Desktop Music Production for Mac

Authors: Michael Bierylo, David Mash | Course Code: OLMSC-101

Gain all the knowledge you need to produce great-sounding recordings of your music. Even if you begin this course with little or no understanding of desktop production, you'll end it with a quality master recording ready for CD or MP3! Let accomplished musician, sound designer and Berklee professor Michael Bierylo guide you through the challenges of setting up your own home studio, sampling, basic audio mixing, and more. With hands-on lessons and projects, you'll master concepts like digitization, signal flow, multi-tracking, equalization, signal processing, MIDI, and everything you need to turn your Mac or PC into a virtual multitrack studio.

Upon completing this course, you will have learned to:

Choose the right tools to produce your own musicPlan and configure home studio hardware componentsDevelop musical ideas using MIDI and digital audio softwareEdit and create your own synthesizer soundsUse samples and sample loops in a variety of musical settingsMix multitrack audio projectsUnderstand and use standard audio effectsMake a final master of an audio project suitable for distribution

Lesson 1: Introduction to Desktop Production Tools

Music Production ProcessCreating Musical IdeasListening and AnalysisRecordingEditingMixingMasteringMusic Production ToolsSynthesizersMIDI SequencersAudio RecordersProcessorsMixers

Lesson 2: Signal Flow

Analog Audio Signals and ConnectionsDigital Audio Signals and ConnectionsSignal Flow Between DevicesSetting Up a Virtual StudioMIDI Signal FlowStudio Configuration

Lesson 3: Introduction to Electronic Music Synthesizers

What's a Synthesizer?Properties of SoundPitch, Timbre, LoudnessVirtual InstrumentsDigital Samplers

Lesson 4: Introduction to MIDI Sequencing: Patterns and Recording in Reason

MIDI MessagesPatterns in MusicCreating PatternsBuilding an Arrangement from PatternsPlaying Against a Drum TrackAssignment: Reason Sequencing Project

Lesson 5: MIDI Sequencing Continued

MIDI Sequencing in LogicThe Transport and Arrange WindowMIDI Sequencing in Logic, ContinuedGetting Ready to RecordHow a Sequencer Represents TimeBars, Beats, and SubdivisionsReal-Time RecordingMetronome SettingsRecord Modes: A Sequencer Is Not a Tape RecorderReplace and OverdubLoop RecordingStep RecordingFinal Sequencing Project, Part 1

Lesson 6: Editing MIDI Sequences

Editing MIDI SequencesExploring Tempo, Key, Song Length, Velocity, Dynamics, Gate Time, Delay, Event-Level EditingFixing MistakesCorrecting TimingCorrecting DurationsCorrecting DynamicsEditing PitchCut/Copy/Paste OperationsEditing in the Arrange Window—The Logic ToolsMIDI Mixing and AutomationFinal Sequencing Project, Part 2

Lesson 7: Common Mixer Configurations

The Reason MixerThe Logic MixerThe Hardware MixerTechnical Issues in MixingAesthetic Issues in MixingMIDI Tracks into AudioBouncing MIDI Tracks to Audio Files

Lesson 8: Effects Processing, DSP, and Mixing: Part 1

Insert EffectsAux Send and Return Effects in Logic--Set Up a Reverb Send and ReturnOverview of Effects TypesSpectrum Processing: FiltersEQing the Piano TracksMix Practice--Adding EQ and Reverb

Lesson 9: Effects Processing: Part 2

Dynamics ProcessingCompressing the Bass TrackGatingTime-Based EffectsDelayDoubling/Flanging/ChorusReverb

Lesson 10: Hard-Disk Recording and Editing

Sampling ConceptsOverview of Hard-Disk RecordingHard-Disk IssuesBouncing a Mix to DiskNon-Destructive EditingDefining RegionsEditing a Song FormDefining Rhythm LoopsLoops and Song TempoDestructive EditingCut/Copy/PasteDSPUsing the Change Gain and Normalize CommandsUsing the Silence CommandUsing the Fade In/Out Commands

Lesson 11: Preparing Files for Distribution

Preparing Sequence Files for DistributionImporting and Exporting Standard MIDI Files with ReasonImporting and Exporting Standard MIDI Files with LogicPosting Sequence Files on the WebAudio Distribution FormatsMasteringMastering ToolsMastering for CD, MP3Audio File Compression OverviewMaking MP3 FilesDistributing Audio Files via the Web

Lesson 12: Final Project Critique and Course Wrap-Up

Course Wrap-UpWhere Do You Go From Here?How to Grow Your Basic SetupSuggested Additional Reading

David Mash


Author of nine books and a recognized expert on music technology, David Mash is Vice President for Information Technology at Berklee College of Music. One of Berklee's true innovators, he founded the nation's first music synthesis department, developed the Center for Technology in Music Instruction, and assisted in the design of the country's largest networked music learning facility, the Berklee Learning Center. He has also scored award-winning digital films, and appeared on such programs as Newton's Apple, CBS Evening News, 3-2-1 Contact, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

Michael Bierylo


For Michael Bierylo, teaching Music Synthesis at Berklee is just one component of an eclectic and highly creative career. From his Virtual Planet studio, he's completed film, video, and multimedia scores for clients like Hasbro Interactive, Nintendo, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, VH1, Martha Stewart Living, and Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. He's also a guitarist, composer, programmer and sound designer for the uncategorizable new music avatars Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. His solo album Life Line earned four and a half stars from the All Music Guide, and he's a voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Tom Rudolph


Thomas E. Rudolph, Ed.D., is a national leader in the field of music education and technology. He is one of the founding directors of the Technology Institute for Music Educators; adjunct assistant professor of music at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania; and director of music for the Haverford School District in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He has trained thousands of music professionals at many institutions, including: Berklee College of Music in Boston; Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut; The University of the Arts in Philadelphia; and Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. His publications include Teaching Music with Technology, The MIDI Sequencer in the Music Classroom, and Technology Strategies for Music Education.

Ross Ramsay


James Ross Ramsay, faculty in the Piano department at Berklee College of Music, has been teaching piano for twenty-five years, and has been included in the Who's Who List of American Teachers several times. He composes and produces music for local and nationally broadcast television, radio, cable, and video programs, and has been a featured soloist on piano and keyboards with various artists touring throughout the United States and Europe. Ramsay is a product specialist and clinician for Yamaha Corporation of America, Digital Musical Instruments, and Pro Audio Division. He received a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music in 1986.

Peter Bell


Peter Bell is a producer, composer, and guitarist. His compositions and productions include "May It Happen For You" (the theme song to the award-winning film Radio Cape Cod) and the themes to This Old House, New Yankee Workshop, Victory Garden, and the ABC After School Special, as well as countless jingles and production tracks. Peter has produced tracks featuring many world-class musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Tracey Bonham, Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor, Alex Taylor, Layla Hathaway, John Poussette-Dart, The New Kids On The Block, Rebecca Parris, Mick Goodrick, Mike Metheny, Mark Sandman of Morphine, Alan Estes, Patty Grifin, and others.

He has recorded with Bonnie Raitt on Warner Brothers and the James Montgomery Band on Capricorn and Island Records, among many others. His awards include two Emmys, seven NEBA awards, and six ASCAP awards. Peter is currently an instructor at The Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University. He holds a bachelor of music in jazz composition and arranging from Berklee College of Music and a bachelor of arts in government from Harvard University.

None required

Mac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current versionLogic Pro XReason 8, see discount details below:

Berklee Online and Propellerheads have come together to offer an educational discount on Reason 8. Once you enroll in the course, you will be able to purchase this package at the discounted price through the Required Course Materials link on your My Home page. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.

Mac OS X 10.8.4 or laterProcessor: Intel Mac (multiple cores highly recommended)Memory: 4 GB RAM or more highly recommended3 GB free hard disk space (program may use up to 20 GB scratch disk space)Free USB port for Ignition KeyMIDI keyboard controllerUSB or FireWire-based audio interface recommended


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  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
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  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,200 + $25

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