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E4896: Music Signal Processing
Course Information

Prof. Alexandros Eleftheriadis
Department of Electrical Engineering
Columbia University

About this home page

This is the home page of the course EE E4896, Music Signal Processing, as taught at Columbia University in the Spring of 2005. General course information, special announcements, homeworks, and solutions can be found here. Students are expected to periodically check the contents of this site to obtain up-to-date information about the course. All information will be made available in class as well.

General course description

An introductory course on the applications of signal processing to music, suitable to seniors and first-year graduate students in EE, CS, or Music. Emphasis is placed on the signal processing operations in both recording and live environments. Topics covered include: audio and room acoustics; microphones and loudspeakers; A/D conversion, dithering, and digital audio formats; analog and digital audio mixers; audio effects algorithms; sequencers, samplers, and Digital Audio Workstations (DAW); mastering for CD and DVD production; and sound synthesis algorithms. Throughout the course case studies of real systems will be examined in detail.

Prerequisites are a course on discrete-time signal processing (at the level of E3801 Signals and Systems or preferably E4810 Digital Signal Processing) and familiarity with Matlab.

Knowledge of music theory or capability of playing an instrument are not required, although appreciation of music will be taken for granted. A good set of ears will be extremely helpful as a lot of engineering decisions in this field are based on subjective evaluation criteria.

The objective of the course is to teach all signal processing aspects of a modern music recording studio. At the end of the course, students should be able to enter any professional recording facility or sound reinforcement installation at a concert and understand all the different types of equipment used, as well as the methodology of its use and operation. Students interested in research in this area should take a follow-on course on advanced topics in music signal processing, where rigorous mathematical treatment of a number of key concepts will be undertaken. This necessitates as an additional prerequisite a course on stochastic processes, and potentially additional courses on filter design and advanced DSP. Alternatively, students with strong motivation and preparation can undertake individual research projects under E6001/6002 Advanced Projects in Electrical Engineering, after successfully completing the E4896 course.

Example commercial systems to be covered in the course

Several commercial systems will be examined in the course as case studies of particular system architectures and/or design methodologies. Manuals of these systems will be made available on-line. The list includes: Behringer MX-3242X analog mixing console, Yamaha DM-2000 digital mixing console, Alesis ADAT HD24 hard disk recorder, Digidesign Pro Tools LE and TDM, Digidesign 002, TASCAM GigaStudio hard disk sampler, and Propellerheads Reason software synthesizer.

Structure of this web site

This web site is organized into several different areas, according to specific subject matters.

General Information
General information about the course, the instructor, and the TA.

The detailed course syllabus.

Required and suggested reading material, including links to online resources.

Homework assignments, due dates, and solutions.

Project description, requirements, and due dates.

This area is extremely important, as it will contain all announcements that will be made for the class throughout the semester. This includes changes in office hours, class hours, and any other information that may need to be communicated widely. All such announcements will also be posted on the electronic mailing list that has been established for the course (eleft-class@ee.columbia.edu).

A. Eleftheriadis, eleft@ee.columbia.edu
General Syllabus Homeworks Projects Announcements