Enroll by December 1 to save up to $200 on select Music Production, Songwriting, Music Business, and Performance courses.


Recording and Producing in the Home Studio

Author: David Franz | Course Code: OMPRD-227

Beginning with an existing demo or new song idea, this course will teach you the art of music production, engineering and recording, regardless of the recording devices and software programs you are using. You'll start by learning the basics of recording and producing, and how to configure your home studio for optimal results. You'll study the roles of the producer and engineer in the recording process, and learn mixing, mastering and editing techniques that will enable you to polish your demos into professional sounding finished recordings. You'll examine and evaluate songwriting concepts critical to the production process, and by receiving constructive feedback from your fellow songwriters, engineers, mixers, and producers, you'll create an exceptional professional sounding master recording.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

Know the basics of producing and recording and how to set up your studioUnderstand the producer's and engineer's specific roles in the studioIdentify and use specific recording techniquesUnderstand and use MIDI production techniquesComplete your project using specific editing, mixing and mastering techniques in postproduction

Lesson 1: Preproduction 1—The Basics of Producing and Recording

Three Stages of Music ProductionStudio SetupThe Digital Recording ProcessAssignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 2: Preproduction 2—The Producer's Role in Preproduction

Defining an Artist's Identity, Purpose, and ImageDetermining the Genre and SoundIdentify the Potential AudienceMusic That You Would Like to Influence Your ProjectWriting, Rewriting, and ArrangingHiring HelpAssignment: Analysis of Your Demo Song

Lesson 3: Preproduction 3—The Engineer's Role in Preproduction and Recording Techniques (Part I)

Feedback on your classmate's songsEngineering Techniques in PreproductionAcoustical Phase CancellationRecording Techniques: DrumsRecording Techniques: Electric GuitarsRecording Techniques: Acoustic GuitarsRecording Techniques: Electric Bass GuitarsAssignment: Progress on Your Demo Song

Lesson 4: Production—Recording Techniques (Part II)

Recording Techniques: PianoRecording Techniques: VocalsRecording Techniques: Synthesizers and TurntablesRecording Techniques: Percussion InstrumentsRecording Techniques: StringsRecording Techniques: Horns - Woodwind InstrumentsRecording Techniques: Horns - Brass InstrumentsThe All-Important Headphone MixClick TracksAssignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 5: Production—Effects Loops and the Producer's Role in a Recording Session

Using Effects While Recording—InsertsUsing Effects While Recording—Effects LoopsUsing Effects While Recording—Pre-Fader and Post-Fader Effects LoopsUsing Effects While Recording—Effects Loops and Inserts TogetherThe Producer's Job—Studio AmbienceThe Producer's Job—Artist/Producer InteractionThe Producer's Job—Self-ProductionThe Producer's Job—Take Sheet for Vocal Recordings

Lesson 6: Production—MIDI Production Techniques

MIDI Production StepsMIDI Production Techniques: EditingStandard MIDI FilesAssignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 7: Postproduction 1—Editing Techniques

Editing Techniques—Macro level: Song Section ArrangementEditing Techniques—Macro level: CompingEditing Techniques—Micro LevelAdvanced Editing Techniques—Repairing WaveformsAdvanced Editing Techniques—Tuning VocalsCreative EditingPost Editing CleanupAssignment: Progress on Your Song

Lesson 8: Postproduction 2—Mixing (Part I)

The Steps of MixingEqualizationApplying EQFormantAssignment: Your Rough Mix Vs. Your Reference Mixes

Lesson 9: Postproduction 3—Mixing (Part II)

CompressionApplying CompressionLimitersDe-essersExpanders and GatesSidechainsAssignment: Dynamic Processing in Your Mix

Lesson 10: Postproduction 4—Mixing (Part III)

Introduction to Depth ProcessingTypes of Delay EffectsDelay Effect ParametersQuiz on Delay Effects ParametersReview of Effects LoopsTypes of Reverb EffectsReverb Effect ParametersThe Final Steps of MixingAssignment: Your Mix

Lesson 11: Postproduction 5—Mastering

Introduction to MasteringThe Mastering ProcessMastering Techniques: EQMastering Technique: CompressionMastering Techniques: LimitingMastering Techniques: Dither, Noise Shaping, and Other Mastering EffectsMastering ReferencesAssignment: Your Recording… Mastered

Lesson 12: Final Evaluation of Projects

Production Process OverviewBurning to CDThe Next Steps—Legal IssuesAssignment: Your Recording…The Final Version

David Franz


David Franz wrote the book on Pro Tools—literally. Professional producer, engineer, musician, and expert Pro Tools user, Franz collaborated with Digidesign and Berklee College of Music to write the first-ever book about using Pro Tools, Producing in the Home Studio with Pro Tools, a bestseller for Berklee Press and in its third edition. Franz uses Pro Tools everyday in his studio, on stage with his band, and in the classroom.

Working mainly from his own commercial studio, Underground Sun Studio in Boston, MA, Franz has worked with many musical artists from all over the globe in almost every genre of music. Some of his most recent clients include Dave Weiner (touring guitarist with Berklee alum Steve Vai), Grey Star Morning, Andy Moore, and his own band—the bleedin bleedins.

Recording, producing, mixing, and mastering music in home and professional studios for more than fifteen years, Franz is also a studio musician and tours with his band, most recently in Ireland and on the east coast of the US, playing at such venues as Tower Records and Temple Bar Music Centre in Dublin, Roisin Dubh in Galway, T.T. the Bear's in Boston, the Continental in NYC, and many more.

Translating his real-world studio, composition and touring experience into transferable knowledge, Franz has contributed to Electronic Musician, Keyboard Magazine, and DigiZine, Digidesign's online and print magazine. He has also written another book for Berklee Press called Recording and Producing in the Home Studio.

Franz wraps all these things together when teaching online courses for Berklee Online. He has written two courses, Producing with Pro Tools and Recording and Producing in the Home Studio, teaching those along with the Pro Tools 101 courses.

Franz holds bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech, where he wrote his master's thesis on mathematically modeling jazz improvisation. After Virginia Tech, Franz studied music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music.

Will Robertson


Will Robertson is an accomplished producer, engineer, and performer. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Will has worked or performed with Grammy-winning and -nominated hit makers such as John Mayer, Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band), Shawn Mullins ("Lullaby"), and Pat Sansone (Wilco). Will has also performed with, arranged for, and recorded artists such as Rebecca Loebe (featured on NBC's "The Voice"), David Berkeley, Nathan Beaver, Arlington Priest, The Brilliant Inventions and Evan McHugh. Will's work has been featured on TV and radio worldwide.

Will holds a bachelor of arts in music from Rice University, where he studied double bass performance, as well as conducting and composition. He graduated from Berklee College of Music's music production and engineering program, where he was the recipient of the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences (NARAS) scholarship. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing upright/electric bass, guitar, and piano, and he has played in, sung in, directed or conducted a variety of ensembles in styles such as singer-songwriter, bluegrass, rock, blues, musical theater, and classical.

Recording and Producing in the Home Studio: A Complete Guide by David Franz

With the explosion of project studio gear available to the home musician, it is easier than ever to create professional-quality music at home. An important resource for developing the skills you need to create top-notch musical recordings, this book will show you how to produce great music in your home studio, no matter what recording tools you use.

PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current version
Music production software and MIDI Sequencer: owning and using some type of music production software (e.g., Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, Nuendo, Cubase, Cakewalk, GarageBand, Reason, Sonar, Acid, Vegas, etc.) and MIDI sequencer is strongly encouraged.MP3 converter: a software program (or hardware device) that enables them to convert their recordings into MP3s will be needed.Digital audio editing program: for the editing lessons, it will be helpful to have a digital audio editing program.

Note: Although not necessary for the course, MIDI gear such as a sequencer, keyboard controller, sampler, and/or sound module is highly recommended. All of this gear can be either hardware or software based.

No specific hardware is needed, however having access to recording and mixing equipment is necessary. This includes:

a recording device (e.g., 4-track analog tape recorder, digital 8-track recorder, and/or any music production/recording software system)microphonesmicrophone preampsinstrumentsmixing and mastering gear (such as compressors, EQs, reverb units, etc.)
This Course Gets Early Enrollment Pricing!
  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,099 + $25

Winter Term Starts January 12 for Courses and Multi-Course Certificates

Contact an Advisor

Mon.-Thu., 9AM-8PM EDT
Fri., 9AM-5PM EDT

Int'l: +1-617-747-2146

Create an Account

Secure form. Berklee Online will not sell or rent your email address to third parties. Our privacy policy.

Enroll by December 1 to save up to $200 on select Music Production, Songwriting, Music Business, and Performance courses.