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Unit of study_

DESC9011: Audio Production

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal evening] - Remote

This unit examines tools, techniques, processes and value systems involved in audio production. Proficiency in sound recording techniques, including field and studio recordings, is developed, including technical acoustic, audio and aesthetic considerations. Students extend their understanding and experience of production principles by which sound recordings are used for building up realistic and hyper-realistic auditory scenes. Perspectives on audio production come from aesthetics, practice, acoustics theory, audio technology and digital audio systems, but ultimately are founded in the discipline of listening. By bringing these perspectives together, this unit is designed for students with a wide range of production experience at a postgraduate level. Students are expected to work individually and in groups to produce audio for accompanying screen media, as well as audio works that rely solely on audio to transmit a message. Students are expected to: participate in the workshops; complete class exercises/constructions; read additional materials to discuss in classes; submit a script, composition or otherwise detailed proposal for recording and postproduction with detailed rationale of production values; produce and present a completed audio project, including documentation, evidence of background research, a commentary on the production and production outcomes, track sheets, mixing notes.

Unit details and rules

Unit code DESC9011
Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Samuel Gillespie,
Lecturer(s) Samuel Gillespie,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Production exercise
Written task and practical example.
15% Week -03
Due date: 10 Mar 2023 at 23:59
500 words with example media
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Presentation Micro-research report
Written task and oral presentation
40% Week 08
Due date: 21 Apr 2023 at 23:59
1000 words, 5-10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Major audio production project
Design and written task
45% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59
Length of clip, 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Spatial audio studio: In this assessment, your group will create an audio piece to be designed as an independent piece of sound work (i.e. without using other media such as visual media). Students will be able to select the content of the piece based on their interest from a list of proposals to be included in the detailed assignment sheet. This assessment will be accompanied by an individual written task in which you will include the technical documentation detailing how your audio project was produced. This document will also include a detailed literature and media review used while preparing your project.
  • Major audio production project: In this project, you will design and produce the soundtrack for a short film clip which will be provided. Your design will be documented including technical components, justification of design decisions and supporting research in the accompanying written assignment. All elements of the audio soundtrack will be produced by the student. This includes original recordings and sounds produced using synthesised sounds.
Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to audio production Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Hearing, listening and psychoacoustics Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 Spatial hearing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 04 Transducers, physics and audio production Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 05 Synthesis and sampling Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Audio project studio Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Sound design and film Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Audio in events and theatre Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 In-class presentations Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Audio production and automation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Immersion in audio Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 12 Mastering and metering Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Audio project studio and revision Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand and put to practice concepts and techniques of audio production
  • LO2. analyse critically and design diverse audio content with a strong technical and scholarly focus
  • LO3. understand and participate in different audio fields in which audio production is required
  • LO4. integrate relevant knowledge of other units of study in your audio production practice such as architectural and audio acoustics and digital audio systems.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes have been made to keep the subject up to date in terms of technology used for the class.

Additional costs

Students will have to hire Max software for at least 2 months


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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