, acoustics for auralisation with Arup, the S3A Future Spatial Audio project with the BBC and SALSA (Spatial Automated Live Sports Audio) system with DTS and Fairlight.
We also hold regular informal research seminars with industry partners to share research outputs. Recent masterclasses include acoustic consultancy with RBA Acosutics, noise mapping software with Cambell Associates, environmental noise with WSP/Parcel, railway noise & vibration with AECOM, NVH & infotainment with JaguarLandRover, and measurement microphone technology with GRAS.
What you need to know
English Language Requirements
International applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
International students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin study. To comply with Home Office regulations, you must obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK. Please refer to your offer conditions.
A second class honours degree that must contain significant elements of audio technology or production.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
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).
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2019||£6,570per year|
|Full-time international||2019||£12,960per year|
|Part-time||2019||£548 per 15 credit module; £2160 for the project dissertation module|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.