CLASS 1: Recording and Editing

Production Class 1 is an introduction to the Production department as well as the first half of the production process.

What does a volunteer do in the production department?

  • Primarily record short segments of audio that are played over the air such as :
    • Station IDs : A station ID is the pre-recorded “You’re listening to K A L X Berkeley” that you hear over the air a few times every hour. We have many different station IDs. Most are in the format of a musician or famous person saying “Hi I’m Bono from U2 and you’re listening to K A L X Berkeley” These are most often recorded when a band plays live on KALX or a famous person comes in to speak on a public affairs show. The other type of Station ID are the ones that we in Production make. These are either short radio plays, or interesting audio tricks, or songs, or jokes etc. in which the phrase “K A L X Berkeley” is said. There is no limit to the nature of station ID we make in production.
    • Public Service Announcements : A public service announcement (PSA) is a roughly 45 second segment of audio that we produce which serves the public good by advertising a non-profit organization of some kind, raising awareness of an issue, announcing an event, or spotlighting a UC Berkeley organization etc. Examples of a PSA would be a short segment talking about an upcoming blood drive, or the problem of spousal abuse, or a charity fair, or a UC Berkeley dance competition, etc. There is an extremely wide variety of topics that a PSA covers. The basic format of a PSA announces the group or event, talks a little about it, identifies what the listener can do in response (donate, go to this place at this time, stop abusing your spouse, etc.) and gives the listener contact information for the group or event.
  • Secondarily be a resource for the station to do digital audio production for other groups
    • Promotions : Often DJs ask the production department to put together a “promotions” piece for his or her show. This is a short advertisement for the DJ and the time slot that they have. The production department also makes promo spots for upcoming KALX events, like the “Best of 2005” week or an upcoming public affairs show, or an upcoming band playing on KALX Live, etc.
    • Co-Announce : When KALX “co-announces” an event this means that we advertise the event (like a music concert) on the station and in turn get to have a table at the event where we promote KALX by giving out pamphlets and telling people to listen. The form of the advertisement that we do for the event is like a PSA. The co-announce states who’s playing at the show, the fact that we are co-announcing it, where it is, when it is etc.
    • Fundraiser : Each year the station does a fundraiser in the winter. The production department is tasked with adding to our existing collection of fundraiser advertisements, new fundraiser ads. These spots are short reminders of how KALX rocks and that our listeners should donate.
    • Digital Audio Conversion : Much of our recorded audio around that station is on 1/4” tape. This is an old analog recording method which degrades over time. Often, the production department is asked to help convert old analog recordings to digital recordings. This is done for old PSAs and Station IDs, old KALX Live recordings, and old music segments recorded on tape.

      Why would a volunteer want to work in the Production Department?

      There are three main reasons to work in production.

  • When you create a piece of audio like a PSA promo or Station ID, that piece of audio gets played very frequently over the air. This means that tens of thousands of people are hearing your voice and your creation. Here are some numbers to give you some perspective on how often you’re PSA gets played over the air. A standard PSA will run for a couple months. DJs are REQUIRED to play at least 2 PSAs per hour of which one can be a pre-recorded PSA. There are usually about 10 pre-recorded PSAs available to a DJ at any given time to play. This means that for the average two month period that your PSA is live it’s getting played about 150 times or about twice a day. That’s assuming DJs are playing PSAs at random which they don’t. If you make a good PSA that DJs like, it will get airplay almost every 3 hour show. If you make a couple or three PSAs, your voice and your creative ideas will be played over the air constantly.
  • Digital audio production is a fascinating and useful skill. After working in the production department you’ll be a useful asset in any studio environment. Production is a great primer if you want to go on to becoming a DJ or working in Special Events (KALX Live). Production is a great introduction to the skills that you’ll need if you want to record your own band or a friends band on your home equipment or if you rent time in a studio.
  • Production is a great way to get hours since you can fit it around your schedule. You can come in anytime and work on production spots. You can team up with other people in production or other volunteers at the station and make complex or ambitious audio segments. There is a great deal of latitude in production.

    How is Production training laid out?

    The reason to go through the production training is to become “production approved”. Once you’re approved you have access to all of the production equipment and can come in and work on projects at any time. Here are the steps to go through to become approved.

    1. Take this class, Production 1 and learn about all of the equipment in the production studio, how it works together and how to record voice, music, effects etc. onto the computer (or Digital Audio Workstation / DAW).
    2. Take Production 2 and learn how to take your now recorded audio on the computer and mix it into a final piece of audio as well as how to take that final piece of audio and get it on the air.
    3. Attend a couple apprenticeships in which you get to run the show and have a production engineer hang out with you and answer questions as you go. This is the “learn by doing” part of the training. Some people attend one apprenticeship and feel ready to take the test to become approved, others attend many (4 or 5) apprenticeships before feeling ready to take the test. You can find out when Production 1 and Production 2 classes are as well as apprenticeships by the emails production sends out about upcoming classes, or by looking for the signup sheets taped to the door to the production studio for Prod I, Prod II, and Apprenticeships.
    4. Once you feel comfortable such that you could make a PSA from scratch on your own, email or leave a note in one of the Production department heads mail boxes saying that you’d like to schedule a test. Once you pick out a date and time to take your test, you’ll meet with one of the trainers and go through the process of making a PSA on your own and the trainer will evaluate you. At the end, if you pass, the trainer will sign off on your evaluation and you can get a key from the Station Manager which will give you access to the Digital Audio Workstation. At this point you are a Production Engineer and have all the privileges that come with that title.


Here are the topics that we’ll discuss in class

  1. Signal Paths : How all of the devices in the production studio are connected and relate to each other
  2. Audio Routing : How the mixing board works to route audio to the outputs (audition bus, program bus, monitors)
  3. How the mixing board works to control audio inputs (microphone, cd player, etc.)
  4. How to use all of the devices that create audio (microphone, cd player, etc.)
  5. How to use all of the devices that recieve audio (program and audition busses, tape deck, other studios, digital audio workstation)
  6. How to setup a session on the digital audio workstation and record audio into it

Signal Paths

  • What devices are audio creators? CD Player, Turntables, News Studio, Air Studio, Getner Phone
  • What devices are both audio creators and recorders? Cassette tape, DAW, Reel to Reel
  • Where does every device show up on the board?

Audio Routing

  • What are the two output busses and how do they work? Program, Audition
  • When audio is sent to these busses, what recording devices receive the signal? Audition-The DAW, Program-Everything else
  • How does the third and final output, the monitor bus work? How

    1. How the various units in the studio are connected
      • name various inputs
      • output lines - program vs. audition
      • monitors and their relation to the outputs
    2. Board
      • volume
      • balance
      • input select
      • output channel
    3. how to activate and how to use connected devices
      • mike how to position, talk,
      • records (how to handle and not scratch if necessary)
      • how to Q record
      • cassette playing / recording
      • special balance meters r/l/r+l/rl
      • Zeroing the board (blue dots may not be accurate anymore)
      • CDs
    4. miscellaneous analog stuff
      • different units how to activate and how to use connected device
      • carts playing only , the fact that you have to wait for them to cycle, FF, etc
      • selector tracks on board
    5. VU meters
      • reading levels on the vu meters - do not worry too much about these. just make sure they do not redline. protools levels are more important.
      • discussion of output channels in vu meters (pgm, aud, pgm mono, aud mono)
    6. monitor
      • control volume
      • headphones volume/ eq
      • cue
    7. cart recording (optional ? at the end of class)
      • how a cart woks
      • Bulking
      • 1Khz def eat, Stop Tone
      • Recording
      • Sec Tone
    8. Create a Pro Tools session
      • create a new session (bit depth = 16 / audio file type = AIFF or WAV / Sample rate = 44.1kHz)
      • where to put your files on the disk (make sure they go in your folder)
      • where are audio files and other parts of a session actually stored
    9. Creating Tracks
      • Create Mono tracks for mic inputs, Stereo tracks for music, fx etc.
      • Create a Master Fader to monitor master levels
      • Naming Tracks
      • set input track number (set I/O to #1/1 888/24 (mono), and #1/1-2 888/24 (Stereo). 1/1-2 888/24 May also be A1-2 in other views)
    10. Record on the DAW
      • board settings (audition)
      • computer settings (click “rec” etc. )
      • avoid feedback by muting the channel being recorded
      • levels (saturation and clipping of waveforms)
      • peak level reset (click away the red lights on the level indicators)
      • mic saturation
        • If a loud speaker is too close to the mike then the signal may become saturated in the microphone or preamp even if the levels are reduced on the board. This will be come immediately evident by observing the clipped wave form ProTools editing window.
          1. CLASS 2: mixing and submitting
    11. DAW playback
      • board settings (put daw in program)
      • avoid feedback (do not put daw in audition)
      • use of transport to play, ff, rewind, stop, record
      • use of space bar to start/stop track
      • use of “return” to go to beginning of session
    12. Navigation
      • zoom in and out
      • scroll
    13. Show / Hide Windows
      • Window menu
      • Description of each window
      • Bringing back windows that are accidentally clicked off
    14. Track control on the DAW
      • show and hide tracks
      • track height
      • mute tracks
      • solo tracks
    15. Editing on the DAW
      • editing and selecting regions: the trimmer (cut tool), the selector & the grabber (hand)
      • accelerator keys (shortcuts) for tools? “command-1”, “command-2”, etc
      • multi-tool mode
      • moving segments (slip / shuffle)
      • copying segments (select and use “command-C” and “command-V” for copy/paste)
      • separate region (“command-E”)
      • consolidate region
      • timer (use for measuring length of segments)
      • region selection and applying effects to selected regions
      • delete region
    16. Closing and Saving Sessions
      • saving sessions: “save” vs “save as” (save under a new name using the same original audio files) vs “save session in” (saving to a new folder with new copies of all your audio files in the new location)
      • do not click windows away when closing a session
      • The “Command -S” key, for saving sessions as you work.
    17. Mixing on the DAW
      • volume control (using the volume track display and hand tool to show and manipulate the volume curve).
      • using the volume curve to simulate fades
      • pan control (using the pan track display and hand tool to show and manipulate the pan curve)
      • preprocessed fades and cross fades
    18. Segment / Region / File management on the DAW
      • naming of segments / regions
      • list of segments / regions (“audio menu” on the right side of the edit window)
      • how to delete unwanted segments / regions / files (not just from the session, but actual removal of the audio files). Use Audio->Select->Unused Regions followed by Audio->Clear Selected.
      • How to turn segments into discreet files (“edit /consolidate selection”)
      • Import an external audio file (such as a .wav, .aiff) into it’s own ProTools track
    19. Bouncing to Disk
      • Level normalization ? Use of Master Track to adjust final levels
      • Bounce to Disk (settings: File Type = WAV / Format = Stereo Interleaved / Resolution = 16 / Sample rate = 44100)
      • File naming conventions (No spaces between words, Caps for word separation, 15 characters max, only use wav files)
    20. dad pro
      • Where to put the bounces: New Project Archives->[Category]->TO DadPro
      • Fill out the Cart approval form on the studio door
    21. Creating CD’s (burning)
      • Burning CD’s using “Toast Titanium”
      • Choose “Audio” or “Data”
      • Dragging data / tracks to Toast